Looking for tips to efficiently interact with verts

Hi folks!

Long time animator (about 20 years), new Blender user (but I’ve been watching it for a while now). I love the mission behind Blender, and am excited to dive in and start learning it!

As I’m learning, I’m going through a few tutorials and had a question about efficiently selecting and re-selecting verts while manipulating a poly object. I’m a huge fan of hotkeys and efficient workflows, and just wanted to see if my current workflow was the most efficient, or if someone had some suggestions on what I could do to really speed things up.

Currently, I’ve found I’m doing a lot of this: a-b-click+drag-g manipulate - click. over and over again.

this translates to - deselect all, box-select, drag around my selection, enter move, drag the mouse to where I want, accept my interaction.

I know there’s a lot of heat and debate around selection and manipulation, and there’s currently work going on by some incredibly talented people to find the best way forward. I’m very much looking forward to the fruits of those labors, but I’m not here to join that debate at the moment - I’m more interested in finding out… is the way I’m currently doing this the most efficient in the current version of blender, or is there a more efficient way?

Thanks very much, and I’m super jazzed to be joining this community!

-jason schleifer

Found another workflow… which keeps my hands in a bit more of a constant spot on the keyboard, but may not be more efficient.

This one uses circle select…

a (delect) - c (circle select) - left click to paint selection - right click to confirm selection - g to move - left mouse button to drop

I can use the middle mouse button to deselect instead of having to hit a first - so that might be more efficient…

but it still feels like I’m missing something here. Would love some advice on how the experienced blender users go about modifying a mesh the most efficient way possible.

Cheers!
-jason schleifer

And yet another interaction I hadn’t found before for single vert manipulation which is pretty cool -

Just RMB+click+drag on a vert, LMB to drop.

You all probably already know this stuff, but it’s new to me. :slight_smile:

I like this workflow much better… the tweaking aspect is great!

I do have a quick question about it, though… if I’m working in a side view, and I’ve got 2 or more verts aligned in z and y (so I only see 1 vert from the side, but there are 2 or more stacked behind it), is there a way to RMB+click+drag that affects all the verts along that axis?

Just like you can use box select and have it not limited to visibly selected verts, is there a way to do that behavior with the RMB+tweak?

cheers!
-jason schleifer

I think it is well worth watching this video series to get to grips with the basics in blender.

The information is very well presented.

Maybe it would be better to provide concrete examples of what you are modeling and what the approach is (with images and an example .blend wouldn’t hurt). Selecting mesh elements is part of some workflow you use to tackle a modeling problem, so if the selection seems difficult, maybe the whole workflow has flaws.

I’m not suggesting the selection tools are perfect or that there necessarily is a flaw in our way of modeling, just that there are a lot of selection options and it depends on the approach which of those are used and why. Giving a context might help.

I personally don’t use box and circle select all that much. When I do, it’s usually to select an area that wasn’t predermined and I’m deciding what to select as I’m selecting, or more efficient way of selecting wasn’t immdediately apparent.

When working on one side of a mesh, there are multiple ways to avoid repeating work on the other side and avoiding the need for selecting through the mesh. Mirror modifier is the most common. There’s also X mirror option on the tool shelf but mirror modifier is better at that. W -> symmetrize can make two sides symmetrical and W -> snap to symmetry helps sometimes.

Selection option I’m most fond of is select shortest path: select one mesh element and ctrl+select another further away, and that selects the path between the two. There’s also an option to tag edges that get selected, which can speed up marking UV seams for example. But I probably use edge/face loop and edge ring selections the most http://getblended.org/screens/looptypes.jpeg (face loop can be selected in vertex select mode with ctrl+alt+select without necessarily switching to face select mode).

Select similar options are also what I use a lot (shift+G). Note that the content of that menu depends on the selection mode.

Select linked is also quite versatile. With that it’s possible to select whole mesh parts by either selecting something on them and selecting everything linked to those with ctrl+L, or hover mouse cursor over a mesh element and press L which selects everything linked to one under the cursor. Selecting linked in face selection mode can be limited by UV seams, but more options to that are coming in 2.75.

Ctrl+LMB drag for lasso select, wasn’t mentioned yet.

Thanks for the responses, JA12 and Kevjon, I’ll check out the video series. I’ve been going through some of the modeling material on digital tutors, and the question on technique came up to me while I was working through the “Creating a Sci-Fi gun in blender” tutorial.

Based on the tutorial, I’m actually using mirror (super cool modifier… in fact, the whole modifier approach is really quite nice. there’s lots of stuff here to explore!). The section where I found I was repeating myself quite a bit was when the model was essentially a cube that I extruded a bunch of times and then started to just tweak verts in the right view.

I shot a quick screencap of an example workflow - please ignore the model… this isn’t exactly what I was doing, but it gives the idea.

As you can see, I’m not in-efficient at it… I can move pretty quickly, but I’m sure I can move faster. :slight_smile:

I tried ctrl+LMB for lasso, which is great! I guess the thing that would really make this the fastest workflow I can imagine would be to have the box and/or lasso select simply replace my selection instead of add to it. Is there a way to make that happen?

Thanks again!

Blender defaults make no sense to me. It just goes against my muscle memory and brings nothing of value to the table that would make me want to use it.

In my effort to make the application suit my habits, and also to make it more functional (i hope so) I have built a whole custom setup for it.

I primarily use Blender for Sculpting, Modeling, ReTopo, UV unwrapping. Both at work and as a personal tool. So interaction with objects and on a subcomponent level is the most important thing to me.

I have shared my custom setup here:

http://www.blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?352666-Input-Custom-Blender-Setup-Silo-Maya-esque

Check out the video in the initial post for a demo of some of the features. The thing that would interest you is something I call Silo-Tweak (that I have mapped to CTRL+LMB).

Note, a lot of the things have not been covered in it, and also I constantly tweak this setup, so some things have changed.
Like de-selecting by clicking in empty screen space.
Or adding another Silo-Tweak trigger - this one mapped to CTRL+MMB, it works only on existing selection and does not drop previous selection. It is also a lot easier to trigger axis constraint by pressing MMB again because it does not exit translate when you release the hotkey (CTRL+MMB). If you press SHIFT+MMB to trigger axis constraint - then it’s planar constraint. In effect I don’t have to use the ‘G’ to grab, and then use XYZ for axis constraint, or SHIFT+XYZ for planar constraint. I have it all on my CTRL+MMB then MMB again for Axis constraint, or SHIFT+MMB for planar constraint.

Also if you invoke Silo-Tweak (either with CTRL+LMB or CTRL+MMB) by releasing and pressing again the CTRL key - you turn on snapping. That comes in super handy while using any type of retopo or snapping of objects.

Those are the main things of my Silo-Tweak object/sub-component interaction.
But I have a much better selection set than what Blender has by default. And everything is LMB-centric.
I also tried to keep as much of Blender’s defaults as possible, so I believe this keymap is way better than the default Maya input.

Anyway, it’s hard to write about it, even watching the video won’t give it justice. Try it out.

Plus it comes packed with some community addons, that if you’re new to blender is going to take a lot of digging around to find.

You could just as well almost treat this as a different application, that’s the feel you get when you install it. The good thing is when you install it, you can still use daily updates of blender off buildbot without any extra maintanance.

I should make an updated video of this setup when I get a chance.

Thanks for the custom setup, it’s super cool and i’m really impressed with what you’re able to do with it! I was definitely able to create a more efficient workflow to manipulate verts in the situation I was in.

I’m curious if there’s still a more efficient way than what I was doing previously with the default setup, or with minor tweaks to preferences?

Normally when I learn new software packages, I like to try and learn with the defaults first, so I can really understand the software at it’s core before creating alternative paths to achieve a goal. This helps me really “get” the tool so that I can take advantage of all the unique features it has to offer. It also helps tremendously when I’m trying to teach the package to students, or mentoring animators, or helping my team understand what’s going on.

Once I understand it deeply, I dig in and get crazy custom to suit exactly my preferences… and what you have here is incredibly compelling! Nicely done!

-jason

You could shape the object in 2D and then extrude the thickness. Clipping option in mirror modifier allows to lock vertices on the mirror plane.

Could for example start from nothing and quickly extrude the shape and then continue by adding geometry and build the form.

I’m using ctrl+LMB click to add a vertex and to extrude. If nothing is selected it will add a new vertex, otherwise it extrudes whatever is selected.

Could also extrude the outline and use grid fill tool (faces menu, ctrl+F -> grid fill) to… fill a grid, or other approaches that don’t involve selecting aligned vertices first and moving.

If you are making a basemesh for sculpting, could also try skin modifier which allows to build a stick model with vertices and edges and have the modifier to build the form from that. Could then scale the skeleton vertices with ctrl+A, add subdivision surface modifier after the skin modifier and continue modifying the skeleton mesh. Takes a bit getting used to, but an option. That modifier can also generate an armature with deform bones based on the stick model.

Ah, hadn’t thought about doing the 2d shaping first… Very cool trick! I will try that tonight . Thank you very much! :slight_smile:

Oh wow… the ctrl+lmb click to extrude based on whatever you have selected… that’s so cool! Very powerful tool!

Thank you! :slight_smile:

The CTRL+(in my case)RMB to extrude is a big one.

There’s a lot more to it when it comes to tweaking/creating meshes though.
Using BSurfaces Addon, GStretch (that is part of LoopTools Addon), EdgeTune, and MiraTools is huge when it comes to tweaking/creating.

I’ll see if I can make a vid for you demoing some of those methods and in what situations I use them. If you feel adventurous to try them on your own, you can find links to those addons in my CustomSetup Thread, I have links to all of my favorite community addons (actually I have them all packed as part of my CustomSetup, you can grab them from there)

Very good link that present Blender addons, with animated gifs to show what each addon is about

I didn’t get to record that video :slight_smile:

But here’s a good demo of some retopo workflow tools by pitiwazou.
A lot of that stuff can be used in regular poly realm.

I recommend you to set shortcuts for select modes (vertex, edge, face) and Select linked (L) to left hand side of keyboard. I have 1,2,3 and Q.