Most frequent noobie problems

What are are the most common troubleshooting problems people run into when they start using Blender? The sorts of things experienced users often overlook explaining?

To start the ball rolling;

  • Black ares on the mesh: turns out to be reversed normals.
  • Various modifiers / menus missing: need to install python (is this still an issue with 2.5?)
  • Everything suddenly goes see-through. Likely to be caused by hitting Z (wireframe), although it’s also handy to know the occlusion button to prevent moving vertices on the wrong side of the mesh.

I’m about to wrap up a book on Blender and I’m seeking troubleshooting tips for the final summary chapter. Yes I could “make up my own” but then, I’d overlook the obvious… so, any ideas please?

not so much a problem in 2.5, but more in 2.49 is where !#@[email protected]#$ did the button I just used go?

edit: to clarify, I just used a button and went to another panel and now I can’t find it because I either don’t have the correct object selected or I can’t find the right icon to click to find it.

How to run scripts as in ‘I found this random script on the interwebs, how do I run it in blender?’

And ‘objects disappearing’ is also pretty popular.

I’m sure the space bar search menu to find operators will also be a pretty common problem once 2.5/6 is released… ‘OK, I ran the script like you said, now what?’

fairly common ones I know of:

The 3D cursor, what it is, how it works.

Not so much a question they know they have, but one that will alleviate a lot later on is how to scale and translate along axis.

The difference between wold coordinates and local ones, being sure to accent that rotating in edit mode will not rotate the objects local coordinates as rotating in object mode will.

As you said, these are really hard to come up with once you understand the concepts behind them. If I think of more I’ll post 'em up.

global and local view (numpad /), very nice when you know what it does, very bad when you hit it by mistake and dont know what the hell is local view.

These are great suggestions, thanks. Keep 'em coming if you can as I’ll be pulling something of a mini FOPL (frequently occurring problems list) over the next week. This will really help readers who are first time Blender users.

+1 for the global/local view one.


  • double vertices/face
  • how extrude and cancel doesn’t cancel extrude, but gives you double faces (see 1)
  • disappearing headers (especially for the Info window), tool shelf, Redo Last window
  • splitting windows
  • merging windows
  • opening blend files with unwanted layouts (load UI)

Why UV textures arent showing up in 3d view (either has to be in Textured view mode and/or Texface in the material buttons has to be clicked.)

I think one thing that could be frustrating for new users is the lack of a ‘dummy box’ telling you that you are about to close the software without saving your work. Got me at first, until I realized this software expects it’s users to not be the normal idiots that use computers. At the same time, you could also mention how to recover after a crash, since they are kinda related…

  1. Instinctively trying to use the Left mouse button :stuck_out_tongue: That, and the 3D cursor being confusing at first would be the first problems everyone gets.

  2. Assigning maps to materials.

  3. Grasping the “Object vs. Object Data” concept.

Noobs use to hit keys randomly/by error/many at once/without conscience of doing so.

Add to cart:

1 unnoticed hit of H key. Everything selected dissapears. Got me mad once, right after solving the / local issue, another favorite

2 unnoticed hit somewhere in the layer system. Sudenly the scene is empty.

3 also, in my case (‘win vista victim’) a fresh source of annoyance was the new installing option that without much notice sends the Scripts folder to somewhere like Users/(Username)/AppData/Roaming/BlenderFoundation/Scripts. A delight until you find out.

I would add:

  1. Uncertainty where rendered image/animation goes (especially animation)
  2. Clicking render “Animation” button and after 5h rendering seeing that you got n .png images instead of movie, because you forgot to change output format.
  3. Assigning picture in UV editor and be amazed why it won’t show up in render (because you need to assign image as texture for material).

I see a lot of posts on “How to get alpha to work from an image”.

“My particles stop at frame 250.”

Blender’s camera concept is a bit different. There are some hotkeys such as Numpad 0 and Ctrl Alt Numpad 0. It’s not easy to move camera in camera view. (Shortcut based)

Why can’t I edit my model(s)? I put the viewport into edit mode

Misunderstanding object selection and editing, and that you can’t edit a lamp or camera, or all your objects at once.

Also “where did my render / animation get saved”.

Adding an object to find it is rotated differently than shown in the tutorial. Reason: The user is in front view, while the tutorial is in top view. (Although I think “Align to View” might be turned off by default in 2.5?)

Wondering what the .blend1 file is and if they can delete it.

Hey thank for the responses. I was thinking there wouldn’t be enough to merit adding a small troubleshooting section to the final chapter, but I’m fast changing my mind.

I’m also thinking I’ll spend the last chapter reviewing other (free) software to help with Blender, and where to get help or other free resources, such as Blender 2.5 compatable rigs. Please enter >>this thread<< if you have any ideas to contribute that way.

For my own clarification: can anyone please tell me how not installing Python affects 2.5? I know it just means certain menus / functions don’t appear in 2.49, but as I have Python already, I’m not sure how 2.5 reacts. Does it also have parts missing, or would it just fail to launch?

Accidently moving to another layer was persistant for me. Also there are lots and lots of ways to hide and disble things in Blender that you can’t tell you have hidden or disabled by mistake. eg ever hide something and forget that you hid it?

2.5 bundles a version of python by default so you shouldn’t even have to install it but if it doesn’t find it then the UI is pretty bare since the vast majority is laid out by scripts.

I’ve been thinking that blender needs a FAQ for a long time now (and a big flashy annoying popup when you click on ‘start a new thread’ in News & Discussion that tells you to read it before posting support questions there) because there are a lot of questions that get asked repeatedly here.

I’m sure there will be a bunch more as people start to use 2.5/6 and can’t figure out where they hid some feature.

Maybe someone (me?) needs to look into organizing that based on the *bsd FAQ model…

Another reason why there might be black faces on your model might be because you have duplicated it without moving it, so removing 1 copy can solve it. If you did it in edit mode, usually w-> remove doubles will solve the problem.

Tends to happen to me every now and then as I’m copying stuff and forget to move everything :stuck_out_tongue: