Starting with blender

I everyone!

I’m a Maya user trying to learn Blender. I’ve been trying to use Blender for a long time but I could never get used to it.

With all the new features from 2.8 I believe it may be much easier to pick up, so I want to give it another try and document the process as I go.

For this task I will use one of my characters and try to reproduce it with Blender:

To Do:

  • keymap basic navigation from Maya to Blender
  • Learn to 3d modelling
  • Learn rigging

I will stay with these 3 (huge) main tasks for now, but may change them over time.

Lets do this!


Awesome! Can’t wait to follow along with your journey. I’ve just started blender but I’m sure you’ll love it. :slight_smile:

Good Luck! I came from 3DS max & Silo 3D and Blender was very weird for a long time, partly because of the whole right click (but i’m not opening that can of worms…).

Totally fine to go vanilla but i found the HeavyPoly config to be massively helpful. The keyboard shortcuts and the pie menu are just so much more sensible. It smoothed the transition greatly, and i highly recommend following along the Braun modelling tutorial. It will teach you a lot about blender in a short space of time.

The Blender Guru beginner videos are also very much worth a watch, but they are for 2.79 so you will have to translate a little (some keyboard shortcuts might differ) but it will mostly fly.

Thx @stwr, I also think I will fall in love with it! :heart_eyes:

@jimbobrjames thx for the tips! The HeavyPoly config looks sweet! :sunglasses:
But what I really want is to fix some minor UI/navigation problems and try to get into Blender “natural” UX.
I think Maya has the best UI/UX of all the programs that ever existed. Its a master piece of usability and UI/UX for sure, but I have so many things to learn that I’m worried if I configure blender too hard it would become a nuisance in the future…

TO DO #1:

keymap basic navigation from Maya to Blender

Welcome to a keymapping orgy from Hell! :sunglasses:

So, for this first task, I made a short list of things that I would like to bring from Maya:

  • Mouse Navigation
  • Transform shortcuts
  • Focus on selection

For Mouse Navigation I opened the Blender Preferences dialog box, and changed the Rotate View ,Pan View and Zoom View to match Maya’s navigation model:

Before changing the Transforms shortcuts, I played a bit with Blender and got happy with the spacebar->transformations concept, but still wanted to change the shortcuts to something more meaningful:

I had some overlapping issues with the Move option (both W) so I turned the selection shortcut off:

For the Focus on selection I just changed the default value:

After the changes were done I saved the preferences to a file.

I also got rid of the 3D Anchor by going to the Overlay dropdown and unselected the 3D Cursor option.
The only thing that is missing is the Y-up option… Why Z-up, Why?.. :stuck_out_tongue:

Final thoughts:

At first, I thought about changing a lot of stuff in Blender, but after playing around with it I kinda starting to get the “feel” out of it and decided to keep changes to a minimum so I can explore the tool in a proper way.
I hope this changes wont get in the way in the future and I would be able to use them through this project because they are critical to my experience.
Even though I think there is a lot of improvements to be done with the UI/UX, Blender is looking amazing! I’m looking forward to start modelling and get more used with this great 3D Application!

Next To Do: Learn to 3d modelling.
Lets move on!

thats looks nice !!!

Thx @alf0!

TO DO #2:

Learn to 3d modelling

I have hair growing on my fingers after so many shortcut clicks! :crazy_face:

As mentioned above, I’m using a character I made with Maya (long time ago) as a reference. I chose this model because its very low poly so it would be easier to start.

The character file is so old that I lost the drawing references (left and front view) that I used back then… I could draw it again, but I drew it so many times when I was a kid that I already know it from “heart”…

But still, I needed some references to be able to learn quick, so I took some screenshots out of Maya’s viewports and placed them on Blenders side and front viewports.

Side reference:

Front reference:

Blender Setup:

I always start it with a simple cube for everything I model and then mostly use the Insert Edge Loop, Multi-Cut and Target Weld tools in Maya to add and tweak details (classic modelling technique…).

My target here is to learn these tools in Blender and get used to the UX of it.

The starting cube (in edit mode and wireframe):

The result after a few hours of work:

I learned that:

  • Maya Insert Edge Loop tool is Loop Cut And Slide tool in Blender.
  • Maya Multi-Cut tool is Knife tool in Blender.
  • Maya Target Weld tool I couldn’t find anything similar in Blender so I just move/snapped the vertices and merged them to center.

I also did some face extrudes and vertex detachments.
I still have some issues with the normals, but I will leave that fix to the end of this To Do.

Although I “cheated” with references, I was surprised how easy it was to model this. :smiley:
Im still a bit confused with some things like selection/transform modes, and how hard it was to just mirror and merge objects, but overall I was surprisingly satisfied with this first step.

The next stage will be the body. I will apply/develop everything I learned so far and try not to use references from now on.


1 Like

Depends how many of these you have to do. If it’s one or two, I think the easiest way is to select verts; ALT+M > Merge: At First or At Last

If you have a bunch of those to do, you can setup something that will resamble a Target Weld.

  • Turn on VertexSnapping
  • Toggle ‘AutoMerge Editing’
    Edit: With my CustomSetup, you can then just CTRL + LMB click and drag; and quickly do the actions (note CTRL is SnapToggle once you are in the tweak mode, release CTRL if needed).
    CTRL _ LMB is some sort of quickTweak, where you deselect any prior selection, select subcomponent and enter Transform/Grab; as soon as you let go you’re out. (

I shared a custom setup that has ALT-Maya navigation, and some other stuff. My goal was also not to change too much stuff. Only the stuff I feel strong about.

Maybe you want to check it out to get some ideas on what you could do with your setup, it’s super easy to install, and revert back. Instructions in that thread.

I highly recommend activating “Auto Depth” in the “Navigation” category in Blender’s settings. If you have this enabled, you always automatically set your camera focus point where your mouse cursor is when you rotate your viewport. This handy setting allows you to work without pressing any additional focusing keys at all.