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Starting Blender for the first time

If you are familiar with Blender 2.4x or other 3D software such as Maya, 3ds Max or XSI, you will immediately notice that Blender is quite different from what you are used to seeing. However you will soon see similarities with your previous software, like a 3D Viewport, an Outliner and a Timeline. If this is the first time you have used any 3D software, you may be a little lost. Fortunately there's really only one rule when you want to learn 3D with Blender: don't be afraid to explore and experiment!

After starting Blender, take a look at the splash screen where you will see the Blender version in the top right-hand corner.

(Doc 26x Manual Vitals Help) (Splash Screen 2.66) (GBV266FN).png


Blender 268a welcome.png


The left side shows you some useful links like the release log of the version you are using (what's new in this version), the wiki manual (what you're reading now) and the official Blender website. These links are also accessible from the Help menu. The right side lists recent blender files (.blend) you have saved. If you're running Blender for the first time, this part will be empty. This list is also available in File » Open Recent. The interaction menu lets you choose a keymap preset (by default, Blender or Maya) are available.


To start using Blender, you have three options:

  • Click on one of the recent files (if you have any)
  • Click anywhere else on the screen (except the dark area of the splash screen) or
  • Press Esc to start a new project

Save your work regularly

Blender does not warn you of any unsaved data when you exit the program, so remember to save often! If you do close Blender without saving your last actions, all is not lost. Just open Blender again and click on Recover Last Session in the Splash Screen. You also have this option in the main menu via File » Recover Last Session.

Temporary .blend file
Every time Blender exits, it saves the current data in a temporary .blend file. When you recover your last session, Blender will load the data from that file.


Interface concepts

Blender-cross-platform.jpg


Blender is developed as cross-platform software which means that its primary target is to work seamlessly in all major operating systems, including Linux, Mac OS X and Windows.(1)

Since the Blender interface is based on OpenGL, you will find that it is consistent between the major operating systems.

(1) Other operating systems are supported by third party developers through source compilation.

The 3 Rules

The Blender user interface is based on 3 main principles:

  • Non Overlapping: The UI permits you to view all relevant options and tools at a glance without pushing or dragging windows around(2).
  • Non Blocking: Tools and interface options do not block the user from any other parts of Blender. Blender doesn't pop up requesters that require the user to fill in data before things execute.
  • Non Modal: User input should remain as consistent and predictable as possible without changing commonly used methods (mouse, keyboard) on the fly.

(2)However, Blender 2.5 permits multiple windows for multi-screen setup. It is an exception to the Non overlapping rule.

Powerful interface

Opengl.jpg

Blender's interface is drawn entirely in OpenGL which allows you to customize your interface to suit your needs. Windows and other interface elements can be panned, zoomed and their content moved around. Once your screen is organized exactly to your taste for each specialized task it can then be named and saved.

Blender also makes heavy use of keyboard shortcuts to speed up your work. The keymaps can be edited to make memorizing them easier.

Overview

Let's have a look at the default interface. It is composed of Editors, Headers, Context buttons, Regions, Panels and Controls.

  • In Blender, we call an Editor the parts of the software which have a specific function (3D view, Properties Editor, Video Sequence Editor, Nodes Editor...). Each editor has its own Header at the top or bottom.
  • Context buttons give access to options. They are like tabs and are often placed on an editor header (like Properties Editor).
  • For each editor, options are grouped in Panels to logically organize the interface (Shadow panel, Color panel, Dimensions panel...).
  • Regions are included in some editors. In that case, panels and controls are grouped there. For workspace optimization, it is possible to temporarily hide regions with the hotkeys T and N for the Toolbar and Properties Region respectively.
  • Panels contain Controls. These can let you modify a function, an option, or a value. In Blender, there are several types of controls:
    • Button.jpg
      Buttons: Permit access to a tool (Translate, Rotate, Insert Keyframe). These tools usually have a keyboard shortcut to speed up your work. To display the shortcut, just hover your mouse over a button to see the tooltip.
    • Checkbox.jpg
      Checkboxes: Permit enabling or disabling of an option. This control can only contain a boolean value (True/False, 1/0).
    • Slider.jpg
      Sliders: Allows you to enter floating values. These can be limited (e.g. from 0.0 to 100.0) or not (e.g. from -∞ to +∞). Notice that two types of sliders exist in Blender.
    • List.jpg
      Menus: Permits a value to be chosen from a list. The difference between this and a Checkbox is that values are named and there can be more than two values on these menus.

Read more about buttons and controls »

Ui-organization.jpg



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This is the old manual!
For the current 2.7x manual see http://www.blender.org/manual/


User Manual

World and Ambient Effects

World

Introduction
World Background

Ambient Effects

Mist
Stars (2.69)


Game Engine

Introduction

Introduction to the Game Engine
Game Logic Screen Layout

Logic

Logic Properties and States
The Logic Editor

Sensors

Introduction to Sensors
Sensor Editing
Common Options
-Actuator Sensor
-Always Sensor
-Collision Sensor
-Delay Sensor
-Joystick Sensor
-Keyboard Sensor
-Message Sensor
-Mouse Sensor
-Near Sensor
-Property Sensor
-Radar Sensor
-Random Sensor
-Ray Sensor
-Touch Sensor

Controllers

Introduction
Controller Editing
-AND Controller
-OR Controller
-NAND Controller
-NOR Controller
-XOR Controller
-XNOR Controller
-Expression Controller
-Python Controller

Actuators

Introduction
Actuator Editing
Common Options
-2D Filters Actuator
-Action Actuator
-Camera Actuator
-Constraint Actuator
-Edit Object Actuator
-Game Actuator
-Message Actuator
-Motion Actuator
-Parent Actuator
-Property Actuator
-Random Actuator
-Scene Actuator
-Sound Actuator
-State Actuator
-Steering Actuator
-Visibility Actuator

Game Properties

Introduction
Property Editing

Game States

Introduction

Camera

Introduction
Camera Editing
Stereo Camera
Dome Camera

World

Introduction

Physics

Introduction
Material Physics
No Collision Object
Static Object
Dynamic Object
Rigid Body Object
Soft Body Object
Vehicle Controller
Sensor Object
Occluder Object

Path Finding

Navigation Mesh Modifier

Game Performance

Introduction
System
Display
Framerate and Profile
Level of Detail

Python API

Introduction
Bullet physics
VideoTexture

Deploying

Standalone Player
Licensing of Blender Game

Android Support

Android Game development