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Recommended fix

Rather than fix this, I recommend that this page be removed from the manual as the content is redundant and irrelevant. I don't think there's much point to keeping a page of random facts when there are already dedicated and better written pages dealing with the content listed below.

Reasons for removal

1. Configuration options are already discussed in detail in the Preferences set of pages. I don't think there is much to be gained by repeating or listing it here.

2. Providing a suggested directory structure doesn't provide any useful information as users will organise their projects however they see fit.

3. Internet access section contributes nothing useful and any mention of network access is handled by the relevant manual section e.g. in the first heading of the Help menu page.

Configure your Blender

The generic installation of Blender has tons of features and looks pretty cool, too. When you install an upgrade, there are a few things you want to do:

  • “Point” Blender to resources on your machine.
  • Copy and regression test custom python scripts.
  • Tell Blender where sequence and texture plugins are.
  • Customize your animation, modeling, material, sequence and scripting screen layouts.
  • Define your default animation output directory.

The top window contains all the User Preferences, including a File Paths tab that you should set up. Then, go into your /Blender/Scripts/ folder and copy the non-distributed scripts into your .blender/scripts directory (which is in your home folder). Your texture and sequence plugin pathspecs are under User Preferences, and it can be suggested to keep them in /Blender/bin folders of their own. Your different screen layouts are selected from the left drop-down menu at the top of the screen. You can size and reconfigure each of these to suit your particular preference (for newbies, the defaults are just fine). If you click the Render button, to top Render directory is where your animations are put (by default), and you might want to point that to your temp directory. Finally, save all your changes with CtrlU.

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The key combination CtrlU saves all the settings of the currently open Blender file into the default Blender file (which is usually called .B.blend). The settings in the default Blender file are read when Blender is first started or when CtrlN is pressed to start a new file. If you accidentally change the settings in your default Blender file (i.e. you save your work in progress as the default) there are a few ways of getting back factory default settings:
  • Go to the File menu and select Load Factory Settings, once that is done press CtrlU to save the newly loaded factory settings to the Blender default file. If you have an older version of Blender this method may not be available, in that case try the second method.
  • Delete the .B.blend file (location can vary between operating systems, check your system), and when Blender is restarted, it will recreate it using inbuilt default settings.

Setting up a user directory structure

If you are new to setting up Blender on your PC, you may want to stay organized, as you will quickly accumulate many models, textures, pictures, .blend files, .zip files, scripts, etc. Mushing them all together in one directory leads to confusion, so it is recommended that you spend a few moments creating a few folders to keep stuff organized. The following is a recommendation based on a few years’ experience, but is by no means the only way to organize your library. There are also free tools to help you manage larger projects (e.g. CVS/Subversion and Verse), as well as asset management systems, but those are beyond the scope of this document.

For casual users, a suggested structure to create on your workstation’s hard drive is:

  • C:\Blender – A shared folder containing the following subfolders:
    • \bin\ – Downloaded binaries (installation exe’s), utilities and add-ons such as Yafray, Python, Gocubic, Panocube, Virtual Dub, etc.
    • \examples\ – Work done by others (pictures, movies) for offline study.
    • \lib\ – A library of reference material (more on this later).
    • \man\User manuals, pdf guides such as Blender Basics, videos from experts, quick reference cards and “how-to” notes you’ve made.
    • \play\ – Your own playground, a directory to save .blend files you’re just playing around with.
    • \script\Python scripts that are not distributed with Blender.
    • \tmp\ – A place for temporary output, a swap space.
    • \tut\ – “How to” tutorials collected from the web. There are many videos and web pages out there (save as a complete web page).
    • \util\ — Blender utilities, such as Make Human, World Forge, and Tree Generator.
    • \work\ – And last but not least, if you actually latch onto a meaningful project that maybe evolves out of the playground, put it here.
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Act Local, Plan Internationally
It would be wise to use the directory structure without translating the directory names. You will already be used to the English names when going to work on an international project and also any foreign friends have easier time understanding your directory structure.

Folder explanations

The main folder is /Blender/, which can be kept in XP under /Shared Downloads/. Create a subfolder /Blender/bin/ to hold the downloaded binaries or .exe install files, as well as any other executable programs associated with Blender, such as YafRay, and some nifty DLL’s you will run across for extending Blender functionality.

  • Library: You want to create the world, but there are already a bunch of models and stuff out there on the www that other creative people have created. To hold this wealth of pre-built knowledge, create a library (/Blender/lib/) to hold this stuff. Subdirectories under that could be /mesh (to hold blend files of meshes), /tex to hold texture images, and /pic to hold pictures, such as reference pictures. The /blender/lib/mesh folder can have subfolders /animal, /human, /machine, and /house, to name a few, holding blend files that contain models of those types of things. The /tex folder has a similar set of folders containing jpg’s and even blend files that contain common material settings that are used to color and paint objects. The /tex folder contains /nature, /buildings, /painted, and /metal subdirectories. The /pic folder contains reference pictures of people (Angelina Jolie), faces (your daughter), furniture, your car (a Dodge Viper), and other reference images and concept art that you want to use as reference when modeling.
  • Manual and User Guides: Create a /Blender/man/ folder to hold user manuals and guide files in either html, word (.doc) and/or .pdf formats. There are a few of these floating around. Also, use this folder to save local copies of these wiki pages for off-line reference.
  • Tutorials: There are lots of tutorials around and available for downloading. Create a /Blender/tut/ directory to hold neat tutorials that you find. Some tutorials are hosted by individuals and may disappear, so if you find a tutorial that helps you, download it into this directory.
  • Python scripts: Blender uses a scripting language, Python, to extend its functionality. There are dozens of these scripts that can be loaded by Blender. As you find them, save them in a /Blender/script/ directory, as well as any batch files you write for making backups, etc.
  • Utilities: Blender has evolved to the point where there are complete programs that create wondrous things. Keep your Make Human and World Forge utilities (for example) in /Blender/util/.
  • Just Do It!: So now you need some of your own space, my young padawan. Create /Blender/play/ and /Blender/work/ directories to hold play files, and, for when you actually have a meaningful project to work on, a work file. I have used Blender to create a commercial, a documentary on Niger, and a patent (#6,796,205), so I have a subdir under /Blender/work for each of those projects. Inside them, a set of /tex, /pic, /render, and /wav folders to hold textures, pictures, render output, and sound files, respectively. The actual blend files are kept in the /work/xxx/ folder, where xxx is the short name of the project. The /Blender/play/ folder is loosely organized into Yafray, anim (animation), Lighting, and other folders – basically a trash heap that I rummage around in when I remember that I did something like <insert current problem>, but can’t remember how to do it again.

Internet Access

Blender is a web-enabled application, in that it has two executables that may access the Internet which your firewall may detect:

  • Blender Foundation\Blender\blender.exe – The core application.
  • Blender Foundation\Python\pythonw.exe – The python script interpreter.

In addition, Blender may spawn your web browser (such as Firefox) to access the Internet, for example when you access Help » Manual.

Internet access is not required for normal operation of Blender. However, in order to access the User Manual and other on-line resources, you will need an Internet connection.