More Basics of Blender

Blender, once you start moving things around, starts to get less mysterious. Here’s something that will blow the mystery clouds away.

If you’re following along, you’ll know that I don’t have deep history with Blender, but am instead figuring it out as I go in the process of making a movie version of my not-so-great selling novel “Marigold’s End, a Phineas Caswell Story.”

To be fair, I’m farther along in learning Maxon’s Cinema 4D, and am applying lessons I’ve learned over there to over here. Lucky you, you get the benefit of both!

Linking Stuff Up

Previously, we learned how to make a cube and a cone. As you know, it’s easy if you click on the word “Add,” and then on “Mesh,” and then on “Cube” or “Cone” or any of the other options under the word “Mesh.’

Let’s add a cube. And then, let’s add a cone.

You’ll see that the cone is outlined in orange. Now click on the 4-way arrow button on the left. Click on the blue arrow, and drag the cone straight up (in the Z axis), until the bottom edge lies just below the top edge of the cube:

Place a cone on top of the cube, but situate it so that it touches it.

Now press SHIFT, and click on the cube. Now press CTRL-J, and watch what happens. Now the orange outline surrounds both parts because now they are one. You can slide the cojoined conicubic (just made that up) object anywhere you want.

The down side of joining parts together is this: you can’t unjoin ’em except by using the CTRL-Z command.

The upside is that you can make all kinds of cool shapes by joining these basic pieces together.

Making Holes

So, what if you want to make contours, or things like open windows. Let’s try a Boole.

On our screen, we have our conicubic object. Up in the upper right box, you’ll see either the word “Cube” or the word “Cone” (it depends on whether you clicked on the cube and then the cone, or the cone and then the cube, before you pushed CTRL-J). Double-click on the which ever word it is, and change the name. Let’s type in “Absinthe.” I choose the name for three reasons: first, there are no naming rules for objects, second, because you are in total control of all these things, and third, because you can HAVE FUN!

Now, click on the word “Add” again, and select the word “cylinder” from the “Mesh” menu. Now there’s a cylinder inside our conicubic named Absinthe.

The 4-way arrow on the upper left should still be highlighted (if it isn’t, click on its button). Click on the green to the right of the cylinder, and drag it covers only half of the cone.

Click on the conicubic Absinthe.

Now, you need sharp little eyes here, but there’s a tall strip of little tiny icons to the left of the boxes on the right of the screen. There’s a pair of slider boxes above a tiny screwdriver, above what looks like a little TV, then a printer, some pictures, and so on.

You’ll see that the orange square is highlighted. Cool.

Now click on the wrench right below that. Whoa. That’s intimidating. At the top is the word Absinthe.

Now click on the words Add Modifier.

Whoa! That’s REALLY intimidating.

Chill, chill, it’s not as bad as it looks. In the second column, labeled “Generate,” the third option down is labeled “Boolean.” Click on that.

See the little eyedropper thing near the center of the box? To the left of that, click on that little box. In there is the word “Cylinder.” That’s the cylinder we created earlier. Click on that word.

Whoops! Absinthe disappeared! Click on the word “Fast,” and it’ll come back.

At the top of the box, you’ll see a little down arrow next to the camera icon (jeez, this all seems so complex. Don’t worry – you’ll get used to it). Click on the word “Apply.”

Wow. Nothing happened. Sigh.

But, click on the cylinder object. Something has changed… click in that little Gizmo thing in the upper right, and turn the view around our Absinthe. Look at that! We whacked that cylindrical shape out of Absinthe!

Wrapping Up

So, what did we learn? Well, we know how to join objects together. Plus, we learned how to make holes and shapes using the Boolean modification.

So, play around. Chop stuff up. The more you mess with it, the less intimidating it becomes.

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