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Blender Fundamental Concepts

This page reviews Blender itself, in particular the features and concepts that are most important for Grit.

Blender Scenes, Blender Objects, Blender Meshes


A .blend file holds at least one scene. The scene is selected in the info space (the one with the file menu).

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Each scene contains Blender objects, that have position/rotation/scaling in the scene. Blender objects can be (among other types) Blender empty objects (left) or Blender mesh objects (right).

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Blender empty objects appear as a simple crosshair. They are the Blender equivalent of Max's "dummy" objects. We use them for things that we want to represent in the blender scene, but that do not have an obvious graphical representation. They often represent a special location, or a set of properties.

Blender mesh objects link to a Blender mesh and render with polygonal geometry. Blender objects and meshes do not directly correspond to Grit objects and .mesh files. On this wiki we are always explicit about which is being talked about. The Blender mesh of the selected Blender object can be changed in Object Data in the Properties space.

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Two Blender mesh objects can use the same Blender mesh, in which case they will appear identical except for the following:

  • Each Blender mesh object can optionally override the materials of the Blender mesh it is using).
  • Each Blender mesh object has a stack of modifiers, each of which can change (in a specific and usually fairly limited way) the geometry of the mesh for that particular Blender mesh object.

The Blender mesh can be editted (i.e. its geometry can be altered) by selecting a Blender object that uses it and hitting tab. This is called 'edit mode'. The Grit tools will not be visible in edit mode, and the Blender object tools will be replaced with Blender mesh editting tools. Changes to the Blender mesh will be visible in all Blender objects that use it.

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Materials


The materials of a Blender mesh are assigned in the Material tab of the Properties space. Each Blender mesh has a list of material slots. By default there are none, but the list can be managed with the + and - buttons. Each material slot is filled with a particular material. One can either pick an existing material for the slot or make a new material.

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In edit mode, there are additionally buttons for assigning material slots to the faces of the Blender mesh. The mapping from face to slot, and then slot to material, gives the materials of each face.

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A given Blender mesh object can override the materials of its Blender mesh using the Material tab of the Properties space. This is done by selecting the material slot in question and changing the drop-down from 'Data' to 'Object'. This allows the selection of a different material without affecting the original Blender Mesh. The change will affect only the selected Blender Object, other Blender Objects that are using this Blender Mesh will either continue to use the material from the Blender Mesh, or can have their own overrides.

Modifiers


The modifiers of the selected Blender mesh object are controlled in the Modifiers tab of the Properties space.

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