Getting to Know Blender

If you would like to know as much information as possible visit the Blender documentation.


Regarding almost all of these movements: clicking the left mouse button ('lmb') will confirm the action and right mouse button ('rmb') will undo the action.

If you would like to know the specific instructions for each action in a step, hover over the text and the specific instructions will be displayed.

Blender Default Scene

There are 4 main sections within the default blender project we'll be working with.

Blue Border: This is the 3D viewport where you can see your creations come to life. It is where you adjust visual aspects of an experiment or model.

Yellow Border: This is the Outliner. It gives a list of all the objects within the scene with which we are working.

Red Border: This is the Timeline. As the name suggests, it is where we will control time within animations or time sensitive demonstrations.

Purple Border: This is Properties Panel. This is where you adjust all the properties of objects, physics world, or the project as a whole


Blender Movement

There are 3 actions you need to know to be able to navigate the 3D viewport effectively.

Press Mouse Wheel: By pressing the mouse wheel you can grab and rotate the scene.

Press Mouse Wheel and Shift: By holding these two you can grab the scene and translate it laterally

Scroll Mouse Wheel As you would expect this zooms the 3D view in or out towards the center of the 3D viewport


Selecting Object

You select an object with a 'Right Click' on it in the 3D viewport. Also, you can click on its name in the Outliner Panel.

To select multiple object you can 'Shift'+'Right Click' on another object. There are other methods to select multiple objects as well.

You can press 'c' to reveal a circle that you can use with 'click'+'drag' to select objects or 'mousewheel click'+'drag' to deselect. The circle can be resized with the mousewheel.

Also you can press 'b' to box select objects. It works similarly to circle select with 'click'+'drag' selecting and 'mousewheel click'+'drag' deselecting.

Lastly, you can press 'a' to select or deselect all of the objects within the scene.


Moving Object

You can move a selected object by manipulating the widget that surrounds it like I do in the video.

Alternatively you can translate, rotate, and scale the object by pressing 'g', 'r', and 's' respectively.

If you would like to restrict this movement to a certain axis, you can press either 'x', 'y', or 'z'.


Creating an Object

Adding Object

You can delete and add objects within Blender

You delete an object by selecting it and pressing 'x' or by selecting Object/Delete in the menus at the bottom of the 3D viewport.

You can then add an object by pressing 'Shift'+'a' or by selecting Add in the menus at the bottom of the 3D viewport.


Now we'll create the objects for our scene.

Creating Scene

First I scale up the default cube in the scene.

I then scaled it down along the z-axis to create a platform for our ball to bounce on.

I added a ball (UV Sphere) and moved it up along the z-axis so it appears above our plane.

(Optional) While the ball was selected I clicked on the tools panel in the left of the 3D viewport and selected Shading/Smooth so that when we render our scene it will look nicer.


Adding Physics

Cube Physics

I selected the cube and navigated to the left panel within the 3D viewport.

I click on the Physics panel and then click on Add Passive.

Now our cube should be surrounded with a green border rather than the default orange denoting that it contains physics properties.


Ball Physics

I do something similar to the sphere.

This time instead of selecting Add passive I select Add active to tell Blender that this object will be moving.


Playing Animation

Playing Animation

To play the animation we simply navigate down to the bottom of the screen and click the play button

This will set the Timeline in motion and we can see whatever animations we've created.

When we play this animation we see that the ball falls to hit the ground and then sticks to it. This is not what we want so we need to play with some setting to get the object to bounce.


Adjust Physics Settings

We navigate over to the properties panel with our ball selected.

We click the physics tab and look to find the bounciness value selector. We will adjust this to be 1 so the ball is very bouncy.

If we play the animation again, the ball still does not bounce! This is because the platform is set to absorb all of the energy.

We adjust the settings of the platform similarly to the ball accept we set the bounciness setting to 0.5 this time so the platform still absorbs some energy.

This still isn't very bouncy so we adjust the setting to 0.9 to complete the simulation.

If you play the simulation now you can see the ball should bounce as you would expect it to.

You are encouraged to play around with some of these values to see what they do. Often it is explained with the name of the value.


Rendering

Adjusting Scene

If we rendered now the result wouldn't look too great. So we need to adjust some things to make the render turn out how we want.

First, we should move our light source and possibly create some new light sources to be sure the object is properly lit. I used a Sun type light source but you could use whatever you want.

Then, we adjust the location of the camera to be sure that it is capturing what we want it to capture. We do this by pressing '0' on the numpad.

If you don't have a numpad, you can go to View/Cameras/Active Camera to change your view to that of the camera.

Lastly, we open the right panel in the 3D viewport and check Lock Camera to View. This allows the camera to move when we adjust our view to make sure it shows what we want.


Rendering Settings


Make sure you have your rendering settings the same as what I am showing in the picture. I will go over the key settings to change.

1. Adjust your resolution to be sure that it is 1920x1080 to achieve full HD. (Highlighted in yellow)

2. Be sure that the percentage bar under the resulution values it at 100% to achieve a full resolution render. (Highlighted in green)

3. Change the export type to AVI JPEG in the output panel. (Highlighted in blue)

4. Where I have a field that says /tmp\ adjust your destination folder to somewhere you can access. This is where the renders will be saved. (Highlighted in purple)

Lastly, go to the Render menu in the top left and select Render Animation. Alternatively you can press 'Ctrl'+'F12'.

After Blender is done rendering, you should have a video saved in the folder you specified!


Result

Result

So, this should be something like your end result.