COMPLETELY LOST in Blender - The untutorial part 1

COMPLETELY LOST in Blender - The untutorial part 1

WARNING: The author of this tutorial takes no responsibility for you breaking your computer, initializing your harddrive, making a dumb-ugly image, or anything else that may happen if you take this blog too seriously. Remember what your mom said. “If everyone else jumped off of a cliff, would you?” If your answer was “Yes!”, then you deserve what you get.

Feeling brave, I decide to open up Blender. The 3D drawing tool. I have been meaning to learn how to use this program since it was released under an open license. People talk about how you can do animation with it and all kinds of neat stuff. I want to make a 3D icon of myself that I can use on forums like “Second Life”. In my mind it’s really cool. Just “bim, bam, boom” and there I am beautiful, strong, sexy. Think Ghost in the Shell. The image in my mind is really clear. I’ve read a few tutorials so I think that I’m ready.

The first thing that I do is I select Blender from the menu. The loading symbol comes up. I’m pretty confident, imagining my icon rotating slowly around as I wait. Then the main blender window pops up and my first reaction is.


I turn to my husband and say, “I thought that you told me that they had improved the interface to make it easier to understand.” He replies, “I guess you don’t remember the old interface then.”

I turn back to the screen and after my heartbeat settles down to a reasonable pace, I remember the goal. Beautiful, animated, 3-D icon. Yes, that’s right.

Now what?




It feels claustrophobic. I need to look at another window, any other window. That’s ok, I have four virtual terminals on my machine now, just click to another and cool down... that’s right...

Then I notice that there are no virtual terminals. The program is running in full screen mode. THERE IS NO WAY OUT! I look for the little ‘x’ at the top of the window, but there is no ‘x’!



Wait, wait, deep breaths. I can see a little triangle at the top next to a menu that says file. I click the triangle. The menu goes away. OH NO!

I click the triangle again. The menu comes back. Good. Now, I can close down Blender.

The first thing that I need to do is get Blender to come up in a window so that I can escape when it gets overwhelming. I go to a terminal window and type:

blender --help

Scanning the result, the listing says:

Window options:
  -w            Force opening with borders

Does that mean open it in a window?Heck it’s worth a try, so I use the KDE menu editor to make the program open using the -w option.

Now when I start Blender I can still see the KDE menu bar. HA HA!

I take a look around. On the top bar I see an ‘i’, and the menu with options file, add, timeline, game, render, and help. There’s more, but I blot it out for the time being. On the bottom is a criss-cross hash of lines and more menu items, view, select, object, etc.

I close my eyes and remember the tutorials. It all seemed so easy then, reading about it, but in the face of this, I’ve forgotten everything.




Mitch Meyran's picture

*chuckles* that's how I felt the first time I opened the Gimp. I guess it's a matter of getting into it... At least you got further into it than I did in 3D Studio Max... Looking forward to your next post.
A computer is like air conditioning: it becomes useless when you open windows.

bartv's picture
Submitted by bartv on

Hi Rosalyn,

great post! I reported about your struggle today on Hopefully you'll get some good pointers there for your next episode :)



Terry Hancock's picture

Actually, a lot of people 'got' the article. But it's kind of devolved into the no sense of humor, defensive, 'don't talk bad about my favorite program' crowd.

I'm starting to realize that there's some real cultural conflicts here. Some people are extremely threatened by this kind of thing, and that's a bizarre phenomenon in itself.

Can't wait to see what the next installments do. I know they're already in the pipe.


bartv's picture
Submitted by bartv on

Yes. I thought that it might go this way and I had initially added a few lines about to warn against that. Still, I decided to give it a try and see where this went :)

I'll probably report on the next installment(s) as well, but I'll try to give a bit more guidance for a discussion in the article.

I agree that it'll be interesting to see what is going to happen..

Terry Hancock's picture

I'm just glad I finally figured out how to 'unsubscribe'.

I kept getting posts in my mailbox, and the temptation to post was just too strong. ;-)

But I started feeling like a troll towards the end there. Best to avoid it. (And of course, there was the "physically restrained from posting" part. ;-) ).

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

Haha, Don't you just remember that first time. Eight million buttons all of which referred to functions I didn't know existed. "what in the sphincter hell is a normal", "what is a uv" etc. I'm glad I didn't give up though and the whole subject of blendernizing just became more and more fascinating. I downloaded the package just to do some stars I needed for a background plate. Now Blender is my main squeeze at night. I just broke up with my video editor too now that Blender's saying "I can do that you know" Good story Rosalyn, brings it all back. :-) ho ho ho

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

I've been using the Noob to Pro Tut on Wikibooks. And I still feel like a blender virgin. I'm doing things now, besides moving a box around in space! I made a really ugly body looking thing. I'm glad I ran across this site!! I've played with blender on and off for a long time (I said played, I mean, downloaded, opened, got confused and uninstalled.) I'm now sticking too it and I'm going to learn the program even if it drives me crazy!

barolini's picture
Submitted by barolini (not verified) on

Learning how to use Blender is obviously difficult. It took me about a month to fell confortable with the interface and a year to reach my primary goal: create a face with materials and textures. But I fell now that the pain was justified. Blender is a powerful programm with huge possibilities.
Meanwhile, as a teacher attempting to learn the soft to young students, I think it would be a great step forward to elaborate a lighter version more ergonomic.
It is probably the most difficult thing to do: make something complex easy and simple to use and understand.

Author information

Rosalyn Hunter's picture


Rosalyn Hunter has been on the internet since before the web was created. Born into a family of instructors, she has made it her life's goal to teach others about the important things in life, such as how to type kill -9 when a process is dead. She lives in a little house on the prairie in the American West with her husband, her three beautiful children, a cat and a dog.