COMPLETELY LOST in Blender - The Untutorial Part 2

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Last time, my mind had become completely blank in the face of the Blender interface. Now, we shall dive on into the murky depths of the abyss known as Blender.

First, I do a search on Google and I find a tutorial with a reassuring sounding title.

Going 3D with Blender: Very first steps

That's a very reassuring title. It says to me, DON'T PANIC! I like that, so I switch screens and begin reading.

However, since I am impatient, I can't actually take the time to read through this tutorial, so I just look at the pictures. I scan it, and I realize that it doesn't tell me how to load a reference image to the background. So I go back to Google, and I try to find the tutorial that I read before opening Blender the first time. I find a title that I'd seen before. I think this is it.

Blender Noob to Pro (a wikibook) - It says...

Now we open Blender and start a new project. Delete the default cube. Before you start tracing the face, you need to set the face as the background image. To do this, click 'view', then 'Background Image'. A box should pop up with only one button in it (Use Background Image), click it. Now some settings appear, we're only interested in one of them for this tutorial. Click the small button that looks kind of like a feather pen (the first one under the 'use background image' button). From there, select the picture you want to trace. Like this: Background Selection...

Ahhh... yes, got ya!

I have an image that I want to load into the background, so I look on the bottom bar and find the menu item 'view', and then I push the background image button. Up pops a square with one button that says "Use background image". The feather pen is actually a file icon. It does sorta look like a feather now that you mention it.

I follow instructions and voilà, a greyish version of my picture shows up.

Now I know from previous experience that it will disappear as soon as I change viewpoint, so I close the background image box and wonder what to do next.

Oh, now I remember! The first thing that you do is make a cube. You go to the top line and click on the add menu and then choose mesh>cube.

It doesn't look much different. Now the cube that was pink is black. Wasn't I supposed to delete the cube? I don't know. I click on the square and it moves around with my cursor. I un-click to drop it back down. I didn't want to do that. That's OK, I'll just undo. Where is undo?

In other programs it's in edit>undo. Where is edit? There is something called 'edit mode'. I click on it and the mode menu comes up. Oops I guess that's the wrong button to press.

Isn't there some kind of Baby Blender interface that I can start with?

Undo is not in the view menu, or in the select menu, or in the file menu. I click Help, and then hotkey and mouse action reference. It says things like 'IPO select next keyframe'. What is an IPO?Under F-keys it says that Shift-F9 is the OOP window.

OOP? that sounds like OOPS which is what happened to me. I'll push it, maybe an undo window will pop up.

Something pops up that says Scene. I guess this is not the undo menu then. I click on the arrow next to scene and see a list of objects:World, Camera, Cube, Cube.001, andLamp.

The Oop menuThe Oop menu

Cube.001 is highlighted, so I guess that is the new cube that I've made.But what I really want is to get back to the screen with the cubes in it. I notice that now the little icon at the bottom of this screen looks different. Now it looks like a list. Maybe if I switch back to the little grid icon I had before, I can see my cube again. I click on the icon and get options including 3D view. When I click on it my cuby image comes back with my background photo. Good!

I'll assume that there is no undo for now. I have, on the previous menu selected the first cube. Now, how to make it bigger. I click on the background and then move my center button mouse wheel and the background picture disappears.

EEEK! I'm lost in blender!

What is going on? I think that I see the whole world, but how do I get down to it?Isn't there some kind of Baby Blender interface that I can start with? Scannning over the tutorials, I find places where other users didn't know what they were doing either. Some of them learned later but... is that what this program has to be like?

The help menu scares me. It has headings that go to submenus. I click on the one that says getting started. It doesn't do anything. The headings have icons that look like python programs. Do I need to run ANOTHER program in order to get help for THIS program? I wonder if I remembered to install python on this computer.

Feeling dejected, I press shift-f9 and go back to the OOP menu. I can't see anything but the list of objects is familiar. I need some time to cool down.

Restful isn't it?Restful isn't it?




Eddie's picture
Submitted by Eddie on

Hi Rosalyn,when i'm look back i found my self just like you (lost in blender), but now i found blender very helpfull for my dialy works, few days ago i created a blog for my blender user friends at CG community, they found it very useful for beginner,i hope you can enjoy it too and since english is not my primary language please just be patient for miss spelling and wrong grammar.thanks

and if youre interesting at "lost in some-software" i suggest you try zwein-stein video compositor

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

Yah blenders interface is pretty horrible. THe lack of useful menu's where they SHOULD be really gives me a rage boner. Not to mention theres no easy way to select or move anything. Unrealed still has the most dummy proof 3d designing interface but its scope is pretty much limited to crappy unreal type gaming. Maya and 3ds are pretty complex but at least you can find an UNDO without having to read through 30 pages of horrible manual.

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

Yep it is very confusing but I think it is this way to discourage people from becoming 3D artist and such. I started trying out Blender but it was too frustrating so I walked away from it for a few months. I then came back to it and again I walked away. Now, I am going to really try to learn how to use Blender. So my point is, you can walk away and take a break and come back and tame the beast. Best of luck.

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

You will learn blender from the video tutorial collection below.

I remember when I figured out blender, creating a new object. And understanding how to G Grab objects and move them around. then I got used to the different views and shifting the view port around. Once you get used to arranging things and understanding why your objects disappear (go out of one view) then you have less to worry about. Blender interface gets slammed alot, but actually I find it to be pretty awesome. It's hard to do this stuff, new vocabulary, complicated objects and movements. After using the blender interface, adobe programs are starting to seem weak. But getting better. I love the panels that know you are inside them in blender.

When I was first learning blender, the tutorials available pretty much sucked. I remember this castle tutorial and trying to figure out how to extrude.

I recommend these videos. Go no where else until you have viewed about 10 of these. Seriously, these tutorials rock the house.

You'll need realplayer or real alternative to view them. Img Quality = Good, Training = Great

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

what the £*€φ you are talking man ??
i can't understand you
you just told that you have got google in front of you
go click on it, search, thats the method to be followed for any new software if you are a nooob on it
as long as i know
blender has one of the sophisticated UI for the easiness of artists working on that

don't expect everything to be same as like from a mold especially in the case of softwares
in a CG software editing should be fast there is no need of going to edit > then to undo
thats why there is no edit > undo in blender
also there are a hell lot of buttons and keys in blender
don't go panic
be patient > start simple > go slowly don't jump into any holes
day by day you will start loving that interface
best of luck

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

Totally agree with last person (after 2 months of learning Blender I really like it) and now even can precisely position any vertex and connect them. Cannot wait now to make animation - but ok step by step in tutorial (now learning how to make materials) :) But making landscapes was awsome :) (my two mountains - following tutorial were great - now making villages in it and people, animals - and adding materials).

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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.