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INTRO TO 3D MODELING

THE 3D SCENE

Blender scenes are the Composition of all Objects in your 3D viewport.

Think of the scene as a combination space for a Potter's Wheel and Photo Shoot.  

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Your scene's surrounded by unique tools/materials to help you shape the "virtual clay" into it's desirable final Form(s).

But, to present/promote your work elegantly and efficiently to persons who can't access your studio--you must light and photograph (Render) the work from helpful angles or in sequence, to be publicized in other spaces--or package it safely for (Export) distribution to other studio spaces or galleries (Software / Game Engines).

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THE BASICS OF 3D MODELING

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Every 3D Object is made of a Mesh. Every 3D Mesh is made of Sub-Objects

Every Sub-Object is a Face. Every Face is made at least 3-4 Edges / Vertexes

LOW POLY MODEL

HIGH POLY MODEL

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More Sub-Objects = Greater Object Definition 

But Greater Definition = Higher Mesh Density

Higher Mesh Density = Higher Polycounts.

High Polycounts are harder on your PC's performance and complex workflows

Some modeling workflows put strong demands on managing Polycount.

But balancing "Detail & Density," based on Polycount is always best practice. 

Using Hi or Low Poly modeling depends on your taste, talent, and platform.

Low Poly is good for novices, abstract/stylized art, indie/mobile game dev.

High Poly is good for film, AAA games, and modelers w/traditional art skills.  

OBJECT ORIGIN, AS DATA

"So, Verts, Edges, and Faces = Sub-Objects"

"Yes!"

"Then, the sum of all Sub-Objects = OBJECTS?!"

"Um, yeeesss--but, nooo..."

"?!?!?"

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Here is a Cube Object / Mesh.
You can see it in the Outliner.

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I deleted all the Faces. Then, I deleted all of the Verts and Edges.

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When the Mesh is gone, all that's left is the Cube's OBJECT / Origin. 

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PROPERTIES: OBJECT DATA

Better to think of it this way:

Sum of all Sub-Objects = An Object's Mesh.

"Object" is a hard-working word in Blender and 3D

Technically, everything inside a 3D scene is an Object.

But that's like saying every vehicle is a car. 

The sum total of an Object is it's Object Data Block

This is a more bit complex. Let's look Below: 

Notice the Outliner sees the Cube, even though we don't.

That's because Artist's see and work with an "Objects Body" or Mesh.

But, Blender itself sees and works with the "Object's Mind.

 "The Object's Mind" = Object's Data Block.

So, Object Data Blocks are kind of like "the inner expression" of a Mesh's Outer form...

Expressions = Location, Rotation, Scale, Relationships, Visibility, et al. 

We can view, edit, and manipulate these "expressions," in many places

Buy most can be found in: 

OBJECT ORIGIN, AS PIVOTS

Since we've been getting all philosophical about Object Origins and Data...

Let's extend the metaphor to the Object Origin, as a Pivot Point (but still the Object Mind!).

Maybe you know the Matrix...

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Initially, a Cube is "born," with it's Origin engulfed in it's Mesh. 

But, that "Cube's Mind" can be freed from it's Cube Mesh, to gain powerful "new abilities."

Freeing the Origin makes it a "super-axis" the Mesh can transform around or be projected from. 

"Transforming the Mesh" is good. But operating it, via it's origin can say: "I know Kung-Fu."

OK. if you don't know the Matrix...

Do know: an Object's Origin = a Pivot Point

A Pivot Point is the location where Transforms and many complex Operations begin.

3D CURSOR

TRANSFORM  ORIENTATION

ORIGIN / PIVOT PT 

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PIVOT POINT CONTEXT

So, when you think of Pivot Points--also think of the 3D Cursor

The 3D Cursor is a literal bullseye to help you guide the Pivot where you want it. 

Setting Orientation or Pivot Point to 3D Cursor is a powerful way to conduct many operations. 

NAVIGATION

"It's all about how you look at things."

Navigation speaks to your ability view your 3D models and environment as comfortably as possible, for the sake editing or manipulating them.

 

"Fast modeling = Fun Modeling," so getting breezy with navigation is essential to your good time.   

First things, first. Get a mouse with 3-Buttons. 

If a mouse isn't in the budget right now, do this...

But I promise it's worth the coinage.

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EDITING 3D OBJECTS 

LIGHT/DARK & NIGHT/DAY

RED GREEN BLUECOLORS

EARTH, WIND, FIRE, & WATER

To become an effective 3D modeler there are three essential questions you must be able to resolve at any moment, in any order:

Q1: Should I manipulate the entire object or part(s) of it?

Q2: Should I move, scale, and/or rotate the object or specified parts?

Q3: In which direction / orientation should I move, scale, or rotate the object? 

You

Also, start referring to Moving, Scaling, and Rotating as TRANSFORMS, if you aren't...

Almost every operation in 3D, requires you to contextualize a transform on some level...  

However, to begin addressing these essential questions in Blender, first  commit this

10-Key matrix (yes, matrix) to memory to begin transforming your Blender experience :)

TAB

OBJECT MODE: 

Editor that manipulates an entire object, it's origin point, and global scale.

EDIT MODE: 

Editor that manipulates an objects Vertices, Edges, Faces, and general modeling tools 

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MOVE​ 

scale

rotate

vErtex​ 

edge

face

TRANSFORMS (Object & Edit Mode)

Moving, scaling, and rotating the most primary changes you can make to any object. All other aspects of modeling are contingent on them.

DIRECTIONAL AXES (Object & Edit Mode)

Don't trust your eyes when doing 3D work on a 2D surface! Tap an XYZ key after GSR to lock onto the direction or orientation you want to use

SUB-OBJECTS (Edit Mode)

Tap 123 in Edit Mode, to switch between Sub-Objects types you want change on a mesh. If you do this in Object Mode, it will only hide your collections sequentially!

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