Middlebury

Blender

General information

Blender is an open source 3D animation program. It is a simple enough program that beginners can generate content relatively quickly. This ability arises out of the fact that there are a large variety of primitive objects that come built in to Blender. Through texturing combining, and morphing these primitive objects users can form a variety of more complicated objects. As complexity increases the degree to which blender is able to create a vivid interpretation of reality or imagination also increases. Some of its more advanced features include:

At the same time a new user can take a couple of primitive objects and using key frame animation create informative and meaningful content. In this Blender provides for a step by step progression from beginning to high end 3D modeling.

Blender has a built in rendering engine that allows users to export 3d animations. The program interfaces with Quicktime Pro so that the user has access to a wide variety of codecs. Making animations is probably the most direct way that beginners can learn to use Blender. The default frame rate for blender is 25 fps and the default codec is jpeg. Both of these preferences can be altered to change the quality and output of the exported movies. Detailed instructions on exporting a video for the first time can be found at the Rendering Basics page.

In higher education blender can be used as a development platform for a variety of other 3d programs. The Unity Engine can use blender files as scenes or scene objects in their native .blend format. Using plugins Blender has the ability to export "sculpties" for use in Second Life. One can export .md2 .md3 and .md5 files for use in the or other quake variants Sauerbraten engine. Through the use of 3ds or collada formats blender can be used to create Vizard scenes as well. It also supports a number of other formats.

Probably the most important information about blender are the key bindings for the various actions. Blender has a unique set of key bindings that turn a rather unfriendly stark interface into a powerful tool. Knowing these and knowing them well is really key to becoming a powerful blender artist. You can find a listing of key bindings here.

Current and Past Middlebury Blender Projects

Animator Faculty Researcher Description Year
Brendan Owens Kareem Khalifa Scientific Animations 2007
Brendan Owens James Fitzsimmons Zapote Bobal Reconstruction 2008
Brendan Owens Larry Yarbrough Herod's Temple Reconstruction 2008
Jue Yang Marcia Collaer Vizard World Creation for Navigation Research 2008
Jue Yang; Reggie Nelson Kareem Khalifa Neuroscience Animations 2008
Brendan Owens; Brendan Smith; Laurel Taylor Kareem Khalifa Neuroscience Animations 2008
Brendan Owens; Joe Antonioli Maria Woolson Spanish Collaborative Learning Virtual Space 2008
Brendan Owens; Brendan Smith; Laurel Taylor Larry Yarbrough 3D Models of Greek and Roman Religious Complexes 2008
Brendan Owens; Brendan Smith; Laurel Taylor Christopher Star 3D Models of Greek and Roman Structures 2008

Summer 2008

Summmer 2008 is the first year where a large number of faculty members have requested projects requiring 3d modeling. This marks a there are over six projects that will require some amount of blender modeling. This is a 600 percent increase over the previous year when we only had one project. As a result this summer markets a point at which 3d technology has moved form the periphery of educational technology to the mainstream. Pages which list the technical requirements and orders of operations can be found of of the Summer of 3D 2008 projects page.

CheatSheet

Editing
Select Object		        -right click
Move Cursor			-left click
Insert Object			-spacebar
Delete object			-x
Delete all objects 		-control-x
Change Modes		        -tab
Scale				-S
Scale along axis		-s (x,y,z)
Move objects			-g
Move objects along axis	        -g (x,y,z)
Snapping			-shift s
Extrude 			- e
Extrude along axis 		-e (x,y,z)
Loop cut 			-k 
Select linked 			-l
Center 	object 			-shift c
Box select 			-b<br>
Duplicate object 		-shift d
 
Perspectives
front align x			-num 1
front align y			-num 3
top 				-num 7
rotate z clock			-num 4
rotate z counter 		-num 6
rotate x or y for		-num 8
rotate x or y back 		-num 2
perspective 			-num 5
Animation
Insert key frame		-i
Parent 				-select child then parent then press control-p
Increment 10 frames		-up/down arrows
Increment 1 frame		-left right arrow 
Split screen			-right click screen edge

Links

Blender Basics from Blender Underground on Viddler
Blender the Blender homepage.
Blender Underground a very good video tutorial source.
Blender Noob-Pro a wikibook with a lot of good material.
Blender Wiki Tutorial lista very comprehensive list of tutorials.

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