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Blender cheat sheet

The last months I have been working on my first video game. First I made a 2D prototype (because everyone said that it was a bad idea to make your first video game 3D), and then I worked on the 3D version, which was what I wanted to make in the first place.

The 3D version involved a lot of Blender (in fact, I would imagine that more than half the time spent on it was really inside of Blender, not writing code), so I figured I would make a cheatsheet for myself, which others would maybe find useful.

This is probably not going to make any sense if you have never used Blender: it’s not a tutorial and it won’t teach you how to use it. However, if you start using Blender and have a need to remember keyboard shortcuts or want to discover some things Blender can do for you that you might not know yet, this might be useful!

Selection

One of the most important things is that 1, 2, and 3 choose between vertex, edge, and face selection. You have to make sure you’re in the right mode before anything else.

  • Ctrl-click will select from the last selected item (vertex/edge/face) to the clicked item (Blender finds the shortest way, sort of).
  • Alt-click on an item to select all “related” items (depends on context and might not always do what you want, but it can be used to select a whole line). This is usually a horizontal or vertical “line” containing the clicked item.
  • Shit-click to add the clicked item to the current selection.
  • C to “circle select”. This is a special mode that will let you modify the current selection by adding new items (hold the left mouse button and drag the circle), or removing items (hold the middle click and drag the circle). You can make the circle bigger or smaller with the mouse wheel, and you exit the circle select mode by right clicking.
  • Shift-Z toggles “see-through” mode, useful to select things that are on the back.
  • Ctrl-NumPad+ expand selection by taking items that surround the current selection.

Manipulation

  • J after selecting two vertices will create an edge between them.
  • F3 -> Subdivide to subdivide a face (eg. single-face plane into plane with many faces that can be sculpted).
  • E to extrude.
  • S to scale.
  • I to inset.
  • M to get the menu after selecting vertices, then choose “By Distance” to collapse vertices that are in the same place. Eliminating this kind of duplicate vertices is really useful to avoid problems with your geometry.
  • Shift-Tab to toggle snapping (can choose in the menu if snap to vertices, by distance, or other things).
  • O for proportional editing (whatever operation you perform will not only affect the current selection, but also the surrounding items). You can change the area of effect with the mouse wheel. There are several modes for proportional editing, including “random”. See the menu at the top.
  • X, Y, or Z when moving/scaling to lock the move/scale to that axis.
  • Shift-X, Shift-Y, or Shift-Z when moving/scaling to lock the move/scale to exclude that axis.
  • Ctrl-drag while moving a vertex along a given axis to snap the other axes to the vertex under the cursor (useful to align stuff).
  • Ctrl-R to chop a face (and all connected “in the same direction”) in many.
  • Shift-D to duplicate an object.
  • Alt-D to duplicate an object but keeping it linked to the original. This can potentially save a ton of space and processing if you are going to have many identical copies of the same object. It also means that they will stay the same, so if you edit one, you will be editing all linked-duplicated objects at once.

Fixing stuff

  • F creates a faces from the selected vertices.
  • LoopTools extension is great! You have to add it in Preferences. It adds a submenu at the top of the menu in edit mode.

Final notes

Blender is a wonderful, free tool for 3D modelling that has all sorts of features (and not only for 3D modelling!). If you want to learn 3D low poly modelling, I recommend you start with Learn Low Poly Modeling in Blender 2.83.