Thursday, July 23, 2015

blender odds and ends (250Mb)

In Arch, Blender is a 60Mb download and roughly a 250Mb installation. Several associated dependencies install with it, most of which are likely to already be installed.

3 button mouse

The number one undocumented hassle for installing Blender. Users can opt for 3 button mouse emulation in Blender (Preferences ->Input Tab), but: 3 button emulation leads to overlap problems between X's management of mouse events and Blender's management of mouse events. For example, Blender's 3 button emulation of object rotation is "Alt+LMB". But in X, "Alt+LMB" are the strokes to grab an active window and move it around the desktop. What happens when a Blender user selects "Alt+LMB" while in "3-button emulation"? The entire window moves instead of the object inside Blender's window.

Solution: X mouse strokes can be altered by creating a "SectionLayout" file, and putting it in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/. Time consuming, considering no such extra files or time are needed if a person has a $10 (Logitech M110, Ebay) 3 button mouse. Additionally, if you have a 2 button mouse with a scroll wheel, the scroll wheel typically is a disguised 3rd button which can (in addition to being rolled) be pressed directly down until clicked. Clicking and holding the wheel down, while moving the mouse around, is how to rotate around an object inside Blender.


Also in Preferences -> Input Tab, is numpad emulation. On a laptop, this is necessary: there's obviously no numpad on standard laptops. As users might expect, numpad emulation allows using the number keys across the top of the keyboard instead of a numpad.

selection/deselection - extrusion

There are tens of YouTube video tutorials about extrusion, apparently a basic Blender feature. However, four of the seven steps for extrusion were not mentioned in any of the videos. Accordingly, for the first several hair-pulling days I attempted to extrude, the result would invariably be new, unattached duplicate boxes, NOT a connected extrusion from the current box. The unexplained step, discovered only inadvertently was, for who knows what reason, that start-up boxes are, by default, already selected. So disable the box and then select a side or however many one wishes. When something is selected in Blender it changes from grey to gold:
  1. TAB to select "Edit" Mode
  2. Be in "Solid" view, not wireframe view
  3. Be in Face View, not Vertices View
  4. Use "A" to deselect/select all. Select faces by flying around the cube (MMB), and selecting the faces one wishes (Shift - LMB).
  5. Press "X", "Y", or "Z", to get a line of extrusion. Or, if one wishes to freehand it; "G"
  6. Press "E". You can also express it as E, then "2", or any other number. This will extrude that many grid squares along the selected axis.
  7. Move the mouse (no buttons), which will pull the extrusion. L click once it the shape is satisfactory.

floor plans

Links: Render DXF to 3-D
Floor plans are a common use of Blender for those not doing animations. Users can take standard .dxf line-art files and import them, and extrude them into complete floor plans with some additional work. Additionally textures can be downloaded and added to one's textures library to .

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