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Sunday May 22nd, 2022

Blender Tips & Tricks

Blender is packed with nice-to-know features that will drastically improve your workflow. The Blender version assumed is 3.x. Some shortcuts may also note 2.9x. Windows only. New! Filters to target specific categories! Note: Original tip background stripe colours and numbers are retained regardless of filter chosen!



  • Camera Align To Face

Shift + Numpad 7 to align camera to selected faces (you'll need reset view with say Numpad 5 afterwards and orbit scene a bit to force regular perspective again - as when in Shift + Numpad 7 mode, the camera is orthographic).

  • UV Editor 2D Cursor

Make use of the 2d cursor in UV editor (press the . key to bring up the Pivot Point pie menu and choosing 2D Cursor, as it can become a handy anchor point for rotations and scaling!

  • UV Editor Workspace

Need to jump between modeling and UV'ing assets? Stay in the UV workspace to model and UV using Ctrl + Space to maximize whichever view (3D Viewport or UV editor) which the mouse cursor is hovering over! This applies to any Blender window!

  • Make Selections Circular

There are a couple of ways to make a selection circular:

Method 1
Select some faces, press Shift + Alt + S and left-click drag to force selection into circular formation.

Method 2
Install the Loop Tools Add-on. After selecting some faces, right-click and choose Loop Tools > Circle to force a prime and proper circle from a selection!

Method 3
Simply perform a bevel on a vertex (using either Ctrl + Shift + B - or- Ctrl + B then V). Once you left-click to finalize the bevel, open the Bevel Operator panel located in the bottom-left corner of the viewport and adjust the Segment count as well as the Shape parameter to establish a circular shape!

  • Backface Culling & Face Orientation

One way to find inverted faces (or if you simply don't want to view the back side of face normals), make use of face orientation and backface culling. Face orientation can be found in Show Overlays while Backface Culling can be found in Material Property > Settings. From the viewport menu, choose Mesh > Normals > Flip - or - Recalculate Outside ( Shift + N ).

  • Beveling

To bevel a face or edge, simply press Ctrl + B. To bevel a vertex, press either:

  • Shift + Ctrl + B - or -
  • Ctrl + B then V

  • General Moving, Scaling & Rotations

  • Pressing G to move globally - double press X, Y, or Z for local transforms.
  • Press G twice to slide a vertex along its edge.
  • Pressing G then Shift + (X, Y, or Z) eliminates that axis from movement - so G then Shift + Z means moving in only the X & Y axes.
  • At anytime while the grab tool is enabled, pressing Shift + Tab ⇄ constrains the movement to incremental snapping!
  • If no Transform, scaling or rotations have been applied to a mesh, pressing Alt + R resets rotation, Alt + S resets scale and Alt + G resets move.
  • Pressing R twice gives free rotation.

  • Select Element

Press L with the mouse cursor hovering over a mesh selects all contiguous shared elements while pressing Shift + L deselects it!

  • Snapping Vertices

  • Traditionally, when snapping vertices together (put and enable the snap mode in Vertex snap with Closest set for the Snap with feature), simply select the source vertex, press G then click-drag over target vertex, then left click to finalize the snapping operation.

  • However, while not enabling the snap before hand, you can snap vertices together by selecting the source, then while hovering over the target vert, press G and enable the snap only temporarily while pressing Ctrl! The source will automatically snap to the target. Left-click to finalize the snap operation! No click-dragging necessary!

  • Face Cleanup

Fast way to clean unwanted edges / vertices on a mesh is to select coplanar face(s) and press X and choose ] Dissolve Faces (manual re-triangulation will be required afterwards as there will be no triangles, hence the clean up).

  • Solid Wireframe Toggle

Shift + Z puts viewport into Solid wireframe mode and toggles between this and the current selected viewport mode. This is handy when you only want to view the mesh (solid wire frame) without materials or lighting!

  • Select Similar

Want to select all faces with a specific set of circumstances (say select all faces that are coplanar for instance)? Select a face and press Shift + G to bring up the Select Similar menu! Below are some simple examples...

Experiment with other features in Select Similar, as it offers more functionally that what is discussed here!

  • Duplicating & Instancing Meshes

Shift + D duplicates whatever object is selected while Alt + D creates an instance instead!

  • Joing Meshes (3D Viewport vs Outliner)

Be careful about joining meshes (multiple meshes selected and pressing Ctrl + J to merge them). In the 3d viewport, the final mesh selected becomes the final joined mesh, but if selecting meshes within the outliner, the first selected mesh becomes the final joined version!

  • Extra Modelling Features

Make use of tools like shear, shrink/fatten and other useful buttons left side 3d viewport buttons while in Edit Mode (press T to hide or unhide them)!

  • Spin Tool: This takes a selection and spins / duplicates it in a circle centered on the 3d cursor's location! In some cases it's easier to use the spin tool instead of setting up an array modifier along with an empty object to accomplish radial arrays. Enabling the 'Use Duplicates' option only duplicates the selected element without any faces connecting them! See the online documentation for more details. There appears to be no difference between this and the alternative Spin Duplicates function!

  • Poly Build: Starting with flat polygon (like a plane for example), selecting an edge (blue edge highlights) and click-dragging it acts as an quad extrude. Ctrl clicking from an edge or vertex extrudes a triangle while Shift clicking over a polygon or vertex (red edge highlight) deletes it! This tool is very useful for vanilla, out of the box Blender retopology!

  • Shrink/Fatten: Allows a selection to be either grown (fattened) or shrunk down by moving vertices along their normals This comes in handy when say needing to adjust a cup handle's thickness for instance.

    Push/Pull: The difference here is that the selection will be moved towards / away from the transform pivot point! Here is a video showcasing both options.

  • Shear: This shears a selection on a mesh in the desired screen axis via little horizontal and vertical bar handles. See this example to better understand how this works.

  • Add Cube: Enables the user to click drag and release a cube in the viewport (a la 3DS Max). Better yet, a cube can be added to an existing surface!

  • Circle Select Sizing

Circle Select (pressing C) size adjustment is done while holding down left mouse button and using mouse scroll wheel. Right-click to exit circle select. Circle Select is useful for 'paint' selecting elements as opposed to clicking on each one individually or marquee selecting.

  • Open Recent Files

Shift + Ctrl + O brings up the recent opened popup panel. Faster and more elegant than the traditional File > Open Recent method.

  • Inset Options

In Blender, insets have multiple functionally that goes beyond the mere inset itself! With some faces selected:

  • Press I to inset. This insets the entire selection as a single group (default behavior).
  • Press I again insets all selected faces individually.
  • Press O to inset outside the selected faces!
  • Once an inset is live, hold down Ctrl and move the mouse left or right to create inner or outer extrudes respectively!

Use inset with the Boundary option unchecked to create doorways. Beforehand, ensure that there is no capped faces beneath! After selecting face and pressing I to initiate the inset tool, you can press B while the tool is active to set the boundary option!

  • Knife Tool Features
  • Cut Through: To cut through the whole mesh (example, from top through to the bottom via top view with Numpad 7 - the cut is view dependant), go into edge mode, press K to enter knife mode, and then C. Now start cutting... it will go through the entire mesh!
  • Note: Blender 2.9.x's cut through shortcut is  Z
  • Pause / Resume: You can "pause" the knife tool operation at anytime by pressing E while cutting (don't press 'Enter'!) This will keep what you have cut so far and keep the tool active, allowing you to reorient your view before resuming. To resume, simply put the mouse cursor on the last cutting point and continue from there! This is easier and faster than cutting part way and hitting enter to keep what you cut and then starting a new knife operation from there!

  • Angle Constraints: It is possible to use the knife tool to cut in constrained angles (in 45° increments). Simply ensure your face(s) is facing the camera directly (either use one of the orthographic views or with the desired surface face(s) selected, press Shift + Numpad 7 to align selection to the camera) and then press K to activate the knife tool, the press A. When you start cutting, as you move the mouse cursor around the preview knife line will rotate to match the nearest angle snap! This is handy for cutting perfect horizontal / vertical or 45° lines! Note: Blender 2.9.x's angle constraints shortcut is  C

  • Snapping: You can snap cut the middle of an edge by either having the snap tool enabled using the Edge Center snap setting, or by simply pressing Ctrl while cutting an edge! If you have the edge center snap enabled, and you don't want to cut an edge at the midpoint, you can simply press Shift. This will now ignore snap settings!
  • Walk / Fly Mode

Shift + ~ (tilde key) puts you in Walk/Fly mode. Using the W A S D standard first person navigation keyboard shortcuts, you can fly around your scene (holding Shift speeds up the movement). While in this mode, tapping G adds gravity and your meshes have instant collisions so you can walk on them too! Right-click to exit this mode.

  • Enlarge / Shrink Interface

Ctrl + Alt + left-click dragging while the mouse cursor is hovering over viewport side panels (if no panels are present, press T to bring the left side or N to bring the right side panels) enlarges or shrinks it!

  • Visual Overlays

Shift + Alt + Z toggle all visual visibility of viewport overlays. This includes things like wire frames, major axis and grid floor lines, displayed statistics, highlighted selected faces, etc... Useful for seeing your model without any extra viewport information overlaid on top of it!

  • Repeat Last Action

Once you execute a feature, you can repeat it by pressing Shift + R. This will save time instead of manually repeating the last feature over and over again. Example: say, select the face of a plane and right-click and choose Subdivide. To keep subdividing, simply use the shortcut!

  • Change Blender's Theme

Either Halloween's coming, or you simply prefer a different theme. It's very simple to change. Go to Edit > Preferences, and from the left side panel, select Themes. There is a 'Presets' dropdown menu at the very top. Simply choose your desired theme! You'll need to save your preferences to keep the change!

  • Eliminate .Blend1 Backup Saves

By default, when you save a Blender scene, an extra file which is treated as a back up file is also created (it will have the suffix .blend1). This adds unnecessary bloat, especially when committing these extra files to repositories like GIT or Perforce for example.

To eliminate this, simply go to Edit > Preferences and in the Save & Load panel, set the 'Save Versions' value from 1 to 0. Save your preferences if you don't have auto save enabled. From now on, any time you save a Blender scene, no backup files will be created!

  • Resetting Colour Values Back To Default (White)

A quick way to reset a colour wheel (or gradient) back to its default setting (white), simply hover your mouse over the wheel (or gradient) and press backspace. Instant reset!

  • Duplicating Evenly Spaced Meshes

Sometimes there's no need for using the array modifier for duplicating multiple evenly spacing meshes. Select a mesh and press Shift + D to duplicate it (or Alt + D to instance them - in either case, do not right-click to cancel transforms nor left click to complete the operation at this point), then press G and then the axis key (X, Y or Z) for the desired axis and move the copy/instance to where you want it and left-click to finalize it.

Finally, press Shift + R (redo last operation) to constantly duplicate/instantiate the mesh with equal distance between them. This is a fast way of creating things like vents or a row of pillars that repeat for example!

  • Quick Way To Make Steps

You can create some quick steps using the bevel tool! Take a cube and select a top edge and press Ctrl + B to bevel it and make a wide bevel. With the tool still active, use the mouse wheel to scroll and create enough rounded segments to work with and left-click to finish the bevel.

In the bottom left hand side of the viewport, open up the 'Bevel' redo panel. Change the profile type to 'Custom' and in the Preset dropdown menu just below, choose steps! If there are not enough or too many steps, simply adjust the 'Segments' slider and re-choose the steps preset from the Preset menu!

  • Mesh Origin Manual Placement

You can manually transform a mesh's origin point by simply pressing Ctrl + . (not the one on the numpad). You'll notice the axis gizmo overlaying the origin. From here, you can move, rotate or even scale it. Additionally, it will snap to any snap settings you have enabled, giving you the quick flexibility of snapping the origin to whatever you need! Pressing Ctrl + . again exits manual origin placement mode.

  • Reference Images

You can drag and drop an image from Windows Explorer/Finder onto your 3D Viewport (in Object Mode only) to use as reference! This in essence becomes an empty plane object with that image mapped onto it and perfectly sized! Use the corner control points to uniformly scale the plane while the center cross is used to move it around. Being this is a reference plane, you will not be able to go into Edit Mode with it selected!

It's best to drag and drop into an orthographic view like Front, Top or Right for example as this operation is view dependant)! If you drag and drop this into the perspective view, it will align to the viewport camera and initially look correct, but once you start orbiting, it will need to have its transforms reset!

Finally, you can make them only visible in orthographic view (meaning that in the perspective view, the empty reference plane will not display)! To do this, simply go to object data properties and deselect the Perspective option within the Show In section!

  • Mirror Meshes & Cameras

You can mirror a mesh or camera by selecting it and pressing Ctrl + M, then the desired axis key and left-clicking to finalize the mirror operation!

Note: Attaching a mirrored mesh to any other will result in invert face normals, so be ready to correct that!

  • Framing Scene Meshes

Ever get lost in your 3D viewport and can't find your mesh(es)? Perhaps you zoomed out too far or just panned too far away. Pressing Home (located between the Insert and Page Up keys) will automatically frame everything in the scene! Alternatively, Shift + C will also do this as well as ensure that the 3D cursor is at world center. No matter what, there is a way to quickly find your scene meshes!

  • Zoom Depth

Blender uses a viewport navigation point in which it uses for orbiting / zooming. This is set via mesh framing or mouse positioning. The problem arises when you want to zoom past this point to either some distant object or to a further location on a large mesh. You won't be able to because once the zoom reaches this hidden navigation point, you can't zoom in any further.

The solution to this is to go into Preferences > Navigation and enable both Depth from the Orbit & Pan's Auto sub section and Zoom to mouse position from within the Zoom panel. Now, when you want to zoom in on something far (without selecting it) or to a further spot on the current mesh, you can just zoom there! There might still be some point where the zoom will still stop. In this case, simply retry to continue zooming in further.

If you find that with the depth feature enabled you have trouble accurately orbiting around a mesh, simply frame your selected mesh and you should be fine! This can be done via View > Frame Selected from the view port menu or Numpad Period.

  • Checker Deselect

This feature deselects every other face on the mesh. Fluted pillars benefit from this by quickly adding insets and inner extrudes, or perhaps adding geometric details or a different material to chess or checkerboards for example. To do this, simply select all the faces involved and from the top viewport menu, choose Select > Checker Deselect. Within the Checker Deselect redo panel on the bottom left of the 3d viewport, adjust the Deselected or Selected sliders to achieve every nth selection (for cylinders, loop select all the side faces as opposed to box selecting them).

  • A Literal Change In Perspective!

In the event you feel that the default perspective view is not to your liking, it's pretty easy to change it. Simply press N in the viewport to bring up the right hand side panels and select the View panel. From there, it's just a matter of sliding the Focal Length variable to change how the perspective is calculated. The default is a focal length of 50mm (which is usually good enough for most people).

  • Random Selections

It's simple to be able to randomly select faces (or edges or vertices) on a mesh. Just go into Edit mode, and with a mesh selected, go to Select > Select Random from the viewport menu. A Select Random redo panel will appear on the lower left hand side of the view port. Here, you can interactively adjust the Ratio and/or 'Random Seed' values to achieve different random selections. By default, the Action mode is set to Select, which of course means it will select. But you can change this setting to Deselect as well!

  • Redo Panel

Fun fact: Pressing F9 will bring up a popup displaying the last operation you performed. So for example, let's say you just added a cylinder and left-clicked to end the operation. You can use F9 to bring back the cylinder redo panel (in the form of a repositionable popup) and readjust its settings (like segment count). Could come in very handy from time to time!

  • Loop Cut Tool

Simply hover your mouse cursor over any edge and then press Ctrl + R to invoke the loop cut tool. At this point, you get a new central edge loop, but with this tool still live, so you have some options here... if you scroll with your mouse wheel, you can increase (or decrease) the mount of evenly spaced additional edge loops.

Left clicking finalizes the amount of edge loops and now allows you to move your mouse or tablet pen around to slide and place the edge loop(s) where you want it (right-clicking auto centers these edge loops and exits the loop cut functionality while left clicking stamps the edge loops in place and exits the tool). However, one cool additional thing during sliding / placing phase is that if you hit E, the loops will confine to the lower edge loop shape while pressing F will confine to upper one!

  • Rip & Rip Fill

In Blender, the term 'rip' simply means breaking vertex connections. Simply select vertex / vertices or edge(s) and press V! Now the selection will no longer be connected, allowing you to move them freely. As a bonus, this also applies in the UV Editor!

Rip Fill
Blender also offers the ability to rip but cap the hole that would normally be left behind! To do this, simply press Alt + V!

Side Note: The rip fill operation direction will determine which side of the selected edges the mouse cursor is hovering over! Much like edge ring selections when using Emulate 3 button mouse, the cursor location matters!

• Bonus! While not considered a rip fill, you can select a vertex and press Alt + D to add a connected vertex!

  • Extrude Features

  • Click Extruding: You can extrude a selection by holding Ctrl and right clicking! The selection will extrude to the mouse cursor! This can come in handy when say manually modeling a tree. Selecting faces on a trunk and Ctrl right clicking off the trunk will produce the starting point of a branch. From there, simply scale the branch tip down a bit, then repeat the process to quickly finish the branch off!

  • Extrude Faces Along Normals: It's sometimes useful to extrude faces along their normals! The process is simple. Make a selection of faces and press Alt + E to invoke the extrude menu. From here, simply choose Extrude Along Face Normals and drag to create the extrusion process!

  • Shrink / Fatten

Sometimes you might want to slide a vertex or face along its normals. This is as easy as making the selection and pressing Alt + S and dragging the mouse! After left-clicking to finalize the operation, a Shrink/Flatten redo panel appears in the lower left hand corner of the viewport with options like adjusting the offset or enabling offset even (which provides a more uniform thickness as well as proportional editing.

  • Separate By Loose Parts

A feature that might be overlooked is the ability to separate a mesh into loose parts. This comes in handy when you need to break a joined mesh into individual meshes, and only works with disconnected fragments (no vertices between parts welded together).

To do this, simply select the main mesh in question, enter Edit Mode, choose Face Select and tap A twice to select all faces. Finally, press P to bring up the Separate panel and choose By Loose Parts. Now, all disconnected mesh fragments will be their own individual meshes!

  • Extra Primitives (Like Capsule)

Did you know that there are a few extra primitives (like the capsule) in Blender? To begin, ensure that the Add Mesh: Extra Objects add-on is installed. Then simply press Shift + A and from the resulting Add menu, choose Mesh > Round Cube. A rounded cube appears in the scene. Next, locate the Add Round Cube redo panel on the lower left hand corner of the 3d viewport, open it and from the Operator Presets drop down, you'll notice there are a few new primitives to choose from!

  • Quad View

You can easily set Blender from a single view port to the traditional quad view (which contains the Perspective, Right, Front & Top views by default) by simply pressing Ctrl + Alt + Q!

  • Select Boundary Loop

Ever need to select the open edges of a complex flat mesh? There is a fast way to selecting all them by select all the faces on the mesh, then in the viewport top menu, choose Select > Select Loops > Select Boundary Loop! Voila! All outer open boundary edges selected, just like that!

  • Quick Dissolve

When cleaning up meshes and you want to dissolve (instead of delete) sub selections, you can press X and choose Dissolve (insert sub-selection here: Vertices / Edges / Faces). But an even quicker way is to simply press Ctrl + X. This is faster than bringing up the delete/dissolve menu!

  • Delete Without Confirmation

When deleting a mesh in Object Mode by pressing X, you are always greeted with a small confirmation popup verifying if you want to delete it. This can become annoying and cumbersome over time! You have two options to bypass the confirmation process altogether. Either:

  • press Delete (beneath the insert key) -or-

  • go into your preferences and from within the keymap panel, search for delete. Scroll down to the Object Mode version using the X keyboard shortcut. Open this keymap panel and notice that by default, the radial button for Confirm is enabled. Simply disable this and save your preferences! From now on, when in Object Mode, there will no longer be a confirmation popup every time you use the X key to delete something!

  • Maximum Viewport Maximization
  • Pressing Ctrl + Spacebar maximizes whatever viewport section your mouse cursor is hovering over. This can be useful for maximizing the modelling viewport for example.
  • But there is a way to hide even more UI (as generally the top menu remains when maximizing views). To get maximum screen real estate, press Ctrl + Alt + Spacebar instead! This gives you the most screen space to work with (especially in the 3d viewport). Think of this as the equivalent of expert mode in 3dsMax!

Whichever shortcut you use, you have to use the same one again to return back to the previous viewport state!

  • Extrude Even Thickness

When wanting to apply a thickness to some non-manifold faces, you have two options:

  • Apply a Solidify modifier and enable Even Thickness - or -

  • With faces selected, press Alt + E to bring up the Extrude popup. Choose Extrude Faces Along Normals. At this point (with the tool still active), the extrude will look uneven. Holding down Alt will preview the even thickness while pressing S will toggle it on or off!

  • Quick Boolean Shortcuts

Here is a fast way for creating booleans: Select the "source" mesh (in this case, the cube), then press Shift + left click the "target" mesh - in this case the cylinder. Now do one of the following:

The final result will in fact mean a boolean modifier with the chosen operation will be added to the target mesh! If the Apply option from the boolean modifier dropdown is greyed out (this is particularly common with slice operations as two meshes share the same cutter), simply ensure that the target mesh is selected, and from within the Object Data Properties panel, simply click on the number representing the number of fake users: This will remove the users and from here, you should be able to apply the boolean modifier!

  • Correcting Missing Faces On Exported FBX File

There might be a time that you need to work with an existing imported fbx file (no working scene found, or starting with a mesh purchased online) in preparation for exporting into Unity, and the end result is an fbx mesh with missing faces! Here are the most common issues and their solutions to this problem:

  • Flipped Normals: The most likely culprit is that face normals are inverted. Ensure that the mesh normals are facing the right way (from within the top viewport menu, choose Mesh > Normals > Recalculate Outside - or Shift + N).

  • Improper Materials: If the above solution is not resolving the issue. then it probably has to do with problematic materials. From within the top frame of the Outliner, click on the Display Mode icon button (to the right of Editor Type). When this drop down opens up, choose Blender File, and from here, open up the Materials section. Start by eliminating one material at a time between exports to find the offending material. it might be a single one or a combination of multiple materials that is causing the problem.

Select and remove the offending materials - it might be a single one that is causing the problem (you might need to eliminate one at a time between exports to find the problematic material).

  • Vertex Grouping

Vertex groups is a great feature that allows us to "save selections" if you will. Perhaps you need to create a group to be able to apply vertex paint to, or you need to revisit a selection to tweak its thickness, or position, etc... The list of reasons are probably plentiful!

  1. Start by selecting the vertices / faces you want for easy fast selection. Within the Object Data Properties panel, create a new vertex group by clicking on the '+' button within the right hand side of the vertex group panel. This will create a group name called 'Group' or something along those lines. Give it a more meaningful name.

  2. Next, click on the 'Assign' button. Now, any vertices / faces are now assigned to this group.

  • Adding to group: You can add by making a selection, and with the current group selected, simply click 'Assign' again. This will add the current selection to the complete group selection.
  • Removing from group: If there is any vertices / faces you don't want to include, deselect everything, then select only those you don't want to be included in the currently selected group and press 'Remove'.
  • Selecting and Deselecting: 'Select' will select any selections assigned to the currently highlighted group while 'Deselect' will deselect the group's assigned selection.

You can create many vertex groups, and even have some groups share some selections. Vertex groups is a powerful way to access the selections you need to make any necessary changes quick and painless!

  • Change Font Sizes

Do you feel Blender's fonts are too small? You can easily change them by going to Preferences > Themes and from within the 'Text Style' drop down, you can tweak the font size (among other font settings) from there.

  • Backface Culling

What some people might not realize is that backface culling is actually split into two different areas within Blender. Let's quickly examine how these work!

  • Solid View: When the 3d viewport is set to this mode, the way to enable backface culling is via the shading dropdown menu.
  • Material Preview: Simple enough. But once you switch the 3d viewport into the material preview mode, you'll notice right away that the backface culling previously set from within the solid view isn't working!

The solution here is to go into the material(s) properties in question and enable their backface culling from there!
Side note: Any new materials created afterwards will require you to go into their respective material properties and manually enable their backface culling, as materials won't have this enabled by default!

  • Knife Project

The Knife Project tool allows a mesh or curve object to be projected and cut into a background mesh (if the background mesh is not flat/co-planar), you might want to have enough face subdivisions to give enough resolution to work with). The process is simple.

  1. First select the mesh that you want to receive the cut and go into Edit Mode. Next, from within the outliner, Shift + click on a non-manifold mesh that will act as the "cookie cutter" via the outliner. In this case, a mesh with open edges / borders.
  2. From within the top viewport menu, choose Mesh > Knife Project. Note: The viewport camera will determine the angle of the projection (think project from view), so it's best to go into an orthographic view for this.
  3. The resulting projected faces are automatically selected. From here, the creative possibilities are plentiful! View the document for more details.
  • Adjusting View Through Camera / Light
  1. Select a camera or light.
  2. Press N to bring up the right-hand side panel and go into the View tab.
  3. Enable the Camera To View option from within the View Lock section.
  4. Press Ctrl + Numpad 0 to jump the view into the first person perspective of selected camera or light.
  5. From here, navigate in the 3d view to reorientate camera or light, then press Numpad 0 to exit back into normal 3d viewport view.
  • Set Camera To 3D Viewport View

If you have a camera in your scene (selected or not) and you it to match the current viewport view, simply press:
Ctrl + Alt + Numpad 0 and the camera will now instantly be set to match the view!

  • Quick Favorites

A good way to access your most frequently used features is to add them to your quick favorites! Most items in drop down menus and panels allow you to right-click on them and choose Add to Quick Favorites. When you press Q, you can see all the features you added for quick and easy access!

But this is not just limited to the 3d viewport! There is also a separate Quick Favorites (same shortcut) in the Shader Editor for instance! So if you frequently use certain nodes (like Ambient Occlusion or Color Ramp for instance), the procedure for adding them to the favorites list is the exact same! This allows you to store a series of frequently used nodes so you don't have to keep searching and applying them the traditional way!

  • Popular Pie / Panel Menu Shortcuts

Here is a list of some of the more commonly used pie / panel menus, their shortcuts and menu item lists they invoke:

  • Pie Shading - Shortcut: Z
    • Solid, Wireframe, Shade Smooth, Shade Flat, Rendered, Material Preview

  • Snap - Shortcut: Shift + S
    • Selection to Cursor, Selection to Active, Selection to Grid, Cursor to Active, Cursor to Selected, Cursor to World Origin, Cursor to Grid, Selection to Cursor

  • Snap To - Shortcut: Ctrl + Shift + Tab ⇄
    • Brings up entire Snap To popup panel

  • Pie Proportional Obj - Shortcut: Shift + O
    • Proportional On/Off, Inverse Square, Sphere, More, Linear, Sharp, Smooth, Root

  • Pivot Point - Shortcut: .
    • Median Point, Only Locations, 3D Cursor, Individual Origins, Bounding Box Center, Active Element

  • Orientation - Shortcut: ,
    • Gimbal, Cursor, Local, Normal, Global, View

  • View - Shortcut: ~ (Tilde Key)
    • Top, Back, Right, View Selected, Bottom, View Camera, Left, Front

  • Mode Switch - Shortcut: Ctrl + Tab ⇄ (with an object selected)
    • Object/Edit Mode, Vertex Paint, Texture Paint, Edit Modes, Weight Paint, Sculpt
  • Batch Renaming

If you have to rename a bunch of meshes, simply select them and press Ctrl + F2 to bring up the Batch Rename popup. Then fill in the Find and Replace text fields with what you need and viola! Any meshes containing the words in the find field will be replaced, making renaming a bunch of assets a breeze!

  • Quick Way To Make A Cage
  1. Create a plane, select all faces, right-click and choose Subdivide and press Shift + R (redo last action) a few times to give it enough subdivisions (not too many though).
  2. With all faces still selected, right-click and choose Poke. This will result in a central vertex for each face.
  3. Now right-click again and choose Tris to Quads. This will result in a grid pattern that is rotated 45°!
  4. Go into Object Mode and add a Wireframe modifier to it. Play with the Thickness option to achieve the desired look. You can even enable the Boundary option to auto cap the open edges!
  5. Feel free to further dress the cage up by applying a Bevel modifier and playing with the Amount and Segment count to give it a more stylized look!
  • Exporting UV Layouts

In Blender, It's possible to export mesh UVs. This be useful when doing paint overs in Photoshop for example (as a hand painted texture) and you need to know how the mesh UVs are layout out. You can put the exported UV images into your PSD file and use it as reference!

  1. Simply go to UV > Export UV Layout from within the top UV Editor menu.
  2. From within the save popup, notice that there is a set of options within the top right hand corner. This is where you can set the type of file, the file size, etc... If you enable All UVs, this will result in all UVs being exported (no need to manually select all UVs for this to work).
  3. The end result is the entire set of UVs exported into the file type of your choosing!

The fun doesn't stop there however! Did you know that you can export only selected UV islands instead of the entire thing? Simply ensure that Modified is enabled instead of All UVs when intending to export only what you need! This can prove useful when needing to paint over only parts of the mesh texture, serving as a way to isolate where to paint by treating it as a mask!

  • Creating A Custom Orientation

In Blender, there is a set of custom orientations within the Transform Orientation drop down from within the top menu just above the 3d viewport. The default orientations include: Global, Local, Normal, Gimbal, View and Cursor.

Chances are, one of these will satisfy your transform needs. However, there might be some situations where they don't work and as a result, creating a custom orientation based on a selection is the solution! Let's look at a simple example to illustrate this. Suppose that by accident, a trapezoid hole in the wall (to accommodate a window frame) had a misplaced vertex like so:

In this example, with the offending vertex selected, no default transform orientation will work!

The solution here would be to create a custom orientation!

  1. Select the edge or vertices that involve the offending vertex.
  2. Locate and click on the Transformation Orientation drop down located within the top viewport menu. Click on the side + button to create a new orientation.
  3. A new 'Edge' category is created below the default list! Within the panel in the lower left hand corner of the viewport, the option for Use After Creation should be enabled by default! Notice that the transform gizmo is now orientated to match the selection!
  4. Now, when transforming the offending vertex, it will follow the vector of the edge (or selected vertices) it belongs to, enabling you to easily slide it into the correct position. Once you are finished with this orientation, you can easily delete it by clicking on the X button next it!

There are many other possibilities beyond this example that can make use of custom orientations! When the need arises, rest comfortably knowing that Blender allows you create any orientation you need! As a bonus, there is another (and simpler way) to solving this issue. Please see tip #72!

  • Copying Values

When it comes to copying values from one place to another (in this example, colour swatches), instead of opening up the colour panel and copying the values, then opening another colour panel to paste them, you can simply hover your mouse cursor over the first colour and press Ctrl + C, then hover over the target colour and press Ctrl + V! This technique applies to pretty much any values you'll find scattered across Blender. It's not limited to colour info!

  • Toggle Negative / Positive Values

It's possible to toggle a value between positive and negative by simply hovering over it and pressing - (not on the Numpad!) This will toggle the value from positive to negative or vice versa!

  • Select Every nth Element

When it comes to making repeated offset selections, simply select the first and second element (vertices, edges or faces) on a mesh with the desired spacing in-between, then while pressing Ctrl + Shift, press Numpad + as many times as needed to replicate the nth selection (mesh topology will determine how reliable / useful this feature is)!

  • Quickly Connect Nodes

When it comes to connecting nodes, nothing is faster than simply selecting the ones in question you'd like to connect and pressing F. One thing to note about this method is that only primary "Default" inputs and outputs will be connected! This will not connect an output from one node to say, a FAC input of another for example.

  • Render Region

When dealing with complex, heavy scenes using the Cycles Rendering Engine with the viewport mode set to Rendered, it can become time consuming to tweak something (like say lighting for instance) and have Blender recalculate everything. Luckily, there's a feature called Render Region that allows calculations within a designated rectangular region.

To do this, simply press Ctrl + B and left-click drag out a rectangular region. This will be represented onscreen as a rectangular dash bordered region. From here on, only the region will be calculated. Placing the mouse cursor in the center will give you control to move the entire region around while placing it on the corners or edges will allow you to change its dimensions! To remove the region, simply press Ctrl + Alt + B.

This doesn't just apply to viewport real-time rendering though! This can used for actual rendering as well! Using a camera, the rendered region will only render out the region. By default, any space that isn't filled with geometry or a background will be just alpha space. If you don't want any empty space outside of the render to be included, simply go the Output properties tab and from with the Format panel, simply enable the Crop to Render Region feature!

  • Making A Camera Active

There's a few ways to make a camera among other cameras the active one. You can either:

  • Select a camera from either the 3d viewport or from within the outliner and press Ctrl + Numpad 0 -or-
  • From within the Scene Properties tab, choose your camera via the Camera drop-down menu.

It is important to note that every camera has a wire frame triangle above the rectangle which represents its FOV. When a camera is active (not to be confused with whether it is selected or not), this triangle is filled solid! Otherwise, the triangle is simply an outline (thus the camera is not active). The active camera will be used to calculate the final render - regardless to whether it is selected or not!

  • Don't Load Someone's Layout In A Blender File

Ever open a Blender file only to be greeted with a custom layout that you feel is unwanted? Luckily, Blender has your back! Let's look at an example and see how to load it without the saved layout in the file!

Here is an example of a saved file with the modelling workspace's layout reconfigured.

Start by creating a new scene by either going to File > New or pressing Ctrl + N (or by loading a different scene, as you can't try and reload the same scene using this technique). Once the new scene is up, load the file in question via File > Open (don't load via Open Recent, as this bypasses the file load window!) Once this load window is open, locate the Options (gear) icon in the very top right hand corner and uncheck the Load UI option!

Now select the file in question and load it. Notice that your UI layout remains intact instead of the version saved within the scene! This is much quicker and easier than trying to shift/eliminate layout windows to bring the UI back to what you use!

Want to make this behavior permanent? Simply go to Edit > Preferences and from within the Save & Load panel, simply uncheck Load UI and save your preferences!

  • 3D Viewport Transparencies

Displaying transparencies within the 3d viewport isn't straight forward, nor is it terribly difficult to achieve! Let's examine two different types. One using a material to make the entire mesh translucent and the other displaying a texture containing alpha information, both of which are viewed in the Material Preview viewport mode (which makes use of Eevee and by default doesn't display transparency).

• Material Transparency

  1. With the mesh selected, create a new material.
  2. Within the Setting section, set the Blend Mode to Alpha Blend.
  3. In the Shader Editor, Add a Transparent BSDF as well as a Mix Shader node. Connect the outputs of both the Principled and Transparency BSDF nodes into the Mixed Shader inputs (see screenshot) and plug the output from the Mixed Shader to the Surface of the Material Output node.
  4. Adjust the Alpha setting within the Principled BSDF node to achieve the desired opacity of the material (and thus, the mesh in question).

• Texture Alpha Transparency

  1. With the mesh selected, create a new material.
  2. Within the Setting section, set the Blend Mode to Alpha Blend.
  3. In the Shader Editor, add the following nodes: Transparent BSDF, invert, image texture and Mix Shader. Connect the image texture node to the Principled BSDF 'Base Color' input and choose a texture that has alpha information in it. Connect the outputs of both the Principled and Transparency BSDF nodes into the Mixed Shader inputs (see screenshot). Connect the 'Alpha' output from the image texture node to the 'Color' input in the invert node and plug the invert into the 'FAC' input of the Mixed Shader node, of which connects into the Material Output Node. Now the alpha texture should display properly within the 3d viewport.

Be aware that you have a few choices in the alpha blend modes. Setting it to Alpha Clip will result in solid opaque or pure transparent pixels while Alpha Blend will give smooth, anti-aliased translucent pixels.

  • Sliding vertex beyond edge

From time to time you may find the need to slide a vertex beyond the edge it is connected to. By default, after selecting a vertex and pressing G G, the vertex will slide along either of its connecting edges. But if you wanted to continue sliding the vertex beyond an edge, simply press C to disable clamping and continue dragging the vertex past the corner point!

  • Quick Circular Arrays

While you can go the traditional route of using the array modifier in conjunction with an empty object as an object offset to create a circular array, there are a few additional methods of performing one quickly and without fuss!

Method 1: Angle & Rotation
First ensure that the Transform Pivot Point is set to 3D Cursor. Place your object the distance you want from the 3d cursor to establish the radius. Next, determine how many copies you want in the circular array (example: 10). So dividing 360° / 10 = 36°. Duplicate the mesh by pressing Shift + D (or Alt + D if you want to instantiate it), and without left-clicking, type R then Z then 36 and hit Enter. Finally, hold Shift and press R as many times as needed to complete the circular array!

Method 2: Using Extrude Spin
Using the same pillar example from above, ensure that the mesh's pivot point is set to the 3d cursor's location (this can be done via Object > Set Origin > Origin to 3d Cursor). Select all verts, edges or faces on your mesh and press Alt + E (to bring up the Extrude menu) and then press S (for Spin). Voila! Instant radial array! Use the Spin operator panel to adjust the number of meshes within the array!

Side Note: This array operation is viewport dependant! While you can get creative, interesting results using a perspective view, it's best to use an orthographic view for this!

  • Offset Edge Loops

You can easily create offset edge loops (which can come in hand when modelling high subdivision meshes) by selecting edge(s), pressing Ctrl + Shift + R and left-click dragging!

  • Edge Profile Spin (lathe)

This is similar to tip #73 (array using the Extrude Spin method) in that the position of the mesh's pivot point matters. In an orthographic view (in this example, front view), start by adding a mesh vertex (press Shift + A and choosing Mesh > Single Vert > Add Single Vert - You'll need Blender's native Add Mesh: Extra objects add-on installed. Otherwise, add a plane and collapse all vertices into a single vertex and start from there), and in vertex mode, select the point and press E to extrude it.

Continue to extrude vertices to form a profile shape you want (in this case, a wine glass). Once the profile is completed, simply select all its vertices (double tap A) and from the appropriate orthographic view (in this case top view) press Alt + E then S! This will result in a 'lathed' mesh! Adjust the Steps value within the Spin operator panel in the bottom left hand corner of the viewport to give more segments!

  • Edge Creasing

When creating high subsurface division meshes, you can use edge creasing in place of additional edge loops to achieve tighter edged visuals. To do this, simply start by adding a subdivision modifier to your mesh, then with the desired edges selected, press Shift + E and left-click drag to adjust the edge creasing! Simple as that!

  • Copying Materials From One Mesh To Another

When it comes to copying a material from one mesh to another, you have a few options available! In the following examples, the teapot has no material assigned to it, and the goal is to copy the gold star material to it!

Method 1: Drag & Drop
Ensure that the material you want is selected via the Browse Material to be Linked dropdown menu, then click-drag it's material icon right onto the model in the viewport!

Method 2: Linked Materials
First, select the 'target' mesh (in this case, the teapot), then Shift + click the source mesh (the gold star, which becomes the active mesh). Finally, Press Ctrl + L to bring up the Link/Transfer Data popup and choose Link Materials!

Method 3: Copy / Paste
Finally, there's the good'ol copy and paste! Select the source mesh and then the material you wish to copy, and from the small down arrow (known as the Specials menu) located beneath the + and - buttons on the left hand side, choose Copy Material. Then select the target mesh and add a new material (by clicking on the 'New' button). Within the Specials menu arrow, choose Paste Material. Now the teapot should be gooooold!

  • Triangles And Quads

Sometimes you may find it more advantageous to work with polygons that are either triangulated or quad based. Switching between the two is pretty easy!

Triangles To Quads

  • Starting with a mesh that is triangulated, simply go into Edit Mode, select all faces and press Alt + J (or this can be accessed via Face > Tris To Quads from the viewport menu).
Applicable faces means quads that are split into triangles. Any non quad splitting triangles are unaffected!

Quads To Triangles

  • Starting with a mesh that is quad based, simply go into Edit Mode, select all faces and press Ctrl + T (alternatively, you can go to Face > Triangulate Faces from the viewport menu).
Applicable faces means only quads are split into triangles!
  • F2 Add-On Fill

The F2 add-on comes with Blender but is not enabled by default. It is a powerful add-on that allows you to fill gaps with polygons. Simply go into Edit > Preferences > Add-ons and type F2 in the search field. Enable the resulting add-on. Fill in holes or missing geo via selections and pressing F.

With regards to filling quads using edges, the position of the cursor matters! If two selected vertices are joined to form an edge (pressing F), then with that edge selected, if you place the cursor on the right hand side of this selected edge and press F, quads will fill up in the direction of the mouse cursor!

  • Random Transform

It's quite easy to apply some random transforms to a series of meshes within your scene. Simply select some meshes and from within the viewport menu, choose Object > Transform > Randomize Transform. The Randomize Transform popup will appear in the lower left hand corner. Simply play with the desired values and watch the selected meshes transform, rotation and scaling alter in real-time!

  • Array Along Curve

Arrays offer a powerful way of duplicating meshes, especially when a path is involved! In this example, We'll use a cube that will be duplicated along a spiral curve using two different methods. One that results in the cube deforming and other where it does not!

Method 1: Array with deformation

  1. Select the mesh you want to make an array from and within the Modifier Properties tab, click on Add Modifier and choose Array.
  2. Set the Fit Type to Fit Curve. From the Curve field, select the curve (by manually picking it or from the drop down list). The mesh array will now tile to be the same length as the spiral curve!
  3. Next, we need to deform this mesh along the spiral curve. Go back to Add Modifier and choose Curve. From the Curve Object field, choose the spiral curve.
  4. Finally, back in the array modifier, while holding Shift, drag adjust the amount of the Relative Offset X axis to space them out!
Notice how the cube copies deform as they follow the curve. This may be desireable in some cases!

Method 2: Array without deformation
The workflow here is similar to the version above, but with one critical difference! Instead of using the cube as the mesh for applying the array and curve modifiers to, we'll apply this to a separate parent mesh! So once again, the starting scene starts with a cube and spiral curve.

  1. Add another mesh to the scene (in this case a plane - but this can be any mesh (other than a point). Select the cube, Shift click the plane and press Ctrl + P and choose Object from the Set Parent To popup.
  2. With the parent mesh (plane) selected, go through the same process as method 1. Once done, the end result it a plane that is the array object following the spiral curve.
  3. With the parent mesh still selected, make the cube visible (and the parent invisible) by going to the Object Properties tab and from within the Instance panel, choose Faces and simply un-checking the radial boxes for both Viewport and Render in the Show Instancer section! Notice now that the child mesh (in this case, the cube) is not deforming as it follows the curve! Hide (or get rid of) the initial cube.
With the curve modifier being applied to the hidden parent mesh, the child mesh is not affected, therefore no deformation occurs!
  • Triangulate In Same Direction

When converting quads to triangles, some of the triangulated edges might be rotated against the general flow. The solution to have them all flowing the same direction is easy. Start by selecting some quad faces and pressing Ctrl + T to triangulate them. In the Triangulate Faces panel in the lower left hand side of the viewport, switch Quad Method from Beauty to Fixed. Now all triangulated edges should flow in the same direction!

  • Bisect Tool

Blender has tools that allows us to cut straight through a mesh. The knife tool can accomplish this, but is very limited, in that it only performs a cutting operation. The bisect tool by contrast, while only allowing straight cuts, allows to reposition the cut, as well as remove the top or bottom portion and fill in the hole of the remaining portion! Lets add the monkey mesh as an example and see how this works.

  1. Select all mesh faces (pressing A twice) and from within the viewport menu along the top, choose Mesh > Bisect. Left click-dragging through the mesh establishes the cut line.
  2. With the line established, the bisect gizmo allows the line to be moved and/or rotated!
  3. Within the bisect panel in the lower bottom left of the viewport, you can choose between Clear Inner, Clear Outer and whether there is a Fill applied or not!
When determining the bisect line, clicking left to right will establish Inner and Outer as opposite to clicking right to left! The Outer part always matches the direction of the yellow transform gizmo arrow!
  • Quickly Add Subdivision Levels

While you can manually add a subdivision modifier to your mesh, Blender offers six levels of subdivisions as shortcuts. Simply select your mesh and press Ctrl + 1 thru 5 with 0 representing no subdivision levels at all! It's that easy!

  • Lattice Deform

Adding a lattice to deform your mesh is pretty easy and straight forward! Let's use the Blender monkey head as a starting scene!

  1. Press Shift + A and choose Lattice from the Add popup.
  2. Scale/Move the lattice to fit the mesh in object mode! It is very important you do NOT resize the lattice in edit mode, as this will ultimately give incorrect results!
  3. Select the monkey mesh, then Shift + Click the lattice mesh. Press Ctrl + P and choose Lattice Deform from the Set Parent To popup (a lattice modifier is automatically added to the monkey mesh!)
  4. Optional: Select the lattice mesh and from the Lattice tab (), adjust the U,V and W resolution to add more vertices to the lattice for more deformation control!
  5. In edit mode, select lattice vertices and manipulate them to deform the monkey mesh!
  • Subdivide Edge Ring

Sometimes you might make a cylinder or say an arch that is too low in poly count. It is possible to not only increase the segments, but have those new segments follow the curve of the surrounding existing segments as well! Using the example scene of a pillar and arch, let's see how subdivision edge rings can solve this! Start by ring selecting the edges needed to increase in resolution.

In many cases, edge loop selections will work as well. Just be sure that matching opposite edge loops are also selected, otherwise you'll get undesirable results! From the viewport top menu, choose Edge > Subdivide Edge-Ring. In the operations panel in the lower left side of the screen, the Number of Cuts setting defaults to 10. Simply alter this to get different results (a setting of 1 doubles the segments). You might need to apply transforms to your mesh before hand for this tool to function properly!

  • Local Isolation

Sometimes a Blender scene can get rather cluttered with meshes. And with this comes the need to be able to isolate the mesh you are working on. This can be done by selecting a mesh in question and simply pressing /. This puts the scene in Local view, zooming in on the selected mesh while hiding everything else! Pressing / again brings back all previously visible meshes as well as returning the viewport view to its previous state.

  • Extras: Hiding Lights

There comes a time in a person's life when they need to hide light mesh(es), yet keep the lighting active in the viewport! Luckily, this is easily done by simply un-checking Extras from within the Overlay menu! The viewport light mesh(es) will be hidden, yet they continue to light your geometry!

  • Conform Scaling

If you have some inner edges (say a hole for example) and you want to scale these edges up while keeping them conforming to the outer edges (which are not square), simple scaling won't work! But by double tapping G and click dragging, the inner edges will scale and start conforming to the outer edges! In this state, you can press E to force the inner selected edges to more accurately conform with the outer edges!

  • Scale Cage

While not quite as flexible as a lattice deformer, Blender's Scale Cage offers a cage with a series of control points located around it to scale the selected mesh in question with ease. Simply long press the scale icon along the left hand side bar (if no icons are visible, simply press T to bring them up) and switch the scale to scale cage. Now when you select a mesh, you can scale it via the cage's control points!

Note: When click-dragging any corner control point, the mesh uniformly scales in the direction of the opposite corner!

  • Remove Node While retaining Connections

Sometimes you'll need to remove a shader node, but you'll want to keep the surrounding node connections. Instead of manually deleting the unwanted node and reconnecting other nodes back, simply select the node you want to remove and press Ctrl + X. This will automatically keep the connection between the other surrounding nodes while removing the target node!

  • Colour Field/Gradient Eye Droppers

Blender allows you to use the eye dropper when dealing with any colour fields or gradients to effortlessly choose the colour(s) you need!

Colour Field

  • Simply hover your mouse cursor over a colour field and press E. Your cursor becomes an eye dropper! Now you'll be able to click-sample anywhere onscreen and the field will be replaced with whatever colour value you click on!
* Anything in the Blender Scene. Other application windows can't be sampled.


  • Hover your mouse cursor over a gradient and press Alt + E. Once again, your cursor changes to an eye dropper! Now you'll be able to click-sample multiple times anywhere onscreen and the gradient will automatically add any additional colour markers as needed with whatever colour values you clicked on!
* Anything in the Blender Scene. Other application windows can't be sampled.

Bonus note: If you press E over a gradient field and then click and drag, the gradient will auto populate with colour markers!

  • Interactive Primitives

Primitives aren't limited to those found in the Add popup (Shift + A). Along the left side icons in the viewport (if they're not visible, press T to bring them up), locate the Add Cube icon. This is the primitive interactive cube (by default - long pressing on the Add Cube icon reveals a small drop down of additional primitives, each with their own click and drag functionality to set up their dimensions!). Clicking on this converts the mouse cursor within the viewport to a circular grid with a fall off. In this mode, you can simply click and drag to start the width/length of the cube.

Once you left click, move the mouse cursor up or down and click to determine its height.

  • Negative Lighting

Did you know that lights can have negative power values? This is a great way to darken corners in a room for example. If exploited properly, negative lighting can be very effective and useful!

Side Note 1: The colour of a negative light matters! Other than pure white subtracts other colours differently!
Side Note 2: While Suzanne (the monkey head) puts on a brave smile, her eyes look kind of sad... scared even!
  • Muting Shader Node

One of many useful features in the Shader Editor is the ability to mute nodes! By selecting a node and pressing M, the node in question remains connected but is muted, meaning it will not be included in the node calculations!

  • Textures In Lights

Did you know that a light can use a texture to colourize (or shade) a scene? Ensure that the Cycles rendering engine is chosen and that the viewport mode is set to Rendered. Simply select the light in question, and from within the lighting tab, click on Use Node. Jump into the Shader Editor, and set it up according to the screenshot and voila! The chosen texture tints everything within the light's range! This can be additionally useful for faking shadows of tree foliage on the ground from a spot light for example. The possibilities are endless!

The light's radius setting affects how sharp the projected texture image is. Lower values are sharper while higher ones are blurrier!

  • Mesh To Blocks

Have you ever wished to convert a mesh into blocks that resemble something like in Minecraft? It's pretty easy in Blender. Simply select the mesh in question and throw a Remesh modifier on it! Then switch the modifier's mode to Blocks and play with the Octree Depth and Scale values!

  • Moving Node Multi-Outputs

Sometimes you might want to move a node output (that branches off to other nodes) to another output on the same node. It's quite simple to do! Simply hold Ctrl and click on the multi-output you want to move and drag it onto another output!

  • Measurement Display

Prototyping something in Blender and want to see some mesh dimensions? Simply select a mesh's face or edge, and from within the Overlay dropdown above the viewport, look towards the bottom and simply apply which types of measurements from the Measurement section! For proper measurement readouts, ensure beforehand that your mesh has a scale value of 1 (this can be checked by pressing N to bring up the right hand side panel and looking at View tab, make sure all scale values are set to 1. If they are not, apply scale to your mesh by going into Object Mode and choose Object > Apply > Scale).

  • Glassmorphism

What is Glassmorphism? It's a trend in user interfaces where a plane of glass (taking on a frosted look) overlays a background. This effect is quite easy to do in Blender! Our background example will be the monkey head on a platform and a thin sheet of glass (simply a beveled cube scaled thin). The methods below achieve this look and feel but each one offer varying degrees of control!

Method 1: Glass BSDF
This first version is the simplest, yet gives minimal control! Aside from the output, the Glass BSDF shader node offers the choice of microfacet distribution, colours, roughness, IOR as well as a normal input. You can read more about this shader here.

Method 2: Principled BSDF
Using the Principled BSDF node, you have more control! In addition to the first method's parameters, you can play with Metallic and Transmission values among others! Of course, you have the entire node parameters at your disposal!

Method 3: Various Nodes
This method offers the most options with the addition of Noise, ColorRamp more!

  • Image As A Plane

Unlike in Reference Images (tip #30) where a reference plane cannot be modified other than uniform scaling, it is sometimes desireable to be able to bring an image directly as a regular old fashioned plane where you can do any kind of geometric modifications to it!

So instead of manually creating a material with the texture as its image, then creating a plane and assigning that material to it, simply enable Blender's built-in Import-Export: Images as Planes add-on. From now on, when you access the Images sub menu from within the Add menu (Shift + A), you'll notice the Images as Planes option. Choosing this will add a plane in the scene with an auto assigned material using the chosen image as its texture! Much faster and easier!

  • Simplify Settings

Dealing with a scene with plenty of meshes with high subdivision modifier viewport levels can really bog down your computer. By going into the Render Properties tab, enable the Simplify option and open it up to view both viewport and render Max Subdivision settings. Here, you can globally override all mesh subdivision modifiers by setting the viewport/render max value to something respectable like say 1! Now you'll be able to toggle the Simplify setting without the need to adjust each mesh's subdivision modifier values!

  • Display UV Stretching

An easy way to see if your mesh has UV distortion is to enable Display Stretch from the Show Overlays dropdown along the top upper right side above the UV Editor window. The default setting within the Display Stretch Type is set to Angle, but you can also set it to Area. Blueish tinted faces represents very low to no distortion while yellowish to orangish represents varying degrees of distortion!

  • Fixing Beveled Corner

There might be some situations where beveling multiple edges that include an inner corner causes undesirable results. Whether you are using the bevel modifier or simply using the bevel shortcut, setting the Miter Outer to Arc will set the beveled inner corner to have an arching radius that is more often than not the desired outcome!

  • Node Groups

Node grouping is a way of categorise multiple selected nodes into a single one. This grouped node (aside from an organizational standpoint) can also be reused elsewhere in the shader editor! Creating a node group is fairly straight forward!

Simply select the nodes you wish to make a group of and press Ctrl + G. To un-group, simply select the group and press Alt + Ctrl + G. When a group is created, its title contains a group icon () that can be clicked on to open the group.

Once inside the group, you can click the Parent Node Tree curved up arrow button found along the top right hand side of the shader editor. Likewise, you can also jump in and out of node groups by pressing Tab ⇄. Pressing Ctrl + Tab ⇄ will only bring you out of the group! Once the group is opened, the shader editor only displays the group nodes. Finally, it's important to note that groups should not contain input or output nodes, nor can groups be nested!

You can read more about node groups here!

  • Clipped View

It is possible in Blender to create a clipped view by simply pressing Alt + B and click-dragging a rectangular region in the 3d viewport. When orbiting/panning/zooming in the view, you'll notice that there is a "clipping frustum" based on the region that offers an x-ray/geo clipped effect on the scene mesh! Press the same shortcut again to exit this mode!

  • Cycling Proportional Mode

You can cycle through the various proportional editing modes while the tool is active! Start by making a selection on your mesh and press O to enable the proportional tool. Next, press G and while the selection is moved (don't click to finalize the move), simply hold down Shift and continuously press O to cycle through the various proportional tool's modes (not all modes are represented here).

  • Drag & Drop From Outliner

Did you know that you can drag and drop a mesh from the Outliner directly onto another mesh in your scene and it will snap to the other mesh's surface? Ensure that your mesh has a proper origin placement and apply transforms beforehand for best results!

  • Traverse Parented Meshes

When you have meshes parented to other meshes, simply select a mesh and use the [ or ] keys to navigate-select through their parent/child relationships! This could be useful when dealing with complex hierarchies where it might be easier to select one of the meshes in the chain and navigate from there!

  • Convert Mesh Selection To Convex Hull

If you have ever needed to create collision meshes for in-game assets, this just might be the tip for you! Select a portion (or the entire) mesh in question and choose Mesh > Convex Hull from the 3d viewport menu!

  • Select Pattern

When trying to select multiple related meshes (copies or instances) in a jumble of other meshes, life is easy if you do two things:

  1. Ensure that mesh base names are somewhat useful and similar.
  2. Select one of the meshes, and from the 3d viewport menu, choose Select > Select Pattern... and enter the base name of the mesh followed by an asterisk (known as a wildcard in search parlance)!

This will result in quickly selecting all meshes related by base name!

  • Adjusting Identical Node Values

You can adjust the same value in two nodes at once by selecting them, then holding down Alt and dragging said value (doesn't work if you have Emulate 3 Button Mouse enabled!) If the fields in question have different values to begin with, the difference will be maintained while changing one of them!

  • False Color

When testing out how bright a scene is, first ensure that your viewport shading mode is set to Rendered. Then simply navigate to the Render Properties tab, and from within the Color Management panel, switch the View Transform option to False Color! Any lighting effects on a mesh that is over powered will show up as shades of red! Green and blue shades are safe (not over blown!)

  • Center Content

A quick way to center the content in your viewport is to press Shift + C! This not only frames your scene objects, but it resets the 3d cursor to world origin as well! Optionally, you can press Home to frame content without resetting the 3d cursor!

  • Online Manual Support

You can right-click on practically any button, slider or field and from within the resulting drop down menu, choose Online Manual and it will bring you to the relevant Blender document web page regarding the item you right-clicked on!

  • Breaking Off Selections

While you can press P (and choose Selection from the Separate popup) to break a mesh selection off into its own mesh, you can press Y to break a selection off but keep it as part of the mesh it belongs to!

  • Pinning Tabs

Within the sidebar menu (press N to bring it up), you can pin any panel by right-clicking it and choosing Pin. Now that pinned panel will show up in any tab you select! Right-click again on the panel in question and uncheck the Pin checkbox to unpin it!

  • Link/Data Transfer

Select multiple objects and press Ctrl + L to bring up the Link/Data Transfer popup. From here, you can link things like materials (see tip #77 - Copying Materials From One Mesh To Another ) or Object Data where one mesh visually becomes the same as another mesh!
The benefit here is that since all meshes involved will be linked to a singular under the hood data block, this in effect acts like an instance! So modifying one linked mesh will affect all other linked meshes as well! Additionally, you can use this menu to copy modifiers from one mesh to another among other features! Pretty handy stuff! You can read more about data blocks here!

  • Loop Cut Smoothness

When loop cutting, it is possible to give the cuts some shape by adjusting the smoothness and falloff settings in the lower left hand viewport panel while the tool is live!

  • Mesh bounding Box

It is easy to display a mesh bounding box by simply going into the Object Properties tab and from within the Viewport Display panel, enabling the Bounds option! There is also a Display Bounds Type drop down list where you can choose from different bound type options (Box, Sphere, Cylinder, Cone and Capsule!)

  • Mirror Material

Mirror Mirror on the wall, which monkey head is the prettiest of them all? Creating a mirror is very simple! Ensure the rendering engine is set to Cycles and simply add a Glossy BSDF material with the Roughness setting of zero to whatever mesh you wish to make into a mirror (in this case, a plane that is set within a frame).

  • Remove Unused Material Slots

It's not uncommon to start building up a bunch of mesh material slots. With this comes the possibility that some slots may end up not being used. Blender offers a way to clean this up by simply going to Material Specials dropdown arrow and choosing Remove Unused Slots. Only slots that are currently used remains! This is done on a mesh per mesh basis.

  • Node Toggle Options

We know that shader graphs can become quite complex! Luckily, Blender has some node toggling functionality that can reduce the visual clutter in a manner that makes reading the graphs easier. For the sake of simplicity, the following example is nothing complex, but still illustrates the points this tip offers! For each example, only nodes that are selected are affected! So without further ado, from within the Shader Editor menu:

Input/Output Visibility

  • Choose Node > Toggle Hidden Node Sockets (or Ctrl + H) and notice that all unused node inputs and outputs vanish, leaving only used ones visible!

Options Visibility

  • Choose Node > Toggle Node Options and all checkboxes, input fields and dropdown menus are hidden!

Socket Visibility

  • Choose Node > Collapse and Hide Unused Sockets and all checkboxes, sliders, dropdown menus and the like are hidden!
  • Quick Wireframe

While with the mesh selected you can add a Wireframe modifier to convert your mesh into a 3d wireframe, another (albeit destructive modelling) way is to go into Edit Mode, select all the mesh faces and from within the 3d viewport menu, choose Face > Wireframe. This will pretty much do the same thing. Use the property panel in the lower left hand side in the viewport to play with Thickness and Offset values among others to dial in the wireframe look you going for!

  • UV Image Bounds

It is possible to prevent UV shells (islands) from leaving the UV space (be it by moving or scaling - rotations are not restricted) by going into the UV menu within the UV Editor and choosing Constraint To Image Bounds.

  • Adjust Matcap & World Space Lighting

With the viewport shading mode set to solid, the viewport MatCap lighting can be flipped by going into the viewport shading drop down menu and clicking on the small double arrow button. This will switch the matcap from left to right! Additionally, if the viewport shading is using Studio (instead of Matcap), you can enable the World Space Lighting icon and adjust the studiolight rotation value to shift this lighting around!

  • Selecting Ungrouped Vertices

Sometimes it might come in handy to know which vertices are not part of a vertex group! In this example, the bottom half of the sphere's vertices are part of a vertex group. In Edit Mode, choose Select > Select All By Trait > Ungrouped Vertices. No more guessing which ones are not grouped anymore!

  • Rearrange Menu Order

Within the Properties Editor tabs (think Object Properties, Object Data Properties, Material Properties, etc...) you can rearrange panels around, changing their order! Simply click on the tail end of a panel (which contains two little rows of four dots each) and drag to reposition it!

  • Floor Constraint

In some cases when dealing with environment modelling, it would be great to be able to constrain meshes to a floor for example. To do this, start by selecting the prop in question (ensuring that its origin point is along its bottom), and from within the Object Constraint Properties tab, choose Floor from the Add Object Constraint drop down menu!

Once the constraint is added, choose the ground / floor mesh from the Target field! Now, the prop will not be able to pass through the floor mesh anymore. Furthermore, moving the ground up will result in the prop following along!

  • Quickly Find Object In Outliner

First, select a mesh in the 3d viewport. Then simply hover the mouse cursor over the Outliner and press . (period on the Numpad) and voila! Selected mesh is selected in the list!

  • Orbit View Snapping

When it comes to orbiting the view, it is possible to snap the view depending on when short cuts and left-click dragging occurs!

  • Holding down Alt then MMB before orbiting will force orthographic views (like Front, Top, etc..). Continue holding Alt and then MMB click-drag each time to change orthographic view (depending on mouse directional movement).
  • Holding down MMB, then holding down Alt and then orbiting in Perspective will snap the view to 45/90 degree angles once the view approaches angle in question! Once orbiting reaches 90 degrees, the view converts to orthographic (Side, Front, Top etc...) until orbiting again!

This even works for the Emulate 3 Button setup as well as even in this mode, the MMB acts as an orbiting function!

  • Clip Start/End

Sometimes either a camera or the viewport view will clip geometry. This has everything to do with Clip Start and End settings!

Camera Clipping

  • To see how much the camera can see, select the camera and from within the Object Data Properties tab (the one with the camera icon) enable Show • Limits from the Viewport Display panel!
  • The Clip Start and End range is indicated as a line with a start and end point. Any objects that fall within these are visible to the camera. To change this range, simply adjust the Clip Start and End values from within the Lens panel!

Viewport Clipping

  • Using the red monkey head as an example, it is clipped with the view being so close! To fix this, simply press N to bring up the right-hand side bar and from within the View tab, adjust the Clip Start and/or End settings to reveal the entirety of the mesh(es) in question!

Side Note: Reducing the Clip Start value to as low as possible and cranking the End setting to be very large can have detrimental geometric rendering results in the 3d viewport! Keeping the Start and End values within a reasonable range will render geometry correctly!

  • Incrementing File Name

When saving files, you can easily make use of file incrementation in the event you want to create different file versions. This can be done in one of a few ways:

  • Click on the Plus or Minus buttons on the far right side of the file name text field (which will increase/decrease version numbers by 1) -or-
  • With the mouse cursor hovering over the file name text field, press Numpad + or Numpad - to increase or decrease the file name version number (by counts of 1) respectively! Additionally, doing so while pressing Shift will increase or decrease by counts of 10 while pressing Ctrl will be affected by a factor of 100!