• The "Back-Up" Talk
  • User accounts
  • Meet the Lab, Lab Rules
  • Meet the Computers & Software
  • Saving & Renaming Files & Creating Folders
  • Overview: The Class Website

This semester you will be learning to use software Blender 2.71 to create 3D models and animations with the ultimate goal of creating a short animated movie by the end of the semester.

Blender is a FREE, OPEN-SOURCE program which can be downloaded from

Blender is available for:

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Linux

**If you have access to an internet-connected computer at home, Ms. Wear suggests installing Blender. Talk to your parents/guardians first!!

Video Tutorial: Tutorial #0: Introduction to Blender

I suggest you make the following changes to your user preferences.

  1. Go to File > User Preferences
  2. Click the tabl titles "Interface" and check the box "Rotate Around Selection". This stops the scene from rotating around 0,0,0.
  3. Click the tab titled "Editing" and increase number of Undo steps to 64.
  4. Click the tab titled "File" and change render output location to your location of choice. This is where the rendered animation images will go.
  5. Save User Settings
  6. Then change the render engine to cycles render and click File > Save Startup File. The next time your start a new file, Cycles Render will be the render engine.

For more information watch Understanding the User Interface & Preferences.


During your first class with Blender, you will learn 'the basics' of Blender's user interface, including:

  • How to navigate in your 3D View Window:
    • Zoom In & Out
    • Orbit
    • Pan
  • Select Objects
  • Transform Meshes using the Gizmo:
    • Move
    • Rotate
    • Scale
  • Use Keyboard shortcuts to change views (top/right/front)
  • Toggle between Perspective & Orthographic view modes.
  • Adding new Meshes/Objects to your scene.

Video Tutorial: Blender Basics #01 : Navigation, Transforming & Views


Your First Assignment in 3D is to construct a 'snowman' using primitive 3D shapes: UV Spheres, ICO Spheres, Cylinders, and Cones. Your snowman should consist of at least:

  • At least 3 body pieces
  • Facial features (eyes/nose/mouth)
  • Arms & Fingers
  • Hat
  • Buttons

**Your snowman must have at least 5 colours***.

Video Tutorial: Blender Basics #03 : Adding & Transforming Objects


You have completed making a snowman using primitive 3D shapes in Blender, but how do you make your own shapes? In class you will learn how to use EDIT MODE to MODEL your own custom shapes, characters, objects, what-have-you!

Meshes are made out of 3 components:

  1. Faces (polygons)
  2. Edges (lines)
  3. Vertices (Vertexes) (dots)

Video Tutorial: Blender Basics #05 : Intro to Edit-Mode.


Model this house

Up to this point we've been using the old render engine in Blender called "Blender Render". Unfortunately, it is no longer supported and it's replacement is the "Cycles Render" engine. Watch this video to learn how to use it. Intro to Materials & Nodes in Cycles

Steps to add multiple materials to one mesh:

  1. Add a material to the mesh as normal (the material you add should be the most common material on most of the object).
  2. Under the materials tab in the properties window, create a new 'slot' by pressing the '+'.
  3. Next, create a new material in this slot by pressing 'new material', or select an already-created material.
  4. Select the faces of the mesh you wish to apply the new (second, third..) material to, select the material from the list of slots, and press 'Assign'.

You have completed making a snowman using primitive 3D shapes in Blender, now it's time to MODEL a cartoon character head! For this assignment you follow along with Ms. Wear and BornCG during the initial stages of creating a basic humanoid character head starting from a cube. It will be up to students to improve the shape of the 'blocky' character to create a rounded figure. You will also be adding multiple materials to the same mesh.

To make the character you will utilize the following tools/menus/techniques:

  • Moving/Scaling/Rotating faces/edges/vertices in EDIT MODE (tab)
  • EXTRUDE (e) faces to make limbs/extensions from your mesh.
  • SUBDIVIDE under the Specials Menu (W) or on the ToolShelf (left of 3D View Window)
  • LOOP CUT (ctrl-R) in edit mode to create new edge-loops around your mesh where needed.

**You will need to add at least 3 different materials to your head-mesh (adding materials to individual/groups of faces).

**You will also need to make your model look SMOOTH with smooth-shading AND the Subdivision-Surface Modifier.

Video Tutorials: Blender Basics #06 : Box-Modeling a Character Head. and Blender Basics #7: The Mirror Modifier

Complete a cartoon character head using the technique shown in the videos. It can be the rabbit shown in the video or another type of character. Include at least 3 different colours in your model. See the box below for instructions on adding different materials to the same mesh.

3 Point Lighting:

  • Watch 3 Point Lighting
  • and use this technique to light your cartoon head.


    Following an in class demonstration, you will be given time to practice the following vertex tools in Blender:

  • Watch this tutorial on Create a Wood Textured Cup
  • The Assignment: Reproduce the cup taught in this tutorial.

    Go to Blender Modelling Manual for the full Blender manual.

    If there is enough time, we will cover these additional modelling tools in Blender:

    Mike mike mike

    For this assignment you will re-create 'Mike' from Monsters Inc (pictured here)


    3D Mike Assignment Requirements:

    1. Use all the modelling skills you've learned in class over the last several weeks (including: edit mode, extruding, subdividing, grabbing/rotating/scaling, loop-cut, edge-slide, vertex-slide, bevel, etc) to re-create MIKE from Monsters Inc. (you may model another character of your choice, if approved by the teacher)
    2. Your 'modelling' (mesh topology) should be sufficient to re-create the smooth, flowing look of the character while being animated.
    3. Use the Mirror Modifier to model both halves of Mike at the same time.
    4. Use the Subdivision Surface modifier (**but don't EVER 'apply' it!) to smooth out the look of your character (only start using this when you're nearly complete the
    5. character or a section of the character)
    6. Your model should have at least 4 materials added (skin/eye-white/eye-black/eye-colour/etc)
    7. Your model should be complete, and without any errors (eg: holes, overlapping faces, 'hidden' parts, extra vertaces, doubled edges, etc)
    8. AVOID leaving any 3-sides faces or N-GONS (faces with more than 4 sides) whenever possible. 95%+ of your mesh should be comprised of rectangular (4-sided) faces.

    Videos To Watch

    1. Modelling Mike's Body (Starting the Assignment)
    2. Modelling Mike's Hand
    3. Modelling Mike's Eye & Surrounding Topology
    4. Optional: Generate Iris for an Eye Using Blender

    Mike Evaluation

    BodyLegs/Feet/ToesArms/Hands/Finger NailsMouthEyeHornsGreen/ColourArms downTotal

    The Cycles Render can quickly bring down slow computers. Before learning about lighting in Cycles Render, read the first article to speed up rendering times while your work.

  • 4 Ways to Speed Up Cycles Render - this needs to be done to make it work on our computers.
  • Intro to Lighting and Rendering
  • How to add images as a material to a plane and add the appearance of texture with bumpmapping.

  • Image Textures & Bump Maps
  • If you ever want to do a space scene, you will need stars in the background. Here are instructions on how to use Blender cycles to get a starry sky. These are the settings Ms. Wear used to get a starry sky: starrysky.png based on the techniques taught in this tutorial: Cycles: Create a Starry Sky

    Earlier in this unit you learned how to apply materials to whole objects, and later you learned how to apply several materials onto an object by applying materials directly to individual mesh faces. But what if you want to paint something more detailed onto an object?

    This is where TEXTURES (as opposed to 'Materials') come in. You can use popular drawing programs like Paint or, better yet, GIMP, to paint the texture for a mesh. Before you can do that though, you need to 'Un-Wrap' (make flat) the mesh so that all of its faces are layed out in a flat, square image (this is like un-folding origami) UV Mapping:

    1. Allows you to paint/draw the texture of an object in any separate graphics program you like (eg: Paint/GIMP)
    2. Before you can paint the texture, you must create SEAMS on the edges of mesh (like seams on a fabric pattern) so you can lay out all the sections of the mesh flat 'on the ground'.
    3. The process of laying all the sections of your object 'flat on the ground' is known as "UNWRAPPING".
    4. Once you have the mesh "unwrapped", you export your UV layout to an image file, which you can open & use to paint in Paint/GIMP.
    5. Once you have painted the UV Map image, bring the image back into blender and apply it to the mesh.

    Video Tutorial: UV Mapping (Unwrapping Image Textures)

    For this assignment you will model, 'unwrap', and add a texture to, a condiment container (List of Condiments) using Blender.

    1. Watch this video UV Mapping 1 of 4

    Assignment Requirements:

    1. Condiment container is modelled by you.
    2. Seams are created as demonstrated in the video and the model is 'unwrapped'.
    3. 'Import' the image texture into Blender and properly apply to your modelled condiment bottle.
    4. The material appears on the bottle when rendered (F12)
    5. Your image texture should be 'packed' into your Blender file so that your chair's texture is not lost of you move/delete/edit your original image file. How to Pack an Image into a Blender File.

    Show your rendered condiment bottle placed on a brown plane (table) with a starry sky to Ms. Wear.

    We are going to create the ball from Pixlr's first ever 3D animation: Luxo Jr.
    1. Use a graphics editor to create a texture for the ball or use this one made by Ms. Wear.
    2. Create a Luxo Jr. Ball with the UV Map.
      1. Switch to cycles render.
      2. Add a UV Sphere.
      3. Delete bottom half of the sphere (you will use a mirror modifier to get it back).
      4. Unwrap
      5. Bring the ball image into uv/image editor
      6. Resize/rotate flattened mesh to overlay ball. Shrink so it is just inside the blue outline.
      7. Open a node editor.
      8. In 3D Viewport, select ball and add a material.
      9. In Node Editor, add an image texture with this image.
      10. In 3D Viewport, switch to render view.
      11. Add a mirror modifier in the Z direction to complete the ball.
      12. Render.
    3. Create a blue sky with clouds. This video has good hints on a sky texture.
    4. Add a green plane as the ground.
    5. Point camera down at ball at 15 degree down angle. Position it so that you can see both the ball and the sky.
    6. Have the ball fill 20 percent of screen
    7. Render this image.