I have been working with blender since 2001, long enough to develop both good and bad habits. I have also have had the pleasure of teaching numerous classes and workshops on blender. In this experience, I have routinely seen the initial sense of wonder turn into frustration with the technical nature of 3d. Some of this frustration is surely due to my limits as a teacher. Some of it though I think is simply part of settling into a sometimes reluctant relationship with the shear potential of such programs.

I sustain a continued interest in 3d and its potential. In my teaching I am now more interested in teaching the concepts and techniques of 3d to others, not so they might enjoy its power but rather so that they too might learn from its potential. The weight of thinking it should be shared across a great field. So here below are some basic notes that I think help people explore this potential.

G=Grab + (x,y,z)
R=Rotate + (x,y,z)
S=Scale + (x,y,z)
With these three hotkeys you can do the basic transformations in the 3d world. If combined with the “x,” “y,” or “z” the operations are locked to a particular axis. These transformations operate on the selected object.

Orienting oneself in 3d space and moving around said space is the biggest hurdle to enjoying 3d animation. In blender, the numberpad is your friend. With it you can move to fixed perspectives
7=top view
1=side view
3 =side view

Here is how to change the number keys to use the top row numbers on the keyboard, instead of the numpad to the right of the keyboard. Drop down the window from the top of the blender screen and “System & OpenGL” and then “Emulate Numpad.” Again, the number keys are very helpful for navigating around the viewport.

Material with transparency
Texture setup for images with alpha channels

Here are hotkey maps for blender.  One for object mode


and the other for edit mode.


The three types of transform modifiers.

The three types of transform modifiers.

Blender Viewport Draw Types

Blender Viewport Draw Types