making the move, “from commercial 3d software to blender” part 2

Starting out:

When I first tried to get to know the interface and how to navigate around, I had a hard time getting comfortable with Blender’s navigation and selection scheme. I know, you could select “Maya” in the user input preferences, but that will cause other keyboard hotkeys to change as well, and I want to learn to use the default hotkeys to better be able to follow tutorials and guide others with using Blender. What you can do (and what should have been done by the Blender developers) is to set up a Maya “Navigation Only” preset, so only the viewport navigation would be affected, without altering the hotkeys for the transformation tools. That has been an option in Modo since version 401, and something I’ve used since then.

But it is pretty easy to set this up yourself in the user preferences if you want, but I find that if I use “Emulate 3 button Mouse” in the preferences, I can use both my MacBook, with and without a mouse connected, my stationary workstation with my Wacom Intous to navigate with ease using:

Alt + LMB to Rotate
Alt + Ctrl + LMB to Zoom
Alt + Shift + LMB to Pan/Move

This is kinda like in Lightwave and Modo and works fine when you get used to it.

Then it is the selection of objects and sub-components (verts,edges,faces),
which in Blender is done with the RIGHT mouse button! Yes, you heard me right,
the right mouse button it is. There is an option in the preferences to change
this to Left mouse button, but that will cancel the “Emulate 3 button mouse”
that I use, so I had to get used to selecting with my right mouse button. But
believe it or not, it wasn’t as hard as I would have thought, and within a
couple of days, I didn’t feel that it was too alien to do so.

Starting out I didn’t find the selection tools in Blender very comfortable or
powerful, but after learning how to actually use them, I actually prefer them
over any other application out there! Well, maybe Modo still has a minor
advantage in terms of selections, but Blender’s versions is more than just ok.
It really is good enough for my purposes anyway. It goes something like this:

RMB will select objects or components, shift to add / remove
Ctrl + LMB + Drag to get a Lasso selection (+shift to deselect)
C + LMB will give you a “Circle” / Paint selection (MMB to deselect / wheel to set radius)
B + LMB will give you a “Box” selection (MMB to deselect)
Alt + RMB on an edge will select a loop
Ctrl + Alt + RMB will select a ring
Shift + G will select “similar” where you can choose from ex. perimeter, material etc
Ctrl + L = Select connected (L to select connected under cursor)
Shift + L = Deselect connected under cursor
Ctrl and +/- on the Numpad will expand or contract your selection

So as you can see, Blender has its ass covered when it comes to selections!
There may be more to it, but this is what I have found until now.

That’s it for the introduction, briefly covering the 3d viewport navigation and
selection tools. Next up, I’ll go more in depth with navigating the UI and
window presets, which is a very powerful feature of Blender with unlimited

What I can say up to now, is that Blender takes some time getting used to, with
these new ways of doing things, and I still feel like a snail trying to run
when I try to do a project in Blender, but I like it more and more for each day
I use it! I’ve started to model a character with it now, and I’ll texture and
render it with Cycles, using the node-based shader system. I’ll keep posting my
learning experiences to this blog, so be sure to subscribe for updates if you
find this interesting!


4 thoughts on “making the move, “from commercial 3d software to blender” part 2

  1. “What you can do (and what should have been done by the Blender developers) is to set up a Maya “Navigation Only” preset, so only the viewport navigation would be affected, without altering the hotkeys for the transformation tools.”

    Go to File… -> User Preferences… -> Input Tab
    There you can change the left preset to Maya. It will only effect the way you select, rotate the viewport etc.
    On the right you have a seperate preset for the hotkeys.
    (If you really want to go back to the “maya feeling.”)

    Really nice blog. Can’t wait for part 3 and more


  2. I am having difficulty the other way…Been using Blender for an age now…..So I decided to give Max and Maya ago, and I just cannot get my head round them, I find Blender so much easier to use….

    Keep going bud, you’ll find it a great addition to your aresnal…


  3. If you select (check) “Emulate 3 Button Mouse”, moving around becomes identical to Lightwave. I didn’t realize this until I started using a tablet and then recognized I was using the exact same nav as I did in Lightwave (except zoom is forward/back on the mouse instead of left/right… which is actually a bit more intuitive in Blender). Now I keep that checked all the time. Just fyi for Lightwave folks.


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