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The Blender 2.8 Encyclopedia

Complete beginner-to-advanced guide for Blender 2.8 and 2.9
Lee Salvemini
16,071 students enrolled
English [Auto]
This is a comprehensive course for the free 3D modeling and animation package, Blender.
With this reference, you can confidently dive into Blender
You can watch this course from start to finish, or skip around.
Learn all the tools to create anything in 3D, and put it all into practice with step by step projects like modeling, shading, and rendering a 3D living room from start to finish.

Welcome to The Blender Encyclopedia, the most comprehensive training course available for Blender, a completely free and open source 3D production suite.

Our aim with the course was to make an expanded version of the Blender Manual, that you can follow along or reference at any time in your 3D journey.

Further than the tools alone
, we’ve made sure this course contains not just the how, but the why. Throughout the course, we’ve crafted example demos, as well as step-by-step projects, that will take what you’ve learned and form it into a practical example.

You can get all the Blender files used in the lectures, complete with models, textures and other resources. This includes starting files so you can join in! Just open the Blender file for license details, if any.

We have created this course specifically for Udemy, and you will have unlimited support from us in the Q&A section of each lecture.

An Overview of the Contents of this course:

  1. A full overview of Blenders interface.

  2. Navigation and editing tools

  3. Mesh Modeling

  4. Drivers (known as wire properties or driven keys)

  5. Constraints

  6. Modifiers

  7. Skeleton Armatures and Rigging

  8. Animation tools

  9. Shaders and Materials

  10. UV Mapping

  11. Cameras

  12. Cycles and Eevee renderers

And more to come! Since the course’s release we’ve already added brand new UV Mapping and Drivers sections, and we’ve updated many other sections such as Constraints, Skeleton Armatures and Rigging, and more. With continued success of the course we’ll be able to add even more updates.

See you in there, and Happy Blending!

Welcome to The Blender Encyclopedia

Introduction: Your Own Blender Encyclopedia

Both Christopher Plush, and myself Lee Salvemini want to welcome you to the Blender 2.8 Encyclopedia!

You've made the right choice, and we hope you enjoy this combined learning path/reference guide.

Blender, is the 3D software package we've chosen for the Encyclopedia. A completely Free and Open Source creation suite. Download your copy now at blender.org. With no license or fees, you can install it anywhere, and get started right away!

How to Watch & Download Videos in 1080p

For those of you wondering how to watch the videos in 1080p resolution, this video shows you how. You can both stream AND download the videos in 1080p.

Coming Soon to the Encyclopedia

We've got a lot more planned that we want to add to this course, but it will depend on how well the course does. So help us out, and help yourself get more content, by spreading the word about this course!

Understanding Blender

User Interface

Get to know the software by first taking a tour of everything you see when we first open up Blender. See how Blender organizes it's areas, headers, and toolbars in this casual start to learning about the program.

Customizing the Layout

Blender's window layout is very customizable, and in this lecture you'll learn how to customize the layout to suit your workflow and preferences.


Now that we learned about layout customization, we'll go over how you can save custom layouts and switch between existing layouts already in Blender. Having quick access to multiple layouts can be extremely useful when performing different tasks.

General Editors

This begins our tour through Blender's different Editor types. There are different types of Editors in Blender used for different tasks. There's a 3D Viewport for example, which is used for building your 3D scene and interacting with all of your 3D objects. There's various animation editors too, as well as other types that we'll begin to go over.

Animation Editors

Now we'll go over the different Animation Editors. This lecture contains an intro to how animation keyframes work, as well as a general overview of the different Animation Editors, such as the Dope Sheet, Graph Editors, and Drivers.

Scripting Editors

Here we'll go over the different editors for scripting, including the Text Editor which can be used to actually create things like Python scripts, or just use to leave yourself notes in your blend file.

Data Editors

Now we'll go over the Data Editors, including the Outliner which can be used to keep track of all of your objects, as well as organize them all into Collections(or "layers"). In these editors is also the Properties Editor, which is especially important as it contains all of the information about your objects, their relationships to other objects, effects you can add to them such as modifiers and particle systems, and a lot more.

User Preferences and Suggested Changes

In this lecture we'll browse through the different User Preferences available that help you customize Blender to suit your workflow. I also make a few suggested changes, especially when it comes to navigating your 3D scene. This can often be frustrating to get the hang of, so I offer some suggested preference changes to help you roam about your 3D world more comfortably.

Saving and Loading

We'll go over the basics of saving and loading here, including some tips on saving multiple iterations of your project, as well as saving bookmarks of your most used folders for quick access.

File Backups and Recovery

Sometimes Blender crashes, sometimes you forget to save your work, or sometimes you saved over existed work, doh! Blender tries its best to make sure you have access to backup versions of your files in multiple ways. In this lecture you'll learn how you can recover data that may have been lost for various reasons.

Importing and Exporting

Learn how to import and export files from other formats. I'll also show you how to enable extra formats in Blender's User Preferences in case the default options don't offer the format you're looking for.

Navigating Through 3D Space

One of the most important things to get the hang of first, is navigating through 3D space. This can often take some time to get used to, and it's essential to master in order for modeling and building scenes to feel natural and fun. I offer some suggestions in the User Preferences lecture to help navigation feel more intuitive, so I would definitely check that lecture out as well.

The Axis and Grid

Now we'll go over the purpose of the world axis and the grid spanning throughout the 3D world. These are mainly used for reference purposes to show an objects location, scale, and orientation in the world, and can be used for a feature called Snapping, which allows you to do things like move an object in increments.

Units of Measurement

Now we'll go over how you can change the units of measurement used by your scene, and the various ways you can customize this. For example, the grid is typically split into 10 blocks for each larger block. If you're using Imperial units I show you a trick for splitting large 1 foot blocks into 12 smaller blocks instead of 10, so that they can be used as inches.

Viewport Shading

In this lecture I'll show you all the different shading types available in the viewport. We'll go over how to switch between solid shading, wireframe shading, material preview, and rendering. This is an important lecture in order to understand how to work with and customize the different shading types.

And we'll also go over a lot of Viewport Shading options, like how to enable MatCaps, which are a material that can be applied to your scene for fast previewing. These can be very helpful for things like surface analysis.

I'll also give you suggestions on how to tweak the X-Ray settings to be more like the "Limit Selection to Visible" option from 2.79. X-Ray allows you to be able to see through, and more important select through, an object. I'll show you how it works and why it makes more sense to change the default settings.

There are lots of options we'll go over, such as how to enable a feature called cavity, which can highlight sharp edges and darken concave edges. This is essentially an ambient occlusion feature for the viewport, and it's extremely handy.

Viewport Options

Now we'll go over some options that help you customize the 3D Viewport. This includes object type visibility, gizmo visibility, object information visibility, and also how to fix a common camera clipping issue. Often times you'll zoom into an object real close and the camera starts to go right through it. This is a common problem and has an easy fix.

Different Work Modes Overview

Before we jump into working with Blender, let's take a tour of the different work modes we can use. These are essentially different tool modes, such as Edit Mode for modeling, Sculpt Mode, Pose Mode for animating, and more. Each task has its own work mode, and I'll take you on a tour through them all and demonstrate what they're capable of.

How much do you know about Blender so far?

Working with Blender

Introduction to Working with Blender

This is just an introduction to this section, including a mention of how many tools that we'll work with in Object Mode also work in other work modes.

Selection Tools and Active Selection

We'll start off with selection basics. I'll go over the basic selection tools, like how to select, and how to add or subtract from a selection. I'll go over all the basic selection tools and how they're different from each other, and I'll also show you what "active selections" are and why they're so important.

Basic Tools

Now we'll go over the basic object mode tools, such as moving, rotating, scaling, and adding or deleting objects. I'll also explain how the 3D Cursor is used for adding new objects in, and how to move the 3D cursor around.

We'll also cover proportional editing in Object Mode, and we'll learn how to change and work with the Transform fields in the right-side toolbar. For example, using a robot arm as an example, we'll learn how to lock multiple rotation axis' so objects can only rotate in one direction.

Object Origins

No we'll go over what those oranges dots are in the middle of your objects. These are called Object Origins, and they're useful for many different reasons like for rotating and scaling, and location reference. We'll also go over the options in the "Set Origin" menu which allows us to move the origin point in various ways.

Global Axis Vs. Local Axis

This is a very important lecture on the differences between the Global Axis(the World's axis) and the Local Axis(the Object's axis). I'll go over the differences and demonstrate the usefulness of both axis'. This is definitely a good lecture to watch in order to avoid some confusion in the future, because there are many different circumstances in which one type of axis is used instead of another, so understanding the differences is key.

The 3D Cursor

Learn about the funky red and white target in the 3D View. This is mainly used as a reference point in space, and is useful for many reasons.

Transformation Orientations

Transformation Orientations are different ways that you can move, rotate, or scale your objects. There are various options for this, such as moving an object along the global axis, the local axis, or even the axis of the view itself. Very useful info in this lecture.

Pivot Point Options

Now we'll go over more options for transforming your objects. Pivot Points are points in space that transformations happen around. For example, you can pick a point in space that you can then rotate objects around. That point in space is called a Pivot Point, and there's lots of useful options for this that come in handy in different circumstances.

Duplication and Linked Duplicates

Learn how to duplicate, or copy, objects. Also how to link duplicates together. Linking duplicates allows you to connect all objects so that if you change one, the linked objects change as well, which can be very handy.

Object Parenting

Now we'll learn how parenting works. Parenting is when you connect one object to a separate parent object. Then whenever you move, rotate, or scale the parent object, the objects parented to it will change along with it.

Snapping Tools

Blender has a ton of snapping options that allow you to do things like snap objects to a grid, or even snap objects onto the surface of other objects. You can even have objects snap to slanted surfaces and make the objects rotate to match the angle of those surfaces. Lots of fun options here that come in handy often.

Origin and Parent Transformations

A newer feature in Blender is the ability to transform ONLY an object's origin, meaning you could do something like move an object's origin point without moving the object. This can come in handy and I demonstrate how.

We also now have the ability to transform a parent without transforming the children along with it. We can briefly ignore that relationship in order to move, rotate, or scale the parent without affecting the children.

Smooth , Flat, and Auto Smooth Shading

Now we'll learn about the different kinds of surface shading in order to make our models look smooth or faceted. There's also a tool that can be used to smooth small angles and keep sharp angles sharp. This is called auto smooth and we'll learn how it works.

Collections and View Layers

Since Blender 2.8, the old "layer" system has been replaced with Collections, which is far more versatile and capable of much better organization. It's similar to the layer system in painting software, where you can add objects to separate folders, or Collections in this case. So it's a really useful way of organizing your scene into groups.

We'll also go over View Layers, which replaces the old "Render Layers", but it's also very useful for scene organization alongside Collections. We'll learn how it all works in this lecture.


Now that we know about Collections, we'll go over Scenes, which can be thought of as separate projects within a single blend file. The great part about this is how easy it is to share assets between scenes. For example, you could create separate game levels, one in each scene, and be able to easily share assets like models and materials between the scenes. It's also generally great for organizing larger projects which can be split into multiple scenes.

Appending and Linking

In this lecture we'll go over the basics of bringing external models and assets into your current blend file. This is extremely useful when working with teams, or when working with any kind of re-usable asset.

Setting Up Background Images

Adding background images such as blueprints has changed since 2.8. I'll show you everything you need to know in order to add in background or references images into the 3D View, and how to set them up.

More Selection Tools

There's a menu of other selection tools that are used for more specific circumstances than the general selection tools we've already covered. These include things like selecting by type, or selecting objects that are linked in various ways.

Measuring Tool

Blender has a cool measuring tool that let's you draw rulers right in the 3D View. You can measure length and angles with this tool, and easily snap the ends of the ruler to faces, vertices, and edges for precise measurements.

Annotations Tool

This tool is a simplified version of grease pencil that let's you draw in the 3D View. This is super useful for things like drawing quick concept art or writing messages in the 3D View. This can even be animated, which is super fun and easy.

Quick Favorites Menu

A quick lecture but an important tool that let's you add your favorite and most used tools (and settings!) into a quick access menu.

Are you ready to work with Blender?

Modeling (Mesh)

Introduction to Mesh Modeling

A quick intro before jumping into the world of 3D modeling.

Mesh Anatomy and Common Terminology

Now let's dive into what elements a 3D model is actually composed of, which are vertices, edges, and faces. And we'll also cover a few terms that you'll hear occasionally in 3D art.

Everything's a Triangle

No joke. Even quads and n-gons are triangles in the end. It's better to work with Quads, and you'll learn why in this section, but in the end, everything is converted to triangles when it's shaded and rendered. This is important to understand and be aware of for various reasons.

Project - Your First 3D Model - Low Poly Axe

Before we go over all the tools, let's build something first in order for you to get the hang of the basics. It'll make understanding all the other tools a little easier, plus you'll learn enough from this lecture to be able to play around with 3D modeling on your own. So let's build a low poly axe!

What are Normals?

In short, normals are simply the direction a face or a vertex points. It's very important to at least have a basic understanding of what normals are and what they're used for in Blender, and that's what we'll go over. They're used primarily for smooth shading, but have other purposes as well.

Selection Tools and Selection Modes

In this lecture we'll go over selection tools specific to Edit Mode. Many Object mode selection tools also work in Edit Mode, but Edit Mode has some of its own tools as well. For example, there is a tool called "loop select" that allows you to select an edge and all the edges connected to it. It's a very important tool too. And there are also different selection modes that you can switch between, like Vertex select, Face select, and Edge select, that make it easier to select particular elements of your model.

Transform Tools and Basic Tools

Now we'll go over some of the most basic and fundamental tools you'll be using to model with.

Deleting, Dissolving, and Collapsing

There are actually a number of ways you can remove elements from your mesh in Edit Mode. You can delete only specific elements from a selection, or you can dissolve and collapse them. Dissolving will remove something like an edge from the model, but it'll fill the area with a face instead of creating a hole in the mesh. Collapsing will take something like a face and collapse it into a single vertex. This is an interesting chapter to at least skim through to get an idea of what options exist and how they work.

Separating and Joining

You can take two objects and join them together into one, or even separate multiple meshes in on object into separate objects. We go over all these options in this lecture.


Extruding is one of the most important tools for modeling. It allows you to make a selection and extend it, which allows you to draw shapes and make extensions to existing shapes.

Creating Faces and Edges

Now we'll learn the various ways we can create faces and edges between vertices in order to create a solid 3d object. In this lecture we'll learn about the basics, and also more complex tools like loop cutting, and how to select two vertices on a mesh and automatically draw edges from one to the other.

Face Tools - Part 1

In this lecture we'll start going over the tools in the Face Tools menu. This includes inset, poke, triangulate, converting tris to quads, solidifying faces, converting your faces into 3d wireframes, and fill tools which help you fill an area between edges with faces.

Face Tools - Part 2

Now we'll finish going over the Face Tools by starting off with Grid Fill which doesn't just fill an area with faces, but instead fills it with a grid of faces which can come in handy. We'll also go over the intersect tools, welding edges into faces, and shading options that allow you to smooth shade or flat shade selected faces in Edit Mode.

Edge Tools - Part 1

Now we'll begin going over the tools used for editing Edges. We'll go over beveling, bridge edge loops, subdividing, and subdividing edge rings.

Edge Tools - Part 2

Now we'll finish going over the Edge Tools. We'll go over un-subdivide, rotating edges, edge sliding, and the mark sharp options.

Splitting and Ripping

These are very cool tools that help you cut through your mesh by pulling the selected edges away. For example, you can select an edge on the top of the cube and rip it away and it'll be like opening a box lid. You'll also learn how you can selecting vertices of a mesh, and split them apart into their own mesh.

Knife, Knife Project, and Bisect

The knife tools allow you to draw a line over you mesh that will cut right through your mesh, adding extra edges along the cut line. This allows you to add extra custom geometry to your mesh that will give you the extra geometry you need to create more complex shapes.

Knife Project basically allows you to draw a shape, and project that shape in a direction on your mesh to create cuts, like a cookie cutter.

And Bisect allows you to draw a cutting line through your mesh, adding extra edges through your mesh, but also allows you to delete that portion of your mesh too.

Vertex Tools

In this lecture we'll go over the tools used for editing vertices. We've covered a lot of these already, but we'll go over connecting vertex pairs, smoothing vertices, and merging vertices. We'll also cover auto merge, which is a function you can enable that will automatically merge vertices together when they get close enough to each other.

And finally we'll cover vertex parenting, which is a super cool feature where you can parent external objects to vertices within another object. I'll demonstrate how this can be useful too.

Mirroring Tools

Blender has various mirroring tools that can help you mirror your mesh horizontally or vertically. There is a mirror modifier that achieves this as well, but we'll be going over the manual tools for this too, because some of them are a little different and come in handy for a quick operation.

We'll also be going over X-Mirror as well as Topology Mirror. These options can come in handy if you want to edit one side of your mesh and have it automatically edit the other side too.

Convex Hull, Spin, and Spin Duplicate

Now we'll cover some miscellaneous tools starting with convex hull, which simply creates a covering over your selection. Then we'll learn how the spin and spin duplicate tools work. Spin allows you to take a shape and spin it in a circle. So you could take the profile of a wine glass and spin it 360 degrees to create a fully 3 dimensional glass. And spin duplicate will take a selection and duplicate it while it spins it around. We use this to create the studs on a studded bracelet.

More Selection Tools

Now we'll go over the rest of the selection tools. The tools in this lecture are used for more specific circumstances, like making random selections, or making checkered selections.

Subsurf Modeling - Part 1 - Introduction

Subsurf modeling is one of the most important and most used techniques for modeling. In this lecture you'll learn exactly what it is, how to add it to your object, and why it's awesome.

Subsurf Modeling - Part 2 - Rules and Tools

Now we'll go over some guidelines you should follow when subsurf modeling. Because subsurf modeling works a specific way, there are things you'll need to be aware of when building your models. We'll also learn about edge creasing, which is a way you can select an edge and turn down the smoothing effect of the subsurf modifier.

Project - Subsurf Modeling a Coffee Mug

Now we'll take what we've learned in the previous two chapters and we'll build a coffee mug using the subsurf modifier. Putting these techniques into practice will help in understanding them and how to go about using them in your projects.

Vertex Groups

You can organize your vertices into groups, which can be useful for quickly selecting different parts of your mesh. Vertex groups are also used for rigging purposes, and they can also be used in a lot of different modifiers to have the modifier only affect certain vertices. It's a very handy feature.

Mesh Analysis and Measurements

In this lecture you'll learn about the various ways you can analyze properties of your mesh, such as angle sharpness and area thickness. You'll also learn how you can toggle on and off different measurements such as edge length and face area.

Cleaning Up Your Meshes

Once you're finished modeling something complex, there may be a few things to fix, such as stray edges not connected to anything, or even accidental holes left in your mesh. This lecture goes over the cleanup tools you can use to fix many different issues.

Editing Normals

If you're interested in learning more about normals and how to manually edit them, then this lecture's for you. I'll go more in depth about normals, and show you all the different ways you can manually edit them in Blender.

Do you have what it takes to be Blender's next top modeler?

Modeling (Curve)

Curve Editing Tools

Modeling with tools that are similar to curves in the Graph Editor? That's right!

Learn the editing tools for Curve modeling objects in this lecture.

Curve Properties

With the Curve calculations being a little more stringent compared to polygonal modeling. We have access to various Curve only modifiers. Learn about these and all the various properties in this lecture.

Taper, Bevel, Follow Path and Active Spline Panels

There are two main ways we can use another curve to change the extrusion shape of a target curve object. 1) Bevel, take the 1D Curve Line and create a new cylindrical surface, branching out from the curve origin. 2) Taper. A curve that acts as a height map, along the Y axis of the 'Taper' curve. The curve start and end's are remapped to fit match.

Not too many curveballs here, promise!

Modeling (Surface)

Surface Editing Tools

Learn about the main editing tools of the NURBS Surface mesh types. A more controlled calculation of polygons that uses control points with weighting factors to allow smooth surfaces without moving every single vertex.

Surfaces Properties

A deeper look into Surface meshes, with its various properties and Surface only modifiers.

Surface to say this Quiz will make you think!

Blender's Data System and Scenes

Beginnings and an Expanded Look at Blender's File System.

An introduction to the Data System section. With some basics about how Blender handles file data.

Theory Lecture: Connecting the User to Blender's Data

This is an optional lecture if you're curious about Blender under the hood, so feel free to jump straight ahead to the practical examples if you'd like.

How does your .blend Blender file store all the different data that creates your 3D scene? This lecture explains.

Introduction to Data-Blocks and Manipulating Data

An overview of Data-Blocks: Collections of Properties that tell Blender, for example how a 3D model is shaped, or the brightness level and color of a Lamp. And how they can or cannot be interchanged.

Example: Rollerball - Access and Manipulating Animation Data

An example to learn more about creating, modifying and interchanging Action (animation) Data-Blocks.

Example: Medieval Ladder - Using linked Data

Learn how to use Data-Blocks to your advantage!

We can modify a ladder using Linked Mesh Data-Blocks. Editing an upright ladder will copy changes to those leaning against a house.

Packing and Unpacking Data in Blender

Packing and unpacking is a helpful tool set in Blender to store external files (such as images for image textures) into the Blender .blend file itself. So you don't need to keep track of all the references to the files on your PC.

The Data Linking Menu

The Data Linking Menu contains a myriad of great options to quickly copy Data-Blocks of various types to other objects, or scenes.

An Introduction to Scenes

In this section, we'll dive just a little deeper into the data side of Scenes.

Example: Wasp Bot & The Firefly Tree - Creating a Shot with Scenes and Appending

Let's go through a practical example of appending and combining elements into a 3D sequence.

Example: Ninja Leaving the Temple Pt.1 - Creating a Shot with Scenes and Linking

Another fun practical example, this time focusing on linking a character file that you can keep in another file. Especially helpful if you're working with multiple people in a team!

Example: Ninja Leaving the Temple Pt.2 - Creating a Shot with Scenes and Linking

Further tools to deal with linking, and issues you may face now that we're referencing content from other files. That can be updated separately and change in your main scene file.

Appending or Linking? Which Production Method to Use

Some further notes to help your decision of which type of scene combining methods to use. Remember it is absolutely fine to mix both of these methods for any assets in a project.

Trivia Round! Under Blender's Hood


You can view and review the lecture materials indefinitely, like an on-demand channel.
Definitely! If you have an internet connection, courses on Udemy are available on any device at any time. If you don't have an internet connection, some instructors also let their students download course lectures. That's up to the instructor though, so make sure you get on their good side!
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