LogoBlender.jpg

Blender is a powerful and complex 3D modeling and rendering package.
Blender is a free software package for authoring "three-dimensional" (3D) graphics, including still images, games, and video.

http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Blender_3D:_Noob_to_Pro#Table_of_Contents

Steps in the Modeling Process

In 3D computer graphics, a model is an abstract version of an object or scene that is suitable for rendering. Modeling is the process of making models.
Authoring the 3D scene for “A Lonely House” probably involved:
  1. Object modeling — describing the shapes of objects, such as birds and trees, in three dimensions
  2. Shading — applying patterns of color and texture to each object
  3. Lighting — describing the intensity, color, direction and so on of the light source
If “A Lonely House” were made into a video, there would be additional steps of animating the scene (describing how it changes over time):
  1. Rigging — describing how parts of a creature, such as the birds' wings, can move relative to other parts
  2. Posing — choreographing the positions of the objects and their parts in the 3D scene over time
Blender is a capable tool for each and all of these steps

Mouse Notation

Blender uses three mouse buttons and the scroll wheel as well, if you have one. NumberedMouse_thumb5.jpg
Notation
Action or Button
LMB
click with the Left Mouse Button
RMB
click with the Right Mouse Button
MMB
press down on (don't turn) the scroll wheel or Middle Mouse Button
SCROLL
turn the scroll wheel in either direction

Blender Interface

1)
Blender_interface.jpg

2)
Blender_2_5x.jpg

3) Window Headers

Did you find all five headers?
Every Blender window has a header. A header can appear at the top of the window, at the bottom of the window, or it can be hidden. Let's take a closer look at the headers.
800px-Blender-_3headers.jpg
The header of the Info window is outlined in green.
The header of the 3D View window is outlined in red. Note that it runs along the bottom of the 3D View window, not the top.
The header of the Properties window is outlined in blue.
The header of the Outliner window is outlined in white.
The header of the Timeline window is the one on the bottom (not outlined)

4) Window Types

Blender has 15 types of windows. You've just encountered the Info, 3D View, Properties, and Outliner windows. The rest will be introduced as needed in later modules.
Every window header in Blender has an icon at the left end to indicate the window type. For instance:
  • Blender_2_59_Info_ico.png = Info
  • Blender_2_59_User_Prefs_ico.png = User Preferences
  • Blender_2_59_3d_view_icon.png = 3D View
  • Blender_2_59_Outliner_ico.png = Outliner
  • Blender_2_59_Properties_ico.png = Properties
If you LMB on the icon, a menu will pop up.
400px-Screen_shot_2011-08-21_at_10_19_29_PM.png
By matching the icon in the header to the icons in the menu, you can tell that the window here is a 3D View window.
The menu can be used to alter a window's type. In this screenshot, the user is about to change the window into a Properties window.

Properties Window

Blender255PropertiesTabs.png
Render Context Blender255RenderContextButton.png
In here are the settings that control rendering of the final images: which layers to render, what resolution to use, output format, performance, post processing, etc.
Scene Context Blender255SceneContextButton.png
In here are some settings for use when previewing the scene on-screen, and choosing which camera to use for rendering.

World Context Blender255WorldContextButton.png

In here are settings that govern the surroundings in which the model is rendered: background sky color, mist and star settings, environment lighting etc.

Object Context Blender255ObjectContextButton.png

In here are settings that apply to all kinds of objects: overall transformations, layer assignments, grouping etc. The settings shown here (and any changes made) apply to the last object selected. This is also the case for the following object-specific contexts.

Object Constraints Context Blender255ObjectConstraintsContextButton.png

In here are settings that limit the motion of the object for animation purposes. The limits can also be tied to the motion of other objects in various ways.

Object Modifiers Context Blender255ObjectModifiersContextButton.png

In here are settings for applying modifiers to the object geometry. Note that lamps, cameras and empty objects cannot have modifiers.

Material Context Blender255MaterialContextButton.png

The material settings for an object control how it looks: its colour, whether it has a shiny or dull surface, how transparent it is, and so on.

Texture Context Blender255TextureContextButton.png

The texture settings specify patterns that break up the uniform appearance of a material: these patterns can affect the colour of the material, or give it a rough surface, or modify it in other ways.

Particles Context Blender255ParticlesContextButton.png

An object can be set to emit particles, like smoke, flames or sparks. But the concept of “particles” (and the underlying algorithms) also includes the generation of hair or fur.

Physics Context Blender255PhysicsContextButton.png

In here you will find settings that control how the object reacts to forces like objects in the real world: whether it behaves like a rigid body that keeps its shape but can be knocked around, cloth, something soft e.g a pillow, or a flowing liquid.

A Virtual Scavenger Hunt

Peer into the viewport at the default scene provided by the creators of Blender and find the following eight items:
In the Center
1. cube.png a solid gray cube with orange edges.
  • This is the top face of the default cube, your first Blender object!
2. red_white_circle.png Three big arrows, one red, one green and one blue, their tails joined to a white circle
  • This is not an object. It is the manipulator for the 3D transform widget.
  • The arrows represent the directions of the X, Z and Y axes of the global coordinate system.
  • The circle represents the center of the selected object (namely, the cube).
To the Right of Center
3. lamp.png A black round thing that resembles a sun-symbol
This represents a lamp, a light source for the scene. (It is an object.)
4. camera.png A black triangular thing
This represents a camera, a viewpoint that can be used for rendering. (It, too, is an object.)On a small display, the camera might initially lie outside of the viewport and thus be invisible. In that case, zoom out by scrolling with MMB until it becomes visible.Throughout
Source: Blender 3D: Noob to Pro/What Blender Can Do