Is Blender 3D Good for Source/How to Start
Is Blender 3D practical for Source Mods?
As it stands, Blender 3D has very limited support for exporting .SMD files. (For information on the currently-available exporter, see Modeling props with Blender.) This is currently the only .SMD export plugin available for Blender, and it "does not support skeletons, multiple materials, or animations, but it does support hard/soft edges". You can download it with this link. Therefore, Blender 3D is currently only useful for creating prop models for Source maps. Despite its limited export capabilities, Blender is a very powerful asset for Source mappers who want to create their own custom content.
There is also a third-party .SMD exporter plugin currently in the works. For more information about the usefullness of Blender 3D as a program, its applications in the Source engine, and the new plugin that is being created to add full .SMD exporting support to Blender, see these forum threads: plugin, ModDB Forums - Blender 3D.
For those in the Source editing community who want a full and complete 3D editing program that is both free and requires little HD space (Blender 3D is a 10MB program, and is comparable to XSI or even 3DS MAX, which are both well over 100MB), Blender 3D is a godsend. Moreover, with the prospect of a new fully functional .SMD exporter on the horizon, Blender 3D is looking like an excellent 3D model-authoring solution for Source projects.
Beginning with Blender 3D
I started using Blender3D (Blender3D.org) just a few months ago (I had no prior 3D modeling experiance), and I recommend all newcomers to the program to consider the steps I took when learning the program and how to model.
The following are video tutorials from the Blender3D.org website that detail certain vital aspects of Blender that you need in order to get started. I found that the video tutorials help you much more than text tutorials do. I understand that the video files are large. However, I consider them invaluable in learning the program.
(I highly recommend watching them in order.)
When you are through with the video tutorials, try taking a look at the Blender 3D: Noob to Pro wiki. It will gradually take you through a few different projects that will get you familiar with the items you've already learned from the video tutorials.
Beyond the beginning
For more advanced video tutorials: Greybeard's Blender Tutorials
Useful keys in Blender 3D
- S (scale)
- G (grab/move)
- R (rotate)
- A (select all)
- Ctrl-Leftclick (freehand select)
- B (border select)
- F (create face)
- Shift-F (connect selected vertices with faces; all vertices must be connected by edges in some way)
- K (knife tool)
- W (special actions menu)
- Ctrl-J (join selected objects)
- Shift-S (3D cursor options)
- Tab (toggle edit mode/object mode)
- Z (wireframe toggle)