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Over the last year using Blender I've found some really useful shortcuts and features. so I though I would compile a short list of some of the most useful ones that I use almost everyday. This article is geared towards beginners but more experienced users could find they missed a few of these. Enjoy!


1. Hover Copy/Paste

This one is the best of them all, if you read any of this read this! If you hover over a value or color and press CTRL C it will copy the value! No need to click on it and select it, just hover!

3 by RegusMartin

2. Random Node

The random node is an output from the "Object Info' node found under the "Input" folder. The random node has unlimited possibilities. In the example I linked the random output to a color ramp node with 3 colors, then plugged that into an emission shader. And as you can see it randomly selects one of the colors for each object. Using the color ramp you can set any amount of colors for any amount of objects!

Random Node by RegusMartinUntitled by RegusMartin



3. Progressive refine

Ever since I found out about progressive refine I never went back. Under the "Performance" tab in the "Render" panel, there's this little check box. If you check it, instead of rendering each tile to make a full image, it renders the entire image one sample at a time. Which means if you set the sample count to 5000 then you can wait till you can't see any more noise(At 1200 samples) and then stop the render! Believe me this is a huge time saver!

Prgresive Refine by RegusMartin

4. Render border

When your using cycles you often want to use the preview renderer. Now when you got to rendered view most likely your computer starts to get sluggish.and for good reason! Its trying to render your entire scene in realtime! now to make this much faster just go to The "dimensions" tab and click the check box "Border" now you'll see that if you go to camera view (CTRL ALT NUMPAD 0) its only rendering inside the camera! and if you press CTRL B you can drag a box around any area to render. Also the other check box "crop" will crop your render size to the border you have made.

Eiffel-tower by RegusMartin

5. Transparent Background

One thing that I commonly need is a render with a transparent background. There are many way to do this. but this way only involves one click. Under the film tab there is a check-box called, you guessed it! "transparent"! check that and on all your renders it will replace the sky with transparency.
Screen by RegusMartin

6. Matcaps

Matcaps are perfect for sculpting and previewing you're mesh in a render-like preview. To use them Press N to bring up the properties panel and scroll down to the "shading" tab and click "Matcap" then click on the Matcap and there will be a list of 24 unique Matcaps. Currently there is not a way to show custom Matcaps. But there is a workaround that allows you to. Ben Simonds explains how to do so Here
12 by RegusMartin

7. Lock Interface

This feature is for speeding up renderings. There is a small lock icon in the render panel. It locks the interface when you hit render so that Blender doesn't need to use memory for running the UI. I haven't tested to see how much time it actually saves on render times, but I'm sure it could add up in large renders or animations.
Studio by RegusMartin
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Add a Comment:
 
:iconbiohazard-croft:
Biohazard-Croft Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2015
Thanks for this ^^
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:iconregusmartin:
RegusMartin Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2015  Student Digital Artist
No problem :) Thanks for reading!
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:iconred-creations:
red-creations Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2014
Thank you for sharing. :)
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:iconregusmartin:
RegusMartin Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Glad to do so :)
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:iconbrentogara:
BrentOGara Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Nice info! I didn't know about Lock Interface, Random, or Hover Copy! Thanks for the info :D
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:iconregusmartin:
RegusMartin Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Thanks! And no problem! 
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:iconbrentogara:
BrentOGara Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:D
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:icondakin87:
Dakin87 Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Really helpfull !
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:iconregusmartin:
RegusMartin Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Thanks :D
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:iconmobileforce:
MobileForce Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2014
Thank you! very useful, especially Lock interface, transparent, and progressive refine.
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:iconregusmartin:
RegusMartin Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2014  Student Digital Artist
glad it helped you!
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:icondazinablender:
DazInABlender Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Can you make this available for download, please? I'd like to have it for offline reference.
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:iconregusmartin:
RegusMartin Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2014  Student Digital Artist
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:icondazinablender:
DazInABlender Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you
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:iconomer242:
omer242 Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2014
Nice tips. Thanks!
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:iconregusmartin:
RegusMartin Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2014  Student Digital Artist
No problem!
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:iconlobyteso:
LoByteSo Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Cool, thanks a lot! :-)
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:iconregusmartin:
RegusMartin Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Thanks :)
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:iconhsoj95:
hsoJ95 Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for these excellent tips! :)
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:iconregusmartin:
RegusMartin Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014  Student Digital Artist
No problem! 
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:iconrsomat:
rsomat Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014  Professional Filmographer
Thanks now I know three new things and I'm not a beginner, Great article :)
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:iconregusmartin:
RegusMartin Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Thanks!
Reply
:iconmarcclintdion:
marcClintDion Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014
That Object Info->Random node in combination with a color ramp is exactly what I've been looking for to tint leaves.  Thanks that's so easy and perfect for what I want.   I had no idea that's how it works, I expected that it would output integer values(1, 2, 3, etc...) and because of that I could not get it to work,  that is really cool!
Reply
:iconregusmartin:
RegusMartin Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Yeah, its a great feature! I though it was imported to show how to use it with the color ramp since I know a lot of users "know of" the feature but not how to use it. I've used it for leaves before myself. works perfect!
Reply
:iconterrance8d:
Terrance8d Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2014  Hobbyist Interface Designer
Thanks! I didn't know about most of these features, despite using Blender for nearly 2 years!
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:iconregusmartin:
RegusMartin Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Glad you finally learned them!
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:iconsewing0109:
SEwing0109 Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Has Blender's GUI gotten any better?

That was the primary reason I stopped using it. That, and the fact that every "improvement" invalidated every existing tutorial. It was near-impossible to find a full tutorial series on the current version of the program!

I remember getting lost in all the tabs and tiles, as well as getting literal headaches from trying to go back and forth between options in the program.

Once I got the student version of 3DS Max, I left Blender behind for good.
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:iconjackbryanreynard:
JackBryanReynard Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Blender's GUI has actually gotten a really strong overhaul as of version 2.7x. The overhaul doesn't really invalidate anything much--the only upgrade that REALLY shook things up was the transition from 2.4x to 2.5x. Past that, you can apply a lot of the tutorials from the 2.5x era to v.2.71 just fine. Places like CG Cookie and Blender Guru have really great tutorials for beginners and advanced artists alike.

Also, it's really impossible to master everything in Blender. It actually has more functionality out of the box than Maya does (that is to say, Maya without plugins). Blender was really created for an indie type of studio or team where a very small number of people do EVERYTHING with just one piece of software: Blender. Autodesk software is designed to be cross-compatible across multiple specialised tasks for a large team.

But long story short, Blender's UI is actually really agreeable now. As somebody who started 4 years ago with v.2.49, I can tell you that with confidence. If you don't believe me, drop by blender.org and take a look at the new version!

Though I am really jealous of some of the modelling tools available to 3DS Max users. Cheers!
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:iconsewing0109:
SEwing0109 Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the great and prompt response!

I am definitely an independent creator ATM, so I think I'll give Blender another shot.
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:iconregusmartin:
RegusMartin Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014  Student Digital Artist
JackBryanReynard said about everything I was going to say. Every since 2.5x Blenders UI has been much better to use. And the Blender Foundation now has a team for working on all things UI related, so it should be getting even better in the next year or so.
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:iconsewing0109:
SEwing0109 Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Definitely look into it. I started using it ion 2.3, I think, and was definitely using it when it went from 2.4 to 2.5. Actually used an older version just because I found more tutorials for it.
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:iconregusmartin:
RegusMartin Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Yeah that area was a hard part for a lot of users. But I don't think there will be any major UI redesigns any time soon. Just major improvements.
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:iconchopelina:
Chopelina Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much! 
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:iconregusmartin:
RegusMartin Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014  Student Digital Artist
No problem!
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:iconabdoubouam:
AbdouBouam Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
woow,  i didn't know about the hover ctrl+c/ctrl+v and the random node, this sure will help me a lot
also i didn't know about lock interface, it will increase rendering time a lot for my weak computer
thanks a lot :D
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:iconregusmartin:
RegusMartin Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014  Student Digital Artist
:)
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:iconabdoubouam:
AbdouBouam Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
;)
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:iconcshep99:
cshep99 Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow! i didn't know about the hover copy/past, i will definitely start using that! 
and the matcap one. i don't sculpt much, but i just tested it and i just might start using that too!
Thanks for sharing these tips! :D
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:iconregusmartin:
RegusMartin Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Glad you learned something!
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