You open Blender for the first time. You panic; there’s buttons everywhere. You close it again: “I’ll figure it out some other day.”
Today is that some other day.
Okay. First things first: Blender is of the mentality that everything should adapt to how you want it. You can edit, move and change basically everything you see to your liking. You’ll notice that mine, below, is slightly different from the factory default.
You’ll also notice that I’ve outlined some buttons in the corners of some boxes. Two things: you can have as many boxes as you’d like and each one has that button in the corner which denotes what that box does. You can click and drag the boundaries of the boxes with the line that separates them (when you hover over the line your cursor should change to the double edged arrows). You can split and join them by right clicking when you’re in that hovering arrow area and selecting the appropriate option.
If you select “join” you’ll be given an arrow pointing towards one or the other of the boxes on either side of the crease you selected (note, you can’t join one of those three right boxes into the bigger one left box, it must be a crease where there’s only two sides. For example: joining on of those three boxes vertically into another = good) and if you move your mouse into either of the boxes that’s the one that will “fill” with the other, joining into one big box.
If you want to split, it’ll allow you to place the new crease. Obviously, you can always move it after it’s placed.
That was a mouthful. Basically, if you right click a crease and want to join things, it’ll give you the option of which kind of box you want to keep. Remember those little buttons in the first photo? Let’s go there next:
Those are the kind of box it is. The large one on the left is a 3D view box, showing you the 3D view. So is the middle one in that group of three; it’s a 3D view that I keep set to my camera’s view (we’ll get there later). There’s also a timeline in the middle bottom and a node box in the middle top – two more things we’ll cover much later – and on the far right the “properties” menu, which is to say the main panel of doing things. In the factory default there’ll also be a box above this menu that is a tree of all the objects in your scene; I’ve found this mostly useless. Preferences vary, obviously, but if you’re low on screen real estate that’d be on my list of things to not need. Right click on the crease, join upwards (so the arrow is into the outliner box) and click to confirm.
So, when you’ve played around and set things up how you like them you can save them so that every time you open Blender (and every time you click “new”) it’ll go back to that state. Your UI will be saved with each file, so if you have an animation and a bunch of animation boxes, it’ll load exactly like that next time. If you don’t need them and have gotten rid of them, it’ll save and load exactly how you leave it. To save the UI you’ve made as that startup default, it’s in the top menu like so:
And there’s the factory default setting just below that if you screw it up and want to reset.
Protip: in the load menu, there’s a toggle on the left for “load UI” which is what it sounds like: you can choose to load the file’s UI as it was or load the file with the UI you currently have.
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