Blender 3D: Noob to Pro/Blender Interface

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Here's a preview screenshot of Blender's interface, after a new installation.

Blender initial startup display

For those familiar with older versions of Blender, this will look very different. The redesign makes it much easier to find things.

For a detailed rationale explaining the redesign, read this.

Why does Blender use its own windowing system instead of the operating system's?[edit | edit source]

Blender follows its own user interface conventions. Instead of making use of multiple windows as defined by your particular OS/GUI, it creates its own “windows” within a single OS/GUI window, which is best sized to fill your screen. Many people accustomed to how applications normally work on their platform of choice, get annoyed by Blender’s insistence on being different. However, there is a good reason for it.

The essence of the Blender UI can be summed up in one word: workflow. Blender was originally created by a 3D graphics shop for their own in-house use. Being a key revenue engine for them, they designed it for maximum productivity, speed and smoothness of operation. That means avoiding “bumps” that slow down the user. For example, windows never overlap, so there’s no need to keep reordering them. You don’t have to click in a window to make it active, just move the mouse. There is a minimum of interruption from popups asking for more information before performing some action. Instead, the action is immediately performed with default settings, which you can adjust afterwards and get immediate feedback on the results.

Blender may not be “intuitive” to start learning, in that you cannot simply sit down in front of it and figure out things on your own, especially from a position of knowing nothing at all. But once you have picked up some basic conventions, you will find it starts to make sense and then you will be free to experiment and discover things on your own.

"Save changes on exit" prompt[edit | edit source]

As of Blender version 2.79, you are prompted on exit when there are unsaved changes. You can change this behaviour in Edit → Preferences → Save & Load → Save Prompt.

Prior to that version, Blender was not asking about unsaved changes. Instead, Blender saved changes, when it closes, to a file called 'quit.blend'. The next time you use Blender, you had to select File → Recover Last Session to resume right where you left off.