Square Blender Mistakes Thumbnail

What are the 7 most common Blender beginner mistakes?

I work in a small studio where I had the chance to introduce Blender to the rest of my colleagues, from speaking with them and also hearing from you guys I started to see a pattern. I see a lot of common mistakes come back over and over again. So I thought, today, I want to share the seven most common Blender beginner mistakes with you.

Viewport navigation

I don’t mean just turning around your scene, although moving around it can be difficult at the start for any Blender beginner. When do you get the hang of it? Pretty quickly. What I mean specifically is that there are two methods of zooming in.

In most cases it’s sufficient to zoom the view to get a closer look at something, however, you may notice that at a certain point you cannot zoom any closer.

This is because Blender stores a view-point that is used for orbiting and zooming. It works well in many cases, but sometimes you want to move the viewport to a different place. This is what Dolly supports, allowing you to transport the view from one place to another.

Of course, your short keys for navigation can be different than mine, but what is important is that you locate your Zoom view. For me, that’s shift ctrl middle mouse, and beneath that is Dolly, again for me that is ctrl middle mouse.

To avoid this beginner mistake, use your Dolly navigation instead of your zoom view navigation.

Blender Beginner mistake zoom navigation

Now your zooming may be working well, but it can happen that your pan, moving left to right, is suffering now or has been suffering all along.

To combat that enable the “depth” checkbox in the navigations tab in preferences.

Screen splitting

One of the many things I like in Blender is the ability to shift around your workspace and create whatever layout you want. But in there lies a pitfall for beginners.

Usually, I use different layouts depending on the work that needs to be done. So I usually create my workspaces on the fly.

Splitting off windows is done by dragging on the corner, but beginners usually are not familiar with that functionality. A common beginner mistake is not knowing which way to drag. And then end up eventually with screens that are just windows in windows in windows.  I saw many beginners that struggle with this, and that makes sense because it can sometimes be hard to drag the right corner and drag it in the right direction and get the right functionality out of it.

Word of advice, don’t use the weird corner thingies. Use right-click on the border and split the window, either horizontal or vertical. 

To create an, even more, user-friendly workspace you can assign them to a key that you never use for extra convenience. 

Keep in mind though, that you have to switch the key binding from “screen” to “screen editing”. Otherwise, your short key only works when initiated in a certain window. And seeing how we like the flexibility of the user interface, we might end up moving stuff around and losing our point where the short key did work.

Disappearing objects

Some blender beginners make the mistake of pressing a short key by accident, then suddenly their viewport is empty. This is a legacy from the layers system from blender 2. ancient.

1, 2, 3, up to 9 are short keys for corresponding layers, even now when we have collections. If you ask me, they make them redundant since the collections make everything more user-friendly in the outliner.

You could delete these and have nine new slots, for instance for your window split.

If you want to delete these search for collection in the keymap section of your preferences panel.

A quick note setting these split-screen options to keys one, two, or three might not be the best in this case. You probably should start with four and five because one, two, and three are taken in edit mode and these will override the functionality in edit mode. So you won’t be able to use one to select your Vertex mode or three to enter your Polygon mode. 

So four and five are safe bets in my opinion. Then you can use one, two, and three for different short keys in different windows where the short key is window specific and doesn’t over right anything.

Anyways, I have now nine more slots for short keys that I can fill up with short keys that I find more useful. So that’s a two-in-one tip there for you.

Loose geometry

Fairly early on in our Blender life, we learn how to fill a polygon, using the F key or the the the fill option. Thus, it makes sense that we apply the same filling method when connecting two vertices with an edge.

This is a blender beginner mistake I see a lot. What this does is, creates an edge running over the existing polygon. This creates loose geometry, you could clean this up by selecting the mesh and deleting the edge.
But see you’re not sure you’ve done this some more, don’t worry. Go to select in the top or bottom menu of the viewport. (depending on your workspace) The option ‘select by trait’, lets us select the loose geometry all at one.

Now we can delete every loose edge, or vertex, in one go.

Filling an edge looks like you cut through the polygon, however you connected the vertices with an edge over the existing polygon. Instead, think of using J in vertex mode to connect the vertices and split the polygon.

Alternatively, you could use the knife tool.

Interior faces

On a similar note, you might accidentally have filled the interior of the mesh with a new polygon. When you have an edge loop selected and accidentally press F the interior gets filled with a polygon.

In complex meshes, this can lead to several issues for instance while subdividing or shading smooth the mesh. 

If this is one polygon you could just delete it, plain and simple.
Use a similar method as before if you want to check the model for more interior faces. Select by trait > interior faces. 

Delete all selected faces

Animating object visibility

One of the most awesome things in Blender is that almost everything is keyable. From checkboxes to transform channels and nodes to focal length.
With that comes the possibility to animate the visibility. I use this method a lot, even in my latest project, an animated timelapse, which you can check out as well.

The problem is that after they animate a scene like this they just render it. When we playback that render, we discover that multiple objects are still visible.

Keep in mind, that you only have keyframed the viewport visibility. Next to that icon is the render visibility. You have to keyframe them both, for the best workflow.

If you find that confusing at first, consider scaling your object to zero and animating it back to scale 1,1,1. Over the timespan of 2 frames, that gives you the seem visual effect.
Keep in mind this last blender beginner mistake though, you’re almost there!

Rest position

When you are animating something, it’s usually handy to have an appropriate rest position. 

Let me show you what I mean. For example, when you have to make an assembly video of a technical drawing, very specific I know, that’s my job though. You want to make sure that every part is coming back to the right position. 

It’s easier to snap back to 0,0,0 than to 9,2924, 1,065, 0,68, try and remember that when you moved your object without keying its rest position.

The same goes for every other transform channel. Like I said earlier if you want to hide objects with scaling to 0, make sure that your rest position for scale is set to 1.

Now when you press Alt S the object comes back to the original scale.

Use Alt S, to reset the scale. Use Alt G, to reset the position. Use Alt R, to reset rotation. 

Hopefully, you can avoid these Blender beginner mistakes and have a clean start on your Blender journey.

As always stay creative!