The Blender Property Panel is perhaps one of the most important features of Blender as it pretty much controls almost everything in Blender. In this post, you will get an overview of the Blender Property Panel.
In the previous post, you learnt about the Blender Interface! In that post, I touched on a bit of the Properties window. Since it is one of the most important features of Blender, I will be giving a brief overview of the Blender Property panel. By the end of this post, you will have an understanding of the Property window and hopefully gain more confidence using this software!
Below is what you should see at the top of the Property panel.
As you can see, there are all these different buttons. Some of them look somewhat obvious at first glance, others look pretty confusing (or maybe even disturbing to some but hopefully not). I will now step through one-by-one with each button and explain what they do!
First, the Render settings. This is where you go when you want to render an image or animation. You can set the location where you want to store your rendered stuff. You can also adjust a bunch of values here that will give you the best quality renders for your scene. Apart from test renders, you would generally come here once you’re scene is ready with the lights and cameras in place. The result is usually satisfaction from a beautiful render or tears realizing how much more you need to learn..
This is the RenderLayer settings. This allows you to set up which layers you want to render. For example, you might have objects in your scene that you don’t want to be seen in a render. You can put those objects in a separate renderlayer and hide them during rendertime. You can also add and combine more than one render layer. This is most beneficial for artists who may want to work with each element in their scene individually during compositing or something.
In the Scene settings, you set up your 3D world. You can change from the default Blender unit system to the real-world metric system (the one with centimetres and metres). You can also set the gravity of your 3D world. The default is -9.8 which is the real value that keeps us grounded on Earth. The negative value means we are being shoved towards the ground. A positive value will make us fly towards the sky. If you change the value to 0, you would simulate space. Good if you’re making a space movie.
The World settings allow you to define what your sky will look like. Whether you want daytime, nightime, cloudy or extra-terrestrial, you light up your sky here.
This is the Object settings. This allows you to modify the current object that is selected in the 3D viewport. You can change things like location, rotation and scale. You can also change the name of the object, how it should be displayed in the viewport, whether it should be visible. Pretty powerful object manipulation here!
The Constraints tab allows you to create one or more constraints for your currently selected 3D object. You get to set laws for your objects and they have to obey! Power to the artist! You can make your object follow a path, or copy the movements of another object. You can make another object “stick” to another object. Like a hat being “stuck” on a person’s head. You can also make an object point at another object. For instance, you can make your camera point at your character no matter where he/she moves! You can really reduce the time needed to animate everything. Pretty cool stuff I reckon!
This is the Modifiers settings. A modifier is used to transform your object without destroying the original model in any way. There are loads of modifiers in Blender. With modifiers, you can explode your objects, bend them, and do all sorts of things with them. If you remove (or hide) the modifier, your original model still remains intact.
This is the Object Data settings. This adds properties to your currently selected object in Edit Mode. You mainly visit this tab to set Vertex Groups and/or shape keys.
The Materials tab is where you create shaders for your 3D objects. You can define a very basic shader for your object here. With the Cycles render engine, you have the ability to create even more advanced shaders (like realistic human skin or translucent leaves for example) but you would need to go to the Node Editor (yet another Editor) to customize your shaders. With Blender Internal, you can pretty much create most of your shaders within the Materials tab.
The Texture tab allows you to import your own image textures or use some of the procedural textures built into Blender. There are variety of different procedural textures within Blender with the most popular one being the Cloud texture. This tab isn’t only for Materials but can also be used for sculpting brushes or defining a normal/displacement map (images that creates bumps on your object, but you don’t need to know what these are for now if you’re completely new to all this).
The Particle settings allow you to create fur/hair/hairy stuff that emit from your 3D object. You can add hair to your character or add fur to your dog. I’m guessing this would be obvious, lol. Alternatively, you also come here if you want to generate particles emitting from your 3D object. Particles are great for fireworks or rain for example.
The last tab (phew) is the Physics tab. Here you can simulate real-world physics. You can make cloth animation here. You can make water/fluid animation. You can make wind effects. You can also make stuff crash and collide with each other. You would visit this tab a lot if you were working on an epic car crash scene!
And that’s all the modifiers! Wow, that was a lot of tabs! I felt a little tired typing all that as it seems like it’s not that many when I look at it in Blender. Anyway, I hope you found this post useful. Thanks for reading!