As someone proposed, I decided to make a series of a few tutorials for the designers out there that don't have the necessary $s to buy a proprietary software like Rhinoceros or Pepakura. I myself don'ŧ own a copy of these products, thus using Inkscape + Gimp + Blender to create my designs (well I'm working on the fist one so far - the locomotive, but hopefully, other will follow ) Pars prima: The beginnings are always hard Other parts: Pars secunda: Lighting and Materials Pars Tertia - The Knight Show (Basic Modelling) So you are decided to make your diagrams in Blender, butr you don't know how? Then you're just like me a couple of years ago. I started using Blender, but it was a Spanish village for me (Czech idiom = I didn't understand it at all; more interrestingly, a similar Idiom exists in German - "Es sind Böhmische Dörfer für mich" = This is like Czech villages to me :-D ). The hardest thing is to learn the user interface, so this tutorial will concentrate on it. Finally, we will use our new aquired skills to produce a simple render of a cube. So if you don't yet have one, go to blender.org and obtain a copy of Blender, prefferably 2.41 or higher, since I'm using 2.41. Start it up. What you see upon the startup is the basic layout of Blender, there are a few more and you can customize them, but that is beyound the scope of this tutorial. Let's just concentrate on the most important things. So starting from the top we see: Main menu, then 3D view along with some buttons belonging to it and even more below it we see another bunch of strange controls and buttons. Ok, let's forget about the buttons for a while and let's try to move around in the 3D view a bit. It is very easy. Try pressing numbers 7, 1 and 3 on the numeric pad of your keyboard. They switch the view to the top view, front view or side view, correspondingly. Now try to press the middle button (you can press both buttons if you don't have a middle button) and make small circles with the mouse - see, you're orbitting around the scene. Now press [shift] and make circles with the pressed middle button - you pan your view, finally, pressing [ctrl] and moving the mouse with middle button pressed zooms in or out (you can also use the mouse wheel). So that would be the movement in 3D view. Now let's try to create a simple scene and render it. In the 3D view, you can see some basic stuff - a cube and a camera. So just select the cube with your right mouse button and try to scale it a bit with the key. You can also move it with the [G] key, if you want. It's G as in Grab. FIne, that should be enough for now. Press  - zero on the numerical keyboard - this changes your view to the camera. The cube is still selected. To deselect (or select) all objects on a given layer, the [A] key is used - very useful sometimes. So just try to press it. Everything should be unselected now. Now, still in the camera view - can you see the three frames around the view? Yes, that's it those two slashed frames and one solid. The first slashed frame is just some guide I don't pay attention to it. But the second slashed frame, on the other hand, should be payed some attention to, since this is the border of the rendered picture. The third frame, the solid one, is in fact our camera object, we are observing the scene from. So try to select the camera by left clicking this frame. Now, we need to set the camera to be orthogonal, because the model diagrams are not in perspective. So let's have a look at the bunch of buttons at the bottom of the screen (let's call this the Buttons Window). By pressing those tiny buttons at the top of this window (at the right side of the label "Panels"), you are switching between different types of those buttons. Alternatively, you can use [F4] thru [F10]. With our camera selected, press [F9] and look at the buttons. You can see two tabs there - labeled "Links and Materials" and "Camera". We will focus on the "camera" tab. Notice that little button labeled "Orthographic". Press it. Our camera has turned an orthographic camera. Play a bit with the scale slider at the top of the button (don't try to drag, just click - dragging would slide by too large amounts), so that our cube fits in the rendered area (the second slashed frame). You can also press [G] in the 3D view and grab the camera a little bit, so that our cube sits right in the middle of the scene. Now, press [F10] and look at the Buttons Window. See the BIG "Render" button there? Try to press it and - voila! We have a big black cube picture! (Or a big grey cube picture, I can't recall, whether there was a light in the standard scene) Anyhow, this is the end of this lesson, next time we shall focus on the eye candy part - the materials, lighting and edge rendering. Till the next time!