For those unfamiliar with it Blender is a 3D open source suite capable of modeling, texturing, animation and rendering. I’ve recently been playing around with it after hearing about the incredible progress which has been made on this front over the last few years.
Below you can see a screenshot of the basic interface.
Click on the image for a full size screenshot.
Basic Navigation in the 3D Environment
Chances are, unless someone is there to tell you how to navigate around the 3D environment, it won’t come natural to you. The good news is that all navigation is handled by the middle mouse button of a standard 3 button mouse. After a few minutes of using Blender you brain will form the required connections to do this properly! Here are the precise functions and how to perform them:
MMB Scroll – allows you to zoom in and out of the scene.
MMB+Shift [click and drag] – grabs the scene and allows you to pan across it.
Also note that Blender is cursor context sensitive. This means the above functions will only work if your cursor is above the 3D view in the center of the screen. If you’re over the “File, Edit, etc” menu these functions won’t work to navigate around the scene for example. This generally applies to all things Blender, if you’re trying to do something and not getting the expected result make sure your cursor is correctly positioned!
Good luck and have fun Blendering!