The Interface Options in Blender's User Preferences - dummies

The Interface Options in Blender’s User Preferences

By Jason van Gumster

The first set of available options in Blender’s User Preferences relate to how you interact with your scene within the 3D View. Moving from left to right, here are some of the more useful options:

The Interface options in User Preferences.
The Interface options in User Preferences.
  • Display: The options in this column toggle the display of ­various ­informational elements in the 3D View, such as tooltips, object information, and the small mini axis in the bottom left corner.

  • View Manipulation: The options in this column give you control over how you interact with the environment in the 3D View.

    • Auto Depth and Zoom To Mouse Position: If you tend to create large environment scenes, having these two options enabled is often useful so that you can quickly navigate your way through your scene without becoming stuck.

    • Smooth View: Smooth View is probably one of the coolest convenience options added to Blender in recent history and as such, it deserves explicit mention here. By default, Smooth View is set to a value of 200. If you go to your 3D View and choose View→Camera (Numpad 0), the 3D View smoothly animates the change from the default perspective view to the Camera’s perspective. Pretty slick, huh? The values in Smooth View are in milliseconds, with a maximum value of 1,000, or 1 second (although that’s a bit slow for most tastes). The default value of 200 works nicely, but play with it on your own and see what works best for you.

  • Manipulator: The 3D manipulator is the large colored axis at the center of the cube in Blender’s default scene. Its main purpose is to move, rotate, or scale your selection in the 3D View. The settings here control whether or not the manipulator is enabled by default, as well as its size when visible.

    • Menus: Some users prefer to have menus immediately pop open when they run their mouse cursor over them. The options under this heading facilitate that preference. It’s disabled by default, but you can enable the Open On Mouse Over check box and then use the values below that to adjust the delay, or how long your mouse has to be over a menu’s name before it pops up.

    • Pie Menus: Pie menus are an optional menu type in Blender. The settings here offer a little control over how the pie menus appear, and for how long.