3d in Blender #1 – Importing SVG and Getting Started

The UI in Blender 2.8 is undoubtedly an improvement on previous editions which I found pretty impenetrable but that, along with the fact that a lot of it is done by keyboard shortcuts, means that we’re going to be a bit lacking when it comes to video support for a while. However I will link to the videos that I found useful in this YouTube playlist and at the bottom of each page.

As such i’ll be keeping notes here. If you’ve stumbled across them, maybe you too will find them useful.

I’m pretty comfortable with Illustrator and not planning to be doing much modelling in Blender. The workflow i’m looking for involves being able to design 2d shapes in Illustrator and then either Extrude, Lathe it and from there Create an Array of Instances of the above objects in Blender.

That’s all I want in terms of creating the objects, Light and Materials I’ll look at later.

It’s a good idea to have a point in the Illustrator file where you want the pivot to on any objects so you can select that point later in Blender.

Make sure object is one path in Illustrator then export as SVG. Import as SVG in Blender is easy enough. It’ll be imported as a CURVE. Multiple paths in illustrator will appear as multiple CURVES.

Also, it’ll be tiny by default so you might not see it immediately and will likely need to zoom right in. We can either make the document size massive in illustrator then scale it up in Blender, but that’s not the first thing we must do because likely as not our Pivot and Origin points aren’t in the right places.

Pivot and Origin Points

First thing to do in Blender is to get its Pivot AND Origin points in the right place though, otherwise we’ll be confused later, and they’re not necessarily in the same place.

Select the Curve as a whole in Object Mode then go into Edit Mode to select the pivot/origin point on the Curve you’ve imported. Then:

  • Shift + S – Cursor to Selected – This moves the 3D Cursor to that point on the object.
  • Setting the Origin involves finding it in the menu. Seems there used to be a heavy combination of shortcut keys for this. Now, though it’s Object Mode, Object -> Set Origin -> Origin to 3D Cursor

The Pivot and Origin should then both be in the middle of the object, or wherever you decided you wanted it.

I should write a script for this.

Note that with the keyboard shortcut . (yes, a full stop) – 3D Cursor – you can move the Pivot Point to the 3D Cursor without changing the Origin.

Centering and Scaling the Object

From there, to get the object to live in the center of the world to be worked on, set all its values to 0, and if it’s an object that’s going to be standing up, rotate it 90 degrees on the Z axis.

Then scale it up to the size you actually need it to be so you can zoom out again and actually start to get something useful done.

Useful Videos: