All 3D programs worth their salt have many keyboard shortcuts to speed up your modeling and improve your workflow. Blender is no exception. On this list we have compiled our 15 favorite keyboard shortcuts for Blender.
1. Control + Tab
Hitting CTRL and TAB at the same time while in edit mode will bring up the mesh select mode menu. There you can quickly switch between the face, vertex and edge select modes. This shortcut will substantially speed up your modeling.
Clicking W while in edit mode will open up the ‘Specials’ tab. The specials tab holds many useful mesh operations, including Remove Doubles, Subdivide and Smooth.
3. H / ALT + H
The shortcut H is a handy shortcut that Blender includes which will hide the selected object. This is very handy when you are working on a scene and want to hide a few things. ALT + H will un-hide the hidden objects.
4. NUMPAD /
If you hit the / key on your numpad you will enter into local view with your selected object. Local view will toggle a new layer with only the selected object on it. This layer is different from other layers because it only exists when you are in it with your selected model. After hitting / again you and your model will exit to global view mode and the layer will cease to exist. This is effectively the opposite of the hide function.
5. CTRL + B (Edit Mode)
When you hit CTRL + B in edit mode it will create a manual bevel on the edges you are selecting. Scroll your mouse wheel up to add segments to the bevel. If you want to bevel a vertex, hit CTRL + SHIFT + B.
6. CTRL + B (Object Mode)
Hitting CTRL + B when in object mode and in the camera view (hit NUMPAD 0 to toggle camera view) will allow you to enable a render border. A render border lets you restrict the rendering to a portion of your camera. You can also use this in object mode, but outside of the camera view. This can come in handy sometimes, but is not always as useful as when in camera view.
7. SHIFT + F
Shift + F is in incredibly handy shortcut that comes in handy with just about everything. By hitting the SHIFT key at the same time as the F key, you enter into first person view mode. This lets you move around with WASD and control your view by moving your mouse.
8. CTRL + T
When you hit CTRL + T in edit mode, Blender will triangulate the selected faces. This is extremely handy when you have N-gons because it will let you turn them into triangles. Using the next shortcut you can turn most of them back into quads.
9. ALT + J
If you have triangles in your model, and want them gone you can use ALT + J in edit mode. It will turn all selected triangles into quads. You will be able to change the parameters on what is turned into quads at the bottom of the tools tab (toggle it on with T).
10. F and SHIFT + F
When you’re working in sculpt or vertex/weight paint mode you can use F to let your change your brush size, and SHIFT + F to let you change the strength. This is an incredibly handy shortcut for quickly changing brush settings while working.
11. ALT + A
ALT + A is very handy when animating because it will play/pause your animation. Don’t be afraid to use this a lot when animating.
12. CTRL + A
If you hit CTRL + A you will bring up the ‘Apply’ menu. There you will be able to apply the scale, location, and the rotation. Doing this resets the scale/location/rotation values to 1.
By hitting the ` key at the top of your keyboard (beside the 1 key) you toggle on all layers. This will bring all objects into the scene at once. This is very handy for previewing lighting or for temporarily combining different models on one layer.
14. Up Arrow/Down Arrow
When you are animating and have a couple different keyframes, use the up and down arrows to switch between them. The up arrow will go to the next keyframe on the timeline, where the down arrow will jump you to the earlier keyframe.
When you hit your spacebar you will bring up a search menu. This searches all mesh operations, enabling you to quickly find things that you don’t know the shortcut to/don’t have a shortcut.
Now that you have read all our favorite shortcuts, try some of them out! With time you will have all of these down to muscle memory and not even have to think about them.