Blender - Common Mistakes & Tips

Posted on Nov. 14, 2019, 3:48 p.m. by Curtain • Last updated on Jan. 14, 2020, 2:49 a.m.

Blender - Common Mistakes & Tips

[Updated: December 19th 2019]
Change Log at the bottom.

1. How do I use Old and New versions of Blender?

Blender Versions
I recommend downloading the portable versions of Blender 2.79b and Blender 2.8X. 
You can switch between versions anytime, or run them both simultaneously.
  • .zip = Windows Portable
  • .tar.bz2 = Linux Portable
Unzip and run Blender, no installation required. a, b, c, d releases include the latest official fixes for Blender.

2. Help! I installed a Blender Add-on, but nothing happened or it doesn't appear to work.

[Before continuing, make sure to read the official instructions from the add-on author.]
[Sometimes you may find instructions within the .py file (Python file) using Notepad/Text Editor]
Click to Show

If the Blender add-on comes with a single .py file, you can install it as it is.
If the Blender add-on comes with multiple .py files, you may need to do the following:

If the add-on comes with a file, then you will have to zip up that entire folder (using WinZip, 7zip, or WinRAR).
Here is what the file structure should look like inside the zipped add-on folder:
|_ Addon_Folder

....|_ icons
....|_ ...

The file tells Blender there are multiple .py files needed for the add-on to function.

When you are ready, click on Install Add-on from File..
Using the zipped folder will make it possible for Blender to recognize all the needed python files.

Important, make sure there are no extra periods in the zip filename: [BAD] [GOOD]
Demo - Installing Screencast Keys add-on
Demo - Installing XPS Tools add-on

3. How do I open old .BLEND files in the latest version of Blender?

Click to Show
1. Disable Load UI before opening the .BLEND file.
- Demo

2. Option A. Open the Filter in the Outliner and activate the following Restriction Toggles:
  - Selectable and Enable in Viewports
  - Demo A
2. Option B. In the Outliner, RIGHTCLICK the Collection, go to Visibility, then select Enable in Viewports.
  - Demo B

If you notice any bones, faces, vertices, edges, etc. missing or invisible, try:
  ALT+H (Unhide)

- Missing objects when opening old file in blender 2.8
- Why can't I unhide objects in 2.8 that were hidden in 2.79 blend files?
- How to fix greyed out collections and their visibility after opening an old Blender file in 2.8

4. Help! I can't Scale or Rotate anymore in Blender!

- You may have accidentally enabled Only Origins (Manipulate Center Points).

- Blender 2.7 - Disable 'Manipulate Center Points'
- Blender 2.8 - Disable 'Only Origins'

5. Help! My selection is Rotating or Moving incorrectly!

Animated Image

Transformation Manipulators:
Blender 2.7 - Transformation Manipulators
- Keep both Transformation Manipulators (Rotate and Translate) enabled.
- This will help you see the pivot point during rotation and other operations.
- Then change the Pivot Point.
Blender 2.7 - Pivot Point Blender 2.8 - Pivot Point
Blender 2.8 - Pivot and Orientation Points

6. Textures are not showing correctly while Viewport Shading is set to Texture.

If your Viewport Shading is set to Texture, the model will only show the active selected Image Texture Node.
Animated Image

7. Help! Objects are disappearing / clipping while zooming in 3D Viewport Editor.

Animated Image Demo
- In the 3D Viewport Editor, press the N key to open the Properties Shelf.
[Image] Properties Shelf (N key)

For large Mesh Objects:
  • Try increasing the Clip value for End.
  • Or try reducing the Scale of the Objects.
For small Mesh Objects:
  • Try decreasing the Clip value for Start.
  • Or try increasing the Scale of the Objects.

You can also change the Clip values for the selected Camera Object in the Properties Editor.

8. Help! My objects in the 3D Viewport scene are too far away or offscreen!

Two Solutions:
  • Home Key
    Home key - 3D Viewport will reveal all objects in scene
  • Numpad_Period
    Numpad_Period key - 3D Viewport will reveal selected Object(s)
Also check the Visible Layers or Collections.
Blender 2.7 - View Layers
Blender 2.8 - Collections

9. My rigged character isn't deforming properly when posing.

Click to Show

Before rigging a character, make sure both the Armature (Skeleton) and the Mesh Object(s) (Character Meshes) have their Transforms applied:
Animated Demonstration
Mode: Object Mode
Hotkey: CTRL+A
- ObjectApplyLocation | Rotation | Scale
You can also tell if an Object's transform hasn't been applied by looking at the location of the Object Origin (Origin Point)
[Image] Object Origin

Don't forget to adjust your bone rolls:
Demo: Recalculate Bone Rolls to Active Bone
- Blender 3D / rigging: How to adjust the roll of bones in a bones chain the proper way / HD
- Orientation of Bones-Blender Tip
- Rigify (Archived)
Blender Guide - Rigging & Weight Painting

10. Checkered 3D mesh, strange checkered hair mesh!?

Click to Show
this happens mostly from doa hair rips.
what the creator did was add a front and back to the mesh instead of just making the mesh double sided (or its made from ripping, not too sure). so.. in places there's 2 faces right on top of another, causing the colliding and ugly shadows; and that criss-cross/checker pattern too.
maybe it looks good in the doa games, but for gmod/sfm it looks like shit XD it would take some time. but you would have to manually delete one of the sides where you see that collision.
I had this issue with one of Christies hairpieces, and instead of going through all that, i found another download where her hair looked normal and that issue was already fixed; you might wanna try to find another download for that specific hair; i'm sure there's a few Sarah Bryant models with this already fixed ;)
- Alan13
Animated Demonstration
1. In [Edit Mode], you can hover your mouse over the overlapping meshes and press the L key.
- This will select 1 of the overlapping meshes.
2. Press the G key and Grab/Move the selection to find out which overlapping mesh you selected.
3. Right_Click to cancel Grab/Move.
4. If you selected the mesh with it's normals facing outward, hide it temporarily with the H key.
5. Then press the L key on the mesh with it's normals facing the wrong way.
6. Press X key to Delete that mesh.
7. Now press ALT+H to unhide the correct mesh.

L Key = Select Linked [Faces, Edges, Vertices]
- This will select the connected faces on the hair mesh.
H Key = Temporarily Hide Selection
- This makes it easier to work with overlapping meshes.
ALT + H = Unhide Selection
If the 3D model is only being used in Blender, you can just enable Backface Culling.
Fix Checkered Mesh with Backface Culling
- Blender 2.80 Demo
- Blender 2.79 Demo

11. My 3D model has a blocky appearance or weird shading, even when there are no lights or textures/materials applied.

Click to Show
Demo 1Demo 2

You can use Face Orientation to see the direction of the faces/normals:
- Blender 2.8
- Blender 2.7

Try 1 of the solutions below:
- Select the Object, switch to Edit Mode, select the whole mesh, and Set Normals from Faces.
- Select the Object, switch to Edit Mode, select the whole mesh, and Remove Doubles or Merge by Distance [Extra Demo].
- Select the Object, switch to Edit Mode, select the whole mesh, and Recalculate Normals.
Blender - Set Normals from Faces

Vertex Normals
*BONUS* What the hell is a Vertex Normal?

12. My Normal Map texture makes my 3D model look blocky or inaccurate.

Demo: Bad Normal Map confuses LightingBad Normal Map
Bad Normal Map
Demo: Fixed Normal MapFixed Normal Map
Fixed Normal Map
Click to Show

Normal Map - Color DirectionNormal Map - RGB Channels
If you look closely at the bright Red and bright Green, you can see the "handedness" of the Normal Map texture:
X = + (Red is on the right side)
Y = + (Green is on the top side)
Z = + (Blue is the predominant front view)
Normal Map Technical Details (RGB Channels)
Keep in mind, if you're only using Blender for rendering, then your Normal Map should be Blue-ish.
If you want your Normal Map texture to be Blender-friendly, you can use either an Image Editor (Photoshop/GIMP) or Blender's Node Editor:
    [Example - Node Editor] by TSelman61
    Image: Before
    Image: After
  • Why is the B (Blue) socket disconnected from the Combine RGB node?
    - Interestingly, the Red+Green color channels actually have enough information about the Normal Map:
    Image: Normal Map Texture (Red + Green)
    (Red+Green Only)
  • But to make it Blender-friendly, we can create an artificial Blue channel that affects the entire Normal Map texture:
    - Manually change the B (Blue) channel value to 1.00, as shown HERE.
    Image: Normal Map Texture (Red + Green + Blue)
    (Red+Green+Blue) - This is how Blender will interpret it
  • Blue channel information is not lost?
    --> Yes you are right. In fact, the blue channel is also important on the normal map. This is a much better way to determine depth and height. (Bump like the map.) But the normal map works without the blue channel. Now many game companies do this. They're ignoring the blue channel. And they're adding another map instead of the blue channel. So instead of creating two different maps, they form a single map. in this way, fewer files are created and reduced in size. - TSelman61

Other game engines may have different requirements for their Normal Maps.
You may need to convert the Normal Map texture.
Try 1 or more of the options below to get your Normal Map working in Blender.

13. Help! I can't Import FBX model into Blender! (Unsupported version/ASCII FBX)

ASCII FBX files are not supported
Version 6000 unsupported, must be 7100 or later
Click to Show

  • ** Option 1. Noesis [Recommended]
    Noesis: Convert FBX to DAE
    - You can use Noesis to convert FBX to DAE (Collada).
    - You may need to enable Flip UV's.
    - Import DAE into Blender.
    Blender: Import DAE

  • ** Option 2. Autodesk's FBX Converter
    - You can use Autodesk's FBX Converter to convert unsupported FBX files to the latest binary version of FBX.

    - There is still a chance that some rigged character models may appear incorrectly in Blender.

  • ** Option 3. Bos FBX add-on for Blender
    - The add-on will allow you to import some ASCII FBX models or other unsupported FBX versions.
    - There is still a chance that some rigged character models may appear incorrectly in Blender.

    - The Bos FBX add-on is no longer being supported.

Ton Roosendaal (Blender Founder):
...Everybody is using FBX, but it's a locked-in format, and Autodesk is frustrating everybody who tries to reverse engineer it, by changing the format every year, just for fun.
Full Interview:

14. The textures on my 3D model are Pink/Purple in the 3D Viewport Render.

Blender - Textures not loading?
Click to Show

Three reasons for why a texture may turn pink/purple:

15. My 3D Model is missing faces (see-through) or has completely black texture!

  • Blender - Eevee and Blend Mode
    Blend Mode: Opaque (For objects that need to be solid)
    Blend Mode: Alpha Hashed or Alpha Clip (For objects that need transparency)
    - Alpha Clip gives the user more control of alpha clipping with Clip Threshold.
    - Alpha Hashed appears to do some automatic calculations on its own.
  • Watch Demo
    For the cartoonish outline, apply Backface Culling to the black Mesh Object.
  • Watch Demo
    Sometimes the 3D cartoon model and it's black mesh outline are within the same Mesh Object.
    You can either separate the black mesh outline as its own Mesh Object, or you can assign the black mesh outline to a separate Material.

16. My 3D Model is supposed to be Symmetrical, but there are a few vertices that are not.

You have 2 options: Symmetry
  • Demo: Snap to Symmetry
    Snap to Symmetry (Safe)
    - The Snap to Symmetry tool lets you snap a mesh vertices to their mirrored neighbors.
    - Useful when dealing with meshes which are mostly symmetrical, but have vertices which have been moved enough that Blender does not detect them as mirrored (when X Mirror option is enabled for example).
    - This can be caused by accident when editing without X Mirror enabled. Sometimes models imported from other applications are asymmetrical enough that mirror fails too.
    - This is also a good option to use after removing overlapping/double vertices with Remove Doubles or Merge by Distance.
    Mode: Edit Mode
    Menu: MeshSnap to Symmetry
  • Symmetrize (Destructive)
    - The Symmetrize tool is a quick way to make a mesh symmetrical.
    - Symmetrize works by cutting the mesh at the pivot point of the object, and mirroring over the geometry in the specified axis, and merges the two halves together (if they are connected).
    - Also the mesh data is copied from one side to the other: e.g. UVs, vertex colors, vertex weights.
    Mode: Edit Mode
    Menu: MeshSymmetrize
Related Question

17. How do I give my 3D character model a specific height?

Click to Show

In Blender, the dimensions of a 3D model are measured in meters (1 Blender Unit = 1 Meter).
To get the height of a 3D model, you have to look at the Z dimension.
There are 2 ways to set a specific height for your 3D model:
  1. In [Object Mode], while scaling your 3D model, you can hold the SHIFT key and fine tune the scale till you reach your desired Z dimension (height).
    - Demo
  2. In [Object Mode], you can manually enter the height (in meters) into the Z dimension.
    You will notice the value of the Z scale has changed too. Copy/Paste the value from Z scale to the X and Y scales.
    - Demo
Once you are happy with the new height, don't forget to Apply the scales.
Mode: Object Mode
Hotkey: CTRL+A

Related Question

Please don't throw away any of these valuable texture maps!
They are extremely helpful!
Texture Maps

[Below will be moved to a Rigging Tutorial in the future]

I just had a thought about the weird placement of the pelvis bones from the Rigify's Human (Meta-Rig).
Animated Gif

I don't think I've ever seen a tutorial address how to use the bottom tips of the pelvis.L and pelvis.R bones.
Then I thought, why not try using them as butt bones. It kind of makes sense.


If you're working with Automatic Weights, it requires some experimentation.


Blender 2.79 - Common Blender Problems, Mistakes & Fixes for Beginners
Blender 2.79 - 7 KEY MISTAKES Blender Beginners Make
Blender 2.80 - Top Tips in Blender 2.8 You Probably Didn't Know
Blender 2.80 - Blender3D Beginner Tips(Mistakes that can waste your time!)
Blender 2.80 - Top 10 Blender Best Practices
Why You Should Never Model with Subdivisions Active - 3D Modeling Fundamentals

dddkhakha1: Can you show me how to add eye bones for supergirl model?
- Demo: [Part 1] [Part 2]
dddkhakha1: and how to fix this? (SFM DAZv4 legs)
- Demo: [Part 1] [Part 2]

  • (DeviantArt sucks)
  • Mumble (Text only | Microphone is not required)
    - Address:
    - Port: 64738
    - Label: Worldhotspot
    - Selfmade-Channels Blender3D
    You can wait in the channel until I or someone else comes to help you.

Click for Change Log
Dec 19, 2019
Added: How do I open old .BLEND files in the latest version of Blender?
Updated: My rigged character isn't deforming properly when posing.
- Recalculate Bone Rolls to Active Bone: 

Nov 23, 2019
Update: The textures on my 3D model are Pink/Purple in the 3D Viewport Render
- Added info about missing textures/materials for imported/exported .OBJ files.
- Added more info about texture exports for different versions

Nov 10, 2019
- How do I give my 3D character model a specific height?
- Snap to Symmetry demo:

Oct 23, 2019
Update: My 3D Model is supposed to be Symmetrical, but there are a few vertices that are not.
- [Snap to Symmetry] 
- [Symmetrize]

Oct 13, 2019
Minor Update: Help! My selection is Rotating or Moving incorrectly!
- Added Video - Blender 2.8 - Pivot and Orientation Points

Oct 12, 2019
Updated: The textures on my 3D model are pink/purple in the 3D Viewport
- Added tip about opening blend files with pink/purple textures (missing textures).
- Added tip about the Fake User button to protect/keep your textures/materials from being deleted from blend file. 

Sep 17, 2019
Minor Update:
Added Backface Culling tip for checkered meshes.

Sep 11, 2019
Added - My 3D Model is missing faces (see-through) or has completely black texture!

Aug 27, 2019
Minor Update:
- Added Demo: Set Normals from Faces -

Aug 16, 2019
- Added a video to show Face Orientation (See the direction of faces/normals).

Aug 15, 2019 
- Added how to use Old and New versions of Blender at the same time.
- Added more Normal Map Texture tips by TSelman61 and XnaFreak.

Feb 25, 2019
- Added: Help! I can't Import FBX model into Blender! (Unsupported version/ASCII FBX)
- Added tips to import unsupported FBX files into Blender.

Oct 15, 2018
Added 2 more tips to fix Normal Map problems:
- Disable Alpha on Normal Map Texture Node
- Invert Color Node between the Texture Map Node and Normal Map Node.

Aug 26, 2018
- Added: Help! I installed a Blender addon, but nothing happened or it doesn't appear to work.
- Added: The textures on my 3D model are turning Pink (or Black) in the 3D Viewport Render after few minutes or hours in Blender.

Aug 13, 2018
- Added info about converting yellow Normal Map textures to blue ones.
- Added info about shading issues or dark edges on 3D models.

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