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Collections – Blender 2.80 Fundamentals

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This tutorial is part of the Blender Fundamentals series, produced by Dillon Gu.

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Blender Collections #

Collections in Blender help you organize and manage your scene by grouping objects together. They make it easier to work with complex scenes, enabling you to control visibility, selectability, and other properties of multiple objects simultaneously. This guide will provide an overview of Blender’s Collections and how to use them effectively.

1. Basics of Collections #

Blender organizes your scene using a hierarchy of collections. By default, every new Blender project starts with a ‘Master Collection’ that contains all the objects and other collections in the scene.

1.1 Outliner #

The Outliner is a powerful tool that displays and manages the collections, objects, and other data in your scene. You can find it by default in the top-right corner of the Blender window.

2. Creating and Managing Collections #

2.1 Creating Collections #

To create a new collection:

  1. Go to the Outliner.
  2. Right-click and select ‘New’ or press C while the cursor is inside the Outliner.
  3. A new collection will be created as a child of the currently selected collection, or as a sibling if no collection is selected.

2.2 Adding Objects to Collections #

To add objects to a collection:

  1. Select the object(s) you want to add to a collection.
  2. Press M and choose ‘Move to Collection’ from the context menu.
  3. Either select an existing collection from the list or click ‘New Collection’ to create a new one.

2.3 Managing Collections #

You can manage collections in the Outliner by:

  • Clicking and dragging a collection to move it to a different parent collection.
  • Clicking the visibility (eye) icon to show/hide objects within the collection.
  • Clicking the selectability (cursor) icon to enable/disable selecting objects within the collection.
  • Clicking the renderability (camera) icon to include/exclude objects within the collection from rendering.

3. Collection Instances #

Collection instances are a powerful way to create multiple instances of a collection without increasing memory usage. Instances share the same geometry data and can be transformed independently.

To create a collection instance:

  1. Press Shift + A or use the ‘Add’ button in the 3D viewport.
  2. Choose ‘Collection Instance’ from the ‘Add’ menu.
  3. Select the collection you want to create an instance of from the list.

Tips #

  1. Use collections to group objects that are part of a larger structure, such as a building, vehicle, or character rig.
  2. You can nest collections within other collections to create a hierarchical organization that suits your workflow.
  3. Use the search functionality in the Outliner to quickly locate objects or collections by name.
  4. You can isolate a specific collection in the 3D viewport by selecting it in the Outliner and pressing the forward slash key / on the numeric keypad. Press the same key again to exit isolation mode.
  5. When creating complex scenes, use meaningful names for your collections to make it easier to identify and manage their contents.
  6. Use Collection Instances to optimize your scene when you need to include multiple copies of a complex object, such as trees or building elements.
  7. To unlink an object from a collection without deleting it, select the object in the Outliner, right-click, and choose ‘Unlink’ from the context menu. The object will remain in other collections it belongs to.
  8. Collections can also be used for creating render layers and controlling the visibility of objects in specific view layers. To manage view layers, click on the ‘View Layer’ tab in the Properties Editor and adjust the visibility, renderability, or selectability of collections.
  9. If you have multiple collections that need to share similar properties or settings, consider using a ‘Parent Collection’. Parent collections can pass certain properties, such as visibility or selectability, down to their child collections, making it easy to manage groups of collections with shared properties.
  10. Use the ‘Filter’ functionality in the Outliner to quickly show or hide certain types of data, such as objects, collections, materials, or constraints. This can help streamline your workflow and reduce clutter in the Outliner.
  11. You can create custom color tags for collections to visually differentiate them in the Outliner. Right-click on a collection in the Outliner and choose ‘Color Tag’ from the context menu to assign a color.
  12. To duplicate a collection, right-click on the collection in the Outliner and select ‘Duplicate Collection’ from the context menu. This will create a new collection containing copies of all objects in the original collection, allowing you to create variations or duplicates of complex scenes quickly.
  13. Collections can also be linked between different Blender files to share assets and maintain consistency across projects. To link a collection from another file, go to File > Link, navigate to the desired Blender file, and select the collection you want to link. Linked collections can be instanced using ‘Collection Instances’ and will update automatically when the source file is changed.
  14. By utilizing Blender’s Collections effectively, you can create and manage complex scenes with ease, improving your workflow and helping you keep your projects organized and efficient.

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