How to Create a 3D Reference in Blender

Updated on: December 8, 2022

Alright, you may have heard about references as 2D images that you import to Blender to start modeling, like Model Sheets. However, sometimes you need 3D references, just like an artist needs sketches and previews before drawing a complete character. So, do you want to learn how to create a 3D reference in Blender? Let’s do it!

Foremost, you need to create the basic structure of what you want to make; you can use as many Mesh Objects as you consider, and don't worry, you don't need it to be perfect or smooth, just to give you a general idea of what the model will look like later. But don't complicate yourself too much and do it in the way you consider quickest and most effective so that it doesn't take up too much of your time.

Note: if you use more than one Mesh object, once you finish, remember to group the whole figure by pressing Ctrl + J.

After having the 3D reference, you must click on it, go under the Properties Panel, and search the Object Properties option, which is represented by a white square with a frame at the corners.

Image 61.1

Then, go to the Viewport Display which will show you some preview settings for the object you picked. Notice that any option you enable will change the way you look at your model:

●       Name.

●       Axis.

●       Wireframe.

●       All edges.

●       Texture space.

●       Shadow.

●       In font.

Image 61.2

And in the “Display as” option you can change from texture to Wire, so you can see your figure like a 3D Model Sheet.

Image 61.3

Once you have done this, you can add a cube or any figure you prefer and start modeling a slimmer and smoother piece on your 3D scene in Blender.

To sum up, this technique helps you to have a guide that allows you to understand some measurements and values while transforming and shaping something more complex. Are you ready to put it into practice? Go ahead!

Lorena M. Rodas leverages her experience across film, writing, and production to make complex tech concepts accessible through storytelling. With a background spanning sci-fi, AI, and emerging tech, Lorena translates her depth of knowledge into engaging, educational content. She is an expert at decoding high-level topics to reach broad audiences.
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