The secret info Blender's been hiding from you
Blender has a ton of mesh data stored away—here's how you can see it
Which way are the normals pointing? Is that face inside out? Exactly how long is that edge?
I'm always guessing, wondering things like this.
A few days ago, I built a Geometry Nodes setup to solve this problem. It placed an object on every single face of a mesh to show which way the normals pointed.
That was a magnificent waste of time.
Because, as it turns out, Blender is a computer program. It's been keeping track of all those nitty-gritty details all along.
You just have to know where to find 'em.
And when you do, you'll be amazed at all the crazy stats Blender can show you. Things you never knew you needed—but that make your life so much easier.
First, open something, anything, in Blender. Then TAB into Edit Mode on some object.
Now for the hidden mesh info.
It's hidden in a menu called "Viewport Overlays." It's a little picture of two stacked circles:
You can click the blue part to turn the overlays on and off, or you can click the arrow to see all possible overlay options. There are a ton:
That massive Viewport Overlays menu.
You have so, so many options here. Many are still a mystery to me, but I've found some to be terribly useful.
Here's the ones you really need to know:
Statistics. This shows a ton of extra info in the upper-left corner of the viewport—tells you how many vertices, edges, and faces you have selected, as well as how many triangles your mesh has.
Face Orientation. Paints faces blue on top and red underneath—if you see a red face, you're seeing its inner side. Very helpful for tricky modeling situations.
Mesh Analysis. Color-codes your mesh to show different stats. In "Overhang" mode it'll show you which parts of your mesh are "unsupported" along a specific axis. Designed to help prep models for 3D printing.
Measurement. Try checking all of these boxes—they all give you surprising details about your mesh. Helpful when you really need to work with exact measurements.
Normals. The final and most useful of all—visualize your vertex, edge, or face normals. Or all of them. You even get to adjust the size of the visualization.
Try these out. Really, they're useful.
Like all good things, though, don't use them all at once. Unless you want a visual catastrophe that'll leave your brain cells screaming:
Never, never do this.
So yeah. Visualize stuff, play with overlays, maybe swamp yourself in random mesh data.
Might save you a headache next time you can't tell which way a face is pointing.
Just 1 video for you this week.
It's by SouthernShotty. He made a detailed, informative breakdown of the Principled BSDF node. He explains what all of the different options do—really cleared it up for me. Give it a watch.
Can't think what to blend?
Try something metal and heavy. Anything from an evil gate to a meat cleaver.
P.S. Need to get your mind off things? Try Voyage. We'll send you 2 new, original short stories every month—free of charge.
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