There are a variety of object types in Blender, but they are all added in basically the same way. You also may want to create linked or unlinked duplicates of existing objects. Here’s how to add objects in Blender.
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Add A New Object in Blender
The short answer for how to add an object in Blender is this:
To quickly add a new object in Blender, hover the cursor in the 3D viewport and press “Shift + A” on the keyboard. Then choose the type of object you wish to add from the menu that appears. For a basic mesh object, choose “Mesh” at the top of the list.
Alternatively, we can go to the “Add” option in the top bar of the 3D Viewport and find the list of objects to choose from.
By default, the new object’s origin point will be placed where the 3D cursor is currently located. Learn more about using the 3D cursor here.
Now, read on to see all the different types of objects we can add in Blender.
Mesh Object Types
A mesh object is composed of vertices, edges and faces joined to form a shape. Most objects we see in 3D scenes or renders are “meshes.”
Once we have a base mesh, we can add to the mesh and model it into the shape we are trying to create.
When we choose to add a mesh object, we are given several basic shapes to choose from. These are known as “Primitives” because they are the primitive starting shapes for more complicated meshes. Here are the options for primitive meshes in Blender:
Each of these primitive objects is intended to serve as a starting point for creating whatever objects we want to model. Well, maybe not the monkey. It’s mostly used for demonstration (or novelty) purposes.
Add Mesh: Extra Objects
There is an add-on which comes installed with Blender called “Add Mesh: Extra Objects.” When we activate it in the User Preferences, we are given additional mesh objects we can add in our scene. They include:
This will add a procedurally randomized rock object. We can open the Operator Panel in the bottom left corner of the viewport to customize the rock.
Adds a single vertex which can be a useful starting point for modeling or for use with the Skin Modifier. I’ve actually written an entire article on adding single vertices in Blender.
Adds a cube with a bevel. The shape of the rounded cube can be extensively customized in the operator panel in the bottom left corner of the viewport.
There are three additional types of torus objects to be used as mesh starting points: Twisted Torus, Supertoroid and Torus Knot.
Four options for objects created based off mathematical functions: Z Function, XYZ Function, Solid and Triangle. I don’t pretend to understand the math behind them.
The two type of gear meshes include “Gear” and “Worm Gear.” Extensive customizations of the shape can be made in the Operator Panel.
A helpful set of pipe joints can be added with Extra Objects activated. We could use these to build an entire system of pipes.
There are three types of diamond shapes included in the Extra Objects add-on.
The extras category includes some pretty random objects. There is a beam builder object that allows for construction beams to be created. The Wall factory creates entire walls.
Other extra obects include: Simple Star, Step Pyramid, Honeycomb, Tea Pot and Menger Sponge.
Very random I know, but they’re all pictured below.
The second category listed when we add an object is “Curve Objects.” Buy default, we can add Bezier Curves or Bezier Circles and Nurbs Curves or Nurbs Circles. We can also add a type of curve called a “Path.”
If you’re interested in an add-on that uses curves to make cables and wires, check out Cablerator on Blender Market.
Add Curve: Extra Objects
As with mesh objects, there is an “Add Curve: Extra Objects” addon which comes pre-installed with Blender.
Once it is activated in the User Preferences, it adds additional curve object types to place in our scene.
Many of these extra curve objects are regular curves in pre-configured shapes which maybe useful as they are or may serve as solid starting points for a more complex curve object.
The basic extra curve options are self-explanatory. Trying them out is the best way to see what they each are. I’ve included most of them in the image below.
Adding Curve Knots
When Add Curve: Extra Objects is activated, one of the new options for new curve objects (way at the bottom) is “Knots.” These include interesting curve configurations in the shape of different types of knots (like ones you’d see in a rope).
An interesting tool that comes with the extra curve objects add-on is the Catenary Knot. The catenary knot connects a drooping curve between two selected objects. This can be used to simulate hanging wires, ropes or cables in a scene.
To use it, select two objects you want to hang a curve from. Then, press Shift + A to add an object. Under “Curve” go to “Knots” and find “Catenary.” The curve will begin at the origin point of one of the selected objects and end at the origin point of the other.
The new curve will hang between the two points. In the Operator Panel, the tightness of the curve can be adjusted with the value labeled “A.” The thickness of the knot can also be adjusted. Here is a short clip for a Blender tip video on YouTube that covers the catenary knot.
Add Surface Object
Surfaces are different than mesh objects and are essentially nurbs curves connected to form surfaces. These can form contoured shapes and are likely to be used in car modeling.
Metaballs are a unique type of object. As we add more of them, they connect to each other. There are several metaball shapes we can choose from. Settings can be adjusted for how close they must be to each other to merge.
Add Text Object
Text in Blender is it’s own object type and editing text is different than editing other object types. I have an entire post on text objects.
Add Volume Object
Volume can be its own object type in Blender as well. With this object type, we can create an empty object or import an OpenVDB file.
Add Grease Pencil Object
Grease Pencil is the 2D component of Blender and has its own type of objects. The grease pencil object can be intermixed with 3D meshes and other object types. Grease pencil objects center around strokes. We can add a variety of strokes to either a 2D or 3D scene.
An armature is a specific type of object in Blender which is composed of bones. A mesh (or other object type) can be parented to an armature in a process known as Rigging. When rigged, an armature will control an object’s movement similar to how bones control the body of a person or animal. Armatures are used extensively in character animation.
A lattice is a box which can be attached to another object using the Lattice Modifier. When attached, the lattice controls the deformation of a mesh. This may have similar uses in animation to the armature but would be used on very different items in an animation.
Add Empty Objects
A category of objects which can be added in Blender are Empty Objects or “Empties.” Empty objects are moved and transformed like other objects but they have no edit mode and do not appear in renders. They have many uses in Blender including as parent objects and reference points.
There are several differently shaped empty objects in Blender but they all perform the same function regardless of their shape.
Images can be different types of objects in Blender. We can choose to use an image as a background image or a reference image. What is the difference between a background image and a reference image in Blender?
Neither reference images or background images are rendered by default. A reference image will be visible from any angle but will block objects behind it. A background image will only be visible from its front side (and transparent from the back). Objects placed behind a background image will appear as if they are in front of the image.
Whenever we choose to add an image object, a browser window will open so we can navigate to the image we want to use.
Images as Planes
Images as Planes is an add-on which comes pre-installed in Blender but needs to be activated in the User Preferences.
When used, it adds a plane to our scene with the chosen image as its material. There are different options for how we want the material displayed (Principled, Shadeless and Emit).
Unlike background or reference images, an image as plane will appear in our rendered image.
The plane will match the shape and dimension of the image we choose to use.
This is a very handy way to add images for all sorts of purposes (including as rendered background images).
Here’s a full guide on how to import images as planes in Blender.
Lighting is a huge part of scene creation, rendering and animation in Blender. Blender has four basic light type we can add to our scene:
You can also visit my introduction to lighting in Blender post to learn more about lights.
A sun lamp lights a scene without falloff. This mean the light is universally cast on everything in our scene regardless of how far away it is from the sun lamp. As you may have guessed by the name, a sun lamp simulates light from a far away sun.
The point lamp acts as most light sources do. Its light starts from a single point and travels in every direction but dissipates as it moves away from the source. This dissipation is called fall-off. Lights in Blender can have different types of fall-off.
Spot lamps in Blender are similar to the concept of spotlights in the real world. They emit light in a cone-shaped pattern. The fall-off can still be adjusted, but the direction of the light is limited by the shape of the cone.
An area light in Blender emits light from a flat surface and in a single direction. These are similar to how area lamps and diffused lights function in studios.
Add Light Probes
One type of object we can add in Blender is a light probe. I don’t know what they do.
The one thing every Blender scene requires is a camera to render our image. One is added by default but we can also add them by pressing Shift + A and choosing “Camera” as the object type.
I have an entire post on camera settings, using multiple cameras and pretty much everything you could need to know about cameras in Blender.
Not a commonly used object, speakers allow us to have sounds or music play from a specific place in our 3D scene.
The concept is that the closer we are in our 3D scene, the louder the sound will be and vice versa. They work, but most scenes are composited visually and sound is added later.
Add Force Field
Force fields are used for physics simulations. They add force, such as wind, to a scene so objects can interact.
The objects themselves are Empty Objects but they control the force. A variety of force field types are available and each emits a different type of force.
Add Collection Instance
Collection Instances are a method of adding a copy of an entire collection. When we press Shift +A to add an object, we find “Collection Instance” at the bottom of the options. We then choose which of our existing collections we want to create a copy of.
Because a collection instance is a copy of the original, the entire collection will be brought in as one non-editable object. To edit the object, we can either edit the objects in the original collection or make the instance real.
To make an instance real, press “F3” to open a search menu and type in “make real.” Select the option “make instances real.”
And that is everything I’ve got on adding objects and object types in Blender. Of course playing around with each one is the best way to learn them but I hope this was a good starting point.
Please take a look around my site. I’m regularly adding new informative posts on Blender and other digital art topics. Check out my YouTube channel and sign up for my e-mail list below to stay in touch!
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