Sperhical indentations or removing overlap in 3D using Blender

I am using an open source 3D program, called Blender, to make a 3D board.  I would like to know if it is possible to carve circular indentations into a cylinder, which would be the board.  In essence, I would like to create spherical indentations in the board, which would be where the pieces, which are spheres, would be placed upon.  I was thinking somehow the overlap could be deleted from the board or something to that effect, but I do not know how to do that.  An image of what I have made so far can be found here: http://img261.imageshack.us/img261/2466/boardqh3.jpg
I am still quite new to 3D modelling so I may not be able to do anything too complicated, although I could try.  Also, if a way in Blender of doing it is not available, then I would be grateful if there were a generic term or method, which I could use to look it up myself.
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kingtam2000Asked:
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mcmillanjeCommented:
ok, it's called a boolean operation, or just a boolean for short.

in blender:
two ways:
1:
note: in object mode:
a) select your spheres
b) select your cylinder.
c) hit 'w' -> differance to subtract out your spheres
d) you will now have a mesh for your cylinder, your spheres, and one final after the bool, you can delete the rest if you like.

2:
note: this way is non-permanent, and can therefore be animated. For your purposes, use the other.
a) select your cylinder
b) go to the editing buttons menu (F9)
c) in the modifiers tab hit 'add modifier' -> boolean
d) set to 'difference'
e) type in the name of your object with all the spheres (make one mesh with ctr-j if they're seperate)
note: this can also be achieved by the previous method but selecting w -> add dif. modifier)
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mcmillanjeCommented:
TIP:
for now, you're just learning and can use a bool, but booleans create nasty meshes... you might want to learn in the future to just model it in, (hard, I'd use a bool to in this instance). check out the 'retopo' tool.

oh, and if you don't already know, blender has a great community at www.blenderartists.org/forum/
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kingtam2000Author Commented:
Thanks for the reply,

The first method seemed to get a slightly odd result of removing the entire surface, except the spherical indentations and one plane and the second method seems to do the same, albeit taking up a lot of CPU and occasionally crashing Blender.  I'll see whether I can use that, but in any case, thanks for the methods, I should be able to carry one from there.
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mcmillanjeCommented:
you might try combining all your spheres into one mesh, and making sure the base is also all one mesh before doing it. the second method uses lots of cpu because it recalculates it on a per-frame basis. so you can have objects moving through other objects and using a boolean instead of just making a mesh.
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