[Bf-education] Blender Books

Rui Campos rcampos at fusemail.com
Fri Nov 18 02:12:34 CET 2005

Hey all, my turn on the subject :)

My opinion (as always).

One book doesn't solve the problem with learning Blender, this for two
- We want to help newbies, professionals, teachers and developers
- Blender today has become very complex (not meaning difficult, but has
much more features)

Having in mind that we want to help a newbie to understand Blender and how
it works, we need to focus on teaching CGI as a whole, teaching the common
terms used in 3D and showing how to map this terms and uses in Blender.

There should be a book focused on teaching the Art of 3D, mapping it to
Blender. A book filled with the "complex words" we are used to and hear
everyday, but describing these complex terms with simple but detailed
sentences, giving the person a wider knowledge on CGI.
Such a book must have a simple approach on teaching, not getting too
teorethical, it should contain simple exercices showing much of what is
being shown / teached along this book. And I mean really simple exercices,
like adding a texture to a cube and similar things.

A companion CD to the book could provide the pre-set files necessary to
complete any exercice shown in the book, an exercice  like adding a
texture to cube should have a file with a camera laid out correctly, some
lights or AO and the person would just have to insert the texture and
Render. People do get happy to see they made something and this motivates
them to read further and get involved more deeply.

In such a book the pages must not be like in a regular Book (consider
Blender 2.3 guide for example), they should be like what you see in a
childrens book, filled with pictures all over the page, or a big picture
as background covering a whole page. What is important is to involve the
person with it showing what can be achieved in 3D, yet the images shown
should be related to the subject being shown in such a page.

Relating to Blender, such a book can in 4 pages explain the Blender User
Interface and the philosophy behind it, by using several well positioned
images and simple statements, this combined with two examples on
customizing the User Interface.

Since it is a newbies guide, it must be captivating, simple and filled
with examples / simple exercises.


Here we get into a deeper field, where we want the person reading the book
to have full focus on what he is reading and not being amazed by some of
@ndy's images.
The focus here is to offer a deeper knowledge of the tool to the person
reading it.

We must have in mind that the person reading this book may have come from
the "Newbies" book, so it should be easy at first with simple sentences
such as the ones in the Newbies Book, and evolve to complex sentences and
very detailed and accurate information when closer to the end.

In my opinion there are some distinct areas that professionals would like
to see focused regarding to Blender:
- Modeling
- Materials and Lighting
- Animation
- Compositing and FX

So we might as well do a book for each of them, so a person who is in it
just for modeling, doesn't really need to get the animation book. This
helps also by making the Books shorter and thus easier to read and less
scarier, a big Book always scares people away.


The modeling book should focus on all tools Blender has for Modeling, how
to use them, with several tips from other artists and professionals, this
is very important, the book should have references to people that use
Blender professionally or by known artists such as any of the Orange Team
members. This will get the user motivated.

This book should be focused on getting the person to understand the
various types of modeling techniques and having several exercises needed
to be completed along each chapter. Having exercises only on the end of a
chapter isn't good, people tend to move forward and don't do the
It should also have several images on each page focusing on what is being

A companion CD should contain the exercises done in the book, these would
be blender files with the scenes pre-set where the person would just have
to complete the task, no worries on how to set the camera or lighting for
that scene.

The book should be directed to help the user be able to model a house or
human when it finished the Book. It should have a focus on Organic and
Unorganic modeling, mixing them both and getting the complexity of the
examples to grow with each chapter.
During the course of the book, there should be a model that would evolve
with each chapter,
near the end of each chapter a "summary" exercise should be given that
would mean adding or changing something in a model that has started in the
first exercise of the book, or something similar.
One thing must be pointed out, only the exercice at the end of the chapter
must focus on this model that began with the first exercice, all other
exercises must be different, else the person will start to loose their
motivation, because the exercise is always focused on the same model.


What was said on modeling can be applied to any of these other book.


Now, here we are in a different league.
People applying for Blender Teachers must already know the tool and
understand CGI in general.
So, this book isn't a book for Newbies or people wanting to become
professionals using Blender, this is a book aimed at those that have gone
pass that stage and are much further ahead.

What this book must focus is teaching the decisions behind Blender, why
Blender does things in that specific way and add as much information
possible on the Blender architecture and how things do work. We must focus
on this so that the "Future" Teacher can answer any complex questions from
a student.
Besides giving the teacher as much information on how Blender works and
the decisions behind it, it should also have a huge set of exercises along
with pre-setup files for each of them, it should also feature a big set of
questions that can be used to understand if the student actually learned
what was teached.

Also, the book should have a first module that would introduce the best
way on teaching Blender, what should be teached first, the best sequence
for teaching Blender and also best approaches to students when teaching


I think I leave this one to the Developers of Blender to define, this is a
rather complex book.
It should cover the whole Blender Architecture and the Python API,
followed by a deeper understanding of the sources and where is what and
such things.

I have much more ideas that I can add to this subject, but it is already
late today, I leave this already huge entry for you guys to keep the
discussion on the subject. More on this tomorrow.

-- RCAS --

 ----- Original Message -----

Thanks for the fast reply! I, being around thatage, would love to have a
book like this. Even though it would bealmost impossible for someone to
make a whole Toy Story movie bythemselves, the idea that it is possible,
if even remotely, issomething that gets someone
thinking. I like the idea about thegeneral vocabulary because someone who
is new would be intimidated bythe word UV Map and would like
words like "Put a texture and color on" better. I have the Blender 2.3
guide sitting on me desk, and a random page turns up:

PAGE 360
Animatethe Alpha value of the Halo particles from 1.0 to 0.0 at the first
100frames. This will be mapped to the life-time of the
particles, as is usual.

Of course most people would read the beginning and learn 3D terms
first, but in a book that would have something like:

Animatethe see-through value of the Halo particles from Opaque to
transparentat the first 100 frames. This will be attached to the time the
particleshows, as is usual. This can be done in Blender by... etc. etc.

Thiswould be much more user friendly, because it would then give step
bystep instructions on how to do this, after it first explains whatexactly
you are doing instead of just how to do it.

Now, for the part about what I would like to see in a book like this.

I would like to see the animation in 30 + 30 minutes like in the
Blenderguide, but also more step by step instructions. I don't think it
wouldbe necessary to put a section in with advanced uses, because if you
arealready proficient in Blender you probably wouldn't buy a book like
theone you describe. On the other hand, it might be a good idea
becausewithout a section like that the book would be dead and collecting
dustbecause you would have mastered everything in the book already. It
isup to you to decide.

Then you asked if it was a good book at all.

Ithink it would be a GREAT book. It definately would have helped me
outwhen I was learning Blender. It would also be a good way of
gettingthe word out about Blender, and Blender may pick up some more
futurecoders, making it even better! I say GO FOR IT. Let me know if you
haveany more questions, because I'd always be happy to help out with
On 11/17/05, Carstentigges at aol.com  wrote:
> Hello!
>  to maccam912!:You are right. I wrote the last e-mail very fast - maybe too
> fast.
>  I'm not a nativew speaker. OK! Next try:
>  I'm writing some sample chapters of a book for newbies. They have seen
>something like "Toy story" and want to know more about CGI. They areabout
thirteen years old and want some orientation about this topic.
>  The whole book should be general in relation to vocabulary, power of
> observation and basics like coordinate systems and so on.
>  The whole book should be related to Blender to give the reader the
> possibility of experiments with a free tool - so it becomes not to
>  What would you like to see in a book like that? Is it a good idea at all?
>  Best regards
>                          Carsten Tigges
> _______________________________________________
> Bf-education mailing list
> Bf-education at blender.org
> http://projects.blender.org/mailman/listinfo/bf-education

Too bad life doesn't come with a CTRL+Z.
Bf-education mailing list
Bf-education at blender.org

More information about the Bf-education mailing list