[Bf-education] Blender education materials

Tom M letterrip at gmail.com
Mon Oct 24 19:42:51 CEST 2005

Oops, sent this to bf-documentation board when I meant to send to the
education board...

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Tom M <letterrip at gmail.com>
Date: Oct 23, 2005 4:55 PM
Subject: Blender education materials
To: Blender Documentation Project <bf-docboard at projects.blender.org>


I've just read the archive of bf-education, and have some thoughts to offer up.

A quick intro - I became interested in Blender not long after it
became open source.  I've started to become fairly involved with the
community over the past year, mostly doing minor coding (coauthored
the sculptmesh script, code janitor/monkey work for zr) and in helping
out on whatever (meeting minutes; developer summary; research).  My
background is fairly varied, I have experience in marketing and
advertising; and educational training design; and assorted technical
roles.  Currently I'm writing a fairly technical book on the

In my opinion we need to first identify our target markets - who will
be seeking training on Blender?

1) Individuals with no previous art training, these can be students at
grade school; high school; or college level.  Adults who want to learn
Blender for either hobby or to fill a need in ones job.
2) 3D Artists transitioning from other 3d packages - either adding
Blender to their pipeline (ie adding Blender for its UV mapping or
animation tool strengths) or replacing their current pipeline with
Blender (ie a group of artists starting their own company; or a
student no longer having access to student editions of other Digital
Content Creation Tools)
3) 2D Artists using Blender for 3d components of a 2d composition such
as print ads
4) CAD or other technical users, using Blender for walkthroughs and
architectual previs, or concept design

Each of these groups can, and often do have significantly different
training needs

The first group has need of course materials that include discussion
of basic artistic concepts, and very detailed explanations of each
stage in the pipeline (Modeling; UV Mapping; Texturing; Rigging;
Animating; Lighting; Rendering; and possibly additional topics such as
particles and simulation)

The second group primarily needs guides that explain the similarities
and differences between other popular DCC tools and Blender.
Explanations of what concepts are equivalent but use different
terminology; and the key mappings and tools that are equivalent.

Here are example migration guids as done by Softimage XSI and Alias Maya



The third group has needs similar to the first, but does not need most
of the artistic information, nor the animation information.

The fourth group also has similar needs to the first and third group,
but the focus will generally be much less on modeling, and only a
limited subset of the animation tools.

In addition to looking at Mayas transition guides, The maya and
truespace education mentioned by another author.  I'd highly recommend
looking at the education tools developed by ZBrush


They have a video quickstart guide that goes through the fundamentals.

The Welcome Guide - which tells about Zbrushes help and scripted
tutorial system (Zbrushes scripted tutorials is a huge strength)

The Quick Reference Guide - that gives quick (2-3 mostly graphics with
pointers and captions) explanations of each major area of interest

(A releated tool are QuickStudy charts - which condense entire
semester course into a summary on two or three well layed out pages


And finally the practical guide which goes into depth on each of
zbrushes features, and provides tutorials

I've personally considered developing training tools for Blender - a
series called 'Blender in 30 second Bites' - which would be a series
of Blend files that had a text explanation and a object to practice on
similar to how our test suite files are set up.

For video training - guitargeek (Johnny Mathews) has written a script
that displays which key(s) or mouse button is pressed, which is very

Tom M.

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