[Bf-education] Intro to Blender 3D class for teens

Doug Ollivier doug at flipdesign.co.nz
Tue Apr 12 05:10:09 CEST 2011

> @doug the thing with the LMB - RMB selecting... it's funny that since I give
> the students the official explanation* for this, they do not  have any
> struggling with this (and it was the same for me too)...
> *selecting is no function, LMB is for functions...healthy moving hands while
> working...

It is a funny one, I've been using Blender since before it was Open 
Sourced, and have personally not had a problem with RMB/LMB since i 
learnt it from day one myself.

However, as a professional industrial / interface designer, i make it my 
goal to observe what students struggle with naturally, and what areas of 
Blender require the most explanation. I have found it quite enlightening 
to stand back and to see what "others" actually experience, and by no 
means am attacking Blender. I have used it for more than 1/2 of my life, 
written a book on it, and use it professionally for design on a regular 
basis. I have also purchased and donated Blender books to local libraries.

I teach a mixture of Adults and Younger students down around 14 years 
old.  Some have no problems with LMB others seemed to have a lot.

In the last 30mins of each course, I also ask people to make comments on 
what within Blender they would like to see improved (primarily around 
the interface).

The following issues were highlighted:

* Generally about 20% of the class struggled (even if minorly) with RMB 
i.e. they would reposition the 3D cursor a few times before remembering 
to RMB, they didn't shout out about it, but when i was watching people I 
could see this was happening. Whereas, nobody had an issue when I got 
them to change to LMB.

* One woman lost over 6 hours of work on a character (in her own time) 
because hitting Ctrl+S does not save your file without also clicking the 
"Save Over" button.  This button disappears within fractions of a 
second.  It was something i had warned people about when setting up 
autosaves etc... on the first day, but it is easy to miss.

* The Materials & Texturing workflow was one area that people found hard 
to get their heads around, not because it is complex but because it has 
many steps to go through before actually doing what you want.

i.e. Material > Texture (not to hard to grasp needing something to put a 
texture on)
Texture > Texture Type > Open File > File Mapping Co-ordinates > Colours 
& Types of Mapping....  this is where people found there to be a 
difficult work-flow, mainly the 5-6 steps required before loading an 
image, once loaded people were comfortable changing settings.

I'd recommend all teachers stand back and observe their students.  Why?  
Because students have fresh eyes, and have the ability to get us to 
challenge what we take for granted.  They will ask simple questions 
which expect simple answers.

My intitial philosophy was to teach Blender "as it would be downloaded"  
my new philosophy is to get students to "Download and setup Blender for 
themselves" and teach using the LMB.  Best call i ever made.  Try it out 
as an experiment and see how it goes.



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