[Bf-education] Siggraph educator Birds of Feather

jentzen mooney jentzenskills at yahoo.com
Mon Nov 28 21:20:44 CET 2011

That is great news the Sigg Edu Committee is asking about Birds of a Feather for Bender Educators.
Having worked at Softimage and being involved in education from the special projects team services side of things.
Education is very important to me.
Education was always something that was lacking at Softimage. We always had our moments of really cool educational summits or training's but they were always really small or exclusive. Not many softimage(xsi) books or videos all the time that I have been working with since the days of Softimage 3d, XSI and now Softimage.
One of the coolest thing that we did was run these production challenges at Siggraph.
Where a small group of 3/4 guys work all day one day and produce a project. It was epic and customers and fans always loved it.
Here is a video they made about what it was:

Here is the final product:

There was a really interesting talk at the Blender conference about Blender being used for professional projects and by professionals in the industry. I really feel like it is a chicken and the egg discussion, pro studios need to use it schools need to teach and then we are caught in the middle
While working at Softimage on the Special Projects Team I found myself learning more about the other 3d applications and game engines and Render engines then Softimage itself. Customers who were switching to Softimage were switching because one they had too as a result of a chain of commands or two xsi did something that they needed to do a lot of and better then they were currently doing if they were going to finish their project. Teaching professionals who are already proficient at their job and in specific application and workflow, to switch to another software took patience and understanding and most of all time which most projects do not have time. I am sure more events like this bird of feather and other educations summits will help get the word out but ultimitly to reach critical mass Blender needs to reach more companies and more projects. 
People invest so much into learning these applications, not only are they professional digital artist but they become application specialist. Maybe Blender can break some of these habits do something new. I would like to be a part of figuring that out and help make difference
I remember this one time helping a project, they hired some guys from disney one was really into mari. For the Mari guy myself and others end up helping him by switching all the hotkeys to match mari and show him everything I could about what he wanted to learn and nothing more and at the same time I was learning mari to help him bridge the gap in the end he was one of the most proficient 3d modelers on the project and slowly started to give up some of his mari shortcuts asking all kinds of questions. It was awesome 
On another project for a modeler in maya I ended up creating workflow so he could use maya but need to qc everything in xsi and this was good because his deliverable to the next department was using xsi, I never could get him to fully switch and management did not want get involved so it did not happen top down as long as they were buying maya license but he did use xsi everyday to qc his deliverables. In the end he thought softimage|xsi was cool he just preferred what he knew which was maya and had been using it for 8 years.

What I am trying to say the first step from my experience is making a switch, beside wanting to switch it is all about workflow.
Workflows make all the difference. If you need to you mirror or match workflow from another app. Then eventually you simplify and refine workflows some people avoid change and learning, people want to create not learn softwares.
So software switching has been difficult making thingings easier seems like the best way to convince people

Now I am not saying that the Softimage path should be followed, blender has an opportunity to do something different fresh and grass roots and I believe blender by it's nature is doing something different then the other guys but there were things that softimage did really well I think some of it was one customer innovations and partnerships, building workflows and tool for new ideas and new ways of getting the job done . Also we did a lot of evangelism at schools trying to win over key locations and keep them on Softimage.

Hopefully you have all made it through my post because short answer I would like to help
I would love to be apart of the birds of the feather at siggraph next year.

-Jentzen Mooney

 From: Ton Roosendaal <ton at blender.org>
To: Blender Educators and Trainers <bf-education at blender.org> 
Sent: Thursday, November 24, 2011 4:33 AM
Subject: [Bf-education] Siggraph educator Birds of Feather
Hi all,

Marc Barr, SIGGRAPH Education Committee Chair, has asked me if Blender  
Foundation would be interested organizing a "Birds of a Feather" for  

It could be about free/open learning of 3D creation at schools/ 
colleges. Stuff that's by-default not possible with Adesk sw :)

Although I think it's cool to have educators meet there and discuss  
matters, it would be much more interesting if such a BoF would be  
presented/hosted well, with use cases and some presenters.

Anyone on this list interested, and already planning to visit Siggraph  
LA 2012?



Ton Roosendaal  Blender Foundation  ton at blender.org    www.blender.org
Blender Institute   Entrepotdok 57A  1018AD Amsterdam   The Netherlands

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