[Bf-funboard] Teaching Beginners, was Basic Edition

Roger hovergo at net-tech.com.au
Mon Nov 27 23:27:38 CET 2006

HI Karl
When Blender 2.37 opens it presents the 3D window for drawing, and at the bottom the screen a
Button Window with a number of selector menus which change depending on the choice  'Shading
F5, Object F7, Editing F9,  Screen F10 selected.

Clicking on the white downward pointing triangle in the  left top corner of each selector minimises to
a grey vertical strip, this way only the menu selectors that you want are visible and you can drag
the border of the window down for more drawing area if needed.

Right clicking on the dark grey top baner of each menu allows you to orient the minimise to vertical
or horizontal so you can put it almost off screen and allows you to drag it to another position in
the window.

<CTRL> <mouse wheel> will zoom in or out making each menu smaller or larger, ideal for getting it
out of the way of the drawing.

I would prefer that they minimise to an icon and those icons could be placed/dragged anywhere on the
edge of the 3D window.
Clicking would produce a fly out of selections, we would get a lot more useable screen,  but its ok
the way it is.

I use only Object and Editing for much of the beginning tutorials then the materials  a little later
once they get the idea of dragging edges, corners and surfaces, to create meaningful shapes.

  A most important thing I found to teach is to train them to  _deliberately_ put the 3D cursor
where  they _want an object centre placed in 3D space_.
Students seem to think that an object would be placed on the mouse cursor, this causes frustration
until they understand that they are setting up  a position, I tell them that placing the 3D cursor
is like placing the tip of a finger in mid air and thats where the object appears..

One tip I find useful is to use  layers right from the begining.
I do a lot of extrusions along lines rather than modifying and slicing primitive objects. I put 2d
and 3d line templates in the 3rd layer box from the top left, lights in the second top box and
cameras in the first top box then set up object components all along the bottom layer boxes and last
the top boxes from right to left... <Shift Ckick>  toggles each layer box on or off without altering the
other layer boxes. It would be handy if the yellow flag flyout contained an editable name for each

It is human nature to think of the screen as 2d. It's quite a different mind set to learn Z axis for
I get them to draw a very large box in Object mode, elongate it into a rectangle with some height so
that no 2 intersecting faces are the same dimensions, then delete the top face, one end and one side
Use Z Key to make it semi transparent, then get them to do their 3D objects inside the rectangle,
Rotate with Num keys and with the mouse.
This way they can visualise Length, Width and Height, they can then switch off the layer containing
the box to do more work, and switch it on if they get lost again in 3D space.

< NUM 7,1,3> give plan, elevation and side elevation.
Take care with this because accidentally pressing NUM 5 introduces perspective view which can confuse
even more unless the learners understand perspective. It's caught me out a few times particularly
when setting a camera and doing a quick render, sometimes its a really ugly image.
I'd like to be able to switch off Num 5 for some drawings and just use it as non perspective.

I never use more than one view port. I have found  it confuses when trying to teach with <split to 3
windows> because in the case of beginners with simple primitives, ball, pyramid or box there is
little difference between side and end elevations.
  I teach them to draw a primitive  match box or tissue box then with a real one on the table top,
you physcally turn it with your hand and can see the changes in orientation and perspective, , they
do this then on screen, this seems to translate in their minds to what happens on the screen and
helps when explaining later about applying textures and images to surfaces.
It slows them down a bit stops them clicking on every button and getting confused.

Much of what I do doesn't require the candy shop of selections we have, It would be easer if the Button
Menus were simplified to just the basics and had flyouts for the more complex selections and this is
what I think you would like as a Basic version.
Rather than another version just switch off the selections and functions that are not needed until a
later more developed beginner emerges then switch them on again.


Karl Kühberger wrote:
> Hi Roger,
> how can I minimise or remove the selectors?
> The Blender Classroom Tutorial Book is interesting indeed.
> I should translate parts of it for my lessons into German language.
> Otherwise I confuse the kids even more.
> Karl
> Am 24.11.2006 um 07:23 schrieb Roger:
>> Karl Kühberger wrote:
>>> Hi Roger,
>>> thanks for the detailed information about your way of teaching  Blender.
>>> Sounds pretty good, and I will try it in my next course.
>>> But I also think, there are many approaches to teach Blender.
>>> I teach it to both adults and kids. With adults it is easy to do it
>>> step by step and quite academically, but with kids, who are very
>>> curious and want to try out every button in the first lesson,  sometimes
>>> it is difficult to stay with the essentials.
>>> Carlinhos
>> Hi Karl
>> Oh Yeah that is definitely correct, as many approaches as there are  
>> students.
>> In that first stage of exploration they either learn a lot, fast,   or 
>> nothing at all.
>> Did you know that you can minimise / remove the selectors in the  
>> bottom wndow and only show the ones
>> you want to teach for that particular lesson.
>> I've done that too. At the very least everyone is working on the  same 
>> subject.
>> I found the Blender Classroom Tutorial Book  quite good for  
>> beginners, however it leaves much out of
>> the explanations.
>> Keep up the good work
>> regards
>> Roger
>> _______________________________________________
>> Bf-funboard mailing list
>> Bf-funboard at projects.blender.org
>> http://projects.blender.org/mailman/listinfo/bf-funboard
> _______________________________________________
> Bf-funboard mailing list
> Bf-funboard at projects.blender.org
> http://projects.blender.org/mailman/listinfo/bf-funboard

More information about the Bf-funboard mailing list