Advice on teaching Blender

I have 5 days to teach the basics of Blender. And i am a student in an Office Tech 2 class, and my teacher gave me permission to teach a little about Blender. I will first teach about the UI, then i will teach the cloth system, then fluids, and ‘Bullet’ the physics engine, but i need something that would be a good lesson on modeling, for the last day.

I need something cool to model but still be able to finish it within like 50 minutes…

Any ideas of what i could do?

hmm, is the class given to people with prior 3d knowledge? or people that are clueless about 3d?

It seems weird to me that you’d give a modelling class on the last day…while starting with complex simulation like cloth and fluid…

mmm, maybe i could model the second day after UI intro, but its a class that has no idea what Blender is, much less 3d modeling/software.

I would do :

Vital functions
Modelling and modifiers
Animation, ipo’s,actions etc…

and then the hard stuff : simulations,particules,softbodies etc…

why don’t you take them through the process of completing a short animation/still? then they could learn whilst doing. It would give them a reason to say “how do I?” rather than “why should I?”…IMO 3D graphics is all about problem solving.

I would say there’s probably no need to go into physics, cloth or fluid unless you’re teaching a vfx class.

If I were you, I would study the Blender Underground tutorials on Blender Basics (or at the very least refer to them in your class) as they are far and away the most detailed, logical and complete set of tutorials I have ever watched.

Sounds like a cool class anyway - good luck!

Is this more of a demonstration or an actual class where you expect people to actually use Blender afterwards?


5 day? I teach blender and I would not spend one day on the interface.

Prepare a hand out with the common modeling tools and keys like:

G Grab
R Rotate
E Extrude
B Select
S Scale
F Fill

And create a handout to quickly setup the interface
left mouse click, emulate numkapd, etc.

Than after 30 min I would right ahead go into modeling a simple form
and demo it in-front of them.

It will be a lot of information so compress it and make 2 steps and wait
for them to do it. Make again 2 steps and wait for them to catch up.

Cloth etc I would do the last 2 days. Model something easy and they will
be more happy because the created something like a cartoon dog which
you could use later to let cloth fall over it for example.

Connect the 3D data you work on through the days. See the 5 days as
one big project modeling - cloth etc. are just sub sections/modules.


I agree with Ecks plus am surprised by the fact that you ask for permission to teach a class without knowing how to do it.
Think about this for a moment if you will. This 5 day class is providing the gateway for your students to enter 3d design and having blender presented by someone who has no teaching experience diminishes the chance greatly that they would stick with blender.

The best you could do at this point is to rethink everything and once you figured out what is reasonable for beginners, fire up Open Office and hammer out 30 to 100 pages of documentation to supplement the week. I have been teaching music for 25 years and blender for two but would never dream of walking into a music class without written music for the students … the same goes for blender.

If I was you, I’d create a pdf document that is broken down by day 1 to 5.
Keep in mind that the average student (when learning “new” material such a blender) can not concentrate for more than two to three hours which means that depending how long the class is, much of what you say on day one needs to be repeated - even with written instructions.
When teaching blender, I never make a big deal out of the interface!

Last a few tips your future students need to understand so that they can become productive.
3D space (explain the 3 axis, the grid and blender units)
Cursor (not the mouse one, but the blender cursor including snapping so that they can place the cursor at any given location)
Mesh Objects (introduce the Cube, Plane, UV sphere, Circle and explain the “Tab” key so that they understand edit mode and why it’s important)
Vertex/Edge/Face Mode (cover what each mode is and why they are necessary, then continue to teach about making selections and "Occlude background geometry)

Covering the above points on day one would give you a solid start and set the direction to a successful week as you introduce “Mesh Tools” on day two.

I hope you are not offended by the opening statement of my reply? I just wanted to give you a wake up call while it is still time. Teaching is a great responsibility and pays well but it is also hard work! It matters little of how good you are with blender and Photoshop. If you can not “see the problem from a students perspective” - you can not teach. Yes, that is the art of teaching. Figure out why this person in front of you has a hard time with a certain step and then explain it at a level that the student can solve the problem.
After many years of teaching, you will get to a point when you explain 80% of a solution and then guide the student to grasp the rest “as if he/she figured it out on his/her own”.
That is the joy of teaching.

I look forward of you posting pictures of your first class :slight_smile:

Many people wrote too much already - i didn´t read the thread, i am in a hurry. But in response to the OP:

I´d rather not try to teach the people Blender, i´d try to make a presentation to wake their interest. Hence a class of 100 ppl. 10 still have a hangover, 40 are still asleep, 50 pay attention. Of those 50 maybe 25 are really intrested. Now if you try to teach them all the “boring” basics they´ll lose the interest. If you show them what you can achive with blender, like showing BBB which is really short, you might ignite their inner flame so they go home, download blender and try it on their own.
And i wouldn´t model from the scratch. Model for instance a human face. but already have the file prepped. Show them how basic sub-d modelling forms the cheek while you already have the eyes, nose, mouth.
Have the material and textures prepared to show them a final result.

my 2 cents :smiley:

Keep it simple and interesting. You will bore them to the point of hating Blender if you spend so much time on the UI. Focus on showing them what Blender can do while sprinkling the demonstrations with pointers about the interface. This way you put all of the boring stuff within the context of doing something interesting, making it less boring.

Don’t preach about Open Source…they don’t care, nor should they have to. They’ll come to appreciate the Open Source concept AFTER their interest is sparked by showing them what they can do with software that just happens to be Open Source.

Don’t be defensive about common complaints on Blender’s UI. Don’t even plant that seed.

I think you should start by showing them BBB, Blender demo reels and galleries. Make most of the first class like a little film festival (eveybody loves to watch movies in a classroom setting :)). I would recommend that the last video you show them consist of a graphic style that’s closer to what you’ll have time to demonstrate. This will make a better transition to your demonstration. In other words, showing them BBB and then only having time to demonstrate something significantly less complex may not be so effective. Here’s a really well done Blender short movie that has a graphic style that’s closer to what a beginner will have the confidence (and realistic hope) in trying:

Then, demonstrate different features and functions within the context of creating a simple scene (with maybe some simple animation). Keep it simple. It will be extremely boring for them to watch you dive into something really complex, involved, and beyond their understanding. As you know, teaching should be about helping the student to learn, and not about demonstrating how much you know.

Good Luck! Let us know how it turns out. :slight_smile:


we did a one-day workshop in August in Vancouver focusing in showcasing Blender and give some training using the Blender Game Engine.

Maybe it can help/inspire you:

I agree that a good reel of Blender features (and BBB screening) is a good start.

Good luck.

You could do my ‘Kevin the caterpillar’ model and animation, its v easy! Full video course on youtube. (Roytheartist) Alos listed here.

Music video made with the techniques learned,

Hope it helps!

If you show them what you can achive with blender

Well, iam not sure ill be able to show BBB, but i will show them what ‘we’ will achieve within that day.

For instance, after the basic UI, i made the blender logo in a cool textured box. Thats what they will make that day. Then a square cloth spinning on a 4 teeth sprocket thingy. Then a ball reeking havoc on a thing of water. And then making a simple self controlled catapult to knock down a stack of blocks. I plan on showing them what you can do with each of the things i will teach.

And i guess i could show BBB, that would be pretty cool. I guess i would have to say “With a lot of time and skill, you could make a short movie like this.” That movie would take some time for me to make and figure out too. :smiley:

cartoon dog which
you could use later to let cloth fall over it for example.

Keep in mind i only have 50 minutes. I don’t want to make something long like that and take half the class time rendering and baking it. All these have to be fairly simple things.

I would say there’s probably no need to go into physics, cloth or fluid unless you’re teaching a vfx class.

I am wanting to teach Blender, not 3d modeling. My goal is to give a basic understanding of Blender and its awesomeness.

Btw, i only asked for a simple model in which i could teach how to make, but i also got some good pointers too. Thanks

Also, iam not really like wanting to make an true animation of stick figures fighting or anything, primarily because i can’t really do that myself and i only want to teach the simple stuff like how to make key frames.

Improv! Ask them what they need, then model it with them.

I had the opportunity to teach a 3D Modeling with Blender class recently. There were 30 students from different backgrounds. Fortunately, they all had projects which required 3d Models.

First thing I did was show Big Buck Bunny and the new Realtime GLSL feature in Blender 2.48 (AWESOME). The bathroom demo is great for that.

Then I asked them if they had a particular object they needed for their projects.
When they gave me some, I did a quick speed model and then had them recreate it along with me.

If you model something they’re interested in, or that they need for a project, they’ll be more engaged. If you can speed model whatever they suggest, they’ll be impressed.

(We ended up doing a tree, which lead to other discussions about procedural l-systems, 2d cards versus 3d models, etc.)

Good luck!

Oh yeah, if you’re not a professional teacher, make it more informal. It’s a conversation, not a lesson. You’re hanging out with them and talking about Blender. Let them ask questions even if it sidetracks your lesson plan a little bit. Spend lots of time walking around the room and checking in to see if people are following along ok.

Do the first few tuts on my course! Just a simple city fly-through, doesnt get much simpler!

Yeah, informal and cooperation between students is key.

Also key is to make sure that they really know what’s going on when they hit keys and buttons: Divide up your workspace into the top/front/side/camera view and makes sure the names are shown.

Everybody here has given some pretty good advice.