For what it’s worth, I’m one month into using Blender as my primary software in the course “3D for Illustration” at the Rhode Island School of Design. I’ve taught the course for six years, and previously used Cinema 4D as my primary software because of its relatively friendly interface. I got tired of students trying to find cracked software, though, so they could work at home, and over the past year or so Blender has become such a powerhouse that it seemed the logical choice to introduce 3D to people who were already competent with 2D image-making.
It’s working out well so far! The students are less intimidated by the interface than I’d feared, although the keyboard-based functionality is a little alien and they’re a little behind where previous-years’ classes have been, using the more visually-oriented Cinema interface. They’re catching up very fast, though, because of the ease of obtaining the program wherever they happen to be, and especially because of the wealth of tutorial material out there.
Today I just led an extra class for alumni and the parents of current students who were interested in exploring 3D and got a very favorable response. Since it was only an hour and a half, I concentrated on describing the process of constructing a 3D scene: modeling, texturing, lighting, rendering, compositing, with very simple examples. I started with a showing of Elephant’s Dream, to show what Blender is capable of, and ended with Chris Larkee’s “esign” movie, and in between led the parents and alums through an overview of 3D, as exemplified by Blender. They were very interested, especially after I assured them that it was free and readily available to experiment with.
Anyhow, I’m optimistic that once some of the other departments at the school realize the power and functionality of Blender that they will adopt it, as well. Fingers crossed, and thank all of you people out there for putting up with my questions and making this possible!