If those kids are losing interest that fast then they probably don’t
care about learning this stuff. You can’t do anything about that
part. And in a class with lots of kids, it’s inevitable. There are
going to be a lot of them that aren’t going to learn simply because
they don’t care.
You need a projector or something you can hook your computer up
to so the whole class can see what you’re doing. Do something
simple like showing them how to edit polygons like you mentioned.
Maybe there should be a common goal for everyone to follow like
making space ship or air craft something. Just some sort of object
that will be animated using key frames. You could show them how
to using procedural materials on their objects and maybe even how
to assign different colors to different vertices. This would be good
for focusing on the use of polygon editing. It leaves the door open
for them to make it look how they want.
-Make a street, make a car, animate it driving down the road.
-Make an air craft, make a simple hilly scene, animate it flying through the scene.
Going by what you’re describing the students’ attitudes as, using armatures
is probably not a good idea. That requires a lot of patients and can be a
bit daunting for beginners.
If it’s only 2 day workshops, just pick a few key things to teach.
Here are some topics to choose from in Blender:
(and this is what is covered in The Essential Blender book)
-3D View, header and buttons window
-How to navigate in 3D space (like using the number pad to change angles)
-Changing the way objects are viewed (wire, solid, shaded, etc.)
-Changing the camera: Orthographic/Perspective
-ToolBox (SpaceBar): using it to add meshes and lamps, etc.
-Selecting Objects, 3D cursor, switching between Edit/Object mode,
-Transforming objects with Grab, Scale, Rotation (also w/the Manipulator)
-How to Duplicate objects (Shift+D)
-Parenting one object to another and how the child is effected by parent
-How to add different meshes to the scene
-How to edit meshes (moving vertices, subdividing, extruding faces, etc…)
-How to use a few Modifiers (SubSurf, Bevel, Mirror…maybe Array)
-Selecting all vertices and recalculating the normals (Ctrl+N) if they get messed up
Sculpting and Multiresolution Modeling:
-Adding a primative and adding Multires levels
-How to change/use brush types (Draw, Grab, Smooth, Layer, Inglate, etc…
Rigging and Skinning:
-in this class it sounds like they might learn these better if
you round house kick their computers onto the floor.
-Use something basic, the Suzanne monkey head might be the funnest
-Have them make the Basis shape key, then add a new shape key and
edit the face to show a crazy expression.
-Changing the influence of different shape keys to see changes
Materials and Textures:
-Changing Diffuse color, changing specular, adding reflection (but make sure
there is something to see in reflection)
-Just make a paper air plain for them to throw around
Lighting and Rendering:
-Adding different lamps and changing settings to see how their
objects look when rendered
Particles (If you dare):
-Probably better off not getting into a hairy mess, but maybe use simple
halos on the materials for the emiters (they look pretty when rendered)
Rendering and Compositing:
-You should probably skip this and let them learn it on their own if they like.
(And the last one…possibly the funnest one)
Blender’s Physics/Game Engine:
-You could skip the game part, but…
-Show them how the cloth sim works (and how to pin parts of it down using
Vertex groups…sounds complex but it’s really not)
-have them make a slope and have balls roll down it when they press the “P” key.
Lets get something strait. It’s been on my mind through this whole thread.
You keep saying things about how hard it was to teach people before. I
don’t think the software has a whole lot to do with it. Maybe you just need
to plan things differently. Change how you make decisions for showing
students things one-on-one so the rest of the class doesn’t miss out.
If someone has a question let them ask out loud so the whole class can
learn from it. Just make sure to tell them more than once
“There are no stupid questions” (as long is it’s relevant to the workshop)
If someone needs help figuring out how to do what you’re
teaching, (and this is where the projector comes in handy) show them
up on the big screen where all can see it.
One more idea might to break them into groups for a certain project
so they have to work together to make something (but not everyone
likes doings doing that, so possibly not)
There. I just gave you more than enough categories to choose from.
I just did your whole class for you.
P.S: It would seriously be a tragedy if you chose not to use Blender for the reasons
you mentioned above. This software is very unique. Blender Foundation is making
history and it would be a good investment into youth if you plant this seed in them.
Blender is going places and it provides more opportunity and growth for student than
any other software in existence (in my opinion). What’s the worst that could happen?
They decide they don’t like 3D graphics and would rather go into the food industry?
You being a teacher should be seen as a great privilege to show people they can
make something of themselves if they put their minds to it.
Please forgive me if I sound arrogant. I accept that I could be wrong about all this.
You should also memorize this saying and apply it to every teaching situation:
“Nothing worth having comes easy.”
I just invested an hour into this post for you.
I hope it was not in vain.
Your welcome. Now get outta here.
(kidding, don’t leave. it just sounded funny in my head)