Blender Master Tutorials

I have been using Blender heavily for some time now. The tutorials, and especially the VIDEO tutorials, have been a major factor in my learning curve. While I do not know nearly every feature, I feel I am strong enough as a user to utilize Blender well.

Sadly, I have begun seeing a gaping hole in the tutorials: They focus on using features, not doing things with those skills! In essence, Blender is well-documented for beginners and early intermediates, who all need to get comfortable with how the features work. Beyond that, there seems to be next to nothing…

I am hoping that there are some people out there with serious skills, who would be interested in producing tutorials for those of us who have finally moved beyond learning features. Things like how to make realistic cars, or the possibilities with complex animated materials (I have a theory on textiles “burning away” that I need to test some day, for example), or how to make spectacular effects. Or, for the Big One, an in-depth set of tutorials on how to creature realistic, fully rigged human characters (ManCandy is great for learning how to create functional characters, but it only goes so far. And the “how to build a human” tutorials seem heavily focused on basic modelling, ignoring greater implementations, including good rigging).

There are three questions I am basically asking here:

1: What kind of MASTER tutorials would it make sense to find and encourage someone to create them?

2: Who would the logical candidates for the jobs be (who are the “Blender Masters”), if any?

3: What really-high level tutorials on applying Blender to difficult tasks already exist that I don’t know of?

As anyone can guess, I am looking greatly forward to the Creature Factory DVD, since it (seemingly) applies Blender skills learned to a very demanding task. But I believe there is plenty to dig into, if the proper people can be encouraged into spreading their “mad skillz” :slight_smile:

Yeh i hear what your saying. There is some pretty advanced stuff out there, but its hard to find.

The Creature Factory DVD is one of the major things im looking forward to, thats some knowledge that will help people take much larger steps in blender.

Apart from that though theres of course Big Buck Bunny, with all the support files and tutorials. And for the Game side of things Apricots coming up. There going to be a huge help to the Blender community. Lots of good material.

There are some limitations to tutorials, and I think you’ve found them. If you take a look at Tony Mullen’s book, An Introduction to Character Animation in Blender, you’ll discover it is actually a huge tutorial on building, rigging and animating a character. And it’s book length. If it were a video tutorial, it would be a sixteen hour dvd, or longer. But when you’re finished working through it, you have a cartoon superhero who can walk, and jump up and down, and talk a little. Mad skillz? Well, more than you had before you worked through it. Show it to the friends and family, and they’ll be polite, and say, “wow, you did all that?”

If you are looking for superset tutorials, like: how to make a light sabre effect, or how to make a jet engine flame, there are probably some out there that combine toolsets in creative ways, but it sounds like you are looking for something more.

Finding out how to do things with those skills and features requires an apprenticeship rather than more tutorials. If you are interested in animation, there is the Blender Bootstrap Animation Class ( :eek: shameless plug alert :eek: ), which is an attempt to get beyond tutorials and develop those mad skillz by doing and getting feedback, in a series of progressively more challenging exercises.

But it’s not a tutorial, it’s a club. Easy to join, just show up, do the first exercise and post your results. The dues are high, though: you have to use the feedback you get to improve your work and you have to use what you’ve learned to critique other animations.

Yup, got that book, too :slight_smile: My thoughts is, how would such a book look if Tony or another writer blatantly assumed the reader knew all the common functions of Blender? Most of the book is, as the title says, introductionary. It shows how to model basic forms, it discusses subsurfing for the uninitiated, etc. Without all of that, it might be two chapters thick!

That, I guess, is really my current point of concern: Blender is generous to the new (possibly because of the pounding it has taken on that in the past), but once noob has become basic user, the learning support all but ends. I have been a lurker on the Bootstrap, too, but it also seems to focus on basic skills, rather than greater applications of skill. And I have to disagree on the need for an apprenticeship; I have faith that Creature Factory will be a greatly needed step in the Advanced Blender Usage direction, and I am certain that others out there have the skills to do similar, perhaps smaller, projects!

That said, I will continue to lurk on Bootstrap, until the basics are over, then maybe become active. Though the interaction with other real people scares me :slight_smile:

There comes a point in every learning curve where you can only learn from experience. It might be that you have reached that point from here on it is learning for yourself by combining your knowledge with experience.
A great help in this process is getting feedback from others and expanding on that.

Yeh i forgot about that one. A very good tutorial, takes a lot of time to do. I did it in my holiday break and learnt a hell of a lot.

That is actually the point where it starts to get interesting.

Without the basics there will be no improvement. It’s getting the feel for everything that will bring you ahead. And getting the feel has all to do with experience. See my other post.
And let me restate it experience is something you can’t gain from videotutorials or books it’s all about learning by doing.
So instead of searching for tutorials do your own and learn while doing it.

Can someone tell me how to post on the forum, not reply, but post? I just started and I’m Lost:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:frowning:

Okay, Point Of View change… Wouldn’t it be great if those who are really good at Blender would make something really impressive AND then go into details about how they did it, giving the rest of us a peek inside the mind of the masters? Like Creature Factories, but a bunch of smaller projects. Like how X made a living room seem so real, or how Y rigged a really complex robot? Tough challenges met and explained to the lesser mortals (us)!

Click “New Thread”, right above the list of threads in a section. Don’t reply here, if it won’t work, PM me!

Thats actually a very good point. Once you know how to use all the tools you can pretty much develop your own ways to do anything in Blender. Which is defiantly very interesting and rewarding when you work things out and start getting the exact results your looking for.

I think the ED DVD is a big leap in that direction, and the BBB DVD will build on that idea of a peek inside. Also watch special features on DVDs, for example, Cloverfield, give you insight into how it was done, and I could see exactly how to do it with Blender.

A spectacular shot is really a combination and overlay of all the little elements and brings together (integrates) all of them. It is also very tedious work. You will hear the pros talking about doing camera tracking FRAME BY FRAME or in Animation Mentor doing a sequence for X movie adjusting motion frame by frame. I kind of think the magic or higher-level technique is applying the basic skills in conjunction and repetitively. Systems integration we call it in IT. The Whole becomes more than the Sum of its parts. Synergy.

When I animated a dragon for a 60-second clip, for example, I blocked out the poses and then started animating motion for each body part. The basic posing skill was just that, but it was done for a dozen body parts for 1500 frames. But it wasnt until the set, props, particles, smoke, matte, world, lighting, camera action, foley and music, and cut/splice mixing was done until it really had “wow”.

I do think a tutorial on layering effects is needed, as I have seen on different special features, where it all comes together - the 3D model, texturing, lighting, flash, smoke, dust, color correction, blur, live action integration, touchups, - to produce the final render.

I am learning a lot by participating in Weekend Challenges. It is forcing you to develop materials, textures, scene settings and it improves your modelling speed a lot.

If you are so experienced with Blender tools, it is time to start study the real world, so you can make your projects more reallistic ;).

Also tutorials of other 3D applications like 3DMAX, Maya are very good if you can use it with Blender.

I love those things. I recently got so many weird looks when I mentioned I wanted a pure “Behind the SFX” line of DVD to be published for all major modern CG-heavy movies (Matrix, SW, LotR, etc.). I know the CG story of Davy Jones’ tentacle beard (Pirates of the Carribean) by heart! Only problem is they are not in-depth on the how-to, only the general stuff. Hmm… Maybe I should look through my FF:SW double-disk again…

And don’t I know it! Even the limited quality of my own movie work (see sig) has me scrubbing the timeline until my knuckles hurt!

…the basic skills in conjunction and repetitively. […] Synergy.
Exactly. And I would like to see tutorial examples of fascinating ways those basic skills may be put to use!

I do think a tutorial on layering effects is needed, as I have seen on different special features, where it all comes together - the 3D model, texturing, lighting, flash, smoke, dust, color correction, blur, live action integration, touchups, - to produce the final render.
Again, exactly! That is one of the “Master Tutorials” I would like to see, too!

I don’t need anyone forcing me, I force myself plenty :). I just feel a vacuum of creative inspiration and guidance.

If you are so experienced with Blender tools, it is time to start study the real world, so you can make your projects more reallistic ;).
I do. Again, I feel a vacuum in creative inspiration and (particularly) guidance. It seems dumb for me to reinvent the wheel over and over again when there are so many better wheel-makers out there for me to learn from.

Also tutorials of other 3D applications like 3DMAX, Maya are very good if you can use it with Blender.
I have used a couple. I still feel Blender is enough of a package to warrant its own high-level tutorials, though. If you know good ones for those packages, please let me know, of course!

I think there comes a point where you know Blender’s interface well enough that it makes more sense to learn general skills: anatomy, composition, animation (I recommend the Animator’s Survival Kit for this) and there isn’t so much need for the tutorials to be Blender, or even 3D, specific. It’d be nice to find non-Blender artists following Blender tutorials, just as we follow non-Blender tutorials, but it’s not essential. Do you find with a lot of modelling tutorials you don’t even read the text?

Rigging tutorials: yep, I want more of them. I want to see diagrams that show which bone has which constraint to which bone rather than the step-by-step approach. And joint-deformations: that’s a real hole in my 3D knowledge. This is getting a bit personal - a bit what I want right now.

from what i gather you want something like the gnomon video tutorials, but for blender.
And i agree that would be cool, and I’m saving up for the Creature Factory myself too. :slight_smile:

But right now, if you can afford it id say the best option is probably,
perhaps getting one or two gnomon discs that are maya related,
and translating the ideas and “philosophies(lets call them that)” to blender use.

yogyog’s point about learning more general things like,
knowledge about how anatomy & lighting ‘work’ for an example is a good one too.

I think it was sorta mentioned above but, personally, I’d like to see “walkthru” type stuff that are project specific. Like, “here’s the project result, and here are the steps I followed to to it”… But the special goodies/tricks might have more explanation.

Problem is, the pros are busy working from project to project. By the time I’m done with one, even before it’s archived, I’m starting on the next. Makes it difficult to produce these while it’s still fresh in your mind.

My other thought is that the pros depend on work coming in the door for a paycheck. With global competition out there, they really do not want to give away their intellectual property secrets, or the work they do will be shipped off to someplace cheaper. What makes Suzy at ILM (example only) valuable is that she is the one that knows how to add and animate dust. That what she does. She sifts through a CG video all day an adds dust where it should be. And she is the best in the world at adding just the right amount. If she told the world how she did it, she would now be creating her own competition. So it is very much a dog-eat-dog kind of world, and people are protecting themselves. Sad, but true, given how hard it is to find work these (and any) days.

so, if you invest the time and energy and figure it out, it makes you valuable and maybe get a job at ILM, once Suzy retires.

It’s interesting that most pros do the same as noobs, only better.

Mostly it’s not technique, just a familiarity with the tools that comes with long use, a mindset that thinks how easy it is to do something (rather than how complicated)

and… experience there’s no substitute!

A friend of mine was talking about a shot in one of the Bond films with a mountain collapsing (I can’t remember which one sadly)… One guy had spent ages trying to do the shot but couldn’t get it to look right. The next guy with more experience nailed it in an hour with geometry that was practically two polygons (background, and cliffside to fall away…) covered with a few particles…