Newbie asks a quesiton about a simulated classroom scene for science education.

Hello…I am not sure if Blender can do this and I need help. I supervise science education for a large public school district just outside Philadelphia. I want to create a virtual classroom where I can pose three students in various positions to show elementary teachers how to do science lessons with their classes. For example, one student might be recording numbers, one might be dropping a parachute, and one holding a timer. These don’t have to be animated. I want the ability to then reposition these same students for the next part of the lab, and so on and so on. I want HD stills that would then be added to a YouTube video. Would Blender do something like that? I am willing to pay someone to build the initial template and then allow me the ability to “stage various” science experiments for young students.

If Blender is not the tool, what should I use? I found sort of an example in the 2013 demo reel. But classroom instead of lab…3 young (about 4th or 5th Grade) students…and various science gear…

Thanks so much for any information. George Mehler

you can use blender for that for sure, it may not be as good as aftereffects for 2.5D, but you can give it a shot. Google for blender 2d animation for similar, there are several techniques to do 2D / 2.5D animations.

If you don’t mind cartoon characters, you might want to take a look at Blend Swap Cartoon Character Pack by VMComix which are in the public domain. If you are planning on posing the characters yourself, it would be a good idea to download these guys and get some practice.

You might also want to look into Blender Cookie’s Blender Animation Toolkit which shows you how to use their Flex Rig, and how to generate your own characters. The Flex Rig is also available from Blend Swap, but the instructions on how to use it in the Blender Animation Toolkit videos are invaluable.

What you need in addition to these characters is a set, props and a decent lighting setup. I’d recommend you draw some sketches of what you have in mind for the science classroom, and some of the equipment (or find photos) so people would have some idea of the scope of work.

(BTW, ‘these don’t have to be animated’… well, if you intend to pose the characters holding props in various positions, and point the camera so you can see what they are doing, you are doing half of the work involved in animation. So you need to learn animation, it’s just that you get to stop when the tutorials start talking about interpolation and timing and pose-to-pose… although, I’ve got to warn you, it’s like eating potato chips: you may not be able to stop once you start)

I’ve done something similar in blender before but in complete 2D with orthographic camera view. It included simple animation of legs moving using armature. Unfortunately can’t share it, it was one of my freelancing NDA projects.

I was thinking “I could probably do this” and then remembered I’m homeschooled and have no idea what a science classroom looks like.

I’ve taught in many science classrooms (although not to fifth graders) and been on planning committees to set up science classrooms, and I can tell you there is no standard ‘science classroom’. That’s why it’s best we get some idea from the original poster what he has in mind.

Another question. Generally elementary schools don’t have dedicated science classrooms. Is part of your intention to show elementary teachers how to arrange their classrooms so the kids can all participate? If that’s the case, then we’d need to know what sort of furniture is common in fourth and fifth grade classrooms in your district. If not, then the set could consist of a chalkboard backdrop and a table with the kids standing around it and a teacher hovering in the background.

You’ll notice in your example, there is only one wall visible, with some indication of a stage left entrance (the stairs). If that were a classroom, none of the student seating is visible.

This requires green screening and it will require close communication between the artist and the person doing the filming of the kids. Build the 3d classroom in blender just like you would any other room. Find out what camera is going to be used to film the kids and make sure your renders are shot with those exact camera presets. I don’t know how to do chromakeying in blender, but its easy in Ae. No tracking is necessary as the 3d classroom won’t be moving or being interacted with. You set up something to be the counters in real scene and drape green cloth over it. Then its just a matter of compositing the video of the kids over the static 3d classroom. That being said, I’ve never done this. lol I have however watched many video tuts on the subject.

That’s another way to interpret the request. I got the impression that the kids were going to be CG, not live actors.