Teaching Blender to Adults for the first time

Have any of you nice people any experience of teaching Blender to groups of adults? I’ll be teaching them in small groups (4-5) over 3-4 hour sessions. Any ideas, procedures hints? Priorities?
I’ll not be all that far ahead of them, but they’ll be aware of this!!!


Classroom Tutorials:

Hera are some good tutorials for download in PDF format:


I learned Blender from them, and there really good. :slight_smile:

Hey Mass,

The links to the tutorials on that website are down. Do you have any copies of them?


It’s quite important to get them into a decent workflow. The general workflow goes:


The hardest parts are texturing and rigging and they don’t always go in that order. If you texture first and then rig, you might find the character isn’t moving right and you need to modify the topology. Doing so messes up the UVs so you have to do the texturing again.

I personally prefer to rig before texturing for that reason. I don’t see any advantage to doing texturing first.

I would break it down into those sections and get them used to working that way.

modelling: don’t use NURBs. They are not very well supported in Blender and they are less flexible to model with. Focus on polygons with subdivisions. Teach about using faceloops - that’s very important for animation. Also cover subdivision creasing, normals and the various tools available.

rigging: this will let them see why faceloops are useful. Also show them weight painting and IKs as well as model posing.

texturing: explain about UVs and why they are needed. Polygon objects don’t have UVs so they need to be projected onto the model. Get them using the UVeditor and introduce LSCM. Also describe material settings like specular, diffuse terms etc.

animation: Do basic animations by setting keyframes on individual bones. I wouldn’t get into the NLA if it’s a basic class but you might want to mention it.

Lighting: explain what the properties of the various lights do and what circumstances you should use specific types of light. Also cover shadows.

rendering & post-pro: you don’t need to spend long on this. Just cover resolution, fps, anti-aliasing, storage formats and some basic filters.

I actually taught a 4 week workshop during the summer, and I will soon be starting another one in October.

One thing I’ve found is that having 12 hours of time with them, trying to give them a brief overview is really hard for the students. Remember, I had 12 hours and it was still a brief overview. So, if you have them for only that much time, either give them homework to do between workshops or only go so far with the program. Also, following along with the instructor is still hard, even when everyone has their own computer, they can see the instructor on a projecter, etc. It’s still hard for them.

What we are doing this time around, is that we’ll have 8 weeks; that’s twice as much time. And instead of trying to give them an introductory experience, I’m going to take as much time as I need to teach them how to use the software front and back. Starting at the interface and customizing it, then to modeling, texturing, and animation. If we run out of time, then we just won’t talk about it. I’ll give them handouts, and if they know the interface, and know how to model, then they should be able to understand everything else they read about Blender.

To help with the whole “following along” problem, I’m going to make a bunch of .blend files that they can copy to their machine and then load each one as we go through exercises. The instructions are also going to be in the .blend file. So if they get lost, they can see the instructions right on the screen. Secondly, if they completely loose track and get lost, they can just load up the next .blend file and start fresh with the rest of the group. So, no one will get left behind.

The idea behind these short and simple excercises, is that they’ll only have to perform one task or two simple tasks, or only give them one thing to focus on at a time. It is important that they do each step right, becuase they’ll learn better that way, and if it’s excercise based, then the material is in small enough bites that even the noobiest of noobies should be able to get it.

I also have to think about people that might a workshop. They’ll need to catch up. So, I’m going to put those .blend files, and videos up on the web as well. Which means, of course, that other people can download them as a learning resource.

So that’s the idea. I’ll try and make sure that all the teaching material, videos, etc will be saved so I can use them for later and then release them. I’ll keep you guys updated.

******** totally offtopic high-jack in progress *************
metsys, I didn’t realize you were in Idaho. Now I’m not the only blenderhead in Idaho. :stuck_out_tongue:

now returning to regularly scheduled posts

I googled and found the same file names here:


I am guessing they are the same documents.

I have some experience in this (I’ve teached couple of three day long courses about this). You just need to be patient and don’t go forward too quickly: even if you understand something don’t live in faith, that others will grasp that information as quickly as you teach it.

You need to cover the basic operations first: how to navigate in 3D, how to add basic shapes, how to manipulate basic shapes (size, rotation, moving), how to operate camera and how to add light sources. And finally how to add shaders and materials and how to render that whole mess.

If the people you are teaching won’t grasp that information they will be utterly and helplessly lost in all the information you decide to flood their brains whit.

After you’ve covered the basics you can proceed to more complex matters, like simple modeling using spin, spin dup or screw command. They’ll learn to move vertices this way and they’ll see what it all actually is about.

Ain’t you the bestest bunch of guys and gals there is.
Lots of stuff to start me off.

I’ll make my course available for sharing and comment near Christmas.

Godda do some work now…