Who's got the magic?

I have spent, in the past, quite some time trying to get my head into this game, but everything I’ve seen regarding training, from books to courses, to tutorials, has been absolutely maddening. I even took a course in 3D at a college in hopes that it would help.

I’ve watched probably a hundred hours of interface stuff. It’s ridiculous. People seem to spend more time on wanting to discuss the interface than the actual modelling processes. I’ve been looking at the software for well over a year (actually, I think the first time I downloaded Blender it was in version 2), and I haven’t even touched a shader or a color. I just can’t get past the basics.

Surely someone, somewhere, has come up with a reasonably comprehensive approach? Just, you know, split it into it’s 8 to 10 sections and do them REALLY well. The training resources are simply awful.

I don’t mean to sound negative – I really, REALLY want to learn Blender, but I’m frustrated. I’m missing that magic approach to training that actually zeroes in on the subject matter rather than skipping straight from the an hour discussing the interface to 3 minutes of basics and straight on to advanced techniques.

Just to be clear – I’m not inept when it comes to technology. I am extremely proficient in 2D software and publishing, as well as audio software and audio engineering… I just can’t get my head in the Blender game.

If anyone knows of a “magic bullet” (paid resource is fine), please let me know. I would rather spend $100 for a month of training than another year pulling my hair out.

Try to do (not only read, but do) the model from this excellent and well detailled text tutorial:

You’ll learn a lot about modelling in Blender from practicing it.

I think you might be taking the wrong approach to this. Don’t sit down and try to “study” the program. Just think of something you want to make, and go make it. Don’t worry about how you “don’t know how to make it”. That’s the point. When you get stuck, you now have a specific problem. Go look through tutorials for the solution. Once you find it, it will stick with you. Later, when you come up against a similar problem, you’ll remember the tools and techniques you used before to get past it. The vast majority of what I know about Blender, Maya, etc, I learned because I needed them for something i wanted to make (or that someone asked me to make, etc).

So think up a concept, and execute it as best as you can. It will probably suck. Who cares. The next one will be better, because you have the foundation to build off of.

Now go make something.

J_the_Ninja beat me to it. Forget videos. They’re just a way of seeing how other people work through projects. The only thing that will ever train you on how to do this is practice. Make awful stuff. Lots of it. Use the support forum here when you can’t figure something out. When you start making some progress, use the WIP forum to get advice as you go along. Eventually, your stuff will become less awful.

Thank you all for your very quick replies. :slight_smile:

@Sanctuary: Thanks! I’ll give it a go over the weekend. :slight_smile:

@J_the_Ninja: Entirely possible. Like, ENTIRELY possible that I’m missing the whole game, and that’s exactly why all the training seems to be frustrating, and al in the same manner. As a way of comparison, all the audio engineering/mixing stuff was frustrating until I read “Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio” by Mike Senior where everything came into focus. That book has the mojo. When it came to synthesizers, “Walsh’s Synthesizer Cookbook” had the magic. Was hoping there was one of those. But, I’ll try building a dinosaur, and I’ll suck at it, and I’ll build off that. :slight_smile:

@K Horseman: Thank you for your reply. I usually learn best through reading, attempting, adjusting, adapting. That’s my usual learning style, and usually best with some sort of immersion in the subject matter. Books and resources are very helpful for me, because I feel like I continually “skip, like a stone, off the subject matter”, rather than getting to the heart of it and adapting to the space without any direction.

Maybe 3D is not for you, I tried to learning knitting once had the same results

@tyrant monkey: maybe it’s not. Sounds defeatist though. Wish I could suggest some knitting books for you.

hey Phil,

People learn things in different ways, for some vid tut’s work well, for others books. But I think it’s fair to say that with everything theres no substitute for just doing it. You seem to prefer books, Johnathon Williamson did one a little while ago (and didn’t Kent Trammel just do one?).

Eitherway I agree with J_the_ninja, people, books, video’s can all help with specifics about a given topic, but fundamentally you have to train yourself by doing it, making a ton of mistakes and learning from them.

Just my 2 cents.

Hi, there is no magic for learn something, if u really want to learn Blender or any other applications ,there is only one way “Sit and Read” u’ll get it. Do mistakes and learn from it, some times it’ll hit by bricks and like you said some times you need to pull your hair yourself. But in the end you learned something that others not .If u afraid of doing mistakes your never learn anything in this world. Sorry to be dramatic but it’s quite true.

Happy Blending :slight_smile:

If you still want to look into the video/tutorial approach, this guy helped me a lot: http://www.amadeocompositions.com/tutorials.html
In the 33 part “First steps and preparation” series, he is going forward really slow and explaining a lot of things. That was one of the big reasons I finally got started with Blender.

I don’t want to be too critical, but…

Some of us started using Blender when it first came out. There was virtually no documentation, no tutorials, and we had to teach each other how to use the program (Back in the glorious Blender.nl days).

If you want to see a truly cryptic interface, try downloading Blender 1.8.

Now there are literally thousands of hours worth of video tutorials from site like Blender cookie, Blender guru, Blender diplom and of course, Youtube. I cannot fathom how someone could have watched a “hundred hours” of interface stuff and not grasp how to use the program.

I’m with the ‘learn by doing’ camp. Just pick some good concept art (or paint your own if you can) and start extruding those vertices. Don’t even try to make it perfect on your first try. You will get repeatedly stuck. Do not get discouraged. When you get stuck, look through tutorials and documentation to find the answer, or just ask someone (#blender on freenode is good for that). Once you’re done, post it somewhere around here. It’ll get torn to pieces (likely in gentle words). That’s ok. Do not get discouraged. Up till now you had no idea what is good and what is not. Read what they tell you and make the same model again, incorporating all the critique, trying different approaches, using your experience. Rinse, repeat. It’s the only way you’ll ever learn anything. Books and tutorials will only ever tell you how to do, and not what to do.

Wow some really great suggestions and insights given here, read it with joy as I am new to this CGI universe as well and actually have similar feelings as the OP (do you call original posters/thread starters OP here?). When I started with 2D I also tend to think: “I don’t want it to learn the wrong way, or learn it 30 different ways, I just want to learn it 1 way so I can get the idea out of my head and onto the screen.”. And I guess I understand why me and others think that way, we tend to think in processes/procedures than to think in solutions.

Maybe helpful for the OP but what changed me is actually ridiculously cliche. I picked up paper and pencils again and started with sketching analog before even launching my 2D program. Seeing my idea (horribly) sketched on paper, my brain somehow switched to “relax-mode” and let me work on my idea inside the 2D interface, instead of thinking of the idea and the interface simultaneously which I guess ruined my focus.

Now that I am starting with 3D, I am hoping to have learned from that experience. I actually did buy Masterclass by Ben Simonds as it has 3 full projects which you build from scratch to finish, and that system works for me in the past because I learn what each step contributes to the finished product, and actually see the finished product.

Ah Ben Simonds! - I knew someone else recently wrote a book, not Kent Trammel as I thought earlier.

I’m with MadMinstrel on this, as the “Learn-by-Doing” approach, I think, is always best. Schools are fine, but speaking for myself, being pressured to learn something in a certain amount of time has never worked for me. The “Learn-by-Doing” thing allowed me to remain in the Trades, all my life, thus never leaving me without a decent paying job, even during recessions. What I mean by “trades” is skilled trades, construction, mechanic, auto-body repair, brick and block laying. I can go on, but you get the point. I never read a tutorial to learn these things, or went to school for them. You can do this. Just dive into a project you want to do and keep at it until it’s done. The forum here will lend a hand if you get stuck. Just don’t give up. And for God’s sake, be careful out there.


you can’t buy knowledge

You can get it for free or buy it literally everywhere nowadays.
Wisdom is the hard thing to get…

You are just splitting hairs.

Thank you for your replies everyone! I’ll have a look at the Ben Simonds Masterclass as well as the Amadeo tutoriials. The masterclass may be exactly the thing I was looking for.

I won’t reply to everyone individually, but to respond to a few comments: I absolutely agree that you learn by doing! I wasn’t attempting to dispute that. But in my experience, directed learning at the start so that you’re not practicing bad habits and start with strong workflow habits and sound thinking really helps speed things along.

I also find teaching really helps once you get your feet in. Not “teaching a whole course”, but looking up or solving problems that other people are having really helps you learn those solutions and builds a framework for you to navigate the software. That was how I learned photoshop so many years ago.

A hundred hours watching interface stuff is exaggeration. Maybe 20-30 hours. End result, I know how the interface works.

You might not be able to buy knowledge. What you CAN buy is training. And I’ve found that professional, directed training is MUCH better than youtube videos at providing a solid foundation.

Thanks again for your replies. :slight_smile:

Hi Phil, I could have added the url to the book but as a newbie-under-10-posts I am not allowed to. So if you visit the eshop at blender.org, click on “Books”, I have the one with the spider on the cover. Its the most recent (2013) one of Ben. You will create 3 projects: a bat humanoid which focuses on organic modeling, hair and textures, the spider on the cover focusing on hard-surfaces and shine, and a jungle piece focusing on environment, art direction. All of them will also focus on Internal vs Cycles rendering.

I have just started reading it myself and its very well written. The sentences are clear and clean, not much mambo-jambo, assisted with very relevant pictures/screens of Blender viewport and panels referenced in the text. If you, like me, don’t like to be explained things with a gazillion pages, then this book is for you. Its short but the info you need is there, period. :yes: