Why Should I learn Blender, Art, and Computer Science?

Pretend I am a high school student.
I like movies. I like to hang out with friends. I like to use the internet but don’t know how it works.
I never practiced art past kindergarten.

I think math and science classes are generally too hard or are boring and I will be glad when I graduate.

My school doesn’t have an art class or a computer science class. I could care less though since I don’t need those to graduate high school anyways.

A university student program has given my biology teacher some kind of packet with lessons that we’re supposed to use during the last 15 minutes of class.

The teacher said it was something about learning about art and computer science.
It just sounds like extra homework that’s hard and not like a lot of fun.

What do I get out of learning this program called Blender3D?
Why should I learn computer science?
What does learning this stuff get me in the real world?
What can I do with it?
How hard is this stuff to learn?

Sincerely,
-Hypothetical High School Student
(please post your responses below - I look forward to hearing your opinon:yes:)

Well I’ll start this off i guess.
What do I get out of learning this program called Blender3D?
Well obviously modeling, but beyond that so much more.
First good models have proper topology and to do that there is some thinking required. Building complex topology is like a puzzle for the brain and a good challenge that develops new pathways inside of the brain (good for the brain). Modeling also opens you up to the intricate detail the objects you are making are made of. To model one need a whole lot of references and an extreme attention to detail. Researching your model will make you more knowledgeable on the background of the model as well as its construction.
Upon finishing modeling, texturing and materials are required. Textures require skills in art, as you are drawing with a digital pen called a stylus. As you are drawing you are improving the muscles in the hand, and again you have to critically think about how/what you are drawing to make something good.
Next up is lighting and composition. Knowledge of light and color theory is vital to creating good looking art, and once again it is not a matter of just placing random lights, but rather thinking about how each piece affects the whole.
Last step (really a loop) is getting critique. And not just getting critique but learning to to use it properly. Using that critique to improve your work.

Why should I learn computer science?
Every day I am surprised at how computer illiterate most people are. To give an example, there was a student in an aerospace engineering lecture that had no idea what a .rar file was or how to use it that the professor told us to download. Technology will only advance forward. We are living in a digital age after all! Learning about computers is not as hard as it may seem. The components inside a computer case should be known to anyone who is using a computer, yet unfortunately that is not the case. Knowing what is inside the computer case, and the basics of how those components function will make one aware of what their machine is capable of, what its weak spots are and of corse since things do break, at least an idea of what might be wrong. The user can even prevent hardware failures, through regular maintenance, and extend the life of the computer. On the software side, some of those things apply as well. Regular maintenance of the OS and the HDD will keep the system fast and snappy. Knowledge of more advanced programs and the command console will open more doors to the user, and make them more efficient. Even simple programming concepts may make daunting tasks easy with simple automated scrips. And for people going into fields where they might be expected to use computers, knowledge of CompSci will give them a leverage on others.

What does learning this stuff get me in the real world?”,
"What can I do with it? "
No one will use all the things they learn in their lifetime, however that doesnt mean they shouldn’t. Studying a particular subject doesn’t always have a direct affect ona person, sometimes its the indirect effect that counts more. There is alot more going on behind the scenes of learning then only the subjects itself. Subjects like math and science help develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, while writing and art strengthen the creative side of the mind. The brain then uses all the skills it learns together after the learning is done.
As far as the specifics go, learning Blender, and CompSci, may land you a high paying job (esp CompSci)!

How hard is this stuff to learn?
Some things are harder to learn than others, and some people pick up on some thing faster than other, so there is no definite answer how a hypothetical High School student will pick up the knowledge offered. Also how far one is willing to learn is also a factor. The basics are always easy, its the advanced stuff that is always the challenge. Research is the key and another skill that comes off of any learning process. Fast and efficient research skill are obtained, they are not present at the start.

I am sure I have missed a lot of points, that perhaps others can fill in, but this is my opinions and views on the given subject.

Im suprised that the asker of this question has been on this forum for 8 years with 1000+ posts and he asks what you can do with blender. Forgive me if you asked so that other people may learn.

A headache
You don’t have to learn computer science
Nothing, unless you’re seriously interested in pursuing it as a career
Nothing, unless there’s something relevant that you really want to do
Very hard to learn, especially the bit about being an artist

Without passion, or at least sharp interest, you’re wasting your time. Go and do something you’d much rather do.

ETA: I’m a teacher with over 20 years experience and I know from bitter experience the futility of trying to teach something complex to students who are only doing it because they have to, and have no real interest in it at all.

If I can add my two cents to this point in particular, I’ve found that it also opens your eyes to a whole different way of seeing the world itself, and how everything works. I admit, I’ve always been a slightly nerdy geek and I’ve always been interested in how things work, but for example when you’re modelling a sports car panel-by-panel, in a way you come to appreciate just how much work goes into making the real thing.
Or, for instance, when you learn lighting and texturing, just how simple yet brilliantly complex daylight is (sunlight + atmosphere + weather on that day), or how the minuscule texturing and fuzziness of a leaf IRL can totally change the way it reflects and absorbs light.
…of course, I’m not saying I’ve actually ever achieved anything realistic in terms of renders (because I haven’t), but I’m reading a lot about the theory, and starting to take mental notes.

…in the case of modelling, you also start to see topology overlays on everything :wink:

@M3Gamer - …um, you did read the bit where the OP says it’s hypothetical and mostly for the purpose of discussion, right? :eyebrowlift2:

P.S. @DDD Great post!

Yes that kinda strange, please explain yourself sir.

2012 - 2006 = 6 years :slight_smile:

He’s probably asking because he needs input for a school paper or something.

Always true of anything. Lack of interest makes harder work (almost sounds like a financial quote).

AMDBCG,

I agree with a lot that has already been said.

I suggest you tell Mr. or Ms. Hypothetical that there are a lot of non computer scientists who have no clue what the heck the Blender3D program is or does and yet they have managed to live happy and productive and meaningful lives so there is certainly no need to lose sleep over this dilemma.

Figuring out what you want to do first and then deciding if Blender is the correct tool for the job would probably be a more effective approach.

Dear Hypothetical High School Student,

I guess you need some motivation.

It is indeed NOT additional homework. It is much better than that
-> you are allowed to spend 15 minutes of your school time to do pretty cool thinks:

You can create own GAMES … blah blah blah … blah blah

blah … blah … blah … CREATE COOL GAMES … blah… blah… blah…

blah … blah … blah … OWN GAMES!!! … blah… blah… blah…

blah … blah … blah … PLAY YOUR OWN SUPPER COOL GAME … blah… blah… blah…

blah … blah … blah … GAMES … blah… blah… blah…

… and finally you can create your own games.

(PS: The blah will be written later (maybe when you are at college … or later … or never)

thanks for letting me know philippe but i did say forgive me if im wrong.

thanks for the clarification.

Well, I don’t know, but when I was in high-school, and mind you this was long before (never mind :ba: how long before…) the “personal” computer appeared, I was happily vacuuming-up every copy of Byte magazine and Creative Computing that I could find. I found that I had, and that I still have, both a natural “knack” for it and a genuine sustaining interest in it.

When I discovered Blender and what it could do, decades later, I immediately had a genuine interest in what it could do.

“Computer science et al is not for everybody,” and, let’s face it, “by the time you reach the end of 12+ years of compulsory schooling, this being all you’ve ever done since you were about three feet high …” you really can’t be expected to know “what you want to do when you grow up.” (I still don’t know.) But some things will engage you simply because they engage you – not because you are aware that George Lucas made gobs of money at it.

“Do what you love, and the money will follow.” But also, don’t expect to do just one thing professionally during the course of your tenure on this orbiting rock.

I think the hypothetical student won’t even use blender if he needed, he’ll pay someone that does.

But me as a senior highschool student, what pulled me into blender is the freedom and ability of creating art without leaving my bedroom. and if I had a similar assignment, I’d choose blender because its obviously free and awesome. But what you get from learning blender, all matters on what you plan to do with it. If all you’re doing is sideshow presentations, then stick to Power point, but if you’re in to 3D and treat as an art…blender pays off.

  • a real high school student.

Since your school doesn’t have an art class or comp. sci. class, I assume it is under a rock somewhere near the north pole, because even here in “backwoods” Ohio, schools, pri. and sec., have both in abundance.

And since you “could care less” and are only concerned with H.S. grad requirements, maybe you should just have someone fit you for your McDonald’s uniform immediately.

IOW… your hypothetical is a little unrealistic, at least for schools here in the US.

Thanks for the input guys. Yes, it’s for a project - an undergrad thesis. The Computer Science College is the smallest school at my university. To help get the word out that Computer Science is interesting - and to expand enrollment- I’m creating an all-in-one project that explores how to use it to teach some art, basic math (geometry), and computer science concepts (problem solving, linked lists, variables, etc) . This also meets my senior thesis requirements and capstone project requirements.

I’ve already created a test lecture document for first graders that I will produce within the next week or two. This will be a microwave-ish minimal button-press lesson that anyone can teach (perhaps provide a teacher lesson as well so they are not completely clueless) , where the template is already setup for the student (motion tracking, lighting, details, etc) and all they have to do is create or modify an item and press render/animate.

Motivation is key. I talked with a professor and he said his son was trying to mod Skyrim with blender, but lost interest… probably since that is a tech-skill ontop of a tech skill… and doesn’t sound as much fun :\ after toiling for a few hours with little progress. I’m trying to show off something that keeps the interest going.

What are some good ways to spark motivation ? I saw a bunch of good comments above.

  • Have a goal in mind of what you want to create - possibilities. Perhaps this goal setting can be an activity in the lesson plan :slight_smile:
  • Learn since it will strengthen the mind and provide a different detail-oriented view of the world.
  • Creativity aids in problem solving (future note/source) http://www.cdl.org/resource-library/articles/HOT.php
    -perhaps I could mention this software takes effort , and some monkey grease - it’s about as engaging as a puzzle (topology, etc ,how do I do x? )
    -Teaches research skills (Google , etc)

Taking a queue from Monster:
Blah blah blah …Lightsabers! 3d people! movies!
Blah blah blah … Games! Smoke ! Fire!
Blah blah blah … Art! Fun !
Blah blah blah …

What other benefits did I neglect to mention?

I suggest you schedule a two hour time slot at a central on-campus auditorium to do a presentation of blender with a big screen hooked up to a laptop or computer.

During the presentation you show things that you think a student may find interesting about blender.

To get students to attend:

  1. Paste flyers advertising (with administration approval of course).

  2. Ask math and art teachers if they will let you spend 5 minutes with their class to talk about the virtues of attending your super awesome blender presentation.

  3. Spend a day or two personally passing out flyers advertising your super awesome blender presentation.

  4. See who shows up to the presentation and have them sign up to show to account for who shows up.

  5. Have a sign up sheet at the end at the end for those who found the presentation interesting.

  6. If there is enough interest ask the school if they will authorize funds to support a formal class during th school year.

  7. And document the chronological order of the events as well as a written commentary on your conclusions as to what you learned.

Now that I think about it, I was a high school student and liked working with 3D computer graphics once.

Yeah, I actually learned Blender in high school :slight_smile:
So I’m 3 months away from a possible completion of this thing. The focus has shifted from high school students soley to Elementary school students. I did some small surveys and , out of image editing, color correcting , or animation with a character, animating a character scored highest.
We are now creating themed lessons that can be taught in a classroom (aka: easy for the teacher to use/ foolproof so people don’t get lost) as well as modifying the field trip from last semester.

We’re also trying to make an API function wrapper so you can type in forward(object,1) , rotate(object, 90) and it will move the object and then rotate it 90 degrees (a meta api to bridge the complexity gap on the whole bpy.data… manually shouldn’t be too hard.

I’m working with a group of hardworking creative computer science seniors who just started using Blender a month ago. What resources would help them (and me ) make Blender easier for teachers/students to use?

What got me is that you said “uses the internet but doesn’t know how it works” “no art or computer science class” … etc. I graduated not too long ago (2011) and technology/art is a fairly large part of highschool education now. I think most students nowadays (besides the … well, there’s a few that you can just tell would not be interested) would be interested in giving it a legitimate try if you had a small demo reel of what it was capable of, and explained how simple it can be.