17 weeks of Class - a Diary - Weeks 8 & 9 added

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17 weeks of Class - a Diary - Weeks 8 & 9 added

Post by mthoenes »

I moved this from elysiun, though it would be better placed here. I am teaching a 17 week Blender class, 1 hour per week. This post will record what we actually got done and may be a useful reference for others. I plan on adding to this original post each week.
The class has 9 students ranging in age from 12yrs to 45plus.

You can access my basic outline via www.CreationAnimation.com I am requiring the Blender Book by Carsten Wartman for my students. It takes some of the burden off me to provide information. My outline follows the book fairly closely. I expanded the modeling out to 4 weeks and the Animation out to 4 weeks. I have found that for the first 2 sessions the students are baffled by the interface.


Class one:
Class one was a lot of info, we talked about Blender, how to aquire the software, what the hardware requirements were, screen color depth and resolution issues, how to get it to run basically. We discussed 3d space a bit and then I showed them how to open Blender and select objects, delete, toggle edit mode and add objects, rot, scale, grab - the extreme basics. We also clicked some buttons to look at the different menus.
We also had class members sign up on elysiun and I encouraged them to post questions on the QA forum.


Class two:
We reviewed class 1 topics and added discussion of Layer control, and the other 3d window menu buttons. We added some objects and gave them a material and moved them around and switched layers.

Class three:
Review quickly the previous steps up to an object with materials, then we introduced keyframe animation with simple objects. We discussed and used the following: Frame change - How to (Click button, shift -click button, arrow keys), I Key, K Key, Animation buttons window,Blender screen changing, IPO window, basic IPO editing in curve mode and Key mode. Each of my students has a computer to work on during the session and I use a wall projection to demonstrate. Each student animated a sphere moving, scaling and rotating through several key positions and learned that they could alter the animation with the IPO window.

Class Four: This Class was spent almost entirely on Navigating the files systems, saving files, saving images, saving animations, navigating the file structure of Windows. The class reinfored previous lessons by adding a sphere, applying a material, keyframe animation, render and save a still, render and save an animation.


Class Five: Building a Castle Tutorial from Blender Learning Path: I n this class we succedded in learning some of Blenders basic polygon modeling tools including keys E, F, shift-F, X, Shift D, Alt D. Some of the students are progressing faster than others. Typical issues that arose was the adding of objects in edit mode vs. object mode. All students ended up with a castle within the hour, but it was clear that more instruction was required in the area of making the doorway for the castle.

Class Six: Some of the students successfully repeated the castle tutorial on their own time. We reviewed how to create the door way in the castle wall. We discussed the X-Key delete menu and the the F-Key, Shift F-Key fill options again as well as beauty fill and other issues relating to how blender creates faces. I demonstrated Ctrl-T, and Shift -J to triangulate and join faces. I demonstrated the use of object Face mode combined with edit in face mode to model using face selection techniques, we also covered quickly several of the buttons in the edit buttons window, including subdividing, spinning, extruding, spin dup, hide, draw normals, draw faces, all edges. We duplicate a vertice from the default plane and used ctrl-LM to add verticies freehand, we practiced making edges and filling faces.


Class 7: Class added a bezier curve to screen, we discussed bezier handles, switching handle types, H-Key, V-Key, adding points to curve with Ctrl-LM, subdividing with W-Key menu, Make Cyclic with C-Key. Class attempted YinYang tutorial Chapter 5 of Blender Book. Class learned how to load a Background image and adjust its "Blend", Shift-F7 and Shift-F5 keys. Class learned how to use the Ext1, Ext2, width and Bevresol buttons in the Edit buttons menu. Also covered how to convert curves to mesh with Alt-C. Clas learned about text and Text related Buttons, also how to load Fonts. Type1 .pfb and .pfa, Several fonts were available on the Blender Book CD to experiment with. Class learned how to extrude and Bevel and convert text.


Class 8: (Plan to quickly demonstrate additional modeling techniques including Polygon subsurfacing, polygon screw function, polygon noise displacement, Metaballs, Nurbs, Surfaces, Lattice Deformation Modeling.
My goal is to give the class a taste of what else is available in the way of modeling. I will also discuss importing models for use in Blender scenes.)

Reality did not meet the plan. Class turnout was Low, several students out for various reasons. I decided to abandon my lesson plan and try something fun. I discussed some options with the class and we decided to attempt a simple robot model using armatures with object to bone parenting. Students were able to create a simple armature skeleton and parent cylinders to the bones with a sphere representing the head. This lesson was well received and resulted in increased enthusiasm for Blender.

Next week we move to Materials and Textures.

Class 9: In class 9 we covered material basics and briefly introduced image textures. The use of the Blender Materials Database file from http://www.geocities.com/pollythesheep/ ... index.html was demonstrated. Many thanks to the developers of this excellent material library. Students learned how to append the materials into a file and apply them to objects. Concepts covered included, multiple users of the material, deleting a material from an object, the relation of textures to materials, basic material parameters such as spec, hardness, color, alpha, emit, etc...

Class 10: Plan to cover World settings and lighting.

I will keep you posted and good luck.

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Post by jeotero »

thanks for sharing this ...

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Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2003 6:49 am

Post by MercuryCrest »

Thank you for keeping us informed. As this is now the 10th of May, I am very curious as to how the class went. Also, any plans on making it available over the net :roll: ?

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Post by mthoenes »

Thanks for the interest. Class attendance fell off towards the end. You really have to WANT to do 3D to learn it. I will try to get a more thorough update on the rest of the class.

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Location: Minnesota

Post by ManO »

It is very encouraging to see you work with Blender in the education arena. I am working on putting together a course for high school students. If anyone has a outline I would love to see it.

Thanks and God Bless.

In His Service
Mike Norton
BlueBoy Media

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