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Blender 2.6 Essentials Training Review

10

Blender 2.6 Essentials Training Review training videos

Terry Wallwork reviews Lynda.com's 'Blender 2.6 Essential Training' by George Maestri.

Terry Wallwork writes:

George Maestri - Blender 2.6 Essential Training - Training Video

It recently got very busy here and I have 2 reviews of Blender based training products to review. The product reviewed in this article is:

Product Specifications:

Name: Blender 2.6 - Essential Training
Author: George Maestri
Price: $25 (Monthly Subs)
Type: Online Streaming Video
Runtime : 7 Hrs 26 Mins

This is an online steaming training video course covering the basics of using Blender 2.6. It was authored by George Maestri, who I haven't heard of before, but he narrates very well and appears to be reasonably good with Blender. The website that hosts this training material is lynda.com, who are a large and popular educational training site. They have a combination of subscription models as well as being able to purchase training DVD directly. Currently this product is not available as a DVD, so it can only be purchased by having a subscription to the lynda.com site.

The videos in this course are aimed squarely at the beginning Blender 2.6 user. Each short training video is designed to explain the basics of one particular specific feature of Blender very quickly to get the watcher up to speed as quickly as possible.

Tutorial Listing:

Introduction

  • Welcome 01m 22s
  • Using the exercise files 00m 28s
  • Downloading Blender 00m 34s
  • Using Blender on a Mac 00m 42s
  • Using Blender on a laptop 00m 36s

1. The Blender Interface

  • Overview of the Blender interface 06m 06s
  • Understanding 3D view windows 05m 23s
  • Navigating in 3D space 06m 35s
  • Configuring user preferences 06m 24s
  • Creating custom layouts 06m 04s

2. Selecting and Translating Objects

  • Selecting objects 06m 12s
  • Moving objects 04m 35s
  • Rotating objects 02m 48s
  • Scaling objects 02m 16s
  • Understanding transform orientation 03m 53s
  • Changing an object's origin 05m 27s
  • Selecting pivot points 03m 22s
  • Using Snap to move objects precisely 03m 56s

3. Modeling

  • Creating mesh primitives 06m 36s
  • Selecting vertices, edges, and faces 04m 48s
  • Editing mesh objects 07m 39s
  • Proportional editing 03m 52s
  • Sculpt mode 04m 45s
  • Working with edges and edge loops 03m 42s
  • Extrusions 05m 18s
  • Smooth shading objects 02m 23s
  • Subdividing meshes 05m 12s

4. Advanced Modeling

  • Working with modifiers 05m 52s
  • Working with subdivision surfaces 03m 48s
  • Creating a simple creature 07m 54s
  • Symmetrical modeling with the Mirror modifier 08m 21s
  • Joining mesh objects 03m 37s
  • Stitching vertices 04m 52s
  • Finalizing a simple creature 04m 48s
  • Creating text 03m 29s
  • Boolean tools 02m 59s
  • Vertex groups 04m 51s

5. Staying Organized

  • Using the Outliner 08m 22s
  • Using layers 04m 30s
  • Creating groups 02m 48s
  • Working with scenes 04m 02s
  • Creating hierarchies 02m 54s

6. Applying Materials

  • Assigning materials to objects 08m 04s
  • Diffuse shaders 06m 47s
  • Working with specularity 05m 56s
  • Using the Ramp Shader options 09m 45s
  • Additional shading options 02m 37s
  • Creating reflections 08m 29s
  • Adding transparency and refractions 06m 49s
  • Subsurface scattering 05m 59s

7. Adding Textures

  • Adding a simple texture 06m 11s
  • Using bitmaps 06m 53s
  • Mapping textures in the UV Editor 08m 28s
  • Using UV projections 05m 56s
  • UV mapping a character 06m 11s
  • Fine-tuning UV mapping 06m 07s
  • Creating Bump and Normal maps 03m 15s
  • Displacement mapping 03m 48s
  • Using the Node Editor 04m 59s

8. Working with Light

  • Adding lamps to a scene 08m 44s
  • Fine-tuning ray-trace shadows 04m 32s
  • Using spot lamps 04m 20s
  • Fine-tuning buffer shadows 06m 19s
  • Using Hemi lamps 02m 32s
  • Working with Area lamps 05m 17s
  • Creating sky and ambient light 04m 49s
  • Adding background images 03m 19s
  • Creating sunlight 06m 06s
  • Ambient occlusion 07m 11s

9. Cameras and Rendering

  • Working with cameras 04m 47s
  • Creating camera targets with constraints 03m 43s
  • Render properties 05m 07s
  • Rendering animation 05m 13s
  • Adding motion blur 04m 10s
  • Creating depth of field 07m 08s

10. Basic Animation

  • Understanding the Timeline 04m 03s
  • Animating objects 06m 26s
  • Animating properties 04m 00s
  • Editing animation in the Graph Editor 08m 36s
  • Using the Dope Sheet 04m 53s
  • Path animation 04m 32s

11. Character Rigging

  • Facial animation using shape keys 04m 40s
  • Understanding armatures 06m 02s
  • Fitting an armature to a creature 07m 23s
  • Deforming a character with an armature 03m 49s
  • Setting up inverse kinematics 03m 53s
  • Controlling the hips and body 02m 01s
  • Animating in Pose mode 02m 47s
  • Creating a test animation 09m 24s

Conclusion

  • Goodbye 00m 15s

While you won't become a Blender expert with these video the numerous amount of videos are extremely well produced and for the most part explained very well by the author.

All the exercise files which the course references throughout the videos are available as part of the course and indicated clearly when you need to reference theme. Though I found that I did not need to reference the exercise files as the author explained what he was doing on screen for each different video.

With the short runtimes of each of the videos this has enabled the author to pack in a lot of different bits of information and tips and trick when using Blender various features. So although you won't get in depth information from the videos you will get most of the major salient pieces of information and techniques you will need to get going in Blender.

There are a few small mistakes and omissions in the course as a whole, but they are small not really important (mostly terminology issues and not mentioning certain often used features). The one thing that I would really like to have been included in the tutorials was coverage of Weight Painting for armature attachment. Armature attachment was covered but only by using Parenting and automatic methods. Please also be aware that Cycles is not covered in this course because when it was released Cycles was not available in Blender, but Blender's internal render engines is still plenty powerful enough and flexible for most things regardless of what all the Cycles acolytes say!.

So if you are a beginner and you want to get the basics of Blender down as quickly as possible this is a good well narrated online course that will do well. The biggest major downside for me is that at the moment the product cannot be purchased without subscribing. This may change in time and they may release a DVD product that does not require subscribing (they have done this with other Blender products).

Review Score 70%

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  • JuanD

    Thanks Terry for this detailed Review. In case you didn't know, George Maestri has published computer graphics books at least 15 years, mainly with 3ds Max and Maya. His most known book is "Digital Character Animation". You can say he is the Tony Mullen of Max, a very appreciated autor!The material produced by Lynda.com is just neat and precise; Superb postproduction without failed attempts, well planed and well executed. Perhaps the omissions and mistakes that Terry found on this training course comes from the fact that the instructor pretends to use the most general terminology and not blender specific terms, keeping in mind that this is not the primary tool for George.If you have the Lynda.com subscription, take a look to this course... it's a different approach, but definitely, a right one.

    • Ned

       Lynda tutorials are very well done, they break everything down into short 5 to 10 min videos that eventually add up to hours of training.  which is nice since you don't have to watch an hour long video at one time.  Their approach to video tutorials is really nice.

      I like the generic terms as well.  I'm a maya user looking into blender and it's pretty easy to understand the terminology.  So far it's a really nice intro to 2.6.  I'm excited they posted this since last I looked they only had 2.4 essential training.

  • Chando Martis

    Well, what an honor. I like the digital character animation series and enjoyed it a lot, and now George Maestri is doing Blender2.6. 

  • LswaN

    This looks like a neat course, a lot of the things listed look like stuff I already have learned, but it may be worth the $25 just for the ones that I don't know yet.
    Also, good to see the writer's comment on Blender Internal being powerful and flexible, it's good to know that there are other people out there who realize this.

  • http://www.adventuresinblender.com/ Terrywallwork

    JuanD: Thanks for the info.  I had no idea who he was, I just assumed he was one of the Lynda Trainers brought in to do his guide to Blender.  I will have to add his book to the list of things I should get to read.  If he is as good as Tony Mullen I will definitely keep an eye on him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003193711681 Zander Nicolic

    These training movies are very good at beginner level. Also, the speaker's English is very understandable (I'm from Italy, and sometimes I find it hard to follow heavily accented trainers). Good point for a start in using Blender.

  • Defkon

    I started Blender 6 months ago and found this tutorial really helpful. A really excellent intro for newbies with nice bite-sized chunks of information. While we're on the subject of pay-to-view tutorials, there is a totally brilliant advanced Blender compositing tutorial by Sebastian Koenig on cmivfx.com. It is incredibly detailed and explains a lot of fundamental compositing concepts thoroughly. I cannot praise it highly enough.

    • Defkon

      I should say that there are also some modelling and texturing tutorials by Sebastian Koenig on the same site, but I haven't tried them.

  • http://twitter.com/jinchoung jin choung

    george maestri's books are AMAZING... he takes concepts that were badly articulated by others and made it crystal clear for when i was a noob. i was quite shocked to see his name for a blender tutorial!  wow, i'm very very interested in the tutorials now!

    • Talmore1

       Same here, I had the same reaction when I saw his name. I read his book years ago (about 10 I think) and it was GREAT!  I remember the book being animation fundamentals oriented and not software specific a must read for anyone looking at animation and an overview of 3D. This has me interested as well.

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