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TOSMI - The first lessons


TOSMI LogoThe second day of TOSMI ended and we are really happy about how things are evolving, not only are the trainees catching up but they are also enthusiastic about it, we can surely say they are more motivated then we anticipated.

But lets go back a little and talk about the first day of training.

The trainees
TOSMI - May 2007 Day 1 - img 03Everyone arrived safely and all 14 trainees showed up as expected. Some of them from Germany, others from Greece, UK and of course Bulgaria.
All of them with a different artistic background. From directors to students, all want to learn Open Source Multimedia Instruments.

The group is composed by 11 men and 3 women, which is quite nice considering that the OSS creative industry is mostly driven by men, we were excited to have this balance.

They all got well with each others and the moral was high.

Getting to know Open Source Software (OSS)
TOSMI - May 2007 Day 1 - img 01Vladimir was our first trainer, his task was to get the trainees aware of OSS and to dismiss some of the bad myths usually associated with Open Source. He gave a little bit of a history lesson on OSS and went forward with a show on how to use Linux and how it differs from other Operating Systems (OS).

Vlado (as we call him) was really funny when presenting the subjects and quite emotive with it, this really helped the trainees to relax a bit.

During the afternoon we screened Elephants Dream and then it was time for Peshka to show the command line. At that time all the trainees felt strange since they didn't knew why we were showing them the command line on a Multimedia Training, but this is an essential tool when using linux and we decided that they should get acquainted with it.

Our training approach
TOSMI - May 2007 Day 1 - img 04TOSMI - May 2007 Day 1 - img 02 Well, TOSMI is not a classic training like you have when you go to an Institute or similar to learn CG.

We decided to focus specially on the balance between theory and practice, so we setup a 50%-50% weight on both.
This is really important in our case, we have a 7 days intensive training where we want everyone to end the training knowing how to use the tools and have the foundations on how to properly do things.

Our approach is to have the trainees learning theory in the morning and practice during the whole afternoon. So far it has shown to be a good approach and everyone is feeling even more motivated, because they get to use things and mess around with it. And to avoid a big overhead in just one of the trainers, during the practice sessions all the trainers wonder around helping everyone.

After the first day ended we were quite excited because everyone was really happy and eager to learn, so we couldn't wait for the next day.

The teams
TOSMI - May 2007 Day 1 - img 06 Since its just a 7 days training we needed to keep everyone focused and motivated during the whole training, so we decided to spice things up a little bit and create sort of a competition between them.

For this to work out nicely we set up two teams, red and green, then split them in 7 people per team. We even went further and got each team in a different room so they can work as an isolated team and compete with each others in a healthy manner.

But this wouldn't work well without a project leader, so we nominated a project leader in each team that coordinates the team effort. TOSMI - May 2007 Day 1 - img 05Everyone got excited with the idea and it went perfectly.

The Blender interface and modeling
Sanu was our second day speaker, he started the day showing Blenders Interface and the paradigm behind it, to lay the foundation basis for the trainees to understand things.

He then moved slowly to modeling and allowed the trainees to do a bit of practicing with each of the subjects so they could get used to the software.

TOSMI - May 2007 Day 1 - img 08 The afternoon was the practicing session, all of the trainers were there.
Trainees started by doing a lamp model, all had the freedom to do any kind of lamp they wanted, this was just a quick exercice for them to get into modeling before their next bigger task.

While the first task was an individual task, the second task was drawn as a team task, each team had a list of models they needed to do, this list was delivered to the project coordinators and they had to setup a small pipeline for finishing the job in the next 3 hours. With our supervision they were able to start things going quickly.

By the end of the training all of them had finished their models and had really cool things to show, we expected them to do some nice things but the end results really surprised us, they were much better then we anticipated.

Staying after hours
TOSMI - May 2007 Day 1 - img 07 The motivation was so high that half of the trainees decided to stay after the 8 hour long training session had finished, just to improve their models or ask for some guidance on how to fix some issues with their models.

Again everything went better then we expected and everyone is really eager for the next day to arrive. We are glad to be able to exceed our own expectations so far and we thank the trainees for all of their motivation.


  1. I regret I couldn't participate myself. Thank You for telling the story. Is there a place on the web where one can see tre results of the competion?

    At the last photo I can clearly see that You are at a bar in Sofia.



  2. @Brian: We will probably do a full recording of the second training in August.

    @Christo: The results will be online at . As to the photo, its the place where we have lunch everyday, its really good, the food is nice and its quite a calm place for all of us to relax a bit between sessions.

    I will do another article on Friday with more photos :) .

  3. i am one of those who were lucky enough to be able to attend the tosmi training - since it is still going on (about half time now) it's too early to give any final impressions, but so far this is what i think:

    for me the best part is when we are working on a project and you can ask individual questions/get answers to your specific problems. i think that every training/school has the problem that theoretical training is always either too intense/or not intense for someone... so having 50% theory and 50% practical work looks like a good way of solving this problem. having said that, i personally might prefer even more practical work/projects and individual question/answer sessions... still, having someone explain a concept helps with learning faster than if you just read a tutorial and have to figure out all the details on your own, even if a theoretical session might feel like too much at a certain point.

    another very interesting thing about the tosmi training is the focus on all kinds of aspects of the open-source approach/philosophy. this really does make you feel like being part of a greater thing/movement, a general change that society is going through. the impact of that will be a long lasting one, no matter how strong the blender/3d focus in your own work will be.

    so i can recommend this and similar trainings to all those with some kind of previous experience with blender or similar programmes/concepts. it should help you a lot with improving your blender/3d skills. i also heard that there will be a training for advanced users at some point in the future....

    and maybe it's also a good idea for anyone who spends a lot of time alone in front of their computer to actually meet real people and talk with those who have similar interests...

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