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Blender training life-changing in Nigeria


Hands-on training in NigeriaApart from the fact that Blender is extremely good software, I also view it as a very strong enabling technology: Blender is able to provide people – who would normally not be able to afford 3D training – the opportunity to start a career in 3D.

Most of Africa falls in the above category. Therefore, when I was recently invited as a Blender Foundation Certified Trainer to present a 7-day introductory Blender workshop in Nigeria, I decided to go despite rumours about the country – and was pleasantly surprised by what I experienced there at ground level...

Nigeria is a tropical country, so it was very hot – even though it was only Spring. Fortunately, I presented the workshop at Media Village in Jos, which is on the Nigerian plateau – and therefore one of the cooler spots.

As a South African “Westerner”, I experienced the conditions on the ground as quite challenging, but it was very obvious that they were very used to it and have learnt to live with it. Some of the hurdles we had to overcome were:

  • They usually only had electricity for about 40-50% of the day. They compensated for that by having their own small generator, which was marginally powerful enough to power the laptops and the projector. Whenever somebody switched on a light, the generator would start protesting and the power would start fluctuating. Therefore, while we were busy with training, all other electrical activities ground to a halt, including Media Village's video editing. Although we usually went on till about 18:00 in the evenings, they overcame it by merely doing their video editing after hours.
  • Drawing waterThere was no running water. The water we used came from a well, from which they drew water with a container stitched together from a tube of a tyre. They then heated the water on the paraffin stove to be used for food, drinking water and also bath/washing water. (Obviously the water was poured into different containers, depending on their use.)

I felt so spoilt as a guest: I was given a separate room to sleep in, with an on-suite bathroom (even though bathing meant washing myself in the bath from a bucket of warm water), as well as being provided bottled drinking water, biscuits, fruit, sweets, etc. I got this special treatment, while the students were willing to share 4 per room on “bunk beds”. They also had to share a common bathroom in the passage.

I found the food to be very healthy: mostly freshly picked, then cooked. They also love carbohydrates, and fish made up a larger part of the diet than I am used to. Their food is not as refined (and therefore not as unhealthy) as most the food found in the developed countries.

Students with laptops in the classroom in Jos, NigeriaBut what really struck me was the eagerness of the people to learn, despite their circumstances. They brought their own laptops, etc. and stayed over at Media Village, because it was about 15km out of town. They hung on my lips and eagerly listened to what I taught them. One of them had to go back to town twice to find another laptop, as the ones he initially brought were either too slow, or did not support OpenGL.

Some of the students had previously done an introductory Maya course and commented that they found Blender a lot easier to learn: they found the hotkeys easier to memorise than Maya's relatively complex menu structure and many settings to set up in order to accomplish something. They were also pleasantly surprised by Blender's capabilities and feature-richness and agreed with me that “Blender is the way to go for 3D animation in Africa”, because:

  • From a capability and quality point-of-view, it compares very well with top-end commercial software
  • It does not require such high-end processing and RAM requirements as commercial software – therefore lower cost hardware
  • It is free

A student demonstrating and discussing her work.Nigeria's 3D capabilities is in its infancy and there are not many 3D animation schools worth talking about. The students were therefore extremely grateful for the workshop. Statements such as: “I am doing 2D cell animation. I have been trying to get into 3D animation for the past 10 years. This training was life changing - beyond comprehension” really made the trip an investment in people's lives – and worth returning for more... because my life was also touched.


If anybody is interested in inviting the author to present Blender training courses or becoming involved in supporting the move to use Blender as a life-changing, career-enabling 3D animation technology to disadvantaged communities, please contact him via his web site:

About the Author

Allan Liddle

I am a qualified electronics engineer, who migrated into software development/management, but I am also an artist. By combining my analytical and creative sides, I do 3D CG and animation (in the broad sense of the word) in my spare time. I do all my 3D work in Blender. I love the open source movement and do other work in the GIMP, Audacity, Inkscape, Open Office, etc. I am a Blender Foundation Certified Trainer (BFCT) and have provided training in various cities and in other countries.


  1. Being a Nigerian myself, me and my family find this very inspiring and touching. Way to go Blender Institute!

  2. Hey AnyMation! Awesome story from our SA Blender MASTER! I'm really glad to hear you had a good trip, sounds like you had a very very positive reaction from them.

    PS: Good to see you're an admin at Blendernation now *wink* Congrats! :)

  3. Great article. Just goes to show how Blender and open content is an enabling force for people not in the best of conditions but are willing to learn and empower themselves. Thank you for the article.

  4. It would be exciting to see what they can do with Blender. For once they have an equal chance with the rest of the world thanks to Blender.

    And : "OMG Bart wuz 'ere ! !"

  5. look no further...i'm Nigerian and i use Blender. sadly, Blender doesn't really have a large following because people are really interested in big names. @AnyMation: thanks for coming over to Nigeria! pity we didn't meet!

  6. To all:

    This is just the beginning, I've got some really fantastic plans for BN, more article contributors and interviews and other , exciting ideas in the works as well. These will be coming over the next several months. So stay tuned. Same Bat place, same Bat channel.

    Allan, Thanks for being my beta tester, I apologize for not giving you an introduction to the community but I think you hit a home run! ( American Baseball talk.)

    Keep Blending!


  7. @AnyMation - do they have easy access to internet? If not, maybe it would be good idea to send them some CD stuffed with learning material - like some nice blender tutorials, etc (offline version of BA?).

    Anyway - amazing story. Thanks for sharing!
    You have just made world a better place. Thanks :)

  8. Yeah, people should also know there is a Siggraph event in Africa as well. A couple of years ago they held one just outside Stellenbosch.

  9. NielsBlender on

    @Bob(and Joe): I am not sure what the projection-paint does in this build, but the terminology usage I am familiar with is, freeze a frame in the middle of a scene, this freeze represents 'the projection', now you can start painting on whatever is visible...

  10. Sébastien on


    It's really motivating to see what open source software can do.

    Thanks for the article, it was really nice to read.

  11. This is one of the best articles I have read here.

    This is what it's all about.

    Recently, I suffered from the narrow minded opinions of certain comments here on certain posts, ( you know which ones I mean, Bart went not long after ), and my faith in the community was knocked badly.


    You have restored my faith in Blender and open source with this amazing show of life changing through the power of community and open source!

    Thank you! and I really mean that! Thank you!!! Bravo!!

  12. Thanks for all the kind words.

    I received freely - and I am giving freely - where I can. Don't forget the developers - they are the real heroes who makes this possible!

    ...and anybody else can do the same...

  13. Wow, what a great story. I really do pity those in poorer countries who don't get the same opportunity as many of us do. It is great to see one person out there making a difference.

  14. Great!
    That sounds like a very rewarding experience.
    I have a question: what are the opportunity of career in 3D for those people then? Architecture, manufacturing, animation?

  15. Dearest freinds,

    I would be delighted to inform you that you too can become an most prodigius 3D artist!! Simply send me your name, tel. no, and international banking account numbers, and I guarentee you will find your quick success! With deepest regards,

    Barrister Hwatta Liya

  16. Dusty: I agree with you: I sometimes am also very disappointed in the way people react. They nitpick on some minor issues. And worse, they sometimes even have a go at the developers! That's why I say we can't thank the developers enough. They don't get a lot of glory, but they deliver the goods! And the goodies!

    NielsBlender: My name is Allan Liddle :-) You can find out more at the web site listed at the bottom of the article.

    Hanafi: I'll PM you...

    Ben: 3D does not really exist in Nigeria, but they are quite a large nation with a large economy too. My reckoning is that there should be ample opportunities in the industries you list, as well as others. I think the cost of commercial software has been a hurdle so far.

    Quantum Anomaly: See "". Don't believe ruhroh :-)

    ruhroh: Are you going to sponsor BFCTs - is that why you want interested parties' bank account details - so that you can transfer money to them? That's great! :-)

  17. Call_me_how_u_think :D on

    This is great!, i am excited know that this is what happen in Nigeria.
    I am from cameroon and have been dreaming of a day i could really become a good or better still an Excellent CG artist and Animator. I have love cartoons as a child (and up till now i do) and dreamt of a day i shall create an anime of my own.
    Live over this way and i know what it means to have a training such as this. I have spend years searching on what i will call "The how to learn 3d animation and/or becoming a 3d animator", i got frustrated at time but never gave up. i was relieve by my "rencontre" with blender3d(one of the version released around 2003). Though i had the tool, but did know how to use it until now that i got hooked up with the net and was able to find some material for personal studies and i hope i will be to reach my Goal someday,(Godwilling, and if Christ tarries). That(The training) was fantastic AnyMation.
    So I want to greatly appreciate the Job, Well done! and may God bless you.
    IM [email protected](ymsger)

  18. Allan, I am proud of you taking up the challenge and going to Media Village in Nigeria.What a diffrence from Media Village in South Africa.It is a humbling and exelarating experiance and as you found out how hungrey the studens are for knowlage.Lets keep sharing and making a diffrence in this fantastic world.
    Graham Vermooten-(founder of Media Village)

  19. marius iliescu-feidyeu on

    Fantastic article!!! Fantastic trainer!!! Fantastic guests!!! May God bless all these wonderful people!!!

  20. Allan,you are great.You were able to see beyond the many inconveniences to your personal comfort while in Nigeria. The seed you have sown will surely germinate and grow. Mr G( Graham Vermooten) you have done well by arranging the comming of Allan to Nigeria. You are equally wonderful.
    BA (friend to Media Village Nigeria)

  21. MrB: Bulus, is that you? If so, thanks for the night you opened your house for me to stay in! I really appreciated your hospitality after a tiring day of flying to Nigeria! Regards to your wife too!

    And I won't forget: thanks for arranging the change to the flight when the car gave problems! You saved my day!

  22. i am deeply surprised at the 3d graphic work done in Nigeria, being an 8 YEARS veteran in the field, having worked on a feature film and having a alot to show for it . i think it is high time i intervane, i am presently working on a 3d game in Nigeria.
    my 3d knowledge include the core programming in Autodesk 3dsMax(MXS), Autodesk Maya(Mel) and Avid softimage. pls if u need me contact me at [email protected] or give me a direct call:234018054215577

  23. I'll definitely be contacting Allan on that. - We need a follow-up of that seminar/workshop thingy somewhere else in Nigeria. The 3D industry is very young here.



    I will love to be involved in animation trainings in nigeria.please, can anyone advice me on which training centre i can go to.

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