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German 'Blender DVD Seminar' Reviewed


Gunter Hannig aka zapman has written an excellent in-depth review of Carsten Wartmann's 'Blender DVD Seminar'.

Carsten 'calli' Wartmann, author of several articles and books about Blender, created the German training DVD called "Blender DVD Seminar – 3D-Grafik und Animation mit freier Software". It was published in 07/2008 by dpunkt.verlag and I would like to give those of you, who are interested, a review of this DVD.

First of all let me sum up a few important facts about the DVD: it's available at every major internet store for about 34€ and it's held completely in German. The containing videos were recorded using Blender 2.45 and are stored on the DVD as .flv files. You can use a simple but sufficient flash player program that is on the DVD or you just stick with VLC player that also plays the files flawlessly. All videos are encoded at 1024x768 pixel and the compression rates used do not show any annoying artifacts, neither for video nor audio (1).

The content of the DVD is as follows:

  • Blender 2.45 install files for OSX, Linux and Windows (surprise!): 69 MB
  • 16 tutorial videos: 2.14 GB
    • 001.flv: Installing Blender (03:07 min)
    • 002.flv: Blender UI description (15:18 min)
    • 003.flv: Modelling Basics (06:58 min)
    • 004.flv: Modelling, Texturing, Animation of object (Dusch-Das bottle) (36:33 min)
    • 005.flv: Mesh editing Tools (USB-Stick) (44:09 min)
    • 006.flv: Sub surf modelling (3D Navigator) (55:04 min)
    • 007.flv: Advanced ss-modelling (Adding details to 3D Navigator)  (20:10 min)
    • 008.flv: Soft body basics  (06:54 min)
    • 009.flv: Advanced soft body usage (Berlin flag) (13:30 min)
    • 010.flv: Fluid simulation basics (13:11 min)
    • 011.flv: Advanced fluid simulation (filling of object with blood) (17:59 min)
    • 012.flv: Array modifier basics (flying cubes scene) (08:47 min)
    • 013.flv: Advanced array modifier and curve modifier (brick wall) (19:40 min)
    • 014.flv: Game engine ) (08:09 min)
    • 015.flv: Advanced GE (bullet physics for marble game animation) (11:32 min)
    • 016.flv: Advanced GE (balloon game set up) (47:37 min)
  • All .blend files that are used and discussed in the videos: 224 MB
  • Rendered videos based on .blend files: 82 MB


As I started watching the videos, the narrator caught my attention: obviously the vids were not live commented by the author but were re-recorded with a professional speaker. The speaker has a really pleasant voice that makes it easy to follow most instructions. There are no fill sounds like "ähhhh, hmmm, ..." and the sentences are therefore very clear to understand. The downside to this dubbing is that there are some sentences that were obviously recorded in one single breath but had to be cut in order to match the video stream (pauses added). At first this seemed a bit awkward (I thought my DVD drive hangs because the sound sometimes stops abruptly) but you get used to it quickly. Another little flaw concerning the audio is that the speaker does not pronounce the English terms (e.g. button-, modifier-, procedure names) correctly all the time. But that felt more funny then it was really bothering. For people who aren't very confident with the English language or do not know the fundamentals of 3D graphics it might be more of a problem.

All together I think that the dubbing of this DVD is a really nice thing and it improves the quality of the tutorials rather than diminishing it.


What you get to see is truly well done concerning the quality of the picture. As I said before, there are no artefacts from compression that may trouble the viewer. Maybe some mild blurring from time to time but you can always read all the button windows and follow the mouse pointer easily.

I know there are quite a few people who would like to watch tutorials on their TV while having blender on their desktop to follow the instructions. As the publisher has decided to use the .flv format you will have to recode the DVD if you want to do that. I am personally glad that the DVD was aimed at computer playback because I could quickly copy the videos on my netbook to watch them while waiting for the bus although I would have preferred an open container format like .ogg :)

The author used a python script to display any keyboard strokes in Blender's 3D-view port at the lower right side. This is a nice thing that works well most of the time but not if keys are pressed when the mouse pointer is outside the 3D window or when several buttons are pressed in quick succession. Since additionally either the speaker names the hot keys pressed or the procedures were explained in detail in the beginning (e.g. Grab G -> X,Y,Z lock) it turns out to be not a problem.

I would consider the video aspect of the tutorials as nicely done and very applicable for this kind of DVD.


When you had a quick look at the content of the DVD you have probably noticed that the training DVD starts at "installing Blender" and moves on to "Blender UI description" and hence can be used as a "first-contact-to-Blender" resource. These chapters are really important for new users but intermediate or advanced blender users will skip them without missing anything.

I made the structure of the DVD's content a bit more clear by grouping the .flv files according to context: you always have a chapter with basic commands and procedures (chapters 3, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14) that are essential for beginners followed by some more advanced chapters that actually make use of these essentials and further show you tips and tricks (chapters 4, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 16).

The good thing about the more advanced chapters is that they show the complete work flow from modelling a real object (shampoo bottle, USB-Stick, 3D-Navigator,...) to uv-unwrapping, texturing, animating and rendering. "Advanced" means in comparison to the basics chapters; don't expect any "advanced-bleeding-edge" stuff that you can sometimes find in BlenderArtists threads. Instead you can watch presentations of how to do things properly, completely and reasons why you do this or that. When I learned Blender by watching many on-line tutorials I often found nice videos that focused on a special issue but rarely showed a complete work flow from a to z. That's why I think the structure and substance of the tutorials is wisely chosen and makes sense.

On the back of the DVD case it says that "the tutorials appeal to Blender beginners, people who transfer from other 3D apps to Blender and to people who learn best visually and by using examples". As I feel myself being an intermediate Blender user and I was still able to learn things that I didn't know or that I didn't think of, I guess it is fair to say that also intermediate blender heads and people who have missed a coherent guide through blender will very much like this DVD.

I must admit that I didn't like Carsten's Book “Das Blender-Buch” very much; I found the language not very compelling and I didn't learn much that I already read in “Blender Essentials” (mostly GE and python stuff). But with this DVD he manages to offer something new that seems pretty helpful and elaborate to me.

So if you ask me, go ahead and get yourself a copy and watch Carsten explain Blender – it's worth it if you aren't a Blender pro already.

A final word about the version used for this training DVD (Blender 2.45): Although the latest version of Blender is 2.48a at the moment I did not find anything in the tutorials that was actually wrong or much out dated. Well, maybe the thing with the new uv-editor being integrated into the edit mode, but that was it. Mostly new features and bug fixes were introduced since 2.45 that do not interfere with the "Blender DVD Seminar".

-Gunter Hannig aka zapman

(1)    Have a look at for a few sample videos. Be aware though that opposed to the commercial DVD the samples use XVID instead of VP6F for video compression and mpga [22 kHz] instead of mp3 [44 kHz] for audio compression. So the DVD has about the same video- and a much better audio –quality than the samples.

About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. What a coincidence. I've just bought the DVD yesterday. I was afraid that version 2.45 might be too outdated but I agree, that's not the case.

    What I really, really like about the DVD is the dubbing. It is so very helpful listening to such a professional, calm and precise voice. It is a bit distracting though that the speaker keeps talking in first person ("you can reach ME at ... MY homepage ...") because you just know it's not really Carsten Wartmann speaking.

    All in all I'm impressed with the content. Looking forward to Carstens next book.

  2. Hi.
    I just checked the previews from the dpunkt site.

    Beeing a native speaker in german myself, I was
    not at all happy about the voice that reminded me
    more of my nice´s fairytale audiobooks than of
    a technical documentation/tutorial.

    I'd rather live with "aaah's" and "oops sorry" than
    falling asleep while trying to learn somthing.

    Please be aware that I did not check on the
    quality of the tutorial itself. This might be rather good.

    I just wanted to state that the dubbing is not
    e'bodys darling, and for me, would result in
    definitly not buying the DVD (39€ !).

    So my next tutorial-DVD buy will then be more likely
    "Creature Factory" from (27€)
    or Jeff Lew's tutorials (
    just my 2cts.

    (when in Antioch, nerver trust a Piso!)

  3. adding to O's reply:

    speaking of outdated:
    the site where the "german blender seminar DVD" is sold
    even told me that my Firefox 3.0.3 is outdated:

    "WARNING !!! Your browser is too old and will not display the page optimally !
    Please upgrade to Netscape Communicator 4.X"

    NS 4! :O
    Maybe this site, its contents and offers might
    be long outdated too? ;)


  4. well i already loved "Das Blenderbuch", it was my first ever CG book, bought back in 2000 or 2001. It gave me a good base for the use of blender.
    So I'm sure that the new book of Carsten Wartmann will help many new users to find their way around in one of the most powerful 3d applications available.

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