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Blenducation offers live Blender classes on the web

21

There are lots of tutorials, videos and books available to learn Blender, but the easiest way of learning is still to see someone else use it. For most people this is easier said than done of course. Blenducation aims to solve this by offering live Blender classes on the web - you can look over the shoulder of well-known Blender community members and interact with them. Blenducation offers a combination of free and paid classes.

David Millet reports.

Blender is sometimes criticized for having a lack of training options. Despite the community's best efforts to provide useful training tools such as manuals, DVDs, and online forums and chat rooms, there are topics for which a traditional classroom setting is most appropriate. For example, have you ever wished you could watch an experienced modeler work in real time, personally answering your questions and providing useful hints as they worked? If so, you're not alone. This is only one of many scenarios in which learning Blender in a classroom environment can be superior to learning it from a hundred tutorials. Helping make this happen is Blenducation.org, the new online live class Blender education website developed by Blender user and education visionary David Hickson.

Blenducation.org aims to provide users with the best live class experience possible, without making you leave your easy chair. By using online meeting service DimDim, Blenducation is able to offer live online classes taught by well known Blender artists and instructors from anywhere in the world. The online nature of the system also allows classes to be scheduled around the clock. Mr. Hickson aims to eventually provide ample learning opportunities for willing students in any time zone.

When compared to the cost of other online school courses (which often spiral into several thousands of dollars), Blenducation.org classes are relatively cheap. Mr. Hickson currently plans to charge no more than $20US for a seat for the most expensive classes, even while offering many other classes free of charge! While almost all of the classes scheduled at the time of writing this article are free introductory classes, Mr. Hickson promises that he will be filling out the schedule with classes covering Blender-related topics right away.

If you haven't visited Blenducation.org yet, you should check it out! The site features a list of instructors and classes that will only become more complete over time.  You can also easily change your time zone with the site, and you will then see all the classes relative to the selected time zone.

Want to sign up for a class? The first step to becoming a student is to watch the introductory video featuring Mr. Hickson (in which he introduces himself as “dipingo”) on the right side of most pages of the site. Next, register for an account by following any of the registration links. You'll then be able to click on red calendar dates to see what classes are being offered, and sign up for classes.  Mr. Hickson explains that when you sign up for a class, you will be sent an email providing you with details on how to attend the class 30 minutes before the class begins.

Having been through one or two classes myself, this author is convinced that Blenducation has tremendous potential, not only in educating Blender users in technical and artistic techniques, but also helping legitimize Blender as a force to be reckoned with in the industry. Give it a try, and don't forget to leave Mr. Hickson feedback to help him in his goal of providing the best Blender educational experience possible.

Links

About Author

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.

21 Comments

  1. This looks like it has the potential to be a fantastic service for the Blender community. On a very minor point, the Blenducation website could do with proof-reading to clear all the typos - mostly missing apostrophes in "Blenders" (i.e. "Blenders interface..." should be "Blender's interface...").

  2. Excellent line-up of instructors. I just signed up, hopefully there'll be some gmt friendly classes in February.
    Some feedback on the website: it might be nice to add a date to the posts made on the main page. It gives some indication of what is new news, and what posts are a bit older (and might not be fully appropriate anymore). Apart from that I fully agree with A.Comment above me.

    In short: thumbs up for blenducation.

  3. It looks like a great resource.

    It would be really nice to see more of the instructors for Blenducation become BFCT certified. I know Jason and ZanQdo are, but I think the BFCT program would really benefit from having the rest of the instructors certified also. The BFCT program is still kind of struggling to establish itself, and it really needs the support of people interested in Blender training.

    Just my $.02.

  4. great now we have more blender's learning resource

    online class is great, but conventional one still best
    could somebody tell me what school/college that teach blender?
    (around the world, the list)

    i will attend the online one now!

  5. A.Comment, that would be all my fault, my lack of typing skills is one of the reasons I opted for doing live classes :)

    Tony, we are working closely with the BCFT team in order to define a clear path to becoming certified for the instructors as well as anyone else hoping to earn a BFCT certificate. One of the benefits to the instructors is they will have the ability to attend any of the classes they would like to polish their skill set in order to gain the confidence to pursue their BFCT certificates.

    Alvin, the only difference between attending a college and learning through Blenducation will be the commute.

  6. I submitted an idea like this to the google big idea thing they were running... apparently I wasn't that original.

    The biggest thing would be accrediting. You're going to have a hard sell unless you can offer legitimate degrees at Associates level or higher. Otherwise it's more of a series of live workshops. Another thing I had considered that may be useful to this project... if you offer games classes and have major projects as part of the curriculum. This way you create tangible Blender projects while building useable skills.

    I'll see about attending some classes, this sounds interesting!

  7. @dipingo,

    Sounds good. It looks like most of your instructors would pass the BFCT muster pretty easily. You seem to have a good group of instructors.

    @Agile,

    Yes. Here's the info on BFCT certification:

    http://www.blender.org/education-help/certified-trainer/

    The application is pretty straightforward. The main thing is supplying the appropriate teaching materials. You basically need to supply some form of written and some form of video tutorial to demonstrate that you're able to teach Blender.

    By all means, if you do teach Blender, consider applying.

  8. Roger Waggener on

    I attended a class about yafray last Saturday (Jan 24) and I was very impressed.

    The service used to host the classes http://www.dimdim.com/ really does meet up to its claim of "web conferencing that just works". I was pleasantly surprised that I simply clicked a link and was connected to a web conference that did just work withouth any fussing around, configuring, or downloads. However, it would not work with Opera so I had to switch to FireFox, which was less than perfect, but not surprising.

    As far as the class itself went, I finally figured out how to get yafray installed and working on my machine. I had tried a few times in the past, but not had success. The instructor, Goeland, did a patient and thorough job of making everybody was up to speed and answered every question students had.

    There were only two imperfections I could detect, neither of which were worse than kind of annoying. The first was screen size- if your screen resolution is not larger than 1024x768, you can expext to have to scroll the main window containing the teachers desktop to see the whole thing, but then not having a monitor bigger than that is kind of annoying to me anyway ;). The other factor that was somewhat irritating was echoes and cut outs of the audio, however at no time did it cause me to miss any of the course content. It was just another ripple in the experience and I expect it will get ironed out as the blenducation system evolves quickly in these early days.

    I suggest everyone interested in learning blender skills check out the site and sign up for a class that interests you.

  9. I am going to hold an open house on and off today. Which simply means go over to the site and see if the On-AIR link is posted. If it is join in.

    No need to sign up just click the link and join in.

  10. Alright, excellent! I read the post and have checked out the site and registered. :) Hopefully I will find useful classes to attend and the time to participate! Thanks a ton, David Hickson! Your life will probably never be the same, because you'll be busy, busy, busy running Blenducation. Cheers!

  11. @dipingo (David Hickson,) - One of my dreams is to become a registered BFCT. However, I have a long ways to go, and I would need a reason to renew my certificate/license every year. Anyhow, it would also be awesome to be an instructor, but once again, I have a good ways to go. :) Someday? :D

  12. This is an incredible idea. The only other site I know of that does anything like this is Animation Mentor. And they've only had a few speakers talk about animation with live feedback. In short, this is a very one-of-a-kind opportunity.

    @Mike L, what's wrong with workshops?

  13. At least they should license it under a creative commons license, in copyright it is not 'free' as they say.

    "Secondly, we want to illustrate the possibilities Open Source can provide Corporations, educational institutions, as well as all size studios. By offering cutting edge, on-line, live classrooms, that are FREE, we are making education affordable to everyone."

    Copyright forbids you to copy it for students without permission.

  14. Dramaking, there's nothing wrong with workshops (I've been to several :D ) All I was implying is that when Blender has started finding it's way into curriculums that generate 2 and 4 year degrees people will have to take note. A degree program shows continuity and currently Autodesk rules that particular arena :/ (3dsMax was all throughout my BS and now it's Maya at Animation Mentor for me).

    The sad thing is...in my Bachelor's we did alot of work in game engines... The number one problem was export/import and the number 2 problem was having to learn scads of new interfaces (I think we studied like 6 different engines). Granted, flexibility is a great asset, for learning purposes we could have done everything in Blender and the concepts would have been reached more clearly and far more easily.

    I have convinced the chair of the Game Design Program to at least consider Blender and he has had it installed in one of the labs on the machines.

    I'll be into the site this evening after working on my assignment and take a look around. It sounds interesting!

  15. This is what I have been waiting for. I'm a big fan of tutorials because I like figuring things out for myself but Blender is another story. I never heard of any Blender classes or workshops taking place around where I live so this is the next best thing.

    @Roger : Thank you for telling us about your experience. It seems like there are some kinks to work out but at least the project is working. =P Awesome.

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