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AutoCAD assisting the unemployed?

62

autodesk-educationHere's an interesting bit of news that was released earlier today: Autodesk are helping people "invest in themselves by increasing their knowledge and expanding their skills.". They're giving away time-limited (13 months) licenses for several packages including AutoCAD and have a program with free online training and discounted classroom training and certification.

Here's a question that I'd like to ask you: what would Blender need in order to offer a similar programme? Of course we have extensive documentation on-line, but it spread all over the web and can be daunting for a beginning user. Do we need some kind of quickstart document with link to good starter tutorials? A cool introduction video that shows off Blender's power and ease of use in the hands of a power user? Better presence of on-line training programmes such as Blenducation? More 'real-life' classes? What do you think?

If they can do it, then so can we! I'm sure the economic crisis is an *excellent* opportunity for Blender!

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.

62 Comments

  1. i started a thread about this on BA too but no one seemed to care..
    it's not just that the documentation is scattered, but nearly 90% of it is out of date..
    i'd imagine the percentage will go up when 2.5 is released too..

    there should be a effort to maintain the documentation and update it to the current releases..

    also, since blender.org is the home of blender, there should be good-quality well-presented introductory video tutorials that get updated after a few official releases of blender. I don't think what i'm asking is too much.. anyone who writes a tutorial should have at least one or 2 contributors that edit the tutorial or update it so it's applicable to the current blender release..

    so in short, update tutorials. provide good video lessons on blender.org.

  2. Very exciting post, Bart.

    My two-bits: The Blender educational resources are excellent and getting better literally every day. But more (any?) resources on how one might break into professional work with Blender would be a welcome addition.

    I figure would-be-Blender Professionals fall into two categories: 1) Already pros learning a new app. These people already know how to make money in 3D, they just need to learn Blender. I think these people are good to go. 2) People looking to learn 3D for fun and profit and Blender has the best entry price in town. These are the people that might learn how to make architecture demos and flying logos all day long, but don't know what to do with them.

    Does that make sense?

  3. I think Neil Hirsig's Blender video tutorials are an excellent beginner's resource. I wish they would get more press. You can find them here: http://www.gryllus.net/Blender/3D.html

    He has more than 100 short videos covering just about everything one needs to know to get up to speed in Blender.

    Maybe blender.org should have a prominent link to them. They are just the kind of video tutorials that 3ds Max and Maya come come with to get you started.

  4. Blender already has a quickstart document, does it not? But I think that it could be so much better, too. SideFX Houdini comes well-documented with video tutorials "out-of-the-box." Who wouldn't want this for Blender, also?

  5. even if it was not time-limited, I won't call that "assisting". The guys still don't get funds to live while they're searching a job, which is the meaning of assisting.

    But for a similar programme in Blender, there must first be already some classes and training, which I don't see. All art schools teach exclusively commercial softwares. And only college & university students do something with Blender in an educational context.

  6. I have to hand it to them - that is a pretty good way of getting new users. Giving the product away for free for a year so they can get new jobs knowing if it pans out that after those 13 months they will probably buy a license if they need it for work. Of course Blender is always free, that is helpful too. :)

  7. I believe a massive wiki rewrite by the community should start when the 2.5 comes around.

    And maybe it is a good idea, we as a community, to start thinking what newcomers (and we, who learn everyday something new about Blender) expect from such a product/documentation and make some kind of roadmap - what needs to be documented and how, the media it is going to be presented (if something is good enough with text/images only, or it needs an actual video to clarify things as best as it possibly can).

  8. Live instruction provides up to date training and is the quickest way to resolve the issue of out of date documentation. Like Mac; Blender provides us with an opportunity to want to learn by taking an active interest rather than a passive interest in our learning. Thanks to sites like Blendernation, blender newbies, Blender artists, Blender Art Magazine and (shameless plug) Blenducation.

  9. Spencer Dupre` on

    I'd say not just to post lists of links to good tutorials, but actually make a single document that contains these tutorials, like a free PDF of Essential Blender. This is good for those who still don't have broadband at home (like myself) because they can bring it home easily.

  10. When I was a beginner I preferred written Tuts above video tuts. Agreed, video tutorials can show something very specifically, but I think many people who want to learn fast (Not the "I-want-this-awesome-spaceship-tomorrow" kind of people, but the ones who don't like slow working) would have more use of written documentation, as you can skip to where your point of interest lays.

    I hope we too can get such a project started :)

  11. I would think tha if all the BEST documentation and tutorials were in one place and in an easily downloadable (is that a word?) form it would help a lot. This would have to be up to date info on the current incarnation of Blender (not all that easy considering how quickly Blender is evolving). Also a low cost printed manual would be nice. $40 for a printed manual is hard when you are out of work or, like me, disabled and teaching myself so I can get back in the workforce. There might be some organization that could underwrite it.

  12. We could do something even better

    Here is my idea :

    Start a class bla bla... and then make a tournament where they have to make a object from 14:00 to 15:00(1 hour), and then upload to a server(The limit time will be 5 minutes). The theme will be published at 13:55

    And every year to make a tournament with prizes.... YEP let's make traditions ...AUTODESK dosen't have . This is what is missing to Blender Foundation, little soul and competition between different beginners, advanced or medium users

    Some people will join the class just for fun(the big plus is that Blender is freeware)

    So what do you say.... ?

    as a programmer I will get help the organization, and I think it will be more people available to help...

  13. I think Tallguy's on to something. What I'm thinking is, though it could definitely be made easier to learn how to use Blender, the resources are definitely coming along. I think a greater emphasis should be placed on the value of books; tutorials are free, but if you work through "The Essential Blender" or "Stop Staring," you possess a whole lot of valuable new knowledge. I think Blender should try to publish (and/or host online) books that cover teaching Blender so users can quickly master the software side of Blender, then point new users to those books, so they'e not left wondering "how do I learn to use this software?"

    Then there's the question of how to make money with what you're doing. That knowledge is important, too. Books or classes teaching the business side of Blender would be invaluable to users who already know how to create the images they want. The thing about classes, though, is that they need to be available. The closest blender class to me that I was aware of was in Harrisburg, PA, which is too far for me to travel right now. Books can be picked up at the local bookstore, in the library for free, or delivered to my house by Amazon. I can't overstate the advantages of good literature.

  14. Iulian,

    Your idea is good but people would have to KNOW the program to be a part of it. Thus it would just be the same Blenderheads winning over and over. Education is important. A central place with complete info is a good choice.

  15. Christian Stratton on

    I know this is probably a pipe dream but I believe you need to think about how Blender can create jobs. How the community as a whole can help to set up small studios all over the world take the first steps to find clients or make games that can actually sell. Maybe there could be some kind council that is made up of successful studios that use blender to help the rest of us get something going. I am not saying that you should help every amateur but maybe their could be some kind of application and requirements that need to be satisfied. Maybe like the "Small Business Administration" in the USA but for blender.

    At this point if I was to get a job in the industry I would be switching to an Autodesk product. Not good.

    And last but not least get the people in the forums of blenderartists.org and other forums to stop being so negative. They should never respond with "You cant to that" and "That guys a CGI master and you aren't so don't even think about it" . It should always be "You can!!! And these are the places to find out how". Their attitude almost turned me away from learning the blender at all.

  16. I am reading this thread thinking how can I help with this.

    Right now http://www.blenducation.org offers live classes with real instructors. We then record the classes and edit them with a table of contents. As with any recorded tutorial the "shelf life" is short and that is why the live classes have been so popular and why I feel live classes will be the future (and the the present:)

    It is true that the bandwidth issue is a problem. It is also true that timely, up-to-date written tutorials are hard to find. PDF's of written material are also scarce. I am willing to host any materials ppl feel would be useful. It comes down to maintenance after that.

    I have 5 free tutorials on learning Blender Basics that are on the site and are totally free.

    I am not here to push my site as much as join in this discussion and offer to do all I can to facilitate any learning tools.

    I'm very interested in this exchange of ideas.

  17. Blender needs a intro. (Just a thought of what I think would be appriciated in a intro for ppl seeing it for the first time)

    With this I mean a video, where one is shown what one can do with blender, Big buck bunny, Elephant dream etc... That we can make cool games. Basicly s make a intro movie that builds up exitment and making them trust this is a great application and that it is free.

    Then one should show them where to dl this amazing free product (wich go rly fast). And like jk some about the interface so they dont get to scared ^^ "now ppl when you have dl Blender and python we are going fire up blender... And don't get frighten of the interface! every one feel like that at first :D"

    And like go over some basic's realy basics: manovering in 3d, spliting the window, explaning some buttons. explaining how logical everything is, if u whant to edit a object u go to... if u whant to rotate a object mark it and push r..

    And lastly giving them the directions where to find some nice guid's / tutorails

    I think that would make many more ppl join blender.

  18. The problem is that blender is updated so fast that by the time you create a complete tutorial and manual to explain how blender works, it becomes outdated. The blender wiki is supposed to fix this by allowing multiple people to update at a time, and create fasted documentation, but many times we (long time users) dont know about the new features workings. The only ones that do are the developers, and they cant do it all (code and document)
    Autodesk has a lot of time before and during releases to work on documentation and trainings.

    And then I donw wanna get started on documenting because when 2.5 comes out everithing will have to be revriten anyway.

  19. I would like to see a learning tree project where some mentors and lots of nebies share what tuts they stated with and what the results were.
    Multiple suggested paths could be voted on for various learning goals.
    Do you know how to navigate? Good then go to next question. Then a basic modeling tree would be presented, etc on up to larger choices such as game modeling or animation.
    Jcode

  20. Þiðrekr on

    Thanks for the head's up. I actually forwarded this onto my father, who learned how to use AutoCAD a while back and was recently laid off from the automotive-related sector. He might find this resource to be very useful!

  21. Glad you asked, Bart. Seems to me all new users go down the same road. Installing blender, fiddling with it and uninstalling it again and maybe on a later time return. Enter: http://www.blender.googlepages.com/ a resource page for a quick guide through the world of blender.

    Now I do love the massive amount of blender related stuff, from tutorials, example blend files and much more. But as everyone likes doing its own thing I dislike the fact that there's x 3D model sites, x tutorial sites, X documentation efforts, x wiki's, x scripts and maybe even X news sites. All decentralized and some resources dissapear eventually as the world carries on.

    My dream for a long long time is to centralize all this stuff, preferable closely linked to the official Blender site. Archiving all blender stuff for coming generations so to speak. All free downloadable models into one giant repository, all tutorials, example blends, tutorial movies also.

    This will make new users able to find stuff much more efficient. That's waaaay better than for example some of the resources on blender.org. For example the scripts on blender.org are very outdated.

    Well there might be several problems with the centralized approach... many people like to have their own turf, fill part of their site with blender stuff. Also it would need participation from the guys at blender.org to facilitate it. But that's what's missing in the total blender experience in my humble opinion.

    Oh and a 13 month free trail of blender of course :)

  22. This is an interesting idea. I think Blender is already way ahead of everybody in many regards, being open source. People in places in the world where AutoCAD licenses are prohibitively expensive can already access Blender, and not for only a few weeks. The other initiatives for documentation and education people have mentioned here also sound promising. Also, it'd be cool to have Blender on the "laptop for every child"! Wonder if that's possible?

    As for learning Blender stimulating jobs, I think we're still very much in the stage of creating an industrial demand for Blender users, so people need to think entrepreneurially and find ways to make Blender pay for them. Hopefully as some of these take off (such as Blender-based studios) the demand for Blender use in industry will grow. But people need to make it happen.

    Finally, Bart, it's not April 1 anymore, but I'm still getting the WTF banner on Blender Nation. Since I'm sure new visitors drop into this site frequently, you might want to switch that out to avoid confusion?

  23. We need an update of tutorials on the coming update. Note the interface will have a big change so the old tutorials will become more difficult to follow.

  24. I am a beginner and have noticed that although the Blender tutorials are okay, they are sometimes a little difficult to follow due to them being not consistent with the version of software.

    The Blender Wiki documentation is good, that's not the problem.
    Video Tutorials are okay IF you have broadband. Live tutorials have a very limited audience due to time/date constraints. I would like to ask you all to have a look at the Truespace website. The Truespace website has an introduction showing all of the good aspects of the software. Then, all tutorials are free like the blender ones, however they are in a logical step-by-step progression, from user interface basics through to the more advanced, ALL in the ONE place!

    The Wiki manual does the job, but is more suited to a professional/experienced user. I contribute to the manual myself, however I assist with proofreading, typos etc.
    The wiki "Blender3D: From noob to pro" book just sounds and if the truth be known, is a little condescending in many ways, starting just with the title! I have mentioned this a few times, and it has been ignored, or placed into the too-hard basket. This book is probably the best beginner's book we have available-yet it needs work to make it anything like the "Essential" book. At least you can print it to work with it offline.

    I would like to ask you all to have a look at the Truespace website. http://www.caligari.com The Truespace website has an introduction showing all of the good aspects of the software. Then all tutorials are free like blender, however they are in a logical step-by-step progression, from user interface basics through to the more advanced. ALL in the ONE place!

    As a beginner, the best answer I feel is to have "essential Blender" or whatever is the GOOD intro book that we settle on made available as a FREE PDF document. It seems that EVERYTHING else associated with Blender is free, even the software, however the "essential" book is not?!

    cheers

  25. The question I keep having is how can Blender become financially useful to a user, aside from being either an indie film maker or a freelancing graphic designer. For example I know GIMP, I know that photoshop is a lot like GIMP, but when I go into a business that requires knowledge in photoshop I either need to convince the boss that he should install GIMP or I need to learn photoshop. Yes, a more user friendly documentation is needed (a nice large "Start here" button on the blender homepage might be nice, but I think for something like autodesk there needs to be tutorials/classes/lessons based on practical real world situation.

    "Blender for the Graphic Designer"
    "Blender for the animator"
    "Blender for Architecture Demostrations"

    In essence "How can I use blender to help my economy?"

  26. Alex Delderfield (AD-Edge) on

    Dyf brings up some important issues in the first comment.

    Theres plenty of learing material out there (the best place to start for beginners would be the Blender noob to pro wiki tutorials) but the problem is that most of it is very outdated.

    Seems like tutorial writers cant keep up with the advancements and new releases/features of Blender. Which is unfortunate, but also a good thing as it shows how fast Blender is developing.

    What we need is a official place for up to date tutorials, which are all revised and updated (if needed) by the authors after each new release of blender. This could be a section of blender.org as some are suggesting. I think I read somwhere that Ton is quite aware of the mess of tutorials around and the lack of organisation in the Blender wiki, so hes looking at a complete redesign of it all.

    Another issue is the lack of more advanced tutorials, as mentioned in comments above. Theres plenty out there for beginners, but for more advenced users theres not much at all. Lucklily the mode advanced users can usually solve or work out problems for themselves, the advantage of knowing the tools you work with well, but it would still be nice to have other perspectives and techniques on how to do certain advanced things.

    -Alex

  27. A complete, start-to-finish blender project setup over at lynda-dot-com wouldn't hurt either. They already have programs for Open Office, so there's opportunity for other well-organized open source programs there, methinks.

  28. Shawn Kearney on

    Is Blender really "easy to use in the hands of a power user"? I mean, Blender is very easy, but only once you get your head over the very unique interface. Now I am not (by any means) saying that Blender should bog- or dumb- down the UI for the sake of easy use. Productivity should always be the goal here, and the UI is very high in those terms.

    But, I do get a little tired of the setiment that somehow Blender is easy to use right out of the gate. Prior to using blender, I had several years on Infini-D and about 3 years after that on Cinema 4DXL. It took me a good 2 or 3 years to get to the skill level I left off with C4DXL.

    Now I am not saying I was or am a "power user" - I am not sure what that means exactly. But I think that developers might be better off understanding how daunting the Blender UI can be for people who are familiar and comfortable with other software.

    This mythical "power user" class I think has created an attitude of "it's ok, anyone who is familiar with CG software systems will know what to do!" which I think has de-emphasized the need for suitable documentation.

    I realize that project contributors are busy with very important projects. Though I don't think that Blender is quite as easy to understand as the community realizes.

    I think some very basic UI theory documentation would be very helpful.

  29. This is such an old discussion. It seems no one wants to take on accurate and extensive documentation, and I can't blame them. I neither have time nor experience enough myself to even consider such a task.

    Truly useful documentation needs to come from the Blender foundation as documenters need to be funded in order to devote the needed efforts into proper documentation. Coming from the Blender foundation should also allow for better centralization of of the information. I know there is plenty for Ton to deal with and adding this is perhaps asking too much. But it seems I read not too long ago that he is aware of this need and is trying to address it. I have an enormous amount of respect for Ton. He takes on and provides so much and asks for so little. Well, as far as I can tell he asks for so little.

    Documentation is a huge burden. A huge resource consumer. I would suggest that much of the cost of applications sold goes toward documentation. Blender relies on what little funds it gets through donations and the Blender store. However, in keeping with the perceived spirit of Blender, making the information freely available is necessary. Using Blender to make money for providing a service to a client is fine. But somehow charging Blender users to learn Blender seems wrong.

    It also seems those who have met with business success, however measured, should be willing to at least mentor other Blender users. Blender already has something the other apps don't. It's the Blender community. I've not seen anything like it for any of the other apps. They have devoted followers, but they aren't quite the same as the Blender community. I am currently in no position to provide any kind of business related advice. But as soon as I do meet with any success, I promise I will share anything I learn. Not just for those who ask. I intend to just put it out there. I can't promise that I ever will meet with success to share. But if I do, I will share. Just some insight as to how you met with success could go a long way for someone struggling to get into earning a living doing what they love. And, the more Blender users who meet with success, the more people there will be to help financially support the Blender foundation. In turn helping to further develop Blender.

  30. May be simply to offer discount price to teacher that want to learn blender at the blender foundation. 1 teacher 20 students. 8 teachers 160 students, 2 sessions a years. 220 students. After 2 years 660. after 3 1320, After 10 years 12100 students. And only for 2 formation session at the blender foundation for 8 teachers. If the blender foundation help more programmes for artschool, university and other you can get around 100000 new blender heads in less than 10 years.

  31. The biggest Problem i encountered, when trying to teach newbies is, that it is all in English.
    Soo many people i tried to convince to start failed because they did complain about the english GUI

  32. More localised tutorials. All the tutorials on blender.org are out of date(or almost) and whats WORSE, none of them say what version of blender they were made for. That should be mandatory.

  33. Like mentioned above, I think these links are the best examples how to do it:

    http://www.caligari.com/
    Good structure, Motivating Project Result when you finished the course, pictures show clearly what it is about.

    http://www.gryllus.net/Blender/3D.html
    Nice for beginners, good structure, like in a book you can jump to what intersts you, basic techniques mixed with projects.
    Link should be prominent on blender.org! If the community would concentrate on just keep these videos updated to new versions, a lot would be accomplished! The Videos should be uploaded in HD versions on Vimeo in a Channel.

    The audio commentary should exist as a text file or audio file to download, so that when changes happen
    a) just the video with the new UI has to be recorded along the original audio commentary.
    b) outdated portions of the commentary can be replaced in Audacity with new commentary. As a consequence the speaker would change in midst of the video, but I wouldn't care as long as it's up to date.

    All we have to do is find a way to distibute the workload, with lists to sign in who does what, who collaborates with whom.

  34. Hi there! (last try tio post this...

    for anyone in the need of a single, downloadable, printable, bookmarked reference document to learn our great Blender, i would like to remind you my "wiki pdf" effort:

    this is still valid:
    http://www.blendernation.com/2008/09/17/download-the-blender-wiki-in-pdf/

    you can still download it here:
    http://www.letworyinteractive.com/b/category/blender/
    latest release:
    http://www.letworyinteractive.com/b/2009/02/blender-wiki-pdf-manual-from-january-29th-2009-2/

    and, by the way, since about a month there is a link to the latest release also on the right-sidebar on
    http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Main_Page
    look on the side bar for a link named "PDF Manual (NEW!)" (somebody put the link there, i did not choose the name. i just suggested someone there that any (new) user would like to fine a PDF somewhere)

    i'm in the way to find any better-and-automated way to produce this,
    if you care, i'll let BN know of any news about this.

    Cheers, Marco

  35. The ideal structure for beginners would be:

    1. Introductory video on front page of blender.org on HOW TO LEARN BLENDER EFFECTIVELY.

    2. This video would point to resources in the following order:

    a) The Wiki, which has a good structure (Interface, Modeling, Animation...)

    b) Mention the Videotutorial-Link on the bottom of each Wiki page (the important videos I mean are mentioned in my post above)

    c) Diverse Tutorial/ Project lists that can be found on Blendernation, Blender Channel on Vimeo, BlenderNewbies etc.

    I think this would be the best way to centralize efforts. Keep the wiki and a certain set of videos updated and many beginners will be fine.

  36. 1st of all I think it's a nice idea from Autodesk. I hope there is Maya, Max and Mudbox next time for free!!
    About Blender tuts:
    1. Video-Tutorials are the more important tuts, because you can see the workflow exactly!!
    2. Blender has lots of beginner-tuts, but
    3. ... still no highlevel-tutorials from professionals, because
    4. ... Blender is a hobby/amateur-tool!
    5. Because of that unfortunately everybody who uses Blender even for a longer time comes fast to the limit!!!

  37. The Blender Foundation should really think about not releasing Blender 2.5 if documentation structures such as mentioned above aren't realised. Otherwise the big release of 2.5 would be a missed opportunity to erase the reputation of Blender to lack documentation and having a steep learning curve for beginners.

    By postponing the release the Community/ Coders should be motivated/ "forced" to work on documentation, a phase of documentation should be integrated as a phase on the roadmap after completing the software part.

  38. I too have been recently made redundant and I trying to learn Blender in my spare time. Unfortunately, mastering Blender will not get me a job. I am going to check out what Autodesk is offering right now.

  39. Thia is great news, i went through all the trouble of learning CAD in school, but could never afford a copy of the software. Mabey now i can put some of that knoledge to good use. And as for a Blender introduction, i believe the wikibook page is an excelent learning tool. Not only is it informative, but its easily editable, so people can add helpful notes and even add more tutorials.

  40. Thia is great news, i went through all the trouble of learning CAD in school, but could never afford a copy of the software. Mabey now i can put some of that knoledge to good use. And as for a Blender introduction, i believe the wikibook page is an excelent learning tool. Not only is it informative, but its easily editable, so people can add helpful notes and even add more tutorials.
    Sorry... forgot to say great post - can't wait to read your next one!

  41. i don't understand why you guys are making it so big..
    mostly what's needed is when you read a tutorial, email the author for corrections or comments.. we just need the authors to be willing to listen and edit their tutorials accordingly..

  42. Shawn Kearney on

    dyf-

    having scattered tutorials is one thing, but having good and complete centralized reference is another.

    I find myself not really wanting to find and read an entire tutorial for a feature that I mostly understand just so that I can better utilize a few parameters.

    The typical tutorial's goal isn't so much to explain how a feature works, but rather how to use it for a specific purpose. Tutorials have their place, but I think that Blender development may have relied too much on the very good tutorials from around the web to do what reference materials are better served.

  43. djallalnamri on

    *hello
    *i am a 51 blender fan,i am not a professionnal in any kind of design field and i am not using blender neither because of lack of time but it has been for more than 3 years now since i have definitely adopted blender as a 3d app:i always check blendernation and blender art mag and care to always have the blender latest release to use whenever i try a blender feature;i have downloaded almost 2 gigas of blender related stuff:tuts,docs,material libraries,zips and exes and using linux as os i get frustrated when i cannot find a compatible blender release
    *in the begining i used to have trouble with documentation:wether it did not exist or was not updated,it would take me days of surfing the web or download release notes in html pages by pages...(this reminds me of doing the same for the new particle system documentation..!!!!)
    *i live in Africa and with a slow internet output video timelapse tuts are not something i can afford unless i wait hours for them to upload and this is a pity....!!!
    *i find that pdfs are the most suitable doc format for someone like me and my wish would be to see release notes in pdf for download at every new blender release....
    *well it happened that i have copied a 250 m french website on blender!!!
    *so my opinion is that;blender needs a communication group and probably it would better if devs could set up such a group for keeping in direct touch with experienced users
    and fans like me ...
    *thanks

  44. I guess, current approaches of collecting tutorials, how-tos, etc. at one place are nice already but the main problem is: They're not "the official one", like Blendernation or Blender Artists as community centers...

    My suggestions:
    Start one page which is shaped like a mix between wikipedia and google + a special ranking system:
    Searchable should be certain topics, like, uh, "first steps" and, say, "UV-mapping" - that's clear, I guess...

    The more important part probably is: Each article should have a set of data, easily visible:
    - date written
    - used Version (+ an option "general" - for a general article/video/whatever, which doesn't really go into program-usage-details. That could for example be a tutorial where the screenshots are from, say, Maya but because it's so general, it's also usable for Blender)
    - date last time updated
    - used Version (greys out if first one is "general")
    - ease*&**
    - usability*
    - complexity
    - generality**
    - detail**
    - advancedness**
    (optional:)***
    - structure
    - flow
    - design
    (video only:)***
    - audio quality
    - video quality
    ___
    - etc.

    * Before people vote their opinion, they need to specify the Blender-Version, THEY are using right now. During search, you also have to tell the search-engine, which Version you're using. That's for the matters of usability for the current Version and help especially newbees to orient quicker...

    ** those four are related. If the general overview of the searched topic is well documented, generality is high. If it rather focuses on a few certain functions, detail is high (both can be high, but that will barely be the case...) if you can translate it easily, ease is high and if you're an advanced user and still where able to learn a lot, advanced is high.

    *** Those rather concentrate on the style of the tutorial, than on the content on the tutorial/article/video - if in theory, the information in it is perfectly fine but there are spelling-mistakes 'till unreadabillity, or if there is a video which only pixels and the sound is so crappy that you need to watch at least trice to get half of it (of course, only if you're able to understand that language^^), it probably doesn't make sense to read through/watch it...

    then of course, if it's not English, the language should also be specified and as a last one, which was metntioned earlier:
    Make it the official one!

    For each tut, ppl should have the possibility to comment, favourize and constructively critizise... standard-order for the found-list should be usability for the input Version, but it should of course be possible to order after other stuff like date, comments, favs, alphanumeric, etc....

  45. They give away their AutoCarrot.
    It's the same old tactic. They borrow you the software so you can learn that you need them.
    Unfortunately (and ironically) we can't compete with that, since Blender has been always available for everyone.
    Blender -and free software- are available and the official documentation is there to learn and share, available for the unemployed, the employed and the hobbist.
    We just have to keep doing what we always do, and that's enough.

  46. I guess, current approaches of collecting tutorials, how-tos, etc. at one place are nice already but the main problem is: They're not "the official one", like Blendernation or Blender Artists as community centers...

    My suggestions:
    Start one page which is shaped like a mix between wikipedia and google + a special ranking system:
    Searchable should be certain topics, like, uh, "first steps" and, say, "UV-mapping" - that's clear, I guess...

    The more important part probably is: Each article should have a set of data, easily visible:
    - date written
    - used Version (+ an option "general" - for a general article/video/whatever, which doesn't really go into program-usage-details. That could for example be a tutorial where the screenshots are from, say, Maya but because it's so general, it's also usable for Blender)
    - date last time updated
    - used Version (greys out if first one is "general")
    - ease*&**
    - usability*
    - complexity
    - generality**
    - detail**
    - advancedness**
    (optional:)***
    - structure
    - flow
    - design
    (video only:)***
    - audio quality
    - video quality
    ___
    - etc.

    * Before people vote their opinion, they need to specify the Blender-Version, THEY are using right now. During search, you also have to tell the search-engine, which Version you're using. That's for the matters of usability for the current Version and help especially newbees to orient quicker...

    ** those four are related. If the general overview of the searched topic is well documented, generality is high. If it rather focuses on a few certain functions, detail is high (both can be high, but that will barely be the case...) if you can translate it easily, ease is high and if you're an advanced user and still where able to learn a lot, advanced is high.

    *** Those rather concentrate on the style of the tutorial, than on the content on the tutorial/article/video - if in theory, the information in it is perfectly fine but there are spelling-mistakes 'till unreadabillity, or if there is a video which only pixels and the sound is so crappy that you need to watch at least trice to get half of it (of course, only if you're able to understand that language^^), it probably doesn't make sense to read through/watch it...

    then of course, if it's not English, the language should also be specified and as a last one, which was metntioned earlier:
    Make it the official one!

    For each tut, ppl should have the possibility to comment, favourize and constructively critizise... standard-order for the found-list should be usability for the input Version, but it should of course be possible to order after other stuff like date, comments, favs, alphanumeric, etc....

  47. id say keep the tutorials in english and add a link to learn english for dummies. :P
    standarization is a must in a perfect world 3d apps should work alike and should call technics the same, now its sometimes like the babilonian tower if you switch to another 3d forum.
    what i find lacking in blender docs is how new parts work. I think the B.O. should hire a permanent tutorial writer, that works in coorperation with the programmers, for writing small tuts showing how to use those new posibilities. Now it sometimes happens you find a very usefull tool just because some one explained in a tut how to use it, those on the blender org site are a good example of this. Allas they dont cover all aspects.
    seeing how its done in you-tube movies can also be enlighting and its fairly easy to produce.
    just my 2C

  48. On blender you can also learn to write scripts i mean programming and that can also help your future. By the way, they say python isn't a difficult program langauge to start programming.

    /an unemployed/
    Sorry if its off or somebody else wrote it, i didn't find it "SyntaxError"

  49. @staiger: on Maya you can learn Python and MEL (nearly C++)!!
    With MEL (MayaEmbeddedLanguage) you have the complete control over Maya.
    You can nearly model by it and write powerful scripts!

  50. I'm happy to get more insights from professional products!
    Because Blender has one big problem:
    there are hundreds of versions, SVNs and branches! And everything of it is updated every second!
    To find the optimal Blender for your hardware and tasks is impossible!!
    You have to spend more time to find it than you have for working with it!!

  51. Hi,
    wow, here are a lot of comments! - Interisting issue
    I think the availible documentation is quite good, but as a beginner it`s hard to find what you need. It would be great to have space at blender.org - or linked to it where are free tutorials (video and text) that are organised in a learning order. Something simular to the Wiki - which is good - but with tutorials.
    It should be well structured and parted to beginners and advanced user, as well as issue orientated like game, movie, special effects, python scripting and so on...
    As well it would be good to have the same structure in all tutorials. Maybe there shpuld be links to further tutorials that already availible on other websites.
    A kind of show-reel for blender as mentioned in other comments could make Bblender more interisting to new users and helping to get their motivation for Blenders steep learning curve, which is maybe the most importend thing for beginners.

    - so sorry for my english, but I hope you understand my thoughts...

    Vince

  52. I think that maybe there should be a template file for making tutorials and some guidelines for their creation and maintaining which could make it a lot easier to read and would seem to be more professional.

    Because as said before in early posts, a lot of the documentation is out of date, and when 2.50 comes out, all the videos will look slightly different and will confuse new users.

    I was reading a post on slashdot (http://games.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/04/10/0541217), as the BGE is now having massive updates, maybe now is the time to push it forward more into the open a bit more.

    Im just wondering but how many of the lectures are actually in the Uk? Im based in newcastle and have yet to hear of anything in the north of england... :(

  53. Hi,

    I think there is some reinvientig-the-wheel in approaching that Blender and Blender Foundation must act exactly as Asutodesk do with its software. My thoughts are that Blender open's issue is not related only to a license for the app, but to a whole panorama around it.

    Perhaps this open, this jungle panorama, is not helping Blender to reach at some points reputation and features and standarization enjoyed by other 3D packages. I'm not saying that this shouldn't be amended. But most of proposals here written I think exists yet, and the problem is more an efficient communication issue than a knowledge generation one, I think.

    My english is not enough to self explain me better than this, but in conclusion I can say that when I was not able to find something related to Blender inmediately, I ever discovered something interesting in the way, and soon or later, found finally what I'm looking for in community's website.
    Only MHO ;-) (not so humble)
    Raimon

  54. I started to collect videotutorials. The tutorials are organized by language and category

    So I'm working on a system where you can submit a videotutorial (or you can mail me if you don't have where to host, or you don't have the time to upload it to youtube or vimeo).

    I plan to collect tutorials in any language with a database, to allow you to search for a specific subject

    Here is the link if you wanna submit videotutorials

  55. I like most of these suggestions. Here are some of mine:

    1. It seems to me that there are several user levels of Blender user. There should be at least some tutorials setup for each of these. Some of these levels that I see are:
    a. Total noob. Needs to learn about 3D in general as well as Blender. Needs a rather long series of tutorials to get them to a basic proficient level.
    b. Total Blender noob. Has learned about 3D principles and may have used them in any one of the other 3D programs out there but need a shorter series of tutorials to get up to a basic proficient level in blender.
    c. 3D professional but a noob in Blender. Only needs either a overall tutorial on how to do most everything in blender, or a quick list of equivalences from their program to Blender.
    2. It seems to me that there are several types of information that users are looking for from tutorials. Some sections would be series of tutorials, others would be single tutorials. Some of these series could be:
    a. How to model
    b. How to rig
    c. How to edit video
    d. How to render
    e. How to animate
    (you'll notice that many of these have Blender modes)
    f. How to do a Star Trek transporter
    g. How to do a greenscreen
    h. Modeling a tree
    i. Specific plugin tutorials, etc.
    3. It seems to me that the biggest complaint about Blender tutorials is that they aren't centrally located. While its great that there are a ton of user tutorials, it is essential that Blender have its own set of tutorials for access by new users. It would be nice if a hierarchical structure of tutorials could be developed on the wiki for the basic set of tutorials that lead people through all of the above mentioned paths. Each tutorial section could then have a 'further reading' link section that links to these user tutorials.
    4. Another major concern is the version validity of the linked tutorials. It is essential that the wiki tutorials mentioned above be maintained at the current release. However, the 'further reading' tutorials would not have to be maintained. Maintaining this huge database of tutorials would be a daunting task for a single person. I have a proposal. If such a wiki of tutorials could be created, we have a huge user base. If each of us could commit to merely checking a single tutorial for validity with each new release, the validity of each article could be updated. Once they are all checked, users could probably update the tutorials themselves with new screenshots or minor corrections. If the tutorial needs a large updates beyond the users skill level, it could be passed on or tagged for a more skillful user to update.
    5. Because of the varied resources of Blender users the wiki tutorials should provide a consistent presentation mediums. What I mean by this is that every tutorial should include the HTML tutorial, a downloadable PDF link, in a consistent format that could be printed and stored in a binder, and a video link, again, in a consistent format on a single video server (vimeo?). Further reading links would not have to maintain this standard (but it would be nice).
    6. There are other topics related to Blender usage that don't fall into this setup, but that should be added. Some other topics I see would be things like:
    a. Make a cheap green screen
    b. How to light a video for CG
    c. How to make money as a Blender Artist
    d. Adding sound/foley to your videos (sound site resources as well)
    e. Recommended systems, peripherals, office layouts, office lighting, etc.

    Just some 'brief' ideas.:)

    Statik
    aka Rod Naugler

  56. sorry for the doublepost up there...
    Stupid account ^^' That login system didn't like me while I wasn't at home but on a different computer... And then, changing my nick a bit, it didn't show my post. Posting it again gave me: "doublepost -> deleted", so I totally changed my nick to post it again - then finally I saw it.
    Now I see that both times worked. On the other PC only the second time showed up for some reason -.-

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