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Seattle kids use Blender to re-imagine community

15

yesler_class_2Oscar Baechler wrote: Hello! I am an art director at the Seattle, WA game company Prophetic Sky Inc. Last March, I taught a class on Blender fundamentals to kids in cooperation with SDK Bridge LLC and the Yesler Community Center. It was a great experience, and I wanted to share it with the Blender community, especially since we'll hopefully be having the class again this Summer.

SDK Bridge, in cooperation with the Yesler Community Center, provided a community-oriented Blender education class for youths this March. The class focuses on teaching the basic concepts of 3D to the students, who then used Blender to create architectural additions to their communities. The kids' ideas were wildly imaginative, ranging from skate parks to bookstores to manga schools, which they then incorporated into the landscape of Seattle. The class also incorporates Augmented Reality technology into the curriculum. It was taught by Marcus Goodsell, an instructor and mentor at the Yesler Community Center, and Oscar Baecher, art director at Prophetic Sky Inc., who uses Blender in his everyday work week.

If any Seattleites know children ages 9 through 13 who would be interested in taking this class, it will be taught again this Summer. For more information about the curriculum and enrollment, contact Marcus Goodsell at [email protected].

Additional examples of the SDK Bridge's youth projects can be viewed at http://sdkbridge.com/youth.html

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.

15 Comments

  1. Oscar, it is always exciting to see someone teaching art and Blender. Especially in a community setting. Congratulations and much success in future classes.

  2. REALLY Cheering this project on!!

    It's wonderful to see kids being taught 3D!

    I sooooooo wish that we had had Blender when I was at school. 3D packages like this were at least £3,000+ and you needed VERY high spec PC's to run them! Simply put, in my days at school, it was out of the question for us to be taught this!

    I really hope that kids these days realise how lucky they are.

    Well done guys!

  3. Kids should have access to good blender documentation online too!
    I still struggle to complete fragments from the net, not everyone have chance to meet good teacher, you know...

  4. And every project in which Blender is demonstrated is of great benefit to community, -more interested people -more funds for development

  5. Thanks everyone for your feedback! It was a lot of fun to do, and I tried to hook the kids up with online resources, so they could continue experimenting with Blender to their heart's content.

    I've now found myself a huge proponent of 3D resources as a learning tool. One of the most rewarding parts was explaining creative and mathematical concepts to the kids, and seeing their "Aha!" moments when Blender showed how math, science and art translated into results. I think this sort of project-oriented approach with visual feedback really helped them understand concepts that would otherwise bore them.

    Once again, if you know youth in Seattle who might be interested, we'd love to see them this summer!

  6. As a Seattleite, I think this is awesome. I'm so glad that our youth are getting a chance to learn such interesting, profitable skills.

  7. @Agile: Yeah the documentation is a bit scattered.... well actually that's not true, the papers on features and functions are all at the Blender.org website.

    The problem for new artists is that they are references for people who know blender, so a bit other worldly sometimes.

    I'm self taught, and I did so by using the Noob to Pro documents
    http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Blender_3D:_Noob_to_Pro

    And the rest I picked up from messing around and watching the Blender DVD's at the blender shop.

    Also the Blender Artists forum has been a blessing with so many experienced and nice people there.

    There is also http://blenducation.org/ if you don't have access to a teacher and don't mind paying a small fee for the more advanced lessons. But all the basics are still free:
    http://blenducation.org/wordpress/blender-fast-track-parent-page/

    So yeah it's scattered, but it's true also of the commercial applications, except with them, it's usually expensive to learn. :)

  8. Lucas da Costa Dantas on

    Cool ,
    only take care for not trap anyone from the world out there .

    And made it interesting ,easy and simple examples that do not follow any style .
    Something that can be used at the every moment .,,,,,,,

    have something nice and not only one thing .
    made it wide random ,but available .

    Free but true ?
    then dont use this as a source for ideas .

    ----------------------------------------------
    and this is never boring talk .but action pratical .
    have a project first ,and as i sayd not only one .
    And display it as you say to what can be done .
    else its not imaginative at all but only a tool for copy .<<but here is where must take care .

    Then you are madeup a good teacher ,
    that not only explain but students are also a free mind about how to build they ideas .

    Its not Religion ,
    Thanks .

  9. thnks for posting this Oscar..i work with grd. 8's (13 yr olds) in high school and use Acad...but also teach blender starting in grd. 9 (14 yrs). I would like to introduce Blender to the 8's starting in Sept..i'll check out your post! I felt all the "buttons" in Blender would be a problem = too confusing for that age group

  10. Tony, we're still figuring out the nuts and bolts of funding for the summer class, as well as Yesler Community Center's available hours. The best thing to do would be to email Marcus Goodsell ([email protected]), and then we can stay in contact with you once we have more information. I'll also keep BlenderNation updated once I have more info.

    deltawing, I know the feeling. I think the main thing I helped them with is getting into the 3D mindset, and I started the early classes with zen exercises where they would rotate, pan, zoom, rotate, pan, zooom...

    I also gave a lot of verbal pop quizzes on the "threes" of 3D, including:

    1. What are the three camera movements in 3D? (rotate, pan, zoom)
    2. What are the three directions in 3D space? (X, Y, Z)
    3. What are the three components of a 3D object? (vertex, edge, face)
    4. What are the three primary methods of affecting an object? (Move, scale, rotate.)

    It's a good way to surprise 'em if they start surfing the internet ;)

  11. Kelly McKinney on

    Oscar,
    I have worked in Yesler Terrace and know many of the people there. I have done a lot of work with East African and SE Asian residents. I have also worked in some of SHA other communities. Additionally, I have an interest in 3D. Blender is one of the programs I work with. I would like to talk to you.

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