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The Process Diary interviews Blender Guru

38

Paul Caggegi talks to Blender Guru Andrew Price. I enjoyed listening to it and learning about Andrew's background. And yes, you pronounced it correctly! (Although Roel's name could still use a little work ;-)

Paul Caggegi writes:

Paul from the Process Diary recently interviews Andrew Price aka: the Blender Guru. Some surprising, funny and helpful stuff! Andrew Price is the author of the excellent eBook, "The WOW Factor" which takes you through 17 effects you can create with the blender compositor. Blender Guru also supplies several free tutorials based on a monthly theme. Previous themes have included Architecture and Weather.

Head on over to The Process Diary Post now and have a listen.

38 Comments

  1. Blending BriGuy on

    I personally think that one Paul Caggegi is worth several Andrew Prices in that, the first promotes others, while the second primarily promotes himself. Is that too harsh of an assessment on my part?

  2. Blending BriGuy, I think you're right, but do not forget, that although the way Price operates is annoying (in two months time I got more than 20 mails from him when subscribed to his newsletter - how's that for spamming your audience), but the guy knows his stuff and gives good advice in his tutorials. Sadly the way he decides to work is that much annoying I refuse to visit his website any longer.

  3. Andrew Price does let the world know he is there but he's trying to make a go at being a professional tutor (i think) and as such if people don't know he's there it's not going to work out.

    I like the style of his tutorials, he generally presents stuff in an easy to understand and clear fashion.

    So ye Blending BriGuy it might be correct to say he promotes himself quite a bit but with all the free tutorials he's produced he isn't the only person to benefit from the promotion.

  4. @Blending BriGuy: It's interesting you say that. That actually came up a little in the interview. I've been apprehensive about Andrew Price myself for the same reason, but in the interview it starts to make sense as sort of his trial and error in marketing and self-branding which is really important to do, but there are so many different takes on it. I think what's important that it sounds anyways like Andrew gained from the experience is that the best way to market yourself is to help people out with sort of free information sharing, not like a teaser but something actually that will help out other people. And that's essentially what Andrew's doing with the tutorials on his site now.

    But there is that line that kind of puts a boundary between marketing and networking with individuals and then sort of marketing towards strangers. I think, and I'll direct this at Andrew himself

    @Andrew Price: I think the main thing that makes people a little apprehensive of you is somewhat your attitude. Definitely that infomercial type thing is a bit of a turn off, especially to the Blender community in particular I think are sensitive to things like that. But you also seem a little bit... sort of overconfident maybe is a good way to put it. I think that it might help people feel more comfortable if showed the side of you that makes mistakes more often, that more human quality.
    You mentiond when you make tutorials and you suddenly get to a point where you mess up completely you just start over and don't show that, which is a very professional way to make a good tutorial but you also lose that sort human quality in that people do make mistakes once in a while when you rehearse a tutorial 5 or 6 times to get it perfect. I think maybe just asking for help more or putting that more into your public-image arena would really ground you and make people more comfortable.
    I kind of see you going in that direction already with a lot of the videos you do on your site asking for ideas for tutorials and things so that stuff is in the right direction I think, and certainly the tutorials that you produce are amazingly helpful and inspiring.
    Oh and while I'm on this big speel I'll just say that I found the story of how you decided to go independent very interesting lol
    Keep up the great tutorials!

    @Paul Caggegi: Great podcast as always. It's always relevant and I always learn new things when I listen. So you're just doing a tremendous job.
    I've been trying to figure out this whole marketing/networking/etc. thing myself lately. I haven't posted to my blog in over 6 months. But I recently just listened to this other podcast on the Art&Story site which I actually found from the links on your site so I'm sure you know it, called The Big Online Presence and that's just like the ultimate source for everything from building a website to marketing and networking. It just covered everything so well.

    I highly recommend it to anyone trying to setup a website or a portfolio or trying to figure out the right way to market themselves: http://www.cvcomics.com/artandstory/?p=1041

  5. Blending BriGuy on

    The funny thing is, instead of my critical query, I almost considered just going with "FIRST!!!" as my post. I've never done that before.

  6. I'm quite surprised...
    I'm not yet using Blender as a tool of choice, but have always kept an eye on it since 2.0, thinking I might use it someday.
    And hearing something like Andrew is self-promoting too much or should make more mistakes to look more human ?? It doesn't make sense at all to me !
    That's maybe because I'm external to the core Blender community, but the way I see it is that Andrew is one of the best promoter of Blender to the "outside world". His results are professional and so are his tutorials.
    Do you want Blender to stay a niche or do you want it to explode ? If so, you need more people like Andrew, because for a professional consider switching to Blender, tutorials where a guy keeps making mistakes or without a good pace (not too fast and not too slow either), it's a no-go.
    Even without using Blender (I'm C4D and ex-Maya) I watch your tutorials, Andrew, and you (and 2.5 !) get me closer to make a big step... keep up the good work, stay professional and regular, and best of luck to you !
    Cheers !

  7. Blending BriGuy on

    @ShoulderMonkey, I just think the tutorials can go without the constant "And all this can be found in my book 'The WOW Factor'" schtick. Paul Caggegi is every bit as smooth a presenter, and he doesn't have to adopt that aggressive Billy Mays posture while doing it. Caggegi, Williamson and Krakow are all solid presenters and a very good place to start.

  8. Thanks for the tips, BrightGuy ! I knew Williamson by the name but not really Caggegi and Krakow (well, I think I've seen a tutorial or two on youtube from Krakow). Pablo Vazquez is very good too from what I've seen on vimeo I think. I also bought creature factory and character animation, but never really had a chance to watch them (hard to put too much time on a software you don't use yet =)).
    Back to Andrew Price... considering that he's devoted to Blender, quit his job to be a full-time Blender instructor, and put a free professional-quality tutorial every week, as far as I'm concerned, he could put a 20 seconds promotional video at the beginning of each, repeating in a loop "wow-factor", I wouldn't mind at all.
    Like Andrew Kramer promoting his products whenever he can... they live up on those (Andrew Price is probably even more dependant of this) and gives us regular free quality tutorials... a bit of advertisement is just super fair to me.

  9. @MonkeyOnMyShoulder: I think that's a very good point. Andrew Price is definitely very focused on reaching the wider 3D art community and spreading the word for Blender. That's something that his approach seems to work well for.
    I think finding the right balance between professionalism and somehow still being a member of the Blender Community, which is very much a tight-knit informal place is the real trick.

    There are ways to incorporate that professional edge and spokesman-ship, commercialism, and advertising into the Blender Community without disrupting the open dynamic users all have with each other and I think it's just about finding the right ways to do that. Because almost all users do want to bring new users into the community and get Blender used elsewhere. It'll only benefit them in the long term, but it is very much a community and so sometimes we have to be careful as we expand as a community into deeper waters there will be some sharks out there, but there will also be lots of crazy cool looking octopus and squid and orca whales too so it's worth it.

    (For the record I'm not calling anyone a fish as much as trying to create an analogy that's as ambiguous as possible. lol)

  10. I have to say that if Andrew doesn't take the time to promote himself and his work, then he's not going to be able to continue working, so that would be a losing proposition. It's a fact of life. Those that bring attention and can command other people's interest are going to generate more income and a better way of life for themselves.

    You think any entrepreneur succeeds by being modest and shy? Right...

    You get out there and you tell people what you have and why they should get it and how it's going to help them. If it's a good product and it does what it claims, it'll sell.

    And you do it as professionally as possible. People saying otherwise, or to make mistakes, are basically telling others to fail.

    I can tell you from personal experience that following Andrew's tutorials has helped me immensely with Blender. They are more professional and more attractive in terms of final product than most others out there.

    He could spend the last 30 minutes of each tutorial touting whatever he's selling. Who cares? Turn it off if you don't want to hear it.

    I think it's a great business model and as MonkeyOnMyShoulder said, it raises the profile of Blender immensely and shows people what can be done with this great product.

    So the Blender community only gets stronger with more artists and creativity in it. More people find Blender, more I'm sure find Blender.org and support the Blender Found. and everyone does better overall.

    Can't argue with that.

  11. This feedback has been extremely enlightening! I enjoy the frankness and honesty of this audience. It is a pleasure to bring you relevant content! In interviewing Andrew, I learned many things myself. Marketing oneself is a difficult process, and I'm grateful to Andrew for having shared his experience - good and bad - on my podcast.

  12. Consideringthepickle - Sorry but I have to disagree. There is nothing that bothers me more then to have somebody waste my time with mistakes and backtracking on a tutorial when they could have edited the thing or done a retake.

  13. To those attacking Andrew, why aren't you angry at BlenderCooke? They get free advertising on BlenderArtists.org on the "news" feed. Even their "EXCLUSIVE" commercial content is linked there. While in contrast, Kernon Dillon and Andrew Price get the cold shoulder.

    BlenderArtists.org should really review what goes into their "news" feed, otherwise I'll lose trust in them.

  14. @Pustoolio: Of course I wasn't suggesting that. I prefer very well thought-out and planned tutorials too, but I was referring more to his public persona outside of his actual products/tutorials. I could be wrong, but I'm going to kinda take a leap and say it's maybe important to share the learning process as much as your expertise? That's a big difference between The Process Diary itself and Blender Guru in the way they're set up. They're both great tutorial sites, but they approach the audience differently. The Process Diary gives you more of a feel that you're learning along with this person and Blender Guru is setup more as the expert authority on showing you how to do things.

    So, I'm not saying one is better than the other marketing wise. I think they're both valid, but for me personally I tend to prefer that more personal touch that The Process Diary offers. Although there are certain advantages to Blender Guru's methods that have all been mentioned in the above comments that are definitely good too in their own way.

    But yeah, I definitely agree with you that tutorials are better when they're done professionally and well edited. I think it's more about the attitude of them, where one presenter is kind of like "Let's go make this together" versus "I'm going to show you how to make this." It's a subtle thing, but I think it has huge implications, and both have their pros and cons.

  15. Blending BriGuy on

    I have no problems with Dillon at all, and any critique I may have of Price is simply a matter of delivery, nothing more. I think we all want the best for everyone concerned, and there is no questioning the hard work every one of them puts into it on a daily basis. By the way, I just checked out the search structure in the blendernation/links webpage, and I am absolutely impressed with how easy it is to use and how well it pulls everything together.

  16. The thing with Andrew Price is, well, we all know what he looks like. Coz, he likes to splash his face evrywhere! Why? It's not necessary whatsoever. Self-promotion is fine, but why the need to splash his face everywhere? That's just vanity. Andrew loves himself, deeply. He gives us good tutorials, but let's face it, he's a dork with tickets on himself! :)

  17. I think Andrew is an intelligent person and just goes by the same method Andrew Kramer (ultra-renown – almost rockstar status – After Effects tuto maker, for those who don't know him) uses : you easily forget a written name or a voice, but when it comes to faces... tada ! You remember someone, even more on a medium that is as de-incarnated as internet is.
    It's good marketing. If you see a hundred tutorials (and with Blender, it's easy to reach that number), you'll remember more easily Andrew's.

  18. I personally don't see anything wrong in what Andrew does. He makes a living from his Blender skills, and still he provides a huge amount of free, high quality tutorials. The way he promotes himself? I couldn't care less, he can do whatever he wants as long he helps me understand Blender better. And yes, I purchased his book and found it great.
    He shows his face too much? And so what? I kinda like that, it's like seeing a friend, I feel the same with the production videos of the Durian team (you guys rock!).
    I don't understand people who criticise Andrew so much. Honestly, what's the matter with you? We need more people like Andrew to show the world how cool Blender is. IMHO, of course. Happy blending to all of you!

  19. Blending BriGuy on

    When the Durian team starts making scene-by-scene tutorials for the movie, that's gonna be so many kinds of awesome.

  20. I think the product Andrew offers would be received better when he would approach it in a different way.

    The advertisement strategy is to be honest on the lowest level one can possible select.

    I am not sure if a purchase page needs 6 times a buy button.
    This already leaves a cheap taste to the product.

    In addition he also oversells and them claiming a design depth the product does not have.
    Claiming that when other Blender products failed his product will help is quite a drastic statement.

    The tutorials are not bad. Truly well edited, which however is normal to do.
    His attitude can get people excited, however his overconfidence is not backed up
    with material and it makes him look like somebody who likes to talk once they spot what is missing.

    For example the recent "The Great Blender Survey" is a bold title for a not so deep survey.
    He claims this was never done before and the BlenderArtist forum is so filled with those threads.

    The recent announcement for this month is Typography.
    After looking into his Blend file I noticed that he has letter spacing issues which are a sin for typography.
    Also just shrinking or expanding letters is a sin in typography and he does not talk about both parts in his tutorial.

    The he removed internal faces to to make the bevel work better is also a step he skipped and which new users might throw off.

    The finale rendering looks visually good but does not get out of the effect look corner which in my case is the difference between showing somebody how to use a software and how to design.

    This issue is also found with other tutorials he provides having the some shortcomings.
    You cannot cover everything of course but a good lecture is not only based on how to get from A to B but also to present possible issues and a general amount of tips and tricks including also covering simple basics.
    That would be guru like.

    I think in case he would simply be realistic about his work his reception among other Blender users
    who are more advanced and don't buy into cheap advertisement tricks would be better.

  21. *...would be received better when he would approach it in a different way.*
    *rant*
    *rant*
    *rant*
    *false compliment followed by a rant*
    *rant*
    *rant*
    *...his reception among other Blender users...would be better.*

    It's scary to see how one can make the Blender community sound like a sort of sect where you got to fit in the mold or be judged and banned... is it really like that ?
    Is "Anonymous" really representative of what the regular Blender community member thinks ? (is making money with Blender a sin that deserves a ban ?)
    I'm very – very – interested in knowing about that !

  22. @ monkeyonmyshoulder

    I'm in no way an expert on the Blender community, having only delved into Blender in the past few weeks and months and just a blip on BlenderArtists and here, but from what it seems like is that no one can "ban" anyone. There may be a general view of another Blenderer, but hey, it's a free, and open-source, country so-to-speak.

    Anyway, it's an interesting topic. I personally love the idea of BlenderGuru, BlenderCookie and all others who make great Blender content to help spread the Blender word.

    Even if it's by using marketing "tricks" or whatever to help do that. It's still good content which brings in users and helps them out.

  23. Monkey

    Can I ask how old you are? I am curious because you put words in my mouth I did not use nor
    statements I said.

    Where do I say that I speak for everybody.
    That is, what you read into my text, and that is not me writing it.
    I only know quite many who think the same way.

    I am also not quite sure, where you get the ban, sect, and making money is a sin from?

    Don't you think you overreact a little here?

    Let me go to Amazon now and find book reviews and tell everybody that they rant
    when they are objective. ;)

  24. I think I stated more than once that we need centralist tutorials
    and that this is something in particular new Blender users often
    have an issue to find.

    For that things like CG cookies, or BlenderGuru are good addresses.

    But when something is advertised as very good one will also look
    at it more serious and maybe find things to critique for the sake
    of improvement feedback.

    That is quote normal Monkey.

    And I think he edits his work well because I know other movies I
    saw where the person got stuck for a moment and did not edit that
    out. And Andrrew is here shooting for a more polished finish which
    he also reaches.

  25. Shimmery Phil on

    I can't see how people can have a problem with someone offering free, high quality tutorials also trying to advertise their paid services. Honestly, the guy offers 50 minute tutorials, often with no mention of the WOW factor. I should say that I bought the WOW factor because I was wanting to learn about the compositor - it really is excellent by the way - and I don't find Andrew over plugs something I already bought.

    Since Andrew released the WOW factor he has quit his job and gone full time, which means that he now releases high quality tutorials weekly instead of as and when he can. And I learn new things or approaches in every one. And nobody pays for them, including those who didn't buy the WOW factor.

    Seriously, you have a problem with a little bit of self promotion? Good lord....

  26. I couldn't be happier with Andrew Price. His tutorials are top-notch. He has an excellent voice (not monotone or mumbly like so many others) and a great personality. He goes through the steps at a perfect speed (not too fast or too slow, IMO) and describes the steps in detail but stresses exploration and experimentation on the viewers part.

    Some people complain about his marketing techniques. I, personally, have no problem with this for many reasons. First, I don't have a problem with anyone marketing their product (which he mostly gives away for FREE). Second, without his so-called marketing "tricks" (which is kind of redundant) he may very well not be doing this full time now. That would be a HUGE loss to the blender community in general, IMO. And third, who cares about the marketing? I find it fairly petty to complain about anything he does now. The day he creates internet ads that take over the whole page and don't let you click anything below, or starts using DRM for his products then we'll talk.

    I'd like to note that way back in the day I used to love the tutorials by a guy by the name of Geneome(Eugene). He had a clear voice, fun personality, and had a perfect pace. When Geneome left he blender community I was pretty disappointed because his tutorials were head and shoulders about the rest. Maybe not strictly content-wise, as there were other tutorials explaining the same topics, but his delivery was hard to match. Then BlenderGuru popped up and Andrew Price possesses many of those same qualities. He's fun to listen to, full of drive, and it feels that he is talking to/with you and not just AT you.

  27. Blending BriGuy on

    Hey, it's not like Paul Caggegi is any kind of slouch you know. He's the one who interviewed Price and his tutorials are top-notch too.

  28. Hmm, I didn't mean to pit Blender Guru against The Process Diary or anything here lol. I may be to blame for that haha.

    Just to reiterate my position, I think the more tutorials the merrier. I've considered many times making a tutorial series myself. And I'd do it for the money mainly, they'd be free still but ad supported or to advertise a larger body of work. Marketing is very important. I would never disagree with that, and marketing one's self is part of that in that Andrew Price very much is The Blender Guru. My opinion is a very subtle one, that he just comes off a little strong, but I'm referencing mainly the advertising of his WOW Factor Book, and he has improved a lot since then with his approach. The videos he does of himself talking to the community I think are a nice touch and his monthly themes seem like a really great way to get a good body of tutorials on uncommon topics made.

    So yeah, I was beginning to tune out of the discussion, but I wanted to make sure my words didn't get lost.

  29. looking back on these posts gives me some insight why open source is slow.
    bunch of self-righteous boring guys concerned much with marketing methods of andrew price.
    You can always UNsubscribe or FILTER your emails. Who doesn't have a spam email account anyway?
    they conclude by themselves that their ideals are the only way to achieve nirvana for the community. crybabies.

  30. @cc0e -- Non-sequitur much? The two are completely unrelated, the people offering their perspectives are not the people who are doing the coding. You might as well say that brushing their teeth in the morning or watching the nightly news slows development down.

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