Free: Art Lessons

Blender for Kids: Lesson 4

Coming Soon! Build and Animate a Solar System

I am very excited about sharing this lesson. It should be finished by the end of The year. It begins to apply the complexity of Blender that I mention early in the lessons. You will make orbiting entities of a variety of shapes and sizes and create a .mov file that shows your solar system in motion. You can even use your UFO from the Extrusion lesson and have it visit your solar system! The lesson will include:

  • Blender's fun and powerful sculpting tools
  • Working with multiple objects (adding and importing)
  • Vertex painting
  • Parent-child relationships in Blender
  • Animation, linear and in cycles
  • We'll touch on lighting your scene
  • Rendering and export into a standard-format movie that you can share with your friends or post online.

Posted on 07/18/11 _________________________________________________________________________________________________

Blender for Kids: Lesson 3

Building a Custom Mesh
A hat made in Blender and detailed in this lesson.

This lesson covers a wide range of techniques that can be used to build a mesh from the ground up.

  • Orthographic versus Perspective modes
  • Background Images
  • More ways to add to and manipulate your mesh
  • Optional orthographic images that can be used to build a hat, although I recommend that you build your mesh from original sketches

Download optional orthographic sketches for hat project

Printable PDF of Lesson 3

Posted on 07/10/11 _________________________________________________________________________________________________

Blender Shortcut Printout

Mostly shortcuts for mesh modeling

Blender is a great animation program and it's fast to work with - and frustrating to learn -  in large part because of its reliance upon keyboard shortcuts. Here's a nice list of shortcuts that I find most useful in  the mesh modeling stage of Blender workflow.

Printable pdf of Blender shortcuts

Posted on 07/07/11 _________________________________________________________________________________________________

Blender for Kids. Lesson 2

Working with Extrusions to build objects with a cylindrical form.
A simple Blender UFO

This lesson offers practice in the all-important Extrude function. It sounds dry, but you can make UFOs, rockets, wands, and many everyday objects using  these few fundamental operations.The lesson emphasizes the following:

  • Free and constrained extrusions
  • Grabing and scaling extrusions
  • Adding loops to extrusions
  • Realising an object in Blender

Printable PDF - Lesson 2: Cylindrical Extrusions

Posted on 06/30/11 _________________________________________________________________________________________________

Blender for Kids. Lesson 1

Using the interface, saving files, adding and manipulating objects.
Learning to extrude faces to form a variety of shapes.

This first lesson helps orient the student to the interface with hands on activities in Edit and Object mode. This lesson is mostly an opportunity to doodle and experiment while learning the interface. Critical Lesson Elements:

  • How to save
  • Edit and Object Modes
  • Adding, Selecting, and Deleting objects
  • Grab, Rotate, and Scale
  • Keyboard, Mouse, and Tablet/Stylus shortcuts. (Nice table for reference included.)

Printable PDF - Lesson 1: Intro to the Blender Interface

Posted on 06/30/11 _________________________________________________________________________________________________

Blender for Kids. Lesson 0

Getting Ready- what you need and setting it up
A project being developed in Blender

These lessons are oriented towards teens and technically oriented pre-teens with an interest in computer animation for illustration, animation, and gaming.

This download will tell you:

  • How to get Blender on your computer for free, yes it is free.
  • What kind of mouse and keyboard work best with Blender.
  • How to set Blender up on a laptop if that's what you'll be using.

Printable PDF - Lesson 0: Getting set up for learning Blender

Posted on 06/30/11 _________________________________________________________________________________________________


Resources to make a quick or elaborate sundial

Sundials are a great way to:

  1. Get kids outside: "It's sunny out, go read the sundial."
  2. Learn about the geometric configuration of the Earth's rotation.
  3. Build craft project out of any material ranging from concrete and mosaic to paper.

Sundials can be configured in a number of ways, horizontal, vertical, and even cylindrical. Beyond this, there are different types of  hours that can be indicated by the dial. The 24 even hours in a day is only one system of dividing the day. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that a Google search on sundial or sundial calculator will bring up a host of great instructional sites that are well worth browsing. I'll include links to just a few that I found to be particularly easy to understand or rich in information. Did you know there was a North American Sundial Society? Take a look! They have an amazing link library with sundial resources.

Your Latitude and the Gnomon
True North versus Magnetic NorthIn order to make a basic horizontal sundial, you'll need to know your latitude. Sundials are different depending upon where you are on the surface of the planet. To find your latitude, look at a map, or Google your town's name and the word latitude. Or you can use this simple web application, just drag the red marker to your location and the latitude will show up in a window beneath the map. The latitude will be the angle of the gnomon (the raised element on the dial that casts the shadow.). The Gnomon should point to true north (not magnetic north) when you place your sundial. The offset in the US can be estimated using this map. For the rest of the world and a more accurate number in the US, try this declination tool. You'll need your latitude and longitude. Also note that the zipcode library is not complete, so it may not accept your zipcode. Lat-Long will work though. If you have a GPS or smart phone, try a compass app. Many allow you to choose between true and magnetic north. Make certain that you know which setting you are reading.

Calculate the angles of the hours
I found this page the most straight forward. Link. Enter your latitude rounded to one decimal point and the degrees are calculated for each hour's shadow. Note that this is offset by one hour during daylight savings time.

Here's another calculator, it's a little more complicated (and powerful), but generates an actual diagram of your sundial and you can generate plans for different types of dials, too.

Build your dial
Testing it in paper is a good plan. Masonry materials are cheap, easy to obtain. I recenlly had a young art student make his sundial out of a bag of quickcrete in a round form and mosaic tiles. For the gnomon, we used a piece of heavy  4ga. copper wire that can be bent to the precise angle.


Posted on 04/02/11 _________________________________________________________________________________________________