Free: Blender

Blender Logo I am currently developing a series of introductory lessons in 3D animation. I use a freely available animation program called Blender.

Blender is a powerful computer animation program that you can download at no cost from It works on Mac, PC and Linus platforms. Although complicated, CG animation taps into many interests of the younger crowd (gaming, movies, etc). The goal of these lessons is to provide short exploratory exercises that ease you into the power and complexity of Blender.

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 _________________________________________________________________________________________________