Blender: Stop Whining And Just Do The Work, Lela

Z is for Zeuhl Hat_ Plain Buttah Yellow Tintable

This time. THIS TIME, I will make this stick. It’s a question of repetition, practice, and going through the available online training systematically. When I was much younger, I learned some complicated software for work from scratch by just being dogged, using it as much as possible, and repeating lessons until I had the moves memorized. As I gained skill, it became less “work” and more “play.” To this day, when I’m trying to get something done that doesn’t look possible, I tell my caller “let me play with it a little,” and I almost always succeed in getting something to work. I have to give myself permission to be in that n00b mindset again and just frickin’ DO THE WORK.

I did manage to make the hat form – barely, but have been stalled out on trying to make it better, because as it is now, the LOD is crap and it’s way too inefficient – not to mention badly textured because I’ve never actually gotten around to unwrapping it properly.

When Loki Eliot was first learning Blender, before mesh was fully deployed on Second Life, he made a list of all the things he had to learn. Now as he learns he adds to his Making a Mesh category. My new Blender category, is, well, Blender. His essays on LOD, for example, ought to be an SL learning standard.

So as of today, July 1, I’m working my way through the online course by Neil Hirsig of Tufts University, and reading the companion book by John M Blain (the link is actually the second edition, I’m using the first edition.). I’ve been taking a lot of notes and unlike previous tentative stabs at the material, I started at the beginning and made sure to highlight stuff I either missed or didn’t grasp well. Up to chapter 3 now, having worked steadily at it this morning and evening. The internet connection was down this morning for a couple of hours, so it seemed like a good time to do something productive (and not just reading blogs and web fora on my phone).

From the Introduction:

The 3D Design Blender course is intended to offer students an introduction to the world of computer generated 3-D modeling. As an introductory course, it provides a basic understanding of the skills and techniques employed by 3-D designers in a wide range of applications. In this online course, we will explore basic mesh modeling, texturing, lighting, animation and rendering. This course should provide a good basis for further independent study in architectural, engineering, game, theatrical and character modeling.

via Blender 3D Design Course – Syllabus.

I’ve been browsing the actual lessons online tonight after dinner, but I took time to play around a little in GIMP:


If you’re wondering if I’ve rage-quit Blender before, you’re right; I have quit in a rage numerous times. Most recently, I was in a class given by Optimo Maximus at Builder’s Brewery, and was managing to keep up with the mechanics of making a simple mesh door. But once I goofed up my project with poor selection techniques and couldn’t get it to look like what was on the screen, I shut down (emotionally and mentally) and then closed everything up, irritated with myself. I just… can’t keep up with voice classes, because there’s always something so basic that I don’t know yet, and my tendency to not retain information given verbally usually means that there’s some critical step missing. Not being able to scroll back when I’ve messed up, or gotten distracted, or had to run to the door is just so frustrating, so it’s very rare that I complete any class conducted solely in voice, Blender or not. But I reserve a special kind of rage-fear for Blender that’s been holding me back.

With the coming changes to Second Life in the next year or two, anybody that, like me, has lagged behind with regards to learning mesh building skills is going to find themselves on the sidelines as far as building stuff (unless Future SL has truly amazing inworld building tools). I managed to procrastinate until sculpties became passe’ – so now let’s see if I can learn Blender and mesh-making just in time for it to be replaced by something else!

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