As our technology has improved, so has the popularity of 3D graphics. We can find 3D graphics everywhere, from product mockups to use in VR job training applications. As such, many students and teachers have taken an interest in expanding 3D modeling education in schools.
One of the most popular software products schools teach is Blender, which is widely used thanks to its completely free cost and large community. However, for teachers interested in the topic, what are the best lesson plan resources for teaching Blender.
Read on to discover the best Blender lesson plan resources. Additionally, find out the best Blender resource types, the most desirable blender resource qualities, and more!
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What Is Blender, And What Are Its Primary Uses?
Blender is a leading 3D graphics software. It has an extensive 3D creation suite for modeling, and its built so that anyone can use it to start multiple projects. As mentioned, it’s also open-source which has driven a large part of its popularity.
Here are some of Blender’s best uses to see how it can help students:
- You can use it to create animated films. The software features allow for detailed texturing, background creation, and more.
- You can use it to make digital art for websites and apps.
- You can use it to make special effects for films and TV.
- You can use it to create complex 3D models.
- You can use the features on Blender to make detailed VR apps.
Due to the extensive uses of Blender, schools are teaching students the basics so they can master the features for potential professional use in the future. Therefore, many teaching resource providers are jumping on the opportunity to create compelling Blender lesson plan resources for teachers and schools. This way teachers don’t need to be Blender experts in order to jump into the game.
What Should A School Want From A Blender Lesson Plan Resource?
If you are looking for a Blender teaching resource platform, before you choose a provider, you must know the values you want from a Blender lesson plan resource. No Blender lesson plan resource is the same, so some have better features than others.
Here are some of the best values you should search for in a Blender lesson plan resource.
They Should Display All The Blender Functions For Beginners
If a Blender lesson plan resource provider immediately starts with detailed project demonstrations using the software, students won’t understand it; it will likely alienate them. Therefore, a Blender teaching resource provider must provide an entry-level resource.
It is also paramount that an entry-level Blender teaching resource is obvious. It must display the system’s basic features, so students know where to start.
Additionally, it must be concise enough to retain students’ attention. It can’t be too long and can’t spend too much time on a specific topic in case the information is too advanced for a student to retain it.
They Should Be Curriculum-focused
Accuracy of information is just as important as clarity when concerning a Blender lesson plan resource. Therefore, a top-quality Blender teaching resource should begin with a strict focus on a curriculum standard.
A curriculum provides a clear direction for a Blender teaching resource. It does this with detailed lesson objectives, so the resource creator knows what the resource needs to achieve. Additionally, a fantastic Blender lesson plan resource provider should show teachers the curriculum objectives that it meets to know what their students are learning.
In addition, keep in mind not all students are equally interested in digital art subjects. So curriculum standards ensure that students who aren’t planning on more than required Blender courses still learn useful, lifelong skills.
They Should Engage Students In The Professional Industries Blender Links To By Being Fun
Blender is a brilliant entry point to some of the world’s largest entertainment industries. More and more, schools are valuing these industries and teaching students some basic skills to start getting into them. However, a student won’t engage with a creative subject if they don’t enjoy it.
Therefore, a Blender lesson plan resource must engage students by being entertaining and showing them the incredible things they can do with Blender.
The best way to make a Blender teaching resource more fun is to include some interactive elements; this could be an interactive demonstration of a Blender tool, a game, interactive quiz, or a printable activity.
Additionally, it is an excellent idea for a teaching resource provider to focus on Blender as a creative tool; tell and show students what they can create with Blender.
A project-based focus also doesn’t hurt here either – as it allows students to learn more than just the theory of using the program.
What Are The Very Best Blender Lesson Plan Resource Types?
It is crucial that a school knows the specific values of a Blender lesson plan resource provider, so they know the standard of their resources. However, it is arguably more important that they know the exact types of Blender teaching resources in their library.
There are multiple Blender lesson plan resource types because the system is vast and complex; different approaches to teaching are necessary to provide students with the most effective learning path.
To give you an idea of what to look for in a Blender teaching resource provider, here are some of the most useful Blender lesson plan resources and why they are excellent. Keep in mind, we’re focusing specifically here on 3D modeling. 3D animation is a different beat altogether for a different article.
Intro To Blender Courses
Blender has many applications in high-pressure industries, so engaging students with a compelling entry-level Blender course is essential.
An entry-level Blender course should broadly focus on every significant use of the creative platform and the essential tools for those uses. It should be concise, not overstay its welcome, and be informative and stick to a detailed curriculum.
Also, as Blender is a hot-key-oriented tool, it should get students familiar with using their keyboards a lot.
To showcase what is desirable here, Zenva Schools has an entry-level course that introduces students to creating basic 3D models (appropriately called Intro to 3D Modeling with Blender).
Here is the specific teaching on the Zenva Schools intro to Blender course.
- Basic 3D model creation using simple Blender tools
- Blender UI navigation
- Object manipulation (moving, editing, etc.)
- Object exporting
Courses Focusing On Texturing
Once students have the basics of Blender down and manipulating basic meshes, they’ll want to start customizing those assets. With 3D modeling, one of the primary ways of doing this is texturing.
So, the next type of lesson plan resources are those that should focus on that aspect. These resources should, however, stay simple. We don’t want students thrown into the lion’s den texturing game characters with ten thousand polys.
Instead, these resource types should stick to basics, such as changing a mesh’s color or even the fundamentals of UV mapping.
To example this, Zenva Schools once again has a perfect course to exemplify this type: UV Mapping in Blender. As the name implies, this course focuses on the UV mapping portion of texturing. This includes material like unwrapping meshes into 2D objects, exporting UV maps, painting those UV maps, and more.
Courses Focused on Rigging
The final type of resource revolves around the topic of rigging. Rigging is the process of building a bone structure into a mesh and assigning points of that mesh to the bones. Then, using these bones, students can freely manipulate meshes into poses.
This is an essential skill that most Blender artists are expected to know how to do. However, remember these resources should be scoped to the audience. As such, the rigging should be kept simply with the most basic of humanoid characters.
In addition, you also don’t want resources that dive too far into 3D animation. While rigging is the first step to start animating, animating is a whole other beast. Instead, the resources should stick strictly to the rigging process.
Once again, Zenva Schools has a good example to reference. Its Rigging Models in Blender course focuses on the rigging process for an extremely low-poly person. Students will learn the fundamental basics of creating a bone system and applying weight painting to assign vertices and bones together. Keeping with the scope, while 3D animation isn’t focused on, students can see how free pre-made animations can be applied to their rig.
What Are The Top Competitors In The Blender Teaching Resource Market?
There are so many lesson plan resource providers that offer Blender resources, so, for a teacher, it’s challenging to determine the best one. To give you a helping hand, we will detail three top resource providers that have Blender courses and resources and show you their best features.
Here are the top competitors in the Blender teaching resource market and what makes them stand out.
OER Commons is our first stop on the resource train. This site’s primary appeal is that it is probably the largest collection of free educational resources for teachers. You can find just about any subject here – Blender, of course, included.
The site’s main focus here is variety. You can find numerous different kinds of resources from articles to read, worksheets to complete, and so forth. A lot of the resources here are also provided directly by teachers, so there is a very good chance you’re going to have it align perfectly with education teaching standards.
That being said, it is not the best site if you’re looking for other features (like reporting) or if you just need lots of fully-done courses to use.
Regarding Blender, Udemy has good-quality resources as well. Udemy is a consumer platform with video courses on numerous different topics. This includes lots of practical skills, with Blender being just one of them.
The content on Udemy is provided by numerous online teachers, and you can find a huge range of course variety. Some teach the very basics, while others focus on how to model very, very specific things. While we said it wasn’t important here, you can also find 3D animation content if you want to expand in that direction later.
All this said, keep in mind two things. First, Udemy is meant for individuals first, so features for schools is limited. Second, quality will be immensely variable, so you can’t just pick any course. You’ll have to check it thoroughly before throwing it at students.
Last but not least, Zenva Schools is – unsurprisingly – a good lesson resource provider for Blender. Though the collection of Blender courses isn’t as numerous as a site like Udemy, it does hit all the criteria laid out for learning Blender just right.
Zenva Schools also has a few other advantages. The first advantage is that courses are designed, generally, around projects. As such, students don’t just learn Blender as a digital tool, but get to actually make models with the tools provided.
Second, unlike the other providers, Zenva Schools was made to be used in the classroom. It likewise has several useful features for that endeavor. This includes reports to keep track of student progress, classroom management tools for organizing students, and more.
Which Blender Lesson Plan Resource Provider Is The Best One For Schools?
Choosing the right Blender lesson plan resource will take some time, as you’ll need to assess just what you need as a teacher. So, the best one ultimately depends on you.
However, Zenva Schools is a top contender in this space. With a very schools-focused approach and courses that are perfect for beginners, it can be a great platform to use in a classroom environment. Plus, once you’re done with Blender, you can focus on the many other topics the site offers, like Photoshop and game development.
All in all, though, Blender is worth pursuing as a topic for education and can help show kids ways to express themselves creatively.
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