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Just how good are video tutorials? April 24, 2008

Posted by davidit in Uncategorized.
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It is the term 1 holidays here and I for one am having a well earned rest from the trials and tribulations of the Supertanker. The crew are on shore leave, doing what and frequenting who knows where as only sailors can do after a long stretch at sea!

I have decided to have some me time and persue some interests rather than be dictated by the needs of others or the failings of equipment. My usual bolt holes are Inkscape, Blender or Photoshop. I have a raft of images from the South Island expedition that need the Photoshop touch in readiness for final publication. What I really fancied this week was a good Blender project. I wanted to enhance my knowledge of Blender and create something that would take some time to complete. Blender is such a complex animal that it often takes a while to get to grips with it again after a prolonged stretch of not using it.

In the last couple of weeks I have had some really good feed back from my video tutorials posted on You Tube. The Excel tutorial seems to be creating the most stir, not sure why and interestingly the comments and traffic for those tutorials are all coming from the US, not my intended audience at all!

So with Blender in mind and knowing that I needed some refresher tutorials, I hit You Tube and searched for some lessons using “Blender Tutorials” as my search term. I found some really good ones and some that simply show off the users prowess with the program and do not impart any knowledge at all. I learnt three new things, how to create a glass effect and reflective surfaces, how to use the physics engine and how to use the face select tool. I have now put all of these new learnt tools into a new video. I have created a sequence that is 1300 frames long and every surface is reflective, as a result each frame takes about a minute to render, my machine is going to be very busy for a very long time. The image below is a single rendered frame and the video is a test clip with all the complex reflective surfaces turned off!

And as for the initial question, do video tutorials work? As with all things, it depends on the quality of the preparation and the skill of the person doing the teaching. Those that had a good plan and stuck to it and could deliver the lesson succinctly produced the best video tutorial. So in short yes! I learnt heaps and I think that the end product will demonstrate that, when it is complete. In the mean time enjoys the rushes!

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