Saturday, January 2, 2010


I don't claim to have a monopoly on Blender knowledge. Quite the opposite. Blender is blessed to have an active community of smart, active users, who are enthusastic about sharing their wisdom with others. A recent example of this is, a Blender focused Web site that is, amazingly, only a couple of weeks old (the first post was about December 16, 2009) but, even in this short time, is now crammed with useful articles and tutorials about Blender. The owner, Nathan John, of Bandung, Indonesia (email:, is a tireless Blender enthusiast who has put together a truly incredible site that benefits all of us as Blender users. Think of as "Google for Blender".

The purpose of this video is to introduce and to encourage you to contribute to it. In addition, I have been asked numerous times questions like Where should I start in learning Blender? What's the best Blender book? Where is all the information I need to get up to speed in Blender? How do I learn about a particular Blender feature? I want to show you how I do my Blender research.

Let's look at the tutorials section of Full disclosure: I have already uploaded links to some of my tutorials to I confess--I'm always looking for more viewers. To get to them, just search on "Ira Krakow". There are links to 8 of my tutorials. My smoke simulator tutorial, uploaded December 26th, got 900 views. My most recent one, on Ambient Occlusion in Blender 2.5, just uploaded today, has over 400 views already. Not too shabby.

OK, enough shameless self promotion. Suppose you want to find out more about Ambient Occlusion than just my tutorial. Just search on Ambient Occlusion. There are 8 videos, covering a whole range of situations where AO works well -- in the Blender Game Engine (BGE), simulating AO with vertex colors, excluding objects from lights, color bleeding, as well as two others on basic setup. I'm sure you can learn a lot from these videos that I haven't covered in my video. I've been asked whether there's one place where everything about Blender can be found. My answer is "Yes and No", because the answer is that probably anything you want to know about Blender has been written about somewhere on the Internet. However, it's sometimes difficult to track a particular answer to your question easily. What's really lacking is a good strategy to find out your answer.

Let me show you how I track down answers. Let's suppose I want to do a tutorial on rigging. How would I start? The first thing I would do is a Google search on "Blender rigging". By the way, it was not too long ago when if you asked Google this question, you might get pages about kitchen blenders, oil rigs, sailing rigs, maybe someone getting murdered getting hit over the head with a blender (there is an Alfred Hitchcock story about a man murdered by his wife with a frozen lamb chop, which she then served to the police investigator--Blenders are pretty heavy objects). Maybe if you were lucky, you might get a random link to what you were looking for on Page 3 of the results.

Google is much smarter now. The results actually are relevant to Blender 3D, even though you didn't explicitly say "I want to know about rigging in Blender 3D". The top page links to the Blender wiki on Character Rigging in Blender, from the Blender Summer of Documentation (BSOD) which, actually, is a pretty good place to start. Definitely the BSOD page is a must read.

The next link, to, is another great tutorial on the basics of character animation in Blender. There are links also the the Creature Factory, the Mancandy FAQ, how to do a walk cycle, and others. These are also well worth your time. The next links are how to rig a hand and foot, and two Youtube tutorials (I haven't done any rigging tutorials yet, so I know they're not mine). All are I'm sure very helpful.

The next place I would go is Youtube. They say a picture is worth 1,000 words. A video is really a lot of pictures taken quite fast, so a video must be worth at least a million words. There are some pretty fantastic results, including a series of tutorials about rigging and makehuman, an experimental project for producing rigs of human beings just by adjusting some sliders, as well as a woman's body and face rig, and Super3boy's armature tutorial. Again, all of these will help you become a rigging expert in no time. is yet another place to go for enlightenment. Here is the result of that search. We're now introduced to IPO drives, skinning, and auto rigging.

I've heard it said that it's hard to find stuff about Blender. I disagree. There's plenty of stuff out there. The problem is how to find it. I hope that this tutorial has given you some ideas about how to do it. Happy Blendering!