1. Personal computer specifications:
To take this course, you must have access to a personal computer on which you can download all of the required software (free) and execute all of the required assignments. See below for computer specifications.
Blender will run on the following Operating systems:
Windows 2000, XP or Vista
Mac OS X 10.2 or later
Linux 2.2.5 i386
Linux 2.3.2 PPC
FreeBSD 6.2 i386
Irix 6.5 mips3
Solaris 2.8 sparc
The following are minimal hardware requirements:
500 MHz CPU
256 MB Ram
150 MB free hard disk space
1024 x 768 px. Display with 24 bit color
1.3. Additional Hardware:
3 button mouse (You must have a 3-Button mouse. Blender uses 3 buttons on the mouse to navigate the 3-D space and edit objects. Ideally your 3-Button mouse will have a center scroll wheel). Although Blender will work with other mouse arrangements all of the video and PDF tutorials in this course reference the use of a 3-button mouse.
The software used for this course is Blender Version 2.45 (or the latest version):
Blender (Version 2.45 or latest version) - Blender is a sophisticated and fully functional open-source 3D software. It is designed cross-platform, with an OpenGL interface. It is available as a free download from http://www.blender.org for Windows, MAC, Linux, Solaris, Irix or FreeBSD operating systems.
Although it is not required, you may want to download and install the latest version of "Python". Blender uses an embedded Python scripting language (API for Python) and the installation includes the Python scripts necessary to run. However, downloading and installing the latest full version of Python (v 2.51) is recommended. The Python site is located at: http://www.python.org
1.5. Other software you will need installed on your computer:
Adobe Acrobat Reader Version 8 - Most of the documents used in this course are in Adobe PDF format. Many documents on this site may not display on earlier versions of Adobe Acrobat Reader. You can download a free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader at http://www.adobe.com
The video tutorials are in .RM (Real Media Streaming) video format and SWF (Flash Shockwave Streaming) video format. Some student projects and most PDF tutorial animation instructions use .MOV (QuickTime) video format.
Real Media Player - If you choose to view the video tutorials in Real Media format you will need a Media Player that can play Real Media files. You can download a free Real Media Player at http://www.real.com (Note: follow the links for the FREE player - Do not purchase the one that is not free.)
Flash Shockwave Player - If you choose to view the video tutorials in Flash streaming format you will need the latest shockwave player installed on your browser. You can download and install this browser plugin at http://www.adobe.com/shockwave/download . If you do not have the proper player installed on your browser, clicking any of the "Flash" links will direct you to the proper downloading site.
QuickTime Player - If you choose to do any of the suggested student projects or work through the PDF tutorials you must download the latest version (V-7 or later). You can download a free copy of QuickTime Player at: http://apple.com/quicktime/win.html
You will need to open Zip Files and extract the files they contain. To do this on a Windows computer you will need WinZip (latest version is V-10 but earlier versions will work). You can download a free copy of this at: http://www.winzip.com MAC computers using OS 10 should be able to open zip files without any external software. Earlier MAC Operating Systems may need Stuffit or similar software able to unzip .zip files. A free copy of Stuffit is available at: http://www.stuffit.com/win/expander
Some tutorials and projects will involve using the Google Earth application so you will need to download and install this on your computer. Download and install the latest free version of Google Earth at: http:earth.google.com/download-earth.html
In addition to the above software you may (although not required) want access to a color printer. Most of the Blender documents on our site are in color. They display crisp when viewed on a computer display but become degraded when printed in Black & White. Color print-outs of these PDF files are considerably easier to read and follow.
2. Class Structure
2.1. Learning Units:
There are series of learning unit assignments. These are labeled Learning Unit#1, Learning Unit #2... The learning units may contain Video tutorials, Web based (PDF) materials and web site viewing. You will need to complete these assignments as they are the basis for learning the software functionality and completing the assigned projects.
The video tutorials can simply be viewed (however you may want to try some of the techniques in the Blender software yourself). The PDF tutorials should be worked through with a copy of Blender open executing all of the directions. Some of these are quite long.
The video tutorials can be viewed in either a Real Media Player (latest version) or in Flash. There is a link in each Learning Unit and in the general list of all video tutorials for viewing the video tutorials in Real Media (Streaming - not downloadable) and Flash (Streaming - downloadable) format.
The Blender software, as you will discover, is quite complex. It is by no means intuitive and the hardest part of learning it is getting used to the interface. The material becomes progressively harder so it is important that you keep up with the learning units.
There are a number of suggested design projects for this course. They are located under the "Blender 3D Design Projects" topic area. Project descriptions, requirements can be found in the description of each project. As this is a self-paced online course with no grading there is no requirement to submit these projects for my approval. However, I am always glad to view anyone's project work sent to me and will gladly return to you my comments.
2.3. Examples of Student Projects:
I have posted examples of various project work performed by my students in the "Student Gallery" area. Feel free to view these examples and download the .blend file to serve as inspiration.