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Tema: Interview with David Hickson - creator of Blenducation

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    Apr 2002

    Interview with David Hickson - creator of Blenducation

    Interview with David Hickson - creator of Blenducation

    1- What inspired / or led you to start Blenducation?
    In retrospect, it seems like my entire life has prepared me for this endeavor.

    Identifying the Problem…

    I started working with Blender and found lots of great tutorials in PDF, video and HTML format by some amazing people. When I watched Bassam's Chicken Chair (Can be viewed here) I was hooked. I had to learn more. The problem was getting answers to a particular problem. It was such a lengthy and almost impossible task.

    I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if I could just asque the person that made that tutorial? It would save me so much time and effort.” I am still waiting for GrayBeard to reply to me.

    The Birth of the Idea…
    I attended the Siggraph show in Boston 2006 after begging Ton to let me work the booth at the show. With David Millets help, Ton agreed to let me. After meeting Ton, Bassam, Andy, David Millet and the many other BlenderHeads at the Boston Siggraph, I discovered that Blender was not just about the 3D graphics, it was a community of people from all over the world with the same passion to create and help others create.
    During that show I spoke with Bassam at length about starting a Blender User Group. From that discussion Blenducation was born. Though it was just a seed of an idea, it had legs. The name Blenducation was coined by Petri Rantanen AKA Falgor. After many hours of talking with the great folks in the IRC channels I was able to fine-tune the idea to Live Blender classes via a Web Browser. Now after two years of very hard work and many hundreds of hours, it's here.

    2- Introduce yourself and tell us a little about your Blender experience?
    My name is David Hickson. I have been learning Blender from the community for the last 3 years, and I am still learning new things every day.

    How I found Blender…

    I came across an article in a Mac World Magazine issue a few years ago and it had some information about Blender. I immediately went to the web site, downloaded the application and jumped right in. I soon realized that I was spending more time searching for resources to learn how to do the simplest processes than actually working in the program.
    There are tons of good tutorials out there, but for every one good tutorial, you must weed through layers and layers of bad ones (at the time I had a full time job and you just can’t be surfing the entire Internet looking for new tutorials when you have a real job). So anyway, once you have found one that covers the topic, it’s usually incomplete or some small part has been over looked with the presumption that, “you should know that”. This proved to be very unproductive and frustrating. I found myself saying, ”I just want to model!” And to make matters worse I would jump from one subject to the next and miss huge parts of what was important.

    During one of my Blender Ninja quests for knowledge, Bart pointed me in the direction of IRC and what a great resource that was. So many amazing artists just sitting there waiting to help, except my understanding of Blender was so bad I didn’t even know how to asque good questions. Without knowing the basic terms of what I was doing and doing wrong I only frustrated people in IRC (I still do at times, sorry ZanQdo). I have since put away my paintbrushes and clay and now hold a mouse or Wacom pen instead.

    3- Classes are currently being offered for free. Will there be fees for future classes, and if so how much are you expecting to be charging? Will there still be free courses as well?
    There will always be FREE classes offered at Blenducation to introduce people to Blender and to get them started with Blender. Think of it as the welcoming committee to the Blender Community. These classes will have an open question and answer period throughout the class to help people find great resources and new challenges.

    There will alos be a pay-per-seat program set up for advanced classes. The prices will be set up on a tiered system. The more advanced the class, the more it will cost.

    Tier one classes will be $5US and $10US per seat.
    Tier two will be $10 and $15US per seat.

    Tier three classes will be $15 and $20US per seat.
    If a class runs three nights and is a tier three class, it will be offered at a discounted seat rate.

    4- Not only are you offering Blender classes, but you have extended an invitation to interested instructors to use Blenducation to teach/offer classes as well. Can you tell us a little about how to get involved as an instructor at Blenducation?
    Yes, I have begun to invite some power Blender users to become instructors at Blenducation and many of them have become part of the team. Among them is David Millet (US), an amazingly skilled gentleman and a great mentor.

    Sebastian Koenig (Germany), whose works are truly amazing. He makes it look so effortless.

    Then there is Mr. (Jonathan Williamson) Bomb (US), who’s human anatomy could have landed him a gig as a Doctor, but the difference is that doctors only know the parts and Jonathan can make them.

    OOPz AKA OOPz (England) is a very well known Blender artist that specializes in the world of Blender's Game Engine. His expertise in the BGE will be a key área of interest to many Blender artists.

    Daniel Salazar AKA ZanQdo is a straight shoot, no fluff educator, if you are lucky enough to get into one of his classes you will come out a better artist.

    Do I have more time? Ok, there is Goeland86 (US), who long ago invited me to join him on a project of recreating a historic air battle. He is a very gracious person with extreme patience.
    And then there is Jean-Sébastien (Canada (AKA ECKS)) who has few equals when it comes to mechanicals, like cars and bikes.

    Alos there is another good friend of mine that is known as Super3Boy (US) infamous in YouTube world as the boy prodigy of the Blender community. Let me assure you his skills and knowledge don’t end at Blender, have you checked out his website?

    The list goes on to include our most influential Blender rigger Mr. Mancandy himself, Bassam Kurdali (US). I was testing some stuff one day and invited him in to chek it out and it froze up his laptop. If he forgives me he may do a couple classes.
    What would this list be if I had not contacted and asked Roland Hessí That is correct, I am so excited that Roland has offered to give a couple of lectures for us.

    Alos on the team is; FWEEB, MFOXDOGG, Paulo Critovao, Templa Edhel, and many others joining us to help the community grow.

    A more accurate and updated list is on the site at . It is their commitment that strengthens my resolve that the Blender community truly does care, thanks guys.

    You don’t need to have a degree to teach classes at this point, although most of the very advanced classes or Tier three classes will be taught by Blender Foundation Certified Trainers (BFCT). The free classes are great way to learn how to teach an online class.

    Just submit a few renders and tell us why you would like to be on the team. If you are selected you will be notified and we will set you up your very own blog Page. In addition to the blog page and your own gallery, all the instructors at Blenducation are offered free passes to other instructor’s classes. This allows the presenters to grow their skills and sharpen their Blender knowledge from one another.

    5- You mentioned setting up Certified training guidelines along with the BF Certified trainer program. Has any progress been made on thatí
    Yes in fact, I have spoken with a couple of key people on the BFCT board and we actually have a few instructors that have the BFCT credentials now.

    I am waiting to see what happens in the next couple of months with the BFCT program, I have been told that some changes may take place. My hope is to layout a “Direct path to Becoming BFCT” program that will provide all the criteria one needs to know in order to submit your work with confidence to the BFCT board and become accepted. I am working closely with them in order to design this learning path. Obviously, not everyone will obtain their BFCT nor will they want to. Some people just want to learn more at their leisure. So there is no pressure.

    6- What are your future goals for Blenducation?
    The short-term goal is to add to our team of instructors so we can help users all over the world become more marketable in the industry. It has to start somewhere. It is true that a person with no degree gave the very first diploma.
    Next we hope to add a testing center that will help those of you that wonder where you need to study more in order to go after your BFCT certificate or just to brush up on those rusty skills.

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