I have been struggling to return to my most recent development project. It started out well — the WS+API Server posts were only a small part of it, and actually progressed well enough that I could say that it got some decent traction — but then I took some time off for one reason or another and now that my back-brain wants to return to it, my fore-brain is crossing its arms and holding its breath in opposition. Note that this is not an official scientific assessment, but it just seems that the desire to get back into developing in a bid to recapture the same momentum that I experienced when I was successfully plowing through that server project is being hampered by a competing sense of malaise, dissatisfaction, and dissociation. I can’t put the target on the level of drive I once had, and while this is actually par for the course for me, it never fails to annoy and anger me.

And since we’re talking about recurring cycles, my brain has switched back once more to 3D modeling. I don’t remember the last time I posted about my forays into modeling since I do know it was back before my Great Blogpocalypse of 2024, during which I lost 98% of all of my posts because I’m a dumbass (that is a personal project that never seems to go out of style, sadly).

I mean, I know for a fact that I have made Great Progress with learning Blender over the years, and that my projects were pretty OK for someone who just FAFOs every few months for only a few months, and the last time I returned to the pursuit I was able to get back on the horse pretty quickly. What I’ve learned has, to some extent, become muscle memory and I am thankful for that, but I also know that what I do know is still only a very small tip of a very large iceberg, so I’ve been contemplating trying to find actual learning resources to carry me through those darkened valleys of ignorance.

Resources do abound. I have relied heavily on YouTube, specifically the Blender Bros channel — terrible name but phenomenal videos filled with explanations and real projects that people might actually want to model. My original foray into the world of Blender was via a course on Udemy which was extremely eye-opening, and when I revisited it to get this link, I found they are modernizing it (I got the course more than 5 years ago). I could re-watch it, but it is a beginner’s course and I feel I might be spinning wheels and losing interest if I do so. I am also considering looking at CGCookie once more; I had signed up with their courses some time in the past as well, and they also offer learning tracks rather than a handful of specifically targeted videos.

I am in a place right now where a lot (but not all) of the learning content out there is aimed at the beginner: here’s the interface. Here’s the tools. These courses teach the software which is super relevant, of course, and I realize that when I say “I need to learn more about Blender” it sounds like “I need to learn more about Blender” when I really mean that I need to learn more about 3D modeling and intermediate to advanced applications with Blender. Truth be told, all of these are true: it has to be Blender because it’s free and I don’t have hundreds or thousands of dollars to spend on any other industry standard software, but as someone who did start with the “learn the software” before learning what 3D modeling is actually modeling, or the terms, or the philosophy behind the art of computer graphics, animation, and modeling, I need to fill in those holes. I haven’t really been able to find those kinds of resources, really, which is why I’m kind of disillusioned with the Modern State of Online Learning.

It seems to me that we’ve somehow gotten into the rut of “Showucation”, which is my stupid attempt to create a word that implies that “lessons” are really just people with knowledge showing people without knowledge which buttons to press and which levers to pull to achieve a very specific outcome. Looking at Udemy’s courses, I see a lot of lessons with titles like “Creating 3D Environments in Blender” and “Dragon Girl in Blender Course”. These titles (and their previews) are very enticing for people who Want Results, because those titles and thumbnails promise results…but very specific results. In looking at the 3D environments course, the chapter names tell me that it teaches “creating grass”, “creating a forest path”, and “creating a castle sunset scene”. All worthy goals, sure, but wouldn’t it be better to teach people the comprehensive basics and theories, at which point they would be able to create their own forest paths and castle sunset scenes? While I don’t doubt these examples showcase individual methods and maybe even sidebars which may delve a bit deeper into the theories behind the why, I’ve found too many places and examples that only cover the how and tell me that “I’m learning”.

So I’m having a difficult time finding lessons online, free or paid, which are actual, traditional education courses in 3D modeling, and maybe Blender specific. I feel like what I am looking for is a resource provided by professionals who work with Blender and 3D modeling as their job, and not people who teach for a living or worse, provide video instruction as part of a massive educational clearinghouse covering a massive range of subjects. As much as I’d love to go back to school, I doubt that’s in the cards now or at any time in the future. I’d also need to find a viable means and respected institution that could provide such a course either near me or online; I haven’t done any research into that considering the resources that would no doubt be required.

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