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Getting Started

Getting started with Blender can seem like jumping off a cliff. Before you know it you

are immersed in a frightening mountain of detail. I concluded that the best way to start

was to start by reading so I could go at my own pace, easily pick up where I had left

off, and go back and review when I wanted to. I also invested in Skim on my iMac and

iAnnotate on my iPad so I could make notes as I went along. If you have an iPad I

highly recommend iAnnotate. I also like SimpleNote for making notes on the iPad that

can be easily accessed on my iMac.

I started with James Chronister’s Blender Basics, Classroom Tutorial Book because it

has a tutorial that builds as you go from chapter to chapter. Hands-on, I think, is the

best way of learning and having one project to work on keeps you focused.

James Chronister

Blender Basics, Classroom Tutorial Book. 4th Edition

Proceeding as far as the end of chapter 4 will give what you the basics

of what need to use Blender to make Trainz assets.

When I got a little ways into reading about Blender I found John Blain’s

An Introduction to Blender 3D, A Book for Beginners a clear introduction to follow.

John M. Blain

An Introduction to Blender 3D, A Book for Beginners. 2.54+

Next, I focused on some of the features of Blender’s interface using Neal Hirsig’s

Blender 3D Design Course.

Neal Hirsig

Blender 3D design Course. 2.6x

Finally, I branched out on my own and started making simple models, some of which I

present in my own tutorials for beginners.

Blender for Trainz

Note Added Match 11, 2015:

New Series of Beginner Blender Tutorials

A new series of videos on Blender’s interface has recently been

published (March 2015) aimed at the “absolute beginner”.

This series consist of:

Introduction for Beginners

Interface and Navigation

Selecting and Transforming Objects

Adding and Removing Objects

Using and Customizing the Interface

Last Word

The series is intended to ease the initial learning curve. It is free 

series and is designed for beginners, even those whom have

no experience with 3D whatsoever.

The series assumes you have already downloaded and installed

Blender. If you have not, you can find instruction on how to

download and install Blender here (or here).

By just watching the videos you are not going to become a

Blender master. You’ll need to probably re-watch them stopping

frequently to try thing out (e.g., selecting an object, moving the

object, etc.). It is good to know that when you close Blender

without saving your changes you will be back to the original

default scene when you reopen it. So be brave and experiment.

This new series of beginner tutorials leads right into a series on

Mesh Modeling Fundamentals in Blender, also by

Jonathan Williamson.

To view this series you will need to get a Citizen Membership

to CG Cookie ($18.00 per month).

Jonathan Williamson produces some of the best tutorials on the

Internet so I would think this would be a good series. I haven’t

viewed this series but looking at the breakdown of topics I would

think that it would be ideal for someone who is interested in

learning Blender in order to make Trainz assets.

There are also many free tutorials both video series and written

tutorials series, (even books) available on the Internet.

Above, I have recommended my favourites.