3D animation has gained in popularity in recent years. Most of the animated movies made these days are computer-generated using 3D models. In addition, television and video games also make use of 3D animation. For these reasons there are many opportunities for employment in this highly specialized industry. But people first have to learn to use the software involved, which they can do in traditional classes or online. For the instructors, many of whom are experts in the field, the problem faced is finding effective ways to teach complex lessons to total novices.
1. Choose the software that you and your students will be using. If these students are just starting out, it is better to select a more basic program so they can learn the fundamentals of 3 animation. This works because most 3D programs have essentially the same basic functions (even though some have other more advanced functions). For example, most 3D animation programs will have a timeline with frames and “keyframing.” For this reason two good programs to start out with would be Poser or its freeware equivalent Daz Studio. Later in their studies the students can move on to more complex programs like Cinema 4D or Maya that have additional functions beyond the basic ones.
2. Decide what program functions and associated tools or controls you want to teach in each lesson. For example, if you want to teach about the timeline in Poser, you will want to talk about auto-keyframing and the concept of “tweening.” On the other hand, certain lessons need to come before others — before you can discuss rendering out animations in Poser you will want to have a discussion about setting up lighting for a scene.
3. Construct the lessons around a project if you can, since this will make it easier for your students to understand and remember the principals involved. For example, if you want to teach about posing a figure in the scene, give them the task (as you explain do it) of posing the figure in a chair at a table realistically (which is challenging). You might want to offer extra points if they add lighting and render the scene.