Content guidance

Contains external content.

Adult supervision recommended.


Lesson video

In progress...


Hi, I'm Rebecca, you're competing teacher for this animations unit.

For this whole unit, you're going to need some software called Blender which you can download for free from blender.


Now, if you're going to do this unit, you will need to ask your parent or carer his permission to instal that software and possibly ask them to help you to instal it too.

You're also going to need a pen and paper to make any notes that you're going to need to and to remove as many distractions as possible so that you can really focus in this lesson.

Once you've got all of that ready, come back, and we can begin.

In this lesson, you will add or delete or move objects, you'll scale and rotate objects, and you'll use a material to add colour to objects.

So how important is 3D animation? What I'd like you to do is take a look at these three questions and using your pen and paper, write down your thoughts but the answers to those three questions, pause the video while have a go at that.

Awesome so, let's look at question one then.

So question one said, why does it use a green screen? And the reason it does a uses a green screen is because it can be used to add different effects and different environments to the background.

So the foreground is there.

So it's doing the the picture of the horse and cars and all of that in the video.

But in the background, it needs to represent those old times and certain areas or villages or towns.

And that can be then superimposed onto that green screen in the background.

So make it look like whatever's in the foreground is actually in a different place.

So it's quite a clever thing having a green screen.

And they said where else other than in films, do you think 3D modelling and animation is used? Now you could have come up with all sorts of answers there.

But the one of them that I can think about is in architecture.

So if you're going to design a brand new house, then it's going to help if you do a 3D model, of that new house so that you can really see what it looks like, and you can experience the rooms and think about the layout and where things are going to go in that room.

So it'd be a really, really useful tool.

And how can you tell the difference between 3D animation and reality? Well, as 3D animation is getting much, much better, as time goes on, it is becoming a little bit trickier to spot those things.

It's quite easy to watch them in sort of a Pixar Animation movie where it's quite obvious that animation is being used.

But in some brand new movies like action movies, and there's different animations going on in the background.

And it can be so realistic that you can't quite tell, it's like your your eye is kind of tricked by it, even though you know that the city in the sky isn't isn't a real thing, because it'd be impossible to do that in the time that we're living in now.

You know it's fake, but it looks very very realistic.

So I suppose if it looks sort of not something of our worlds then maybe you know it's going to be a 3D animation.

So what is Blender? This is the software that we're going to be using for this unit.

So Blender is open source software.

This means it is free for you to use.

With Blender, you can make pretty much anything from animation to 3D printing designs.

And Blender has been used in blockbuster films, television, cartoons and computer games.

This unit will guide you through the essential tools that you need to become a 3D Designer.

So we're going to get started now and your first design is going to be a 3D party monkey like that monkey there and I'm going to give you a demonstration and you can either do it along with me or you can watch for demonstration and then pause and have a go afterwards, it's up to you which way around you want to do it, but I'm going to show you how to do it now.

When you open up Blender for the first time, it's going to look like this.

And it's got a window there on the screen straightaway the Blender window.

And you can use that to create new files and things like that.

But you don't need to use that you can just click off it, and then it disappears.

And you can see you are presented straight away with a cube and that's the default cube that always appears when you open up a new file.

Now try not to be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of tools and things that you can see on your screen.

We are going to take this slowly, we're going to take it right from the beginning.

So you don't need to know what every single tool on that window does at the moment, 'cause we're going to take it through slowly and we're going to show you all those ones that you're going to need.

So I'm going to start off by showing you quite an important one, which is this one up here.

Now this helps you to change your view of that object you've got there.

So we've just got a standard cube there at the moment and if I move this around, if I drag the x handle there, and I can actually move it around and change my perspective or my view of that cube like that.

Now, you might be used to x and y axis, especially if you look, let's just, there we go.

There we go.

So if I look at that, if you were drawing something, like for example, in Scratch, if you've used Scratch before, you might have used the X and Y axis before and that is just me looking at the object there.

I've got X going across, and we've got Y going up and down.

If I was looking down on these objects, but in 3D animation, you've got this other, this the third dimension, which is Z.

And this means that you can see things in a 3D world, it starts to look a bit more realistic than something in 2D.

Now, this said, if it's all the way up the top, that means that you're looking at it the right way up.

But if this Z, when you're moving things around, if this Z ends up going to the bottom like that, then you're actually viewing something upside down.

And it's quite easy with these drag handles to get a little bit lost and unsure of exactly where you staring at and the perspective that you're looking at in the view.

So it's important to remember that the Z, if you want to look at it as if we were in the real world, at that object and you didn't want to look at it from underneath, then you want to make sure that Z is right at the top, so you can just pull it all the way to the top like that.

And now I'm viewing it from the top again, and these x and y handles can just be moved around, you can just drag them where you need to, up and down, across wherever you need to.

Now another thing that I want you to look at Is this up here is the different viewpoints where you can view these actual objects and the different options you've got.

So first of all, you've got wireframes.

If I just change this to wireframe, it's a little bit slow when you first do it, then it sorts itself out.

So wireframe is just going to show you the bare frame of that object, which you probably won't need earlier on when you're learning this.

You've then got this one, which is the default one that came up straightaway, which is just showing you the solid mode.

You've then got the materials one, which is just showing you any materials that have been selected.

And then the final one is a fully rendered version of that cube.

Now the fully rendered version of that cube means that you can see exactly how it would appear in an animation if you were going to record an animation there.

So, now I've done that I can start showing you these other two things.

So just recap, we've got this bit here, which we can use to change our perspective in our view.

And then we've got this to change how the objects look.

And this fourth one here is probably the one that you're going to use the most, which is the rendered one.

Now we're going to look at these two bits here.

So you've got this up here.

If I click on that, we're actually you can notice that over in the left hand side, it changes to light.

And at the moment, it's the light is working a little bit like the sun would.

So if you think the sun shining on this object here, it's actually only lighting up that side of the object.

If I move around, you can see there that now that I'm looking at it from this perspective, the sun is shining on this side of the cube and that's why the light is on that side of the cube.

The other thing you've got is this one here.

If I click on that, it's saying Camera and that is showing, if I was doing an animation, if I was recording an animation, then the camera would record from that angle there.

So we probably weren't using the camera for a few lessons.

But the sun is quite an important thing, especially when you're doing your new objects.

So let's start actually making that party monkey now.

So first of all, I want to delete this cube because I don't want it anymore.

So I'm going to click on it, and I'm going to press the X button, and then that gives me the option, you know, are you sure you want to delete it or not.

And if you're sure, you can press it again.

You can just click it, and then it disappears.

You can also use the delete key as well, but that will just take it away straight away without any warning.

So I think it's probably a good idea to get in the habit of using the X button to delete things so that you don't accidentally delete things that you might not want to, so I've deleted my cube.

Now I want to add the party monkey.

So I go up to here, and there's an Add button.

Turn on, I'm going to go to add and I'm going to add a mesh.

And then down here you've got a monkey.

So I'm going to put monkey.

And what it's done is it's put it right in the centre there and it's facing over this way.

At the moment, you can only see the back of it, you can't see the face at the moment, but wanted to see the face, I could move it around like that.

But because my light isn't shining out the face, it's quite tricky.

So we're just going to leave it like that for now 'cause I want to have the cone.

So if I go to add again, Add, Mesh and then Cone, the cone adds it in the centre in exactly the same place.

So now if you look at it, you've got a cone sort of stuck inside the monkey and we want the code to go on top of the monkey.

So I need to make sure it's selected.

And because I want to start moving objects now I need to go over to here, which is the move button and once that is selected, you can see those familiar arrows appear.

So similar to these up here where you've got the blue for the Z.

You've got the Y for this one, the green for the Y and you've got the red for the X.

If you pull those arrows up, then it's going to go up and down.

And if you pull the arrow that way, it's going to go that way.

And if you pull the arrow that way, it's going to go that way, it's important to get into the habit of moving things using the arrows because that tends to keep things on a line.

If you try and move it, you can with this one.

No you can't, with some of the objects, you can just move them around, like with the sun, which I'll show you in a second.

So we want to try and make sure that we get used to using these arrows to move things at this point in time.

So now I'm going to move it around.

I want to see what's going on with this party monkey.

And yet, you can see I've moved it around quite a lot now, it's good, I don't know if it's quite accurate.

We might have to move it a little bit more.

Is still on the head, yes, it's on the head.

So now I want to be able to see the monkey's face.

So now I've got to change the perspective of the sun.

And this is the one where you can get a bit lost 'cause if you try and just drag this sun, you can get to a point where you get a bit lost with it and you're not quite sure exactly where it is.

So it's a good idea to get used to still using those arrows on this one as well 'cause then it fixes it to a point rather than just going to anywhere, but you can see as I'm moving the centre around, it is changing the sunlight on that object.

So I am going to change my perspective a little bit 'cause I want to make sure where's the face gone.

There's the face.

I want to make sure the sun goes right to that face.

So I'm going to move it along using those arrows, like so and then I'm going to move it around.

And now we can see it's almost there.

I probably need to just move it back a bit.

Let's just have a look.

So now, I've moved this light source so that I can see the whole face of the monkey.

So you have a go, now, if you do mess it up, what I suggest you do, because it's such short steps with this one, it's just a cone and a monkey.

What I suggest you do, just cross off Blender, close it down, open a new one, start again, don't panic too much, because it can get a little bit confusing with moving these objects around and getting used to it.

So just when you're doing your own and you're working on it by yourself, don't feel bad about if you mess it up, just cross it off and start again, 'cause it's all going to be really good practise for you while you're getting used to those X, Y, Z arrows and the light source and where it goes.

So don't don't worry about it being absolutely perfect the first time it's not going to be and that's completely normal.

So if you mess it up, cross it off, start again, no bother.

All right, so you're going to have a go this now.

Pause the video while you have a go.

And you've got a skills checklist there just to double check that you're doing everything that you need to, come back when needed.


We're now going to look at making a snowman now.

So just taking it a little step further and making our own snowman.

Rather than using the defaults of monkey shape, we can actually build our own shape now.

So let's watch the demonstration and see how you do that.

The first thing you probably wouldn't want to do is actually save your party monkey if you do want to.

So if you do want to save things, you go to File and you go to Save as and you decide where you want to save your work.

And I'm just going to save it here.

And you've got down here untitled.


So what I want to do is I want to give it my own name, which is party monkey and then I am going to save.

And now it's saved, and you know it's saved because up here, it says party monkey.


So what I can do now is I can actually go to New and I can make a new one.

And you can see there, it's all just like it was before when we opened up Blender for the first time, we just went to File new but this time rather than opening up the application for the first time, and we've got there our cube, our default cube that we can just delete, what do we need to press to delete things? We need to press the X so I can make sure I've clicked on it I can press the x, and then I can press the Enter key or I can click on it and now our cube has disappeared.

In order to draw a snowman then, I need to have my two spheres.

So I'm going to go to Add, Mesh, and then go down to UV sphere.

And I'm going to do the same thing again, like so.

And now I've added two spheres.

Now, it's not obvious that I've added two spheres because they're exactly the same size, and they're right on top of each other or squashed together.

So you can't see that there's two spheres there at the moment.

But as soon as I go to move, you can choose the move option.

I can drag this top one up.

And now you can see that I've got two spheres, so I can just have it a little bit higher.

I also want to make sure that because at the moment, it's set to solid view and I want to change it to rendered.

There we go, let's change it to rendered now, the light source you can see now the light source is over here and it's shining on from this direction.

So I've got my two spheres and now if you've ever built a snowman before you know that you have a big one at the bottom for the head and then you have a small, sorry for the body, and then you have a smaller one on the top for the head.

So we need to actually scale this object now.

In order to scale, I have to press S on my keyboard and something a bit strange will happen when that happens.

So I need to leave my mouse sort of around here or here, like so.

And then I'm going to press the S.

And you'll notice there now that I've got a slight difference to how this is all working.

And this is kind of attached now at this point.

So I'm not holding down S on my keyboard by the way, I've just pressed it once and that's what's happened here.

So now I can drag this in and out and the sphere is getting larger or smaller.

So what I can do is I can make it so that it's smaller, so that it's going to sit as the head and when I'm happy with it, I click and then it keeps it at that size.

So if you remember from the other activity, I can start moving this around now.

I'm going to move it so that I'm facing the sun.

And I just want to see is it actually in there or is it sitting on top? And I think it's not quite in there.

I think if I move it down a little bit, you can see there it's now in.

So it looks a little bit more like it's stuck together rather than it's two separate spheres.

So you can see there that's kind of happening there.

So that is essentially the body and the head of the snowman, so now I have need to start thinking about other bits.

So I can use, if you think if you were going to use a carrot for the nose, what's a similar shape to a carrot? Well, it's a cone.

So I can go Add, Mesh and I can go to cone now.

And you can see straight away, that is not the cone that I want.

I want to make sure that I change it and move it around.

So first of all, I need it to be a little bit smaller.

So again, what button do I have to press to change the scale on my keyboard? I need to press the S button.

So if I press the S, you can see there that I pressed it, hand isn't in on the keyboard, it's not holding on the keyboard at this point, I've just pressed it once.

And I can move it in and out to change the size.

And if I look at the size of the snowman now I can kind of predict the size of the cone that I need to have.

So probably going to be something sort of that size, maybe, but I can always change it later.

And then when I'm happy with the size, what do I do? I click with my mouse, I'm going to click and now you get those arrows again.

So now I've just got to figure out where it's going to go.

So it's going to go on its face.

So I'm going to have it, at the moment, it's right, slap bang on the top of its head.

So I'm going to move it forward a little bit and I'm going to try and get it to roughly to its face.

Like so and now it's Not quite at the right angle.

So I could have it like that, I could have a nose like that, I suppose, but I want to make it look like a carrot nose.

So what I want to do now is I want to rotate, in order to rotate, I need to press the R on my keyboard.

So I'm going to press R now.

And you can see again, just like it did when I pressed S, and it's changed what's happening on the screen.

So now that I've pressed R, it's actually rotating it around like so.

So I can rotate it all around so that it can get to a point where it looks like it's going to be a carrot nose on my snowman.

It's not quite in the right place.

But this is roughly the right angle now.

So when I'm happy with it, what do you think I need to do? I'm going to have to click with my mouse.

So when I'm happy I click and now it goes back to how it was before.

So now I can start moving it around.

Now you're going to be all over the place when you do this.

And don't worry, it's completely natural.

Getting used to those angles is quite tricky.

So it's just a matter of keep trying to get it and if you get really stuck, just start again, it's fine.

Don't worry if things start getting lost and you're not quite sure where they are, just start again, your still new, your still practising.

So I'm going to try to figure this out.

So I'm going to get it to about there I think, and I'm still not quite happy with it.

So I'm going to move it down a bit.

Still not quite sure, it's very, very difficult to see at this angle exactly what's happening.

I'm trying to tell by the shadow what might be happening, but because this perspective isn't quite right, I'm just going to move around using my handle over there and see what happens now.

Is it even? Let's just click off.

It's a very tricky one, that is.

It's like it's not quite right.

Something's not quite right there.

I think it needs to be moved to this way a little bit.


Let's just see, that's not too bad.

I think that'll do for now.

I mean, I probably could, I wonder if I could rotate it a bit more.

Let's just see.

So I'm going to click on it.

What do I press for rotate? I'm going to press the R.

I'm just going to rotate it a little bit and just see if I can get it any better, I don't really know.

Let's go, let's click, let's just try that.

Just click off it again.

Just have a look now, this is a little bit of trial and error.

Doesn't quite look right to me.

And I'm going to try rotating it again.

Let's just try it again.


I think I know what it is, I think it's not quite in the right place.

So I'm going to click it again now and I'm going to move it this time, I'm going to move it, oh no, that's the head.

Oh, no, get it right pickle.

Edit, Undo.

Click on that.

Move it over, there we go.

I think now it might be okay, let's just have a look.


Okay, I think I'm winning now, oh no, all over the place.

So I need to make sure I get this Z back up the top.

like so and then I use my Y to move around, okay.

I'm happy with that, it's looking all right.

So now you're going to think well, what other shapes do I need to use? So I can use some more spheres, perhaps for the eyes and the buttons.

And I wonder if there's anything I can use for a hat.

I wonder if there's a cylinder.

There we go.

There's a cylinder, so we could use a cylinder for a hat and my circle for my buttons.

So I'm going to try and do this cylinder first.

So, as always, it puts it in that standard, that default size.

I'm going to just move it up here, oh no, I've just made a mistake 'cause I moved it without using those arrows.

And I like to use those arrows so that they happen in the same place.

So I'm going to go press Undo and I'm going to use those arrows again.

So now I'm going to scale it to make the hat smaller.

So what do I press on my keyboard for scale? I press the S, and then I can move it in and out.

So I'm going to move it to about there and then when I'm happy, what do I do? I click with the mouse, and now I can just plunk it down, hopefully.

There we go.

So now it's got a little hat.

And I can click off again, start looking around.

How's it looking now? That's all right that is.

And then I'll just do one eye just to show you 'cause you're going to have a go at this yourself in a minute.

So I'm going to go for, what I'm going to do with a sphere, I am.

And again, he's put this a bit, the sphere there hasn't it.

So I just need to drag it up out, the way I like to put it up the top here and get it the right size and drag it down.

But you'll find your own natural way of doing it.

So I'm going to drag it up there, I want to scale it.

So I press S and I make it look much smaller.

And when I'm when I'm happy I press, I click it.

Now this time, if I put it down, it's going to go inside the head isn't it, which is not going to be very good, because I'm not able to see it.

And then if I move it to the left a little bit, it's going to still be in the head, but it's going to be in the left.

But then I just need to change my perspective, again, I think I'm going to go up this time.

And now I'm going to pull it this way a bit, like so and hopefully it's now starting to look like an eye.

I can click off.

Yeah, that's not too bad.

I think it just needs to go over a little bit, like so, there we go.

It's a bit odd, I'm going to go just back a tiny bit like that.

And there we go.

So what you can do is, you can start building it.

So if you want to do some arms, then you're going to have to maybe do some more cylinders, and then you're going to have to scale that down and you're going to have to rotate it so that the arms stick out as well.

So your task is to get it to where I've got it but also add the extra eye and some buttons down the front and some sticks for arms as well, see if you can do all of it.

All right, so you have a go now, please don't worry if you're snowman doesn't look exactly like mine or like the picture that was on the other slide.

It's your unique interpretation of what a snowman looks like and your still learning so, we're not going to all create exactly the same snowman.

The important thing is that you've got something that resembles a snowman but also that you've practise using those scale and rotate skills.

So pause the video while you have a go at drawing your snowman.

Fantastic, so this is the next thing we're going to do then.

We're going to add colours and materials to a snowman designs now, so let's pop over to Blender and see how we do that.

Here was where I got to there with my snowman.

And what I'm going to do now is I am going to make sure that I can colour in all these different objects.

Now if you haven't already, then you need to make sure that you have got this one selected or else you're not going to be able to see any colour changing when you actually start doing this.

So do make sure that you have select that right one over there.

And now what we're going to do is we're going to set for the eyes first, 'cause the eyes are all going to look like coal, so we want to change that to black.

So I click on one of them.

And I go down to here, which is where it says material properties.

So I click on that, and then I want to make a new one.

And I type in coal, 'cause coal is going to be the name for the material.

And now I'm going to change the base colour to black.

So scroll it down and it goes to black like that.

So now you can see I've got one eye and that eye is now set to the material coal that I've created with the base colour of black.

Now if I want to use that same one on this one, then I just go to here and I can select it from this drop down list here.

So I can choose coal.

And then I can do the same one here.

And the same again here.

And the same again here.

Now you may or may not have noticed when you are creating your own snowman, but you can actually duplicate objects.

So, if I wanted a fourth button on there, I don't know why I would, but if I did, I can actually right click on that object and I can go to duplicate objects, and it gives me another, oops, did I even do that right? Let me just see.

There we go.

I think I might have duplicated the wrong object.

Let's just try it again.

So right click, duplicate objects, and there it is.

And now I've got it attached to my cursor like that.

And if I wanted a fourth button there, I can just click where I want it to be and then I can change the perspective.

And I can move it in if I need to like that.

But having a fourth button is a very odd thing.

So I don't think I'm going to keep it.

So I'm just going to delete it, press X delete, 'cause I don't want it anymore.

But that is an option if you weren't sure how to duplicate objects.

So I've done at the coal now, what I want to do is, I'm going to do the hat.

So I'm going to click on the hat and I'm going to go to make sure that materials is selected again, and then I want new, so I'm going to call this, I don't even know what I'm going to call this.

I'm going to call it a hat.

And then I'm going to go to base colour and I'm going to have a blue hat, like so.

So now my hat colour is blue.

And then I've got the arms which is going to be wood.

So I'm going to have, add another one, I'm going to call it wood.

And then I'm going to use the base colour and I'm going to find a brown ish colour.

Sort of brown, brownish, that'll do.

And then if a want wood on the other one, I just click on the other one.

Then I go to that little drop down arrow there and I find wood and then I've just got my carrot nose so I can have carrot, carrot, and then I go to my base colour and I choose an orangey colour.

Way hard to get nice colours.

There we go, there's an orangey colour there.

And there we go, so now I've got my completed snow man with its coloured in objects as well.

And I'm older, have a go yourself then and see if you can colour in your snowman, making sure that you're using those skills.

So you want to be adding those materials and colours if you want to practise duplicating objects as well you can do and also reusing those colours across multiple objects as well is another skill that you'll be able to practise.

So make sure you do all of those while you colour in your snowman.

Off you go.


So, that's it.

, that's it for this lesson.

So you've gone from knowing absolutely nothing about Blender at all, to actually having a snowman that you've coloured in yourself.

So I hope you've picked up on lots of new skills this lesson and if you'd like to, please ask your parent or carer to share your work on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, tagging @OakNational and #learnwithOak, because I bet you've drawn a better snowman than I did and I'd love to see those snowmans that you've made in this lesson.

So please do if you can, and I'll see you again soon for next lesson.