Introduction to Blender with Cécile Barouk

A write-up of our student initiated workshop as part of our Art + Tech series programmed by the Arts Programme team. This workshop was a collaboration with UAL's Creative Computing Institute.

Image of mushrooms created on Blender Blender mushrooms

I wanted to organise this workshop because I realised many students wanted to use Blender, but they were intimidated by the complexity of the software. I have been experimenting with Blender for 2 years now and wanted to share my experience with them to give them access to the software. I feel that Blender is amazing and can be used to do many things, especially in the artistic world. I was introduced to 3D art by my course, but I have also been learning Blender using online resources like tutorials and videos. I know that way of learning is not very accessible for some and thought that facilitating a workshop would be a far more personal experience, enabling feedback and being able to ask questions is important when learning something new. 

Images: David Povilaika

I decided to send an email to the students' union to share the idea of creating workshop open to students from all courses that will introduce them to the software. I was incredibly happy to see they liked the idea. We started to organise it with Sophie Risner from the students' union Arts Programme team and Georgina Capdevila-Cano from the Creative Computing Institute. We had meetings to discuss the workshop and organise it. We decided to include two technicians from the CCI; Lieven Van Velthoven and Pete Mackenzie, to help the students during the workshop. Then I had to plan what the workshop was going to be. I settled on modelling mushrooms because it is a familiar shape, quite easy to model and it does not have to be perfect. Using Blender there are always multiple ways to do the same thing, so I tried out a few ways. The one I picked was the most straight forward and used techniques that the students wanted to know. and could accessibly learn in the time we had.

Images: David Povilaika

Delivering the workshop was an amazing experience. It is very precious for me to be able to share my experience and knowledge with students that are interested. It was nice to see that there were many reasons they wanted to learn how to use the software like 3D printing, 3D animation or architecture. There was also a good diversity of courses. Making digital objects and scenes is something that can be useful in any artistic medium even if it is not what their course is focusing on. I would say adapting to the different degrees of familiarity with technology was the most challenging part. Students were excited to learn more about and to make things digitally. They also said that being in person is completely different from online tutorials and that they wanted more in-person workshops and learning experiences. 

I am very thankful to the SU for giving me the opportunity to do the workshop and I can’t wait to do more! 

Image formatted by Cécile Barouk featuring mushrooms designed and created by students participating in the workshop.

Write up by Cécile Barouk

Cécile Barouk bio, BSc Creative Computing student at UAL Creative Computing Institute. She uses Blender in her art projects to create virtual objects and environment to make images and animations. 

This workshop is part of the Arts SU Arts Programme Art + Tech series- rethinking the way creative students engage with the virtual and digital environment. 

Art + Tech is an innovative professional development programme which aims to provide new skills, creative practice enhancement and experience for creative entrepreneurs, to help ensure their success in the creative industry during and post university. As a response to the pandemic this series will allow students to learn new approaches and practices in art and technology to enhance their professional practice with the programme hinging on the role and importance of accessibility to tech.

This workshop took place on the 27th of April, 2022 and is proudly programmed in collaboration with UAL: Creative Computing Institute

As part of this workshop Cécile created a one-off resource hub- now available to view here

We would like to thank Georgina Capdevila-Cano, Lieven Van Velthoven and Pete Mackenzie for their support and time on this project.