Here’s a little tutorial to help non-Blender-savvy people get started using the animation exporter. (Really, I’m writing this for one specific friend that I wanted to help out. But I figure, if I’m going to write it out for her, I might as well share it with everybody!)

Okay, first, the bad news: Blender is an incredibly complex piece of software, and its UI is very different from anything you’ve used before (and confusing even for experts). Inside Blender are all the tools that someone would need to make an entire 3D animated movie like Toy Story or The Incredibles (or Big Buck Bunny, which actually was made in Blender). It would take years of training to fully understand everything Blender can do!

Now the good news: If you just want to make a few animations for SL, you don’t need 95% of that crap! The vast majority of Blender’s functionality is completely irrelevant to this purpose. And, the complex stuff that is relevant, I’ve already taken care of for you.

Broadly speaking, you only need to learn 3 basic Blender skills to get started with the animation exporter:

  1. How to move the camera around to look at the scene from different angles.
  2. How to pose the bones in the armature (that’s Blender’s word for the “skeleton”).
  3. How to insert “keyframes” and change which frame you’re on.

This stuff can get as complex as you want to make it, but the basics aren’t too hard. I’ll just be covering enough to get you started making some simple animations.

I can has your feedbacks?

If there’s anything in the tutorial you find particularly confusing, or really helpful, don’t hesitate to leave a comment about it! I appreciate your feedback to improve this tutorial.

What’s next?

Here’s the agenda:

  1. Intro (hey, we just did this one!)
  2. Getting set up
  3. Using the camera
  4. Posing the armature
  5. Working with keyframes
  6. Exporting for SL