Over the last week I taught my kids some 3D modelling in Blender. The task was to go from zero, downloading and starting Blender for the first time, to making a model and then printing that model on the 3D printer. I thought we might be at it for a week or two. It took them about three days. Four if you count the day of downloading and setting up Blender.
I started learning 3D modelling over twenty years ago. Tools and processes have improved somewhat since then.
The idea that someone could come to something like Alias Power Animator (the first pro level 3D software I ever used, at least the one that wasn’t AutoCAD) and make an object that would be prototype manufacturing ready in three days is laughable. Those were not user friendly tools at all. There was an expectation at the time that if you were ready to pay the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars to use 3D software, a little bit of a learning curve was to be expected.
Strange that Blender, a program that is available for free, is a positive breeze to use by comparison. There is an inverted ratio of usability to money spent.
Of course a lot of that ease of use is just due to time. User interfaces have gotten better, more intuitive, over the years. Computers have gotten more powerful and the software more capable. I will give myself a small amount of credit. If I hadn’t used a variety of 3D programs over that 20-25 year period, I wouldn’t be able to field the questions they had or present the material in an easy to understand way. And when I didn’t know something (which happens a lot) I know how to look it up, so I taught them that too. That’s probably the most important skill I could impart.
We now have a couple of new printed plastic dodads in the house. I’ve shown my kids enough that they should be able to make more. I can’t wait to see what they come up with.