View Full Version : Help For High School Studnts

04 April 2008, 05:06 PM

I am a television producer whose son has joined a FIRST Robotics high school team here in Beaverton, Oregon. They build robots and compete in state and national competitions. All prettty cool.

Anyway, the mentors of the group asked me (since I used to contract for 3D work and have some experience working with graphic artists) to help steer a few of the students towards learning 3D Studio Max. Apparently each robotics team is donated 6 licenses per year and one of the challenges for each team is to produce a 3D animation showing a new invention that would help clean up pollution. Long story short - I know there are a lot of tutorials out there, but a recommendation on the best tutorial for a rank beginner high school age kid that would jump start them to producing something would be great. My main request however is for leads on places to go where they may find already built objects that they could import and use that could be helpful.

I am greateful for any help in getting the kids up and running.


David Jones

04 April 2008, 01:03 AM
You can buy models on turbo spuid and find good beginner tutorials on Also, look through the help files that come with max and through its tutorials, most anything you could ever want to know will be in those file. There is alos a tutorial section n this site, and you can always look at the autodesk forums for help,

04 April 2008, 01:28 AM
Thanks for your reply KevOrama. The models on the site you mentioned are very nice. Maybe I can get them a budghet to purchase. I have not been close to this for a long while. My assumptions were A: it would take beginners quite a whiel to model items, and B: locating already created models would give them a leg up on a production, and C: that there were still places were artists posted and shared models. Those days may be gone. I have been working occasionally with 3D artists since teh Amiga and things may have changed just a bit!

As I suspected, tutorials will not be a problem. Just getting them backdrops, models and textures may be the challenge on a school budget.


04 April 2008, 01:29 AM
I know there are a lot of tutorials out there, but a recommendation on the best tutorial for a rank beginner high school age kid that would jump start them to producing something would be great.

For tutorials, you can't go better than the ones that ship with Max. If these students are coming to Max for the first time, it's the very best way to get them started. Any other external tutorials will be jumping the gun, as they need to understand the building blocks first.

04 April 2008, 01:48 AM
Yeah I'd BUY a copy of 3ds max, If that's the one you want to go with. ( personally I think you'd do better with XSI or Maya ) The tutorials that come with the software are the best for noobs.

Now that I think of it I's say learn 2 apps at a time that way your more versatile when you get to the work force.

But as stated above you must learn the fundamentals before you can really do anything to develop your skills as an artist.

Crawl before you can walk.

04 April 2008, 02:06 AM
Yeah I'd BUY a copy of 3ds max, If that's the one you want to go with.

I don't think you read his post correctly. The students (or 'noobs' as you respectfully called them) receive licenses. There is no need to acquire additional copies.

Also, muddling the issue by saying Maya and XSI could do it better is not helping, as that is not what they are being given to use for the project.

04 April 2008, 02:25 AM
As a student who has worked on this animation competition, I would perhaps suggest that tutorials may not be the way to go. If your students can begin learning the software before build season, then all the better. But once the criteria for the animation come out, students have only six weeks to learn their way around new software and to produce a full animation - all while balancing school, other extracurriculars, and the robot part of robotics. Of course, student responsibility and time available varies from student to student and from school to school. My personal experience was that there wasn't time to sit down, do some tutorials, and figure out how the program works. At every corner my time was stretched, even within robotics. Design meetings, build sessions, etc all called.

Point being, tutorials may be great for a soft introduction, but there may not be time for them. It may be better to figure out the basics of primitives, moving, scaling, applying basic materials, and then learning what you need to learn as you need to learn it.


PS. Check the rules for the competition - I'm not sure if using premade models not included in the software is allowed.

04 April 2008, 02:39 PM
Oh yes you are correct. My apologies. I was a bit hammered when I skimmed through this thread.
I ment no disrespect with the noobs comment either I include myself in this category.

As for the learning other software apps it couldn't hurt but I see how that wasn't streamline for this thread.

He he he Just the drunken ramblings of a lowly frat boy. :beer:

Hay when you graduate come to ohio state I'll show you around.:thumbsup:

04 April 2008, 01:56 AM
For tutorials, you can't go better than the ones that ship with Max.......
Most students or beginners refuse to do tutorials which is a shame. Having had contact with over a hundred of them (starters) I can assure you the absolute best way to waste time is importing models and trying to alter them and worse yet animate, rig, light, texture and render them. I have seen so many projects that are a total mess because a beginner simply wont take the time to grasp the rudiments of 3d. Everyone makes the mistake of thinking the software will do it for them. The max tutorials are specifically designed to bring you up to speed in the shortest possible time. Having been through 12 3d applications I can assure you Autodesk is right up there with the best. What I have noticed is the fastest way is to start from the beginning.


04 April 2008, 07:22 AM
since there is a couple kids working together, have them split the tutorials up;

1] have everyone do the intro tutorials to max [moving around, making shapes, learning the ui]
2] then have each kid [or groups of two] branch out into different topics [modeling, animation, textures...]
3] then have each show the others what they learned [you absorb so much more knowledge when you have to turn around and teach someone else what you just learned]. the tutorials that come with max are great, but full of fluff at some points. and since you have limited time, might as well attack from different angles.

4] questions? sign them up on CGSociety [it's free], we are more then willing to help. just have them keep reposting to the same thread so we can keep track of their progress and questions.

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