View Full Version : Where should a 10-year old start?

08 August 2009, 04:00 PM
My boss's 10 year old son is interested in 3D. I don't even know where to start. Any ideas what basic apps would teach him a good foundation? (And not get too involved in application specific features) Should he even be learning software? I'm pretty sure he thinks Transformers was done by clicking a couple buttons.

I don't want to say, "Here's Blender, go knock yourself out!"

Matt Leishman
08 August 2009, 04:53 PM
At that age any kid who is inclined to draw just wants to draw robots and dragons anyways, so have them draw draw draw ... and maybe introduce them to Wings3D. I believe Wings is free, and its just a simple, yet powerful modeler based on Nichimen Nendo.

08 August 2009, 04:56 PM
Yeah I tend to agree with the above. Draw, draw, draw. If he absolutely wants to dabble in 3D, give him a free app to play with, like Wings.

08 August 2009, 11:36 PM
I started with 3D around the age of 9. Actually what got me into 3d was a free copy of Merlin VR* and Microsoft's 3D Movie Maker, that came with an ATI Rage Pro my dad bought.

I remember uninstalling it several times because it was just too complicated for my young, feeble mind, but i always went back because something compelled me to learn the software. I was finally able to make my first animation of a scene created entirely from boolean objects, a few months later.

I consider myself very fortunate to come across those as a child because I would most likely have chosen to go into another profession, had I not.

My point is to expose him to the simplest free software and see where he gets with it. If he truly has any interest in 3d, he will drive himself to improve at it using any resources available.
I am absolutely not opposed to him learning useful drawing skills as well, but I see no harm in him messing around with 3D at the same time.

*Merlin VR was a 3d app that is no longer around; kind of like the free stuff they used to ship with video cards:rolleyes:.
3D movie maker on the other hand, had all the characters, props etc. and you would just choose their actions and direct a small movie out of it.

08 August 2009, 08:14 AM
yeah, pretty much as anyone else would agree- start drawing. if he's 10 years old, he could even start dabbling in sculpture. Grab some play-doh, or even some non-toxic materials like sculpey, and let him go to town. in addition to drawing, he'll learn forms and gesture at an early age.

Kaptain Kubrick
08 August 2009, 09:58 AM
I had a copy of Microsoft 3D movie maker - bought it with my own money when I was a kid, a huge investment at the time, I remember opening it up only to discover that there was no cd in the box. But when I finally got it it was pretty cool, surely there must be something similar.

blender? --- well at least its not a waste of money if he decides 3D isn't his thing. There are hundreds of blender tutes available on youtube, give the kid the benefit of the doub., Loading other peoples car models into a scene to animate - I'm sure would be rewarding to a 10 y.o newbie.

but then again let kids be kids

08 August 2009, 10:56 AM
Well, I started around the age of 12, so no big difference in comparision with the 10 years old kid. I was toying with Photoimpact and Terragen [early versions] and Vue. But all these were occasional, I was mostly learning actually with Bryce. I'd say they were all simple to start with.

08 August 2009, 05:16 PM
I don't want to say, "Here's Blender, go knock yourself out!"
You wouldn't want to say that with anything.

from personal experience, i recommend the support and help from the parents.
They should get a beginners book on 3d animation and follow through with helping him understand concepts the child wouldn't hear until he is older. The Art of 3D Animation and Effects by Isaac Kerlow is pretty good, i've read through this and it has pictures to help explain what is going on. And get whatever free program to kinda show em the ropes of 3d space. I would start off with something like sketchup, just to experience what is being explained in the book.

After that if he still finds it enthralling i would actually move to a more advanced program depending on what he wants to do if he wants to make things move go with blender; if he enjoys sculpting in 3d maybe goto wings3d.
i personally would choose blender because he can grow into it, whereas others may be easier, they only focus on a specific area; which would limit exploration. To be honest though it doesnt really matter what program. as long as the basics are involved and understood. Hence, sketchup to start to get sort of a feel without completely frustrating him with an overabundance of choices.

Also there are many books that go further into specific areas(traditional and CG) but it all depends on what he wants to do so it would be a long list have your boss ask around when his son gets to that point.

Some of the difficulty i had with 3d at that age had more to do with the lack of a helping hand or adequate book for that matter. so the parents will have to get involved. this is complicated stuff that people in college have a difficult time with.

08 August 2009, 08:56 PM
Sketchup and Wings are both easy and free,

Once he gets beyond modeling, you might go the blender route.

If you go the Blender route, download (legally and free) the Blender training DVDs - spefically "Man Candy FAQ", "Creature Factory" and "Venoms Lab", also "Learning Character Animation with Blender".

Of course BF would appreciate if you purchase some, but we feel it is most important that he gets to learn 3d :)

Also be sure to use the specific version of Blender that comes with each DVD, there can be subtle or large differences that while easily overcome by an experienced Blender user, might be confusing for someone who is just learning Blender.

There is also 'The Essential Blender' available from,


08 August 2009, 12:01 PM
You may want to consider some 3D software that offers "semi-finished" tools. For example, Vue and Bryce were already mentioned (Bryce is only $55). Daz Studio is free. Poser used to be fairly inexpensive and had a bunch of pre-formed characters and animals; however, it has become expensive (I just saw version 8 offered by a new company at about $250). (Another concern is that a lot of the Daz and Poser promo material seems to be suggestive or provocative, so some attention may be required when giving it to a 10 year old.)
Personally, I got started with Bryce--it offered quick environments and basica shapes, although the only way to "adjust" a shape was to group a bunch of them together (what Bryce calls "metaballs") into a kind of glob without distinct borders between each shape. Swift 3D is (or was!) inexpensive, and should not be too difficult.

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