Throughout the decades before digital media and the existence of the internet, the only things that taught you about an individual computer application were the manuals that came along with the purchase of the application. Manuals are good for understanding where everything is and what everything does, but when it comes to specific tasks, you were mostly left on your own.

Enter video tutorials.

With the modern rise of internet video-sharing sites like YouTube, many individuals took it upon themselves to share their talents with the global community by posting videos about how to make things as cool as they can do it. Nowadays, users can find tutorials on anything imaginable, from ice-skating to grilling hamburgers to, yes, operating a software app you have never used before.

As an experienced filmmaker who is learning 3D animation for the first time, I knew that looking up tutorials would be a priority in the process of creating my project. I found a tutorial on YouTube that was perfect for me: a 23-part series on how to operate Blender and how to make a realistic donut with coffee. This series is run by Andrew Price, known as Blender Guru, and it starts off with a complete beginner’s perspective to Blender. The brilliant aspect of this tutorial is that it is split up into four “levels” of difficulty, with each level being split up into 5-7 individual videos. These video range from 10-20 minutes in length, which is a perfect timespan for a user to pay attention to a video. This series is also designed so users can quit the tutorial videos at any time and still get plenty of valuable information on Blender and how to operate it.

Video tutorials are much more helpful than user manuals because video tutorials have a person speaking or appearing in the video, explaining the software clearly and concisely, while also demonstrating tasks that involve the combination of different functions and features in order to create something unique and special.

The goal of tutorials is to teach someone something that they never knew beforehand. Sure, it’s beneficial to have people figure it out on their own, but I feel it is more effective to learn from someone else, copy their workflow, and then use their tutorials as inspiration towards your own project. Had I not closely followed Price’s video tutorials, I would have started my project without knowing any of the hotkeys, any of Blender’s capabilities, or even where to begin once I start a new project.

Go watch some tutorials. They’re free and they’re more helpful than you think.

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