So you’re beginning your search for a tutorial. Starting with Youtube of course, because watching video tutorials is much easier than going through a lot of text in written tutorials. Finally, you found a tutorial that seems to be about the exact thing you want to do. So click that play button!
The bad tutorials
Huh...21:54 seconds is a long time for a tutorial about something this simple. After watching about 2 minutes you begin to understand why this tutorial is so long. The guy talks really soft and slow. And he explains things that don’t need explaining. To make matters worse, he didn’t prepare himself before making the tutorial. He just started recording. So you get a lot of incoherent babbling, constantly forgetting to do things and trying to fix that while explaining something else. This can be very confusing for the viewer.
Mistakes being made when recording tutorials aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes it’s better to leave them in the final video, so the people who are watching can learn from it and avoid making the same mistake. But when a person makes a lot of mistakes and it’s taking too long to fix it, he should either stop recording, or edit out some parts so he doesn’t lose people’s attention. Most people have short attention spans these days. When people search for a tutorial about a small subject, they just want to quickly have the answer they’re looking for. When they finally find a tutorial who promises that, they just want the information. They don’t care about hearing a lengthy tale from the creator in the beginning of the video why he hasn’t been uploading videos for a few weeks. It’s not relevant to people, because a: Most of the viewers never even heard of the guy. And b: The video is from two years ago. So how can that piece of personal information still be relevant in a tutorial?
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that the guy took time to try and make something that helps out the Blender community. But some people just don’t make proper tutorials and should either learn how to do this properly, or leave it to others who can.
The Good tutorials
Despite the fact that I was complaining earlier about the creator of a tutorial giving useless personal information, I still think that if it’s done in a good way, it can have a really positive effect. But this generally only works for tutorials on bigger subjects, like when setting up an elaborate scene with lots of settings. Plus the creator should be a likeable person.
When teaching people to create a big scene, you will find there are lots of instances where the creator is doing some repetitive work, where he can lighten the mood with an entertaining short story or anecdote about what kind of problems he ran into when doing something similar in the past. Or where he got the idea to make this particular scene. Often people can even learn something from these stories. Or just get a good chuckle out of it. In any case, it keeps the viewer’s attention. Which means that it’s easier to learn.
The best example I can give you is Andrew Price from BlenderGuru.com. He does exactly that. He is also one of the few people who doesn’t just jump in and hit the record button. He prepares himself and his scene carefully and rehearses.
Most of his tutorials involve large setups in Blender and are often 30-60 minutes long. But not a moment is wasted. He doesn’t just tell people what exact settings to use, but also explains what a specific setting does so the viewer can learn from this and use this for his own future creations.
Aside from being thorough, he keeps his viewers entertained and makes a real connection to the viewer.
Andrew also makes shorter “quick tutorials” for smaller subjects. Usually about 5 minutes long and keeping it succinct.