Some important things I've learned.
Render (F12) window is by default too large and sluggish.
Scene Icon at bottom (F10) gives you some options to control that Render window.
Look for "Preview" Icon bottom right of screen.
Those combined will give you a tiny render popup window when you press F12.
I've been using the Render window to preview the lighting that I add or adjust.
The default lighting in Blender seems too dark.
Adding a Hemi light and then moving and rotating it dramatically increases the lighting. (You add Lighting the same way as you add Objects.)
Included in the Submarine Animation pdf tut files is a Blender Starter file already set up with Hemi lights so that all objects on screen are well lit. Something to take a look at. (See also Unit 3 My Blender PDF Tutorial same link.)
I was exhausted after working thru the Submarine tutorial. I'd recommend working thru the 1st 3 Units videos BEFORE doing that Submarine, because a lot of the stuff you have to do in the tut is covered later, in Units 2 and 3.
My submarine periscope surface looked crappy.
I could not get my propeller to rotate around correctly in the animation. RotY was definitely wrong (up/down). Rot X and Z did the same thing which was weird (back and forth).
I suspect both those problems originated when I was creating them and I was not going to go back to square one and recreate them.
So I quit at that point, which was actually almost to the end of the tut.
It is difficult to tell what the objects are supposed to look like when you first add them to your scene. Mine do not import the same way as the tut, so I have to guess. This results in editing errors because I'll be working on the wrong side or the wrong vertices and won't know it until later.
I compared the three versions of the yellow submarine tut available online and the one located at gryllus.net is newer than the ones at Tufts. (See previous post.)
I finally found out about the Undo History (Alt/U). Yay! I would teach newbs that tip right away. This helps me tremendously. I don't like Ctrl/Z undo in Blender because sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't and it's easy to lose my place in the process. The Undo History teaches me what is logged as "undoable" and what is not. (Colors? No Views? No) And also tells me where I'm at in the Undo history.
I liked using the Transform Properties window (N) to play with rotate and scale of objects because it tells you exactly where you are at and which coordinate you are manipulating. Good teaching tool. I get lost just using R or S - X,Y, Z shortcut keys. Transform Properties window is accessed with the N key. N for Notation, evidently.
So after struggling with the Submarine tut, I breezed thru Units 2 and 3 videos. Next up, I'm going to try creating that vase in Unit 3.
It looks like it has some texture applied to it and I want to learn how to do that in Blender.
I'm also wondering how to color only part of an Object. And then there's a lot to learn about lighting yet.
I tried creating 3D text in Blender. That feature gave me reboot crashes. Blender only uses PostScript fonts. That was a surprise.
Free PostScript fonts here.
I'm googling for interesting ideas on what I could create in Blender. I want something that's fun to make and will motivate me to keep at it because so far it hasn't been real pleasant trying to learn Blender.
I'm not all that interested in animation at this point. I think that will be more fun when I have something nice enough to animate.
I do like working in 3D because it surprises me what the scene looks like in different views. It's a whole new world.