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jrjohannes
11-12-2012, 11:54 AM
One common problem for traditional Artists just beginning to learn 3D is:

1. LightWave has a huge learning curve and most training materials are
Project Based or Tool Based.
a. Project Based training can require exhaustive digging for things like where tools are at.
b. Tool Based training becomes Hyper-Focused and prolongs an artists ability to beat the learning curve.

Other Problems Include:
You cannot rename the Main Interface Areas such as Top Menu Group
You cannot customize Windows/Panels
Having a text based interface is great but limited because of button size and screen resolutions
Version changes of LightWave happen during an artists learning curve and keeping up with NEW conventions can be a nightmare!


A unique solution:
A Third Option allows artists to see Modeler dynamically and as having a workflow method similar to Layout. It gives a logical

and practical place for ALL training to start (ie. Top to Bottom, Left to Right and from the Inside to Out) but DOES NOT REQUIRE

ANY PARTICULAR STARTING POINT.

I'm working on a LightWave KEY (as in Scientific Classification NOT software licenses) that allows users to pick tasks and find the LightWave resources needed to accomplish them! The KEY

uses an extended (LightWave-as-Workshop Analogy/Idiom). Making it easy to grasp the whole LightWave "beast!"
It is NOT an Index, Glossary, Hot Keys, Table of Contents or Manual. Actually, it can be used in conjunction with ANY of these

things including ALL training materials because it transcends all of these things.

It is VERSION independent. You can indicate, add or delete options listed that ARE available in specific versions. For example, Customize Color Panel, which is "version recent."
It can quickly and easily be added to or rearranged!

It addresses anomolies such as the need for an object to be sub-patched in order for show cages & show guides to work.
The beginning artist stumbling upon this might be confused for weeks before they know what these options are. Selecting these two boxes does nothing until you Sub-Patch. Furthermore, show guides requires that you deform the mesh before you see the guides. Obvious to those who know LW, not to someone just learning!

Please, remember this is a concept and a work in progress. I think it has potential?
(JUST VIEWING THE CONTENTS IMAGE SUMS UP LW FOR THE LAYPERSON, EXAMINING THE OUTLINE GUIDES YOU TO RESOURCES)

Anyone interested can view the first version at https://sites.google.com/site/lightwave3dmodelerkey001/
I would love to hear feedback!
Website consists of two files: A FULL OUTLINE and a Contents Image

(JUST VIEWING THE CONTENTS IMAGE SUMS UP LW FOR THE LAYPERSON, EXAMINING THE OUTLINE GUIDES YOU TO RESOURCES)


Jason

toby
11-12-2012, 04:23 PM
I know it seems hard, but Lightwave (and maybe Cinema4D) is by far the easiest 3D app to learn, while still being a professional tool. That doesn't mean you can learn it as easily as Photoshop, 3D is much more complicated. Did you study the manual? Not just read it once, but study it. Taking a class is a good idea if there's one available. If you've never done 3D you have a lot more to learn than just Lightwave, you need to learn all the basics of 3D space, geometry, and also some 2D, the way pixels behave, since 3D uses pixels in texture maps, and renders to pixel images.

You probably have more on your plate than you realize. If there aren't classes available to you, I recommend studying the manual for a few days and learning where everything is, then start doing tutorials. And the forum here is a great place to get help if you get stuck.

jrjohannes
11-12-2012, 05:27 PM
Thank you for your response! I am agreeing with you. LW is one of the easiest 3D apps and 3D is inherently a complex beast. That is why I'm looking for ways to simplify the process.

Actually, I'm very familiar with LW, to the point that I think it can be INTRODUCED to artist in a much quicker way than JUST Tool Based or Project Based learning. Take Cody Burkes Lightwave Modeler Transitioning Tutorial. Which, for the record, is a GREAT overview! But, like MOST tutorials, it begins by assuming you know all those 3D basics you refer to. Sooo much detail but as an artist I WANT TO KNOW WHAT LW IS and CAN DO quickly. Then I'll learn Tools etc...

If you use an IDIOM, you can get an idea of what something is by analogy. You can SEE the BIG picture then narrow things down. It's how scientists ISOLATE, IDENTIFY and then CATEGORIZE say... plants. "I found this leaf but don't know what it is and where it goes." A plant KEY helps you narrow it down.

The same goes for 3D software. If you know that the Workspace [has] Viewports and Viewports [are like] a Workbench where Objects get [worked on] then you can ask: What can I do with this Object? If you have a KEY, it helps answer that quickly like this: "Hey, the KEY says I can {Show Points, Show Guides and many other things}, ALL IN ONE PLACE" Furthermore, it tells you directly where to go and some of what to expect. Then it's the Manuals job to take over. I have very few problems with the documentation.

***** Here is an example directly from the KEY:
THE HEADING: GLOBAL Workspace Configuration
THE OPTION: Show Origin
THE LOCATION: Where I currently have this option = ( PANELS.Display Options.Layout Tab )
DEFAULT LOCATION = ( Top Toolbr.Edit.Display Options. Layout Tab )
SOME of WHAT TO EXPECT: Only visible when Show Grid is Unchecked

***** Really analogies in tutorials are used all the time. They come in the form of statements like "THINK of IT AS" There just brief interjections rather than the Main Idea. *****

Jason

jrjohannes
11-12-2012, 05:55 PM
Think Elevator Pitch! If someone asks you what LightWave IS and can DO, what would you tell them?
Better yet, what if an artist just sat down at a LW computer, you show them how to make a Ball Primitive, they ask "What can I do to change my POV?" "I get how to NAVIGATE with the Viewport Options: Pan, Rotate etc..." With the KEY you can show them this...
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
HEADING: Viewports
SubHeading: POV/Angle
Current Path = ( Top Toolbar.Edit.Display Options.Viewports Tab )
and
Located directly on the Viewports are these POV/Angel Options: 1st Drop Down Menu (Top, Bottom, Back, Front, Right, Left, Perspective, UV Texture)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Think IMAGE advertising vs. RETAIL advertising. If you want to stand out and go from MOM & POP store to a Brand Identity, you need to become an IDEA not a location with products which have features. What are the BENEFITS, not just the FEATURES?

EXERCISE: A local Trophy Shop that engraves plaques, awards etc... What IS it? And What DOES it DO?
EXERCISE: High Quality (stackable) Canned Cat Food... What are the Benefits... the Features?

RebelHill
11-12-2012, 06:49 PM
I think it can be INTRODUCED to artist in a much quicker way than JUST Tool Based or Project Based learning. Take Cody Burkes Lightwave Modeler Transitioning Tutorial. Which, for the record, is a GREAT overview! But, like MOST tutorials, it begins by assuming you know all those 3D basics you refer to. Sooo much detail but as an artist I WANT TO KNOW WHAT LW IS and CAN DO quickly. Then I'll learn Tools etc...

Nope... sorry. Lw IS a tool... to try and explain it without a focus on its parts is no good, other than as a one liner. Its like saying you wanna teach folks to drive but leave all that gearstick, clutch, steering wheel nonsense out of it, and just give them the BIG PICTURE... Well fine, here it is... driving gets you places quicker... now you gotta have the detail.

Same with LW... you ask what would someone say it is and that it does... Its a graphics application for producing drawings in a 3d rather than 2d space and works much like a virtual reality construction set, letting u build pretty much anything u can imagine... that's about ALL you can really say if you don't want to start introducing terms, tools, or other specifics... simply because, they're ALL connected somehow or other, if not directly, then in workflow terms.

Sure, once someone already knows stuff, then it can APPEAR as though there's some possible easier, more natural way to teach it, but honestly, there aint.

jrjohannes
11-12-2012, 07:12 PM
you ask what would someone say it is and that it does... Its a graphics application for producing drawings in a 3d rather than 2d space and works much like a virtual reality construction set, letting u build pretty much anything u can imagine... that's about ALL you can really say if you don't want to start introducing terms, tools, or other specifics... simply because, they're ALL connected somehow or other, if not directly, then in workflow terms.


There's a game played in Psychology classes where people are asked to get in a circle and start a list of items to remember. The start of the sentence goes "I went to the store and bought..." to which the the first person might add Eggs. The second person: "I went to the store and bought Eggs & Milk." On it goes until the list gets too long for people to remember. But if we use mnemonic devices, people can remember MUCH LONGER lists. It is the same when you attach the familiar with the unfamiliar. I agree that you still must introduce terms & tools but it IS POSSIBLE to give them a FRAMEWORK to hang on.

SOME "TOOLS" NEED "HANDLES"!

And I'll give you the DEEPER answer to the Cat Food question: Many people will get to the fact that stack-able cans are convenient. WOW! A "COOL" feature... Selling Point!!! But only a few will see that high quality food 'IS the ability to obtain and maintain your cats health' so a better Selling Point is to connect with the cat owner via their DESIRE to feed their cat the "best." Hence, the benefit.

Agreeing to Disagree,
Jason

Dexter2999
11-12-2012, 07:21 PM
That's why there are two types of training.

Some training focuses on a tool (set) and explains what they do.
Other training focuses on projects to demonstrate workflows and when to use those tools.

To go back to the analogy of learning to drive, one lesson teaches you about a car(ignition, mirrors, gas, brake, etc.), another teaches you about driving (traffic lights, traffic signs, parrallel parking.)

I don't think 3D needs tricks like mnemonics to teach users. If anything it needs to be more like old school wood shop. Show me how the tool works. Warn me of it's limitations. Then tell me to build a birdhouse, spice rack, whatever...

You learn through reinforcement. Not tricks.

jrjohannes
11-12-2012, 07:23 PM
Nope... sorry. Lw IS a tool... to try and explain it without a focus on its parts is no good, other than as a one liner.

Which end of the scissors would you grab in order to cut paper even if someone never showed you how to use them? Ahhh... It's in the design.

Jason

jrjohannes
11-12-2012, 07:30 PM
Is that to say a Museum Curator should know about EVERY object they come across? I think having a Classification Guide/Nomenclature comes in handy.

Dexter2999
11-12-2012, 08:10 PM
Except LW isn't like a pair of scissors.

A word processor is comparable to a pair of scissors.
LW is more like a CNC machine or a 3D printer. It is tool for advanced functionality and versatility.
It is not a single simple tool designed for a single simple function.

BigHache
11-12-2012, 08:23 PM
Learning LightWave is not, at it's base, different than learning Photoshop, or AutoCAD, or Maya, etc. We don't use mnemonics to memorize a list of tools. We have an end goal that we learn how tools work and when to apply them to achieve the goal. And we don't learn every single tool, we learn techniques that combine different tools and different users have different combinations for how to get there.

I think this is an interesting idea and the discussion is interesting. However, to mine eyes it seems like a very high-level concept that won't have the pay-off you're looking for. We've sat in the cradle of software for quite some time. If there were multiple ways to teach complicated software I think we would have more examples by now. But if you think you can build a better mousetrap, go for it by all means. I would only suggest develop a small sample that shows proof of concept instead of developing this huge thing at the onset.

jrjohannes
11-12-2012, 08:37 PM
Of course, that's because it is an aggregation of simple tools designed for single functions. Many little scissors :)

- - - Updated - - -

jrjohannes
11-12-2012, 08:38 PM
I think this is an interesting idea and the discussion is interesting. However, to mine eyes it seems like a very high-level concept that won't have the pay-off you're looking for. We've sat in the cradle of software for quite some time. If there were multiple ways to teach complicated software I think we would have more examples by now.

you may be right

toby
11-12-2012, 08:39 PM
Is that to say a Museum Curator should know about EVERY object they come across? I think having a Classification Guide/Nomenclature comes in handy.
A class on 3D basics, ( XYZ coordinates / Geometry & Modeling / UV & Mapping / Particles / Shading / 2D Images / Animation & Keyframes / Lighting, Raytracing & Rendering ) would give you a foundation that would serve that purpose, and lightwave's tools are also grouped in that way. It's not a small list, and that's not all there is. A pair of scissors is *1* tool, a 3D app is many, many tools. It's for creating anything that exists in the universe, *plus* anything else you can imagine.

Then you need to learn how LW handles each of those, then you have to learn how to apply all that to make a nice image; the finer points. I took a 1 year class, doing other projects on the side, then did my own projects for 12hrs a day 7 days/wk, for another year before getting my first job. So even with a better teaching method, it's never going to be 'fast'.

jrjohannes
11-12-2012, 08:48 PM
Speed isn't the main concern. It's how accurately and deeply you learn the concepts.

Answer to the Trophy Shop: One might say they freakin engrave trophies what more do you want? But the shop owner who knows his business DEEPLY knows that he/she
(HELPS PEOPLE TO REWARD, ACKNOWLEDGE & ENCOURAGE LOVED ONES!) Maybe LW is more than just Geometry, maybe that's why we have a GUI in the first place. Why not more?

Synergy: Greater than the Sum of its Parts

jrjohannes
11-12-2012, 08:55 PM
I think this is an interesting idea and the discussion is interesting. However, to mine eyes it seems like a very high-level concept that won't have the pay-off you're looking for. We've sat in the cradle of software for quite some time. If there were multiple ways to teach complicated software I think we would have more examples by now. But if you think you can build a better mousetrap, go for it by all means. I would only suggest develop a small sample that shows proof of concept instead of developing this huge thing at the onset.

Stand by....

- - - Updated - - -


I think this is an interesting idea and the discussion is interesting. However, to mine eyes it seems like a very high-level concept that won't have the pay-off you're looking for. We've sat in the cradle of software for quite some time. If there were multiple ways to teach complicated software I think we would have more examples by now.

you may be right

jasonwestmas
11-12-2012, 09:06 PM
So as a traditional artist, maybe think about why you want to learn digital/3D tools in the first place. I got into it personally because I like story telling. . .and doing that with sequential art/animation. I could have chose to do hand drawn animation but I liked the materialistic appearance of 3D shaders over cel shaded stuff, so I had to learn a lot about 3D shaders and how that works. I have a passion for complex shapes found in a lot of sci-fi so Learning how to combine displacements and normal maps with animated objects was a necessarily deep/long journey. I love dialogue and facial expressions in my stories so I chose to learn how to use facial setups for detailed expressions and lips shapes/ visemes etc. The list goes on and on.

Point being is that subject matter is important when choosing what to learn most deeply. It's quite endless really, so to take it from me and focus in on something specific and you'll be able to create stuff faster and to your liking. I made the mistake of learning too much at once and that tends to get in the way of productivity, however it does pay off later when you are trying to find work and it isn't just in Lightwave. =)

DrStrik9
11-12-2012, 09:08 PM
I glanced at your "key" and it reminds me of what an old marketing warrior I know always used to say: express the "causal connections" as quickly as possible. Example: in the various views of an object in Modeler, when you make a change in one view, it is reflected in all views. Humans learn these very simple concepts by experimenting with the software, but it's nice to have them expressed succinctly as well.

I remember my (very slow) initial learning curve with Lightwave, beginning back with v. 5.2. It was SLOW and painful. In the first place, LW wasn't nearly as well-organized as it is now. So for me, with virtually NO 3D experience (except in my own puny brain, as an illustrator and designer), it was a very arduous process of investigating what seemed like an endless number of "grains of sand," and gradually, after lots of questions, re-RTFM, and confusion, beginning to see ... the "BEACH!" -- or the desert, as the case may be. :)

And all these years later, there are many things in LW that I don't use. And it seems many more that are "legacy" tools that almost no one uses, but remain in the software. If you were alive and using LW when that ancient tool was introduced, you have an almost instinctive understanding of what it is and does. But if not, it can be very time-consuming and frustrating to experiment with stuff that has limited, if any, use at all in a modern workflow.

Speaking of workflow, to describe a workflow in language is not as easy to understand as DOING it a few times (for me at least) - I recognize there are different learning styles.

Learning 3D software is like moving to a foreign country with no language skills. It's very frustrating and it takes time, but eventually, you learn to communicate. :)

My other observation relates as much if not more to interface design as learning: the computer screen/mouse/etc is basically a 2D interface, trying to express/control a 3D reality. We still have a ways to go to bridge that gap, imo.

Michael

jasonwestmas
11-12-2012, 09:27 PM
That's a good point DrStrik9, people just getting into 3D now I think are much more fortunate. There are far more software options and the organizational aspects and compatability issues are far more manageable than 13 years ago when I first started. Not to mention it is easier now to get higher quality images and even render out animation with fewer computers if you're smart about it.

DrStrik9
11-12-2012, 09:40 PM
There are far more software options and the organizational aspects and compatability issues are far more manageable than 13 years ago when I first started. Not to mention it is easier now to get higher quality images and even render out animation with fewer computers if you're smart about it.

That reminds me of that scene in the movie, "IQ" when the fumbling college dean (Charles Durning) was schmoozing (and attempting to fund-raise) with Einstein and other scientists present, marveling at his new ball-point pen which could write in FOUR different colors (!!) -- "It's a marvelous time to be alive!" :D

jasonwestmas
11-12-2012, 10:26 PM
well four colors is much better than just one!! :D

toby
11-12-2012, 10:54 PM
Speed isn't the main concern. It's how accurately and deeply you learn the concepts.

You're the one who said you wanted to learn "quickly". Why else would you want a different teaching method? "accurately and deeply" is what you get with years of experience, but that's clearly not good enough for you. You obviously want it to be faster - if it took 5yrs to learn, no one would call it "easy", so don't go around trying to change the goal posts.

djwaterman
11-12-2012, 10:56 PM
Your site wasn't interactive for me, were things meant to open up when clicked on? If it's just a page of titles and lists then it seems to me to make things more complicated. I think the project sounds interesting and potentially useful though. My own view is navigation first, then polygon creation and deformations, extrude, and so on. Once the user has some experience playing with these in modeler then on to layout.

meshpig
11-13-2012, 04:26 AM
ANY PARTICULAR STARTING POINT.
Jason

Well I had to go digital because my eyesight deteriorated to the degree where I could no longer draw with pen and paper. That wasn't good but I hated my first encounter with cgi too. The decisive momednt came soon enough when I found that in modeler you can make a single point and work up from there to grasp how the geometry works rather than freaking out about the seeming complexity of the interface. I didn't have much choice but how things happen when yer driven by necessity :)

I might have missed a bit here...

RebelHill
11-13-2012, 04:28 AM
Synergy: Greater than the Sum of its Parts

Synergy is more accurately multiple things working together to do something unachievable alone... its more akin to "partnership"... Greater than the sum of it parts would be a "geshtalt" (possible poor spelling, my Germans not that great).

Now that may seem like being a pedant... but getting urself ever so slightly incorrect ideas, or definitions of terms when trying to wrangle something like a 3D app really WILL get in your way, which is precisely why this airy fairy idea of somehow teching folks more, or better by removing detail just aint gonna fly Im afraid.

jrjohannes
11-13-2012, 06:22 AM
I think this is where I was going. Thank you! It's not that it replaces Tools or Projects, it's a simple guide, a map to things like Show Options in the Display Panel. When your watching a tutorial on making a soccer ball, it would be nice to have a little card that lets you know about all the Show Options for instance.

Like here's the ball (_) Did you know you can Show Points, Change Point Selection Color {all the other Show Options here as well _________}
and the Show Point, Edge, Polygon Options are different from Show Origin and Show Grid Options in that the former are Global Workspace Options (they affect Viewports instead of Geometry).

So grouping Show Points seperate from Show Grid gives just a little bit more clarity as to what these options are affecting.

Jason

jrjohannes
11-13-2012, 06:26 AM
Synergy is more accurately multiple things working together to do something unachievable alone... its more akin to "partnership"... Greater than the sum of it parts would be a "geshtalt" (possible poor spelling, my Germans not that great).

Now that may seem like being a pedant... but getting urself ever so slightly incorrect ideas, or definitions of terms when trying to wrangle something like a 3D app really WILL get in your way, which is precisely why this airy fairy idea of somehow teching folks more, or better by removing detail just aint gonna fly Im afraid.

I stand corrected and glad to admit it! NOW this is what a discussion can really do, help people grow.

jrjohannes
11-13-2012, 06:32 AM
Your site wasn't interactive for me, were things meant to open up when clicked on? If it's just a page of titles and lists then it seems to me to make things more complicated. I think the project sounds interesting and potentially useful though. My own view is navigation first, then polygon creation and deformations, extrude, and so on. Once the user has some experience playing with these in modeler then on to layout.

NOW you're thinking! NOT INTERACTIVE YET but it could take any form really. It's just the content that must have a dichotomous, differential/diagnostic quality. In other words you need to be able to say Show Point Selection is different from Show Guides (both "living" in the Display Options Panel) does not distinguish what they affect. Show Point Selection affects Geometry. In fact, it's Geometry Dependent! Show Guides on the other hand affects the Workspace (more specifically ViewPorts) Globally!

some of this just comes down to correcting the space limitations of a feature filled 3D app. The Interface cannot have Full Sentences all over the place or you'd need 10 Monitors. So a Guide/KEY/Legend/Map.... Whatever!..... can help clarify things like "To turn on the Guides for you Sub-Patched Soccer Ball, Click the Show Guides Option located..........."
The Manual and other training materials do this but where do you go within in them to find it? Can you find it quickly?

MY ANSWER IS HERE:
================================================== ====
Setting GEOMETRY DEPENDENT GLOBALS analogous to ("Marking on" Geometry/Objects)
"Pencil Marks"
Show Guides: My Current Path = ( PANELS.Display Options.Layout Tab) Original Path = ( Top Toolbr.Edit.Display Options. Layout Tab )
Sub Patch Mode Only (NO EFFECT UNTIL THE GEOMETRY/MESH IS DEFORMED)
Show Cages: Current Path = ( PANELS.Display Options.Layout Tab) Original Path = ( Top Toolbr.Edit.Display Options. Layout Tab )
Sub Patch Mode Only
Discontinuous Points: Current Path = ( PANELS.Display Options.Layout Tab) Original Path = ( Top Toolbr.Edit.Display Options. Layout Tab )
UV Mapping Only
Show Points: Current Path = ( PANELS.Display Options.Layout Tab) Original Path = ( Top Toolbr.Edit.Display Options. Layout Tab )
Only WIREFRAME GL Rendering Types
Show Surfaces: some Polygons must be selected Current Path = ( PANELS.Display Options.Layout Tab) Original Path = ( Top Toolbr.Edit.Display Options. Layout Tab )
================================================== =====
Jason

djwaterman
11-13-2012, 07:39 AM
Hmm, I agree that the manual can be rather impersonal, just stating what a thing does in technical terms but not giving any context of what you'd use it for. I'm still not clear however on what you're proposing, are you actually talking about a re-design of the LW UI, pop ups?

BigHache
11-13-2012, 09:18 AM
I think he's just talking about revising how one learns a piece of software.

And to the OP I wasn't trying to discourage by any means. And a little contrary to my preceding statement I will say this; technology is absolutely changing the way we learn. 20 years ago to pick up something like LightWave resources were slim. It started with the user manual, Amiga magazines, eventually VHS tapes, then DVDs, now we're into downloadable videos and Webinars.

Done well, a Wiki, or something like it, can be a great learning resource as well and may be what completely replaces user manuals and textbooks in our near future. It's interactive and dynamically driven by a database. We have the portable technology now to purchase a digital "book", that could be a database, and download updates when they're released. And staying away from tablets, even an online help system on your desktop could be construed in a way to be less manual like, and more interactive and context based.

I still think at the core you're not going to get away from a project-based system. In your simple example "here's the ball", I would argue is still a project that involves several steps: Find the tool, select the tool, apply tool parameters/exit tool, change ball aspects like point position, surface, etc.

This is my opinion, but I think overall a 3D program is less artist and more technical, so asking a traditional artist, which I am, to learn a 3D program is a hugely technical hurdle. The faster one accepts the technical side the easier a time they will have. I don't think you can systemize that.

jasonwestmas
11-13-2012, 09:56 AM
But wouldn't you agree BigHache, that the technical hurdle is shorter these days? Or are we just getting more experienced and the hurdle is staying the same and getting taller?

I think the technical hurdle is being brought down because of the factor of "Interactivity", which is the concept of getting to the results faster because the tools resemble real life mechanical tools and are getting further away from digital concepts of just merely entering numeric values and doing a crap shoot till you get what you want. That's just one thing that I think is improving in CG software. Now there are many debates about which tools are considered to be more interactive and what are not but I'll leave it at that for now.

Dexter2999
11-13-2012, 09:57 AM
Well, the comments about a tool being intuitive by design, don't indicate anything towards how we learn in my view. That comment goes directly towards software design and UI.

Sure there is room for improvement. But some things you just (and I hate the word "just") have to learn to do the hard way. People ride skateboards, bicycles, and go skiing and have a great time doing it, but NONE of those things is "intuitive" you have to learn before you can enjoy.


As to training, well, there is lots of good information out there. The problem is not everyone learns the same way or at the same pace. Add to that, that most material is being brought to you by people who are the top at what they do...but what they do isn't teach. Not to undermine the value of the information or the expertice of the presenters, but great teachers are rare. Great teachers do more than relay information. Even though most tutorials I have watched haven't been from great teachers, they are great artists. (Think of the HAPPY DAYS episode where the Fonz becomes a mechanics teacher.) They are relaying information as they understand it. But being great artists they have a grasp that exceeds mine. So like stretching for that remote controll that is just out of reach (until I pop my shoulder)... I rewatch videos trying to grasp the concepts being relayed...until I pop something else.

There is room for improvement in the training area and I don't mean in the way of how the media is delivered, but in how it is presented. "Great" teaching is going to require more than Camtasia. It needs more than stiff scripting. Look at the programming on History Channel, Biography Channel, Science Channel... all of this educational material that people worked really hard on to make it interesting. (Except for the "Modern Marvels" that is just...blech.)

To paraphrase a very good public speaker, Covert Baily, a good lesson will entertain as well as educate as this helps one retain the information.

jasonwestmas
11-13-2012, 10:09 AM
I'm not sure if "Intuitive" is the right word to describe artist tools. . . that word doesn't really mean anything other than resembling something we have done before in the real world, which is of course not universal in understanding a concept. Now "Interactive" to me means in a software toolset that we are using tools that allow us to easily transform a shape, form, hue, chroma, or shade and do it quickly because it updates quickly and with a great deal of tangible control. This has nothing to do with reality but in fact is much better than reality because we aren't constrained by technical hurdles and other obstacles. Granted the idea of entering numeric values never will change but the method in which the numeric values are applied to the subject onscreen can always improve.

jrjohannes
11-13-2012, 11:21 AM
I think he's just talking about revising how one learns a piece of software.


Instead of digging this current "hole-of-a-thread deeper," I'll move over and "dig a new one."

Tool Based and Project Based learning are NOT replaceable!!!!!!!!!! But whether you're highly experienced or just learning 3D software, it helps to have a "map" during those 2 learning experiences.
If you took note, you'll notice that the "key" I posted DOES NOT GO INTO DETAIL ABOUT SPECIFIC TOOLS. This IS what Tool Based training is all about and why the Heading is SKILLED POSITIONS requiring a significant amount of User Interaction (all the unavoidable heavy learning of tools etc...). The "key" helps bring together all of the Interface areas outside of Tools and Menus. Specifically, things you cannot Configure or Customize like the Floating Windows/Panels. Parts of the Display Options Panel are overcrowded (Interface limitations, NOT necessarily NewTek design flaws) and many of these options appear arbitrarily placed. For example, the first tab is Layout and the second Drop Down List is Layout and... Layout is our second environment!

**** If you went around and counted how many times Interface Elements and Areas are repeated and/or called several different things, it's crazy for the average Joe. ****
Leaving someone who's just learning to say "so which is it?"

Many of these things get better re-categorized in new versions of Modeler (the View Tab, Layers Tab and Selection Tab have done some of this re-categorizing). ON TOP OF THAT, we can Customize/Configure Menu Tabs and Tools BUT NOT WINDOWS/PANELS (yet?). So in the mean time a "Key" helps better group their options according to their function and what they affect.
Instead putting the burden on NewTek to give me the Interface I think it should be RIGHT NOW! I've created a solution in a little "key" that can be added to or redone on a whim just like a tiny database of resource locations and anomaly tidbits. The original is done with Inspiration Software so that I can change it VERY easily. But it can be transferred or made more interactive so YOU can change it via any medium (web HTML) (Flash) whatever.

If you know that Selection Sets: (Points) & Parts: (Polygons) are really GROUPING: (intended to be more permanent than Selections) then having a Grouping Tab makes sense!
And darn-it, that's exactly what a classification key does for you. I've been able to predict the interface changes in re-grouping because of a "key."

jasonwestmas
11-13-2012, 11:46 AM
TBH I've always ignored the "meaning" of the categorization for the terminology. There are some like me that just memorize where the tools located and pay no attention to the meaning of the words and more to the fact of what each tool does in actuality. . . which is easier to memorize the functionality in your imagination than the categorized location. No words can really describe everything a toolset does in a UI anyway. I could be wrong but that's how I've learned all apps. I don't let the words and icons deceive me by their supposed meaning that were put there by some coder. No offense to any coders out there.

So I not that it's a wasted effort to make a generalized map but in the end people are going to understand just by doing and remembering the functionality for each tool regardless of what it is called and how it is categorized/grouped.

jasonwestmas
11-13-2012, 11:52 AM
What's more important is that the location of the tools are located near the tools they were intended to be used with, but again that is different for everyone and just because a tool is used for modeling doesn't mean it should be separated from another tool that is used for animation. In which case we do a full circle BACK to the fact that NT needs to make their UI more customizable!!

jrjohannes
11-13-2012, 12:02 PM
Hmm, I agree that the manual can be rather impersonal, just stating what a thing does in technical terms but not giving any context of what you'd use it for. I'm still not clear however on what you're proposing, are you actually talking about a re-design of the LW UI, pop ups?

On paper so as not to think NewTek will (or in many cases even should) re-design the "LW UI pop-ups" just for me, YES! The "key" attempts to bridge the gap between waiting for NewTek to re-arrange things and/or make them more customizable. The "key" is something you can take and make your own version of. You could use a Fish analogy for all I care. But a Workshop, Workbench etc... seems to be a good analogy. In fact, it's the one the Users Manual begins with. In a nutshell I'm proposing that Modeler is:
A Workshop with one Separate Room (Warehouse), a Workbench (on it a holder with a Pencil and Highlighters), Cabinet & Drawers full of Tools, and a Peg Board where a skilled person or people go to work on Objects.
Workshop = everything Inside of the "True" Microsoft Window
Workbench (on it a holder with a Pencil and Highlighters) = Workspace consisting of Viewports
"Pencil" and "Highlighters" are the Display Options Show & Color settings
Cabinet & Drawers = Menu Tabs and their respective Main-Menu-Tool Groups FULL OF THOSE TOOLS YOU HAVE TO LEARN THE HARD WAY AND BECOME on of those Skilled People
Peg Board = The Top-Toolbar

So you start with this basic analogy (which again is just an extension of the NewTek analogy used in the Manual) but it ENDS here and the "keys" real function takes over.

jrjohannes
11-13-2012, 12:04 PM
What's more important is that the location of the tools are located near the tools they were intended to be used with, but again that is different for everyone and just because a tool is used for modeling doesn't mean it should be separated from another tool that is used for animation. In which case we do a full circle BACK to the fact that NT needs to make their UI more customizable!!

It would be nice.

jrjohannes
11-13-2012, 12:11 PM
"Pencil" and "Highlighters" are the Display Options Show & Color settings


In the real world if you set a Ball on your Workbench you can do many more things than you can in a 3D apps abstraction of this scenario. So if I'm an artist or Joe, I need to know the abstraction in my own terms not Modeler creator or high-end user terms. Classification "keys" bridge the gap and standardize the union of the two.

jeric_synergy
11-13-2012, 12:12 PM
One aspect of the LW manuals that I've noted OVER AND OVER again is the chronic "start with a blizzard of confusing details, end with broad principles" which is exactly the wrong approach.

I have no idea WHY this has become the dominant presentation mode in the LW manuals, but it certainly has. All I can presume is that's the way the writer writes. But it is BAD.

IMO, both Reference and Project approaches are necessary for effective use of the software. "The Documentation is PART of the Interface", no matter what Matt says-- it's the part that tells you how to use the application.

I began a document "A Stepped Approach to 3d Modeling" that started with the basics and slowly built up to complicated and organic shapes. But, seeing no profit from that course, I abandoned it. The beauty of that document was it could be used as a framework for multiple applications: "Chapter 4: How does one make a rose blossom in: LW: Blender: Maya: C4D".

jasonwestmas
11-13-2012, 12:15 PM
Yes, there are many things I love in other apps. that I wished were in Lightwave. Tearoff menus and tear tabs for one, ala maya and photoshop. Double clicking on the boarder of a floating panel minimizes it without floating down to the lower left hand corner ala Softimage. Flexible toolset/panel docking ala 3DCoat.

jrjohannes
11-13-2012, 12:16 PM
Right On!

- - - Updated - - -


One aspect of the LW manuals that I've noted OVER AND OVER again is the chronic "start with a blizzard of confusing details, end with broad principles" which is exactly the wrong approach.

I have no idea WHY this has become the dominant presentation mode in the LW manuals, but it certainly has. All I can presume is that's the way the writer writes. But it is BAD.

IMO, both Reference and Project approaches are necessary for effective use of the software. "The Documentation is PART of the Interface", no matter what Matt says-- it's the part that tells you how to use the application.

I began a document "A Stepped Approach to 3d Modeling" that started with the basics and slowly built up to complicated and organic shapes. But, seeing no profit from that course, I abandoned it. The beauty of that document was it could be used as a framework for multiple applications: "Chapter 4: How does one make a rose blossom in: LW: Blender: Maya: C4D".

This is what I'm saying too. And I don't want to make this a product for profit, I just want to help enrich the training process.

jrjohannes
11-13-2012, 12:26 PM
109121


Here's how we standardize leaf Isolation, Identification and Categorization.

3 Objective Attributes and we can come to the same conclusion instead of arguing over Subjective things like Color.

So here it is for Viewports
109122

2 Objective Attributes (POV/Angel vs. Navigation) and we can come to the same conclusion instead of arguing over Subjective things
If you put POV options in with Navigation, it doesn't make as much sense PERIOD!

RebelHill
11-13-2012, 12:33 PM
IMO, both Reference and Project approaches are necessary for effective use of the software. "The Documentation is PART of the Interface", no matter what Matt says-- it's the part that tells you how to use the application.

But its really NOT Jeric... no matter how much you may want it to cover all these bases... you're wonrg and just plain asking too much.

I have the printed manual for v7 here, and its thick as a phone book... and its JUST a reference manual. Its even drier and more like stereo instructions, and that really is ALL it needs to be. See your stereo instructions NEED to read like stereo instructions cos... I already know how a stereo works, I don't wanna have to read some convoluted book that waffles on about "accoustics theory", where's the best place to position speakers, etc, when I need to breeze through reference on what the wattages are, or which input/output combinations can and can't be used together, which port I plug the subwoofer into (cos ofc I already know WHAT a subwoofer is) and so on.

The problem you keep MISSING... is that LW is a computer graphics application... if you already know computer graphics, then the reference manual tells you pretty much all you need to know... you can get a feel for workflow from any number of project based vids, 3d world, etc.

What you're wanting however... is a book that includes BOTH a software manual AND a course on computer graphics... and which (Im guessing) somehow belnds the 2 into somekind of contiuous "teach LW" course.

Well ok... lets say fair enough IDEA... can you imagine how BIG that's gonna have to be... Id be estimating... ooh... 3000 pages. It asking too much, and IMO totally unreasonable to expect a software developer to be able to deliver. its tantamount to taking the docs (and vids) for my autorigger, and complaining cos there's nothing in there that teaches you how to animate characters... and asking how are folks who are completely new supposed to know how to use this lovely fancy rig to actually produce character animation with... Its exactly the same thing.

jrjohannes
11-13-2012, 12:39 PM
It would never be intended to do anything but quickly "acclimate" artists.

VERY small

Jason

jrjohannes
11-13-2012, 12:45 PM
I'm saying why do Maya users say Orbit and LW users say Rotate? Are they different? Maybe? But generally a "key" tells us they are so similar that we can chunk them as (Rotate/Orbit) which is different than say (Zooming)

jrjohannes
11-13-2012, 12:46 PM
I'm saying why do other software users say Orbit and LW users say Rotate? Are they different? Maybe? But generally a "key" tells us they are so similar that we can chunk them as (Rotate/Orbit) which is different than say (Zooming)

raymondtrace
11-13-2012, 12:54 PM
RE: Training...

Here's an interesting concept: http://skillcompass.org/

This is a (beta) training system built on the Drupal content management system. It allows multiple users to take existing content (or create new content) and categorize it into a structure for learning. Users can also rank the training for relevance or usefulness. Experienced (well-participated) users have greater access/privileges with the system.

The demo at this web site shows training for Drupal. But I could see the same system applied to training for Lightwave.

RebelHill
11-13-2012, 12:58 PM
they dont.

Some people say they orbit AROUND something (usually the scene/object), others say they rotate the view. But at the same time you rotate objects, you dont orbit them (cos that MEANS rotate the VIEW).

But at this point you're not even talking "terms" anymore, really... not in any kinda of technical or app specific way. you're just using items of common parlance... I orbited the bachelorette party in the club, later that evening I rotated the maid of honour on my wotsit.

jrjohannes
11-13-2012, 01:13 PM
re: Training...

Here's an interesting concept: http://skillcompass.org/

this is a (beta) training system built on the drupal content management system. It allows multiple users to take existing content (or create new content) and categorize it into a structure for learning. Users can also rank the training for relevance or usefulness. Experienced (well-participated) users have greater access/privileges with the system.

The demo at this web site shows training for drupal. But i could see the same system applied to training for lightwave.

yes!

jrjohannes
11-13-2012, 01:19 PM
But at the same time you rotate objects, you dont orbit them (cos that MEANS rotate the VIEW).


You've JUST declared a "key" thing: Rotating an Object is Categorically different than Orbiting them. At least in our LW-Abstracion of a Universe. So we agree here... at this "Origin." But if we were talking about flying a REAL spacechip amongst REAL Planets, we MIGHT need a different "key."

RebelHill
11-13-2012, 01:50 PM
no we wouldnt... the words would still mean the same thing. THats my point... you're getting into such BASIC terms that their relevance with any specificity to computer graphics or LW is next to none. Should the book also contain a dictionary of the english language?

jeric_synergy
11-13-2012, 02:28 PM
But its really NOT Jeric...
We will continue to disagree on this.

I consider the little shortcut reminders on the buttons to be 'documentation'. If we had balloon help, I'd consider that to be documentation. From balloon help to longer "extended balloon help" is a small step, and the usual 'F1 Help' is only a matter of degree. Are the reminders part of the interface? Is the word on the button part of the interface?

Perhaps the johnny-come-lately "User Experience" or "UX" is more apropos in this instance.



... and complaining cos there's nothing in there that teaches you how to animate characters... and asking how are folks who are completely new supposed to know how to use this lovely fancy rig to actually produce character animation with... Its exactly the same thing.
Nonsense & hyperbole. When I purchase a word processor, I do not expect a course on novel writing, nor even a technical writing course. But I do expect a thorough explanation (and examples) of, say, how tables are created and manipulated, and defined for that matter (e.g. "may a table exist within a table?") since each word processor treats tables differently.

Similarly, I expect a 3d app's documentation to include at least ONE LINE defining what, say, an MDD file is and does, even if it is a standard bit of 3d kit. As the recent discussion illustrated, that was not be found.

Bones are found in all (?) major 3d apps, are we not to expect explanations of their details?

As for size, all my PDFs take up the same amount of physical space, the size of a smallish paperback.

As for length: Again, I maintain that the unnecessarily static nature of the dox is a relic of the past, and the sooner NTek implements a constantly evolving semi-online documentation practice the better.

- - - Updated - - -


Yes, there are many things I love in other apps. that I wished were in Lightwave. Tearoff menus and tear tabs for one, ala maya and photoshop. Double clicking on the boarder of a floating panel minimizes it without floating down to the lower left hand corner ala Softimage. Flexible toolset/panel docking ala 3DCoat.
Some of that stuff is patented, by Adobe and others, and has to be contracted with the patent holders.

jasonwestmas
11-13-2012, 03:03 PM
what stuff is patented. . . Tabs? Minimizing panels, docking, QT? lol, Then they'd all get sued.

BigHache
11-13-2012, 03:06 PM
I will relate this. My first class on Photoshop. The teacher was heavily focused on the tools. In fact our first test in the class was just on the toolbar. Name all the icons and their keyboard shortcut. Nothing about what the tools do. I think everyone in the class failed the test, AND we learned nothing about using Photoshop up to that point. This teacher was relieved from duty and then we started learning. Now Photoshop is not even as complicated as a 3D application, so a surface-level introduction will teach someone about the basics of a 3D application generally, but they won't be able to sit down and use any application. There are books like that now so no matter how you classify or categorize I don't see this as a new concept.

I still think this discussion is interesting but at this point it's not moving forward. I don't think we're going to see much change in the way we learn 3D until the UI has such a giant leap that it requires us to think differently about creating 3D.

Here's an example: Final Cut Pro X. The UI is different enough that you have to change the way you think about editing video.

UnCommonGrafx
11-13-2012, 03:25 PM
This is a lovely conversation.

Because their manual says orbit; ours says rotate.

No one, it seems, has touched on the idea of The Traditional Artist. What's this definition that we somehow negate their reading effort, which extrapolates into their art within the digital realm?
By this, it is meant that the manual tells you what it will do; experimentation (the Artist's way) leads to things no where near in the manual.
No mentions of the happy accident; no mentions of the guaranteed crash based on the process (do 1, do 2, watch it crash); no conversations about what experimentation in either of the apps will do for your learning curve.

No, most of it has been about the minutiae one must learn in order to use the software; engineer speak.

Documentation of today's software by software companys is as it has always been: this is how we think the software can work for you. Forums and third-party entities have take care of the experimentation. Dan Ablan's books tried to do that. IF he did one today for 11... I dunno that I would buy it. Stale, is the word that comes to mind, by the time I get the printed material. I hate videos: they are never captioned! But I really do see the value of them. See, no one does text anymore.

Regurgitate the manual, pick up and expand on things mentioned in the manual, sure, but what has been suggested and discussed is worth a class, i.e., 4 months of time. Quite a lot of time for dallying about with learning another's system for learning LW.

I understand the goal, but there is an Engineer's specificity in all of what is being said, not the words of a Traditional Artist.


I'm saying why do other software users say Orbit and LW users say Rotate? Are they different? Maybe? But generally a "key" tells us they are so similar that we can chunk them as (Rotate/Orbit) which is different than say (Zooming)

UnCommonGrafx
11-13-2012, 03:27 PM
Here's an example: Final Cut Pro X. The UI is different enough that you have to change the way you think about editing video.

Shucks, Don't use it, let kids that have luck with it use it, or curse a lot when it loses days worth of edits.
I HATE Apples way of saving once and forget it. cringe...

I long long and heavy for SE done freaking right.

jeric_synergy
11-13-2012, 05:07 PM
No mentions of the happy accident; no mentions of the guaranteed crash based on the process (do 1, do 2, watch it crash); no conversations about what experimentation in either of the apps will do for your learning curve.
IMM, the Happy Accident is what you get from 'project tutorials' -- for instance, I'm working thru a widely distributed tutorial that's taking EMBARRASSINGLY long because I keep seeing possibilities and veering off from the main track to examine them.

I was just working with my buddy who has a full-on machine shop (lathe, forge, +lots more) and he mentioned how he's reached a point where every task is case of remembering, not learning. (I'd LOVE to have that problem: every task I get (and not enough of them) requires a tonne of research just to figure out how to approach it.)

Similarly, there's two types of documentation: the 'remembering' kind, pure reference, the only kind RebelHill needs ;) , and the 'learning' kind, where very basic concepts are presented and expanded on (slightly, not exhaustively).

The question at hand, about traditional artists learning this vaporous stuff we use.... I'm not sure. I know they'll require both types to learn. Obviously one needs the reference as a reality check, but perhaps the best kind of 'project' tutorials suggest more questions for the student than literal answers?

A good LW example might be "What if the diffuse value is set ABOVE 100%?". I bet that blows the mind of many a newbie.

Even better: "What if a Light's intensity is NEGATIVE?"

More than likely this approach could be applied to many existing tutorials to extend their worth beyond what they nominally are teaching.

jrjohannes
11-13-2012, 05:33 PM
no we wouldnt... the words would still mean the same thing. THats my point... you're getting into such BASIC terms that their relevance with any specificity to computer graphics or LW is next to none. Should the book also contain a dictionary of the english language?

So the men of the Apollo 8 Mission never Orbited the Moon?

Something is lost in translation between the Software Engineers, who I assume understand Object Oriented Programming, and Interface Design.

Explain why, The Modify Tab has Translate, Rotate and Transform Groups when STANDARD GEOMETRY (an accepted discipline with specific standards) tells us Transformations are Translate, Rotate and Scale? Translations and Rotations ARE Transformations.

UnCommonGrafx
11-13-2012, 05:35 PM
The Socratic approach has always been smiled upon.

I am not sure what to think of the idea of remembering versus learning. I guess because I see your comparison of something living, a 3d program going through upgrades and the like, and a machine shop intertwined with 100 years plus of possibility as distracting.

As well, there seems to be no grounding in what this Traditional Artist knows.
A traditional artist based in 3d who invests in 3d software and the path of learning, would avoid such paths of pedantic learning.

UnCommonGrafx
11-13-2012, 05:39 PM
You mean when they were rotating about the path they were on orbiting the moon?

Rotate in this sense is something tethered; orbiting not so tethered.

There's a difference in approach, sure, but the semantics gets silly after a bit.

jrjohannes
11-13-2012, 05:50 PM
The Socratic approach has always been smiled upon.

I am not sure what to think of the idea of remembering versus learning. I guess because I see your comparison of something living, a 3d program going through upgrades and the like, and a machine shop intertwined with 100 years plus of possibility as distracting.

As well, there seems to be no grounding in what this Traditional Artist knows.
A traditional artist based in 3d who invests in 3d software and the path of learning, would avoid such paths of pedantic learning.

You're Fun!

- - - Updated - - -

I agree! I just want to customize the Display Options Panel Sooo... Bad! Having Simple Wireframe Edges and Simple Wireframe Points hanging out at the bottom, under the Interface Tab puzzles me????

jrjohannes
11-13-2012, 06:38 PM
109133

This is as simple and straight forward as I can get! Show Origin is unchecked. Why is it still there? I know it's because Show Grid must be disabled first but not a first time user.

I just wanted to create a a little-tiny list of these kinds of Modeler anomalies.

Is that so hard?

Oedo 808
11-13-2012, 10:03 PM
109133

This is as simple and straight forward as I can get! Show Origin is unchecked. Why is it still there? I know it's because Show Grid must be disabled first but not a first time user.

I just wanted to create a a little-tiny list of these kinds of Modeler anomalies.

Is that so hard?

Are you related to a chat bot by any chance? I think it was created Israeli engineers, it's fascinating how closely you remind me of it.

One can only speculate, but Modeler seems to be on its way out, often changes which one would expect to require minimal effort to bring about can take quite some effort to effect. Perhaps this vehicle isn't worth the attention, most of us will be waiting to see if the next one is, because this one certainly isn't going to take us where we need to go.

jrjohannes
11-13-2012, 11:02 PM
Your site wasn't interactive for me, were things meant to open up when clicked on? If it's just a page of titles and lists then it seems to me to make things more complicated. I think the project sounds interesting and potentially useful though. My own view is navigation first, then polygon creation and deformations, extrude, and so on. Once the user has some experience playing with these in modeler then on to layout.

I'll have a higher level example, not just an outline, posted soon. Moving towards interactivity and I guess understandability.

jrjohannes
11-14-2012, 10:03 AM
I glanced at your "key" and it reminds me of what an old marketing warrior I know always used to say: express the "causal connections" as quickly as possible. Example: in the various views of an object in Modeler, when you make a change in one view, it is reflected in all views. Humans learn these very simple concepts by experimenting with the software, but it's nice to have them expressed succinctly as well.


Yes, basically, you'd address the Dynamics of the Interface (Your example IS pointed out in most training materials BUT MANY ARE NOT.) In addition you can note anomalies which appear in the RED Bubbles. For me, it's currently easily and VERY quickly editable. All the Concept elements collapse/expand when I click on the MOCK DISPLAY PANEL. So that's proof it would not take up any permanent space! NO 3000 page document(s).

The basic FUNCTION of a Classification KEY is to use Objective terms and criteria as opposed to objective or ambiguous ones. Like the 3 basic criteria used in my previous leaf example/image, used to identify the plant/tree the Leaf belongs to.

Here's the idea in a more advanced form. But it could be taken all the way to A FULL NODAL-LIKE INTERFACE. All the while retaining a Key's basic function!

109147

DrStrik9
11-14-2012, 10:23 AM
When you get as old as me, there is no remembering, only learning. :D

jrjohannes
11-14-2012, 10:34 AM
Sorry? What about this NEW example?

DrStrik9
11-14-2012, 10:47 AM
Here's the idea in a more advanced form. But it could be taken all the way to A FULL NODAL-LIKE INTERFACE. All the while retaining a Key's basic function!

109147

"Advanced" may be the operative word here:

Sorry, but my puny brain is not good on this kind of flow chart, until I already understand the subject. Then it may fill in gaps, or help general understanding, but (for me at least) it's not very helpful until I already have a basic understanding of the subject. The first time I looked at it, I was lost. The second time I looked at it, I got most of what it was saying, but at that point realized that I understood it only because I've been working in Modeler for quite a few years. For me at least, I doubt it would have helped me at all back when I was first introduced to Modeler.

DrStrik9
11-14-2012, 11:00 AM
But it could be taken all the way to A FULL NODAL-LIKE INTERFACE. All the while retaining a Key's basic function!

109147

Maybe that's my problem: I struggle with nodes. Yes, I use them, but it's almost always a hit-and-miss operation, with lots of trial and error (mostly the latter). When I look at various (super-complex) node screenshots from other users, my eyes typically glaze over and I start thinking about what's for dinner ... once I get a nodal setup that works for my purpose, I usually copy it for other applications, and possibly add, delete, or alter it; starting from scratch has not typically been a joyous (or efficient) process for me.

jrjohannes
11-14-2012, 11:12 AM
"Advanced" may be the operative word here:

Sorry, but my puny brain is not good on this kind of flow chart, until I already understand the subject. Then it may fill in gaps, or help general understanding, but (for me at least) it's not very helpful until I already have a basic understanding of the subject. The first time I looked at it, I was lost. The second time I looked at it, I got most of what it was saying, but at that point realized that I understood it only because I've been working in Modeler for quite a few years. For me at least, I doubt it would have helped me at all back when I was first introduced to Modeler.


And that's my issue to solve! If you can't understand it, it isn't working, YET!


Thank you for the feedback.

RebelHill
11-14-2012, 11:52 AM
When I purchase a word processor, I do not expect a course on novel writing, nor even a technical writing course.Fair enough, maybe bringing in CA to that extent is a stretch... So lets say instead IK, FK, morfs, weightmaps... I don't explain what any of that nonsense is or means, because it is PRESUMED KNOWLEDGE for a user who would be wanting to operate this tool.


But I do expect a thorough explanation (and examples) of, say, how tables are created and manipulated, and defined for that matter (e.g. "may a table exist within a table?") since each word processor treats tables differently.Certainly fair compare... and fits perfectly with my previous claim as what you don't mention requiring is an explanation of what tables themselves are... only how this individual software interprets/handles them.


Similarly, I expect a 3d app's documentation to include at least ONE LINE defining what, say, an MDD file is and does, even if it is a standard bit of 3d kit. As the recent discussion illustrated, that was not be found.As noted in previous thread, there should indeed be a line somewhere which identifies MDD as a pointcache format (most especially since its an NT original format)... But again, fitting with the established pattern, the manual need not go into detail about what a pointcache is, or all the uses or pros and cons of it in certain situations, as this is PRESUMED KNOWLEDGE for an OPERTOR of this kind of software.


Bones are found in all (?) major 3d apps, are we not to expect explanations of their details?
Again... for the very reason that they ARE a commonality to all/many apps. More PRESUMED KNOWLEDGE for a computer graphics software operator.


As for size, all my PDFs take up the same amount of physical space, the size of a smallish paperback.
Its not the size on disk, mate... its the effort in producing such a document... I hate to sound like Im having a go... cos Im truly not... but I think you are SO far away from ANY comprehension of the scale of the task that would be creating such a document, including... keeping it up to date.

jrjohannes
11-14-2012, 12:06 PM
"Advanced" may be the operative word here:

Sorry, but my puny brain is not good on this kind of flow chart, until I already understand the subject. Then it may fill in gaps, or help general understanding, but (for me at least) it's not very helpful until I already have a basic understanding of the subject. The first time I looked at it, I was lost. The second time I looked at it, I got most of what it was saying, but at that point realized that I understood it only because I've been working in Modeler for quite a few years. For me at least, I doubt it would have helped me at all back when I was first introduced to Modeler.

Which is what makes this idea SO flexible! It can be as complex or simple as you want. Back to this:

109149

This shows that there MAY BE 3 "key" elements which Viewports deal with (one...Navigation is expanded/branched out). And they are all 3 Categorically different. Which is what this illustrates right here, right now, IN ONE PLACE!

Notice how fast things can be changed. I'm doing it in almost "real-time."

Ryste3d
11-14-2012, 12:09 PM
When you get as old as me, there is no remembering, only learning. :D

Hear!

jeric_synergy
11-14-2012, 12:10 PM
Maybe that's my problem: I struggle with nodes. Yes, I use them, but it's almost always a hit-and-miss operation, with lots of trial and error (mostly the latter). When I look at various (super-complex) node screenshots from other users, my eyes typically glaze over and I start thinking about what's for dinner ... once I get a nodal setup that works for my purpose, I usually copy it for other applications, and possibly add, delete, or alter it; starting from scratch has not typically been a joyous (or efficient) process for me.
Quit CHANNELING ME! ;)

Seriously, that was almost eerie in depicting the mind-state that nodes put me in: MEGO fer shure. And 'hit-and-miss'? I feel ya, brotha! :boogiedow And medium-complex is plenty complex for me.

I will say that RH's 3-Part nodal series has helped this syndrome a lot, so there's that. (Although he loses me when he constructs a Full Adder mechanism using nodes....) So I highly recommend them.


When you get as old as me, there is no remembering, only learning. :D
This too. :cry:

jeric_synergy
11-14-2012, 12:27 PM
....its the effort in producing such a document... I hate to sound like Im having a go... cos Im truly not... but I think you are SO far away from ANY comprehension of the scale of the task that would be creating such a document, including... keeping it up to date.
RH, my contention is (and has been): a great amount of the effort and cost of such dox is already expended, in the form of the current dox.

BUT, there are always omissions and errata. Always.

By allowing users to add to and correct the existing dox, sweated over and paid for, NewTek could have better dox, at the price of one full-time staffer to moderate the contributions, plus the wiki-like infrastructure.

There's already a tide of incremental additions to the dox: THIS FORUM. Unfortunately, it doesn't improve the centralized dox, so it doesn't cumulatively help the users, especially newbies. You talk about the labor involved, but everyday users such as yourself put plenty of labor into the dox, which is then whisked away down the memory hole of the internet, only unearthed by assiduous googling. What if that labor were SAVED and incorporated into the official, centralized, constantly evolving documentation?

jrjohannes
11-14-2012, 12:29 PM
"Advanced" may be the operative word here:

Sorry, but my puny brain is not good on this kind of flow chart, until I already understand the subject. Then it may fill in gaps, or help general understanding, but (for me at least) it's not very helpful until I already have a basic understanding of the subject. The first time I looked at it, I was lost. The second time I looked at it, I got most of what it was saying, but at that point realized that I understood it only because I've been working in Modeler for quite a few years. For me at least, I doubt it would have helped me at all back when I was first introduced to Modeler.

Try this: There are 3 bugs on an imaginary world (1 Grasshopper, and 2 kinds of Spiders)
A new person to this world picks one up and wants to know what to call it. You give him this KEY:

109150

It requires some prior knowledge but only basic common knowledge to come to a conclusion.
Easy!

jrjohannes
11-14-2012, 12:46 PM
RH, my contention is (and has been): a great amount of the effort and cost of such dox is already expended, in the form of the current dox.

BUT, there are always omissions and errata. Always.

By allowing users to add to and correct the existing dox, sweated over and paid for, NewTek could have better dox, at the price of one full-time staffer to moderate the contributions, plus the wiki-like infrastructure.

There's already a tide of incremental additions to the dox: THIS FORUM. Unfortunately, it doesn't improve the centralized dox, so it doesn't cumulatively help the users, especially newbies. You talk about the labor involved, but everyday users such as yourself put plenty of labor into the dox, which is then whisked away down the memory hole of the internet, only unearthed by assiduous googling. What if that labor were SAVED and incorporated into the official, centralized, constantly evolving documentation?

So... If NewTek put out a DHTML MOCK-UP-INTERFACE (NO TOOL/GEOMETRY FUNCTIONALITY [No Messing with Code etc...] just absolute interface elements configuration) of there new versions of Modeler, people could submit there "snap-shots"/files (DHTML = VERY SMALL) of the way they see it. It would save screen shots, tons of typing and NewTek work!!!!

It's a simple Kindergarten exercise called SHOW & TELL. How much do we SHOW vs. TELL?

The advanced-level(s) of my idea would be there!

RebelHill
11-14-2012, 12:58 PM
By allowing users to add to and correct the existing dox, sweated over and paid for, NewTek could have better dox, at the price of one full-time staffer to moderate the contributions, plus the wiki-like infrastructure.

If one is to avoid the too many cooks make crappy broth scenario, then you still need an oversight person/persons and a sense of overall structure and what manner of information ought, or ought not be included. Its that or a god awful mess that neither noob nor pro can make any sense of, and to have that structure and oversight comes right back to the previous mentioned issues of scale, plus the practice of how you need to document a tool, rather than try to teach a craft.

jrjohannes
11-14-2012, 01:11 PM
If one is to avoid the too many cooks make crappy broth scenario, then you still need an oversight person/persons and a sense of overall structure and what manner of information ought, or ought not be included. Its that or a god awful mess that neither noob nor pro can make any sense of, and to have that structure and oversight comes right back to the previous mentioned issues of scale, plus the practice of how you need to document a tool, rather than try to teach a craft.

NewTek should always make the Base-Broth but a wiki-like infrastructure (good system of contributions) allows individuals to be the spice(s)! If more than half-a-dozen spices make crappy broth, then the individual users become the molecules and so on.

jeric_synergy
11-14-2012, 02:05 PM
The full-time staffer is there to impose consistency and order on the presentation. It's not a free-for-all.

For example: I recall there was a bit of confusion over two flavors of MDD-- the basic kind, and a variation that could be applied to multiple objects (or something like that). If memory serves, this was omitted from the manual. If the notional staffer sees this, or has it called to his/her attention, s/he can add the information to the MDD section, following the format that already exists.

In an ideal world, it would be a lovely cut&paste job, but let's assume some light editing. WALLAGH! Omission solved, EVERYBODY gets updated, and the next noob doesn't have to hunt for the info all over hell's half-acre. A link gets inserted back to the appropriate discussion, wherever it might be (here, Liberty3D, SQ), so that the Official Centralized Manual doesn't get junky with related, interesting, but off-point verbiage.

WORST CASE: the staffer merely adds a comment and a link:

"A variant of MDD exists to address multiple objects simultaneously-- follow this link."

Not great, but better than nothing.

jrjohannes
11-14-2012, 02:56 PM
Definitely better than nothing!

And that's very similar to what I'm proposing for information about the anomalies like Show Origin dependent on Show Grid being unchecked first.

"The Show Origin Option is located here by default: (Top_Toolbr > Edit > Display_Options > Layout Tab)
and is only visible when Show Grid is Unchecked or OFF."

How hard is that?

UnCommonGrafx
11-14-2012, 03:00 PM
Um...
Isn't that a wiki?
Heck, I truly believe that many a book has been written about lw based on scouring the forums for great lil'nuggets.
And, like you on the below though, I believe that NT could help themselves, and us, by providing a wiki tool.

The LWWiki is GREAT, mind you, but if NT Hosted it, it would IMMEDIATELY get better. What better place to host the manual?


It would save screen shots, tons of typing and NewTek work!!!!

It's a simple Kindergarten exercise called SHOW & TELL. How much do we SHOW vs. TELL?

The advanced-level(s) of my idea would be there!

Et voila, you have the beginning of your tool.

jeric_synergy
11-14-2012, 03:19 PM
Um...
Isn't that a wiki?
Pretty much. But heavily, professionally moderated.


And, like you on the below though, I believe that NT could help themselves, and us, by providing a wiki tool.

The LWWiki is GREAT, mind you, but if NT Hosted it, it would IMMEDIATELY get better. What better place to host the manual?
LightWIKI is great, fantastic articles there, but it's more of a quality magazine than strictly a wiki.

I've been pitching this concept to NewTek for a long time. IMO the knowledgable paid moderator is what would make it viable.

jrjohannes
11-14-2012, 05:49 PM
Try this: There are 3 bugs on an imaginary world (1 Grasshopper, and 2 kinds of Spiders)
A new person to this world picks one up and wants to know what to call it. You give him this KEY:

109150

It requires some prior knowledge but only basic common knowledge to come to a conclusion.
Easy!

Here is a Modeler Globals KEY on a free web based mind map creation tool:

109151

And so you see! It's not about the form the "KEY" comes in, it's the "setting of the term Globals in stone" at least for use in Modelers Interface. Which in turn gives LOGICAL places for options to be located as opposed to a long arbitrary list at the bottom of the Display Options Panel.

meshpig
11-14-2012, 11:33 PM
I will relate this. My first class on Photoshop. The teacher was heavily focused on the tools. In fact our first test in the class was just on the toolbar. Name all the icons and their keyboard shortcut. Nothing about what the tools do. I think everyone in the class failed the test, AND we learned nothing about using Photoshop up to that point. This teacher was relieved from duty and then we started learning. Now Photoshop is not even as complicated as a 3D application, so a surface-level introduction will teach someone about the basics of a 3D application generally, but they won't be able to sit down and use any application. There are books like that now so no matter how you classify or categorize I don't see this as a new concept.

I still think this discussion is interesting but at this point it's not moving forward. I don't think we're going to see much change in the way we learn 3D until the UI has such a giant leap that it requires us to think differently about creating 3D.

Here's an example: Final Cut Pro X. The UI is different enough that you have to change the way you think about editing video.

Institutional learning is problematic... what you find if you go teaching is there's no correlation between what you know and how you know it and what you end up imparting. Nothing against teachers but...

jrjohannes
11-15-2012, 06:18 AM
Institutional learning is problematic... what you find if you go teaching is there's no correlation between what you know and how you know it and what you end up imparting. Nothing against teachers but...

It's the people you meet and network with in an Institution that makes the experience valuable. And while an individual can learn almost anything on their own, an institution offers many resources in one place. Saving you time. Basically, an Institution has the (Experience/Knowledge:teachers and Technology) most individuals do not.

In response to the fact that my idea is not a new concept:
Well, not if you think of it as just re-categorizing. The "NEW-PART" of the concept is (and it shouldn't be) SOLVING A PROBLEM YOURSELF and not waiting for NewTek to build you a personal Interface by this time tomorrow!

Respectfully,
Jason

jasonwestmas
11-16-2012, 07:29 AM
Or just use another app with another UI that fits your workflow better. *Ducks*. To be fair, the LW UI works well for many things and it's far more organized these days. I like tabs more than dropdowns, messiah is like that too and it works well for me. Hotboxes with dropdown trees is kinda meh imo, or maybe it's just the way they were designed that's bad ime. Overall I'd have a much more enjoyable exprience animating in lightwave if the timeline was more flexible and functional. Well actually that's a bigger can of worms than just the timeline. But if I'm not animating a complex rig, then no problem going into the graph editor once in a while.

Bax33
11-16-2012, 09:19 AM
I did not read all 6 pages of this thread, but I thought you were seeking suggestions for perhaps a more efficient way to train artist and improve the learning curve. I think I fall into this category because I have only been using LW about 150 days out of the last year. The only other 3d experience I had was with Bryce. I found lightwave to be extremely complex when trying to learn it on my own using only the manual before finding Willian Vaughn's tutorial videos. So I believe that both training in the tools and project based training are a must. However, I do think that a site outlining what training is necessary to accomplish certain task would greatly reduce the learning curve. As I went through the video tutorials I found myself learning (or at least increasing my knowledge of) things that I didn't need for what I wanted to do. And as my skills increased, I wanted to do more complex things but didn't really know what options I needed to look at learning. But if there was a site outlining the training required to accomplish general tasks or projects, then my learning curve would have been reduced. Let me try to give an example or two:

Architectural modeling (buildings) training required:
Create boxes tutorial
Boolean tool tutorial
Knife tool tutorial
etc.

Creating/Animating Water (ponds, lakes, oceans) training required
Creating Box tutorial
Creating Disc tutorial
Displacement tutorial
Key frame tutorial
Hypervoxel tutorial
etc.

Texturing Buildings:
UV mapping tutorial
Normal maps tutorial
Node tutorial
etc.

I realize you can't cover everything but having something like this would have been very valuable to me. So much time was wasted viewing training that really didn't help me with what I wanted to do. And if these were links to the tutorial listed, it would be even better. And because there is more than one way to do something, go ahead and list all the tutorials (tool types and project types) available for all the different ways it can be done. Let the artist determine which one to use or try.

Well, that's my 2 cents. I hope I conveyed my idea clearly. Thanks for listening to my suggestion.

jrjohannes
11-16-2012, 01:41 PM
I did not read all 6 pages of this thread, but I thought you were seeking suggestions for perhaps a more efficient way to train artist and improve the learning curve. I think I fall into this category because I have only been using LW about 150 days out of the last year. The only other 3d experience I had was with Bryce. I found lightwave to be extremely complex when trying to learn it on my own using only the manual before finding Willian Vaughn's tutorial videos. So I believe that both training in the tools and project based training are a must. However, I do think that a site outlining what training is necessary to accomplish certain task would greatly reduce the learning curve. As I went through the video tutorials I found myself learning (or at least increasing my knowledge of) things that I didn't need for what I wanted to do. And as my skills increased, I wanted to do more complex things but didn't really know what options I needed to look at learning. But if there was a site outlining the training required to accomplish general tasks or projects, then my learning curve would have been reduced. Let me try to give an example or two:


Both the title of the thread and my first description of what I'm working on were NOT clear. But throwing your idea into the forum lets people add to it and that's important!

jrjohannes
11-16-2012, 01:47 PM
RH, my contention is (and has been): a great amount of the effort and cost of such dox is already expended, in the form of the current dox.

BUT, there are always omissions and errata. Always.

By allowing users to add to and correct the existing dox, sweated over and paid for, NewTek could have better dox, at the price of one full-time staffer to moderate the contributions, plus the wiki-like infrastructure.

There's already a tide of incremental additions to the dox: THIS FORUM. Unfortunately, it doesn't improve the centralized dox, so it doesn't cumulatively help the users, especially newbies. You talk about the labor involved, but everyday users such as yourself put plenty of labor into the dox, which is then whisked away down the memory hole of the internet, only unearthed by assiduous googling. What if that labor were SAVED and incorporated into the official, centralized, constantly evolving documentation?

I'm with jeric. In fact, it ties in well with what I'm trying to say with this thread. In reality this thread has much more cumulative value than some of the others. For instance, I know NOW that my idea could be a single function of a wiki! I'll correct what I meant originally in an upcoming post.... soon!

Thanks, jeric

jrjohannes
11-16-2012, 02:03 PM
I glanced at your "key" and it reminds me of what an old marketing warrior I know always used to say: express the "causal connections" as quickly as possible. Example: in the various views of an object in Modeler, when you make a change in one view, it is reflected in all views. Humans learn these very simple concepts by experimenting with the software, but it's nice to have them expressed succinctly as well.


What I was trying to propose was: A simple two page handout that comes with a training video. It addresses CAUSAL INTERFACE CONNECTIONS and works as a REVERSE-LOOKUP guide to resuorces for noobs. It attempts to do more than that... but, let's start with reverse interface resources lookup guide.

Start the training video by presenting causal connections around the interface instead of trying to explain the interface with a full project loaded up or getting into the individual tools.

In digital form, causal links and anomalies could be added by others. It could be cumulative. Hmm... I smell wiki feature.

jeric_synergy
11-16-2012, 02:19 PM
I'm with jeric. In fact, it ties in well with what I'm trying to say with this thread. In reality this thread has much more cumulative value than some of the others. For instance, I know NOW that my idea could be a single function of a wiki! I'll correct what I meant originally in an upcoming post.... soon!
Thanks, jeric
I dont think this should be a volunteer effort: IMO NewTek should PAY someone to do this.

Some semi-knowledgeable user with a lot of time on his hands. Hey, wait...! ;)

jrjohannes
11-16-2012, 02:27 PM
I dont think this should be a volunteer effort: IMO NewTek should PAY someone to do this.

Some semi-knowledgeable user with a lot of time on his hands. Hey, wait...! ;)

Most of what I've created is known to all but NEW users. A full wiki-like resource...? Doesn't the ol' saying go: If you want it done and done "right," do it yourself.

jeric_synergy
11-16-2012, 02:48 PM
Most of what I've created is known to all but NEW users. A full wiki-like resource...? Doesn't the ol' saying go: If you want it done and done "right," do it yourself.
If someone wants to pay me to do it myself, that would be acceptable. :D

jrjohannes
11-16-2012, 02:57 PM
Synergy is more accurately multiple things working together to do something unachievable alone... its more akin to "partnership"... Greater than the sum of it parts would be a "geshtalt" (possible poor spelling, my Germans not that great).

Now that may seem like being a pedant... but getting urself ever so slightly incorrect ideas, or definitions of terms when trying to wrangle something like a 3D app really WILL get in your way, which is precisely why this airy fairy idea of somehow teching folks more, or better by removing detail just aint gonna fly Im afraid.

This "airy fairy" idea is working all over the place! It's called AMPLIFICATION via SIMPLIFICATION.