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robcat2075
This is still in the larval stage. It's not in a great sequence yet and there are awkward overlaps and ommissions... but we'll call this

chapter list v0.01



Quickstart
: Lathe a vase.
-concepts: CPs, splines, patches, contour modeling, basic interface navigation.
-assignment: Lathe 3 more models of simple things in your home. (examples: dinner plate, drinking cup, sewing spool...)

Rocket Launch
:
-concepts: using lathed parts, duplicator wizard, sweeper, path constraint, ease, simple channel edit. Extra credit: terrain wizard.
-assignment: make spaceship fly in and land instead of taking off.

Mechanical modeling
: Robot

Simplest rig
: Rig the Robot. Learn bones, basic constraints

Keyframing basics: robot jumps over a box

Materials: texture the robot?

Simple face construction and rig: Candelaire

dialog exercise: speak short phrase with Candelaire using drop on poses.

Whole body animal
: Giraffe or Dinosaur

CP Weighting: Rigging and weighting the Giraffe or Dinosaur.

Walk cycle: If the dinosaur were a biped like a tyrannosaurus...

Rendering: formats, codecs, NetRender

More complex organic modeling
: some humanoid character

Installing a Premade rig: possibly on the humanoid character

Lighting: 3 point, daytime, nighttime, AO



This exceeds my initial budget of 14 tuts, of course.


Discuss any obvious outrages...





Rodney
Looks like the revised TaoA:M is shaping up!
It looks like a good list to me.

There are two things that popped into my head while reading the list (additional details to cover... nothing outrageous)

Perhaps the first lesson on your list could be 'Lathing and Extruding' or simply 'Modeling' rather than just Lathing.
The idea being to demonstrate right out the gate there can be different ways to approach things in A:M.
For instance, after the initial lesson the same thing might be ran through again but this time only lathing the base of the shape.
Then by extruding upward the rest of the vase would be shaped.
Then with Lesson 2 you further demonstrate that general 'consider all of the tools at your disposal' premise.

The second thing I would emphasize right off the bat would be the importance of Named Groups.
This is a lesson that often gets missed with newbies and it leaves them lost later.
Perhaps the vase could be demo'd to have a Bottom, Middle and Top and textures added ala Greg Rostami's demo.
The importance of Names Groups cannot be overstated.

The first lesson might very roughly touch upon all of the subsequent lessons just enough to let the student know they are there. The student could then retreat and apply any new lesson learned to those basic shapes (very useful for instance in testing out Materials). This may keep graduates of TaoA:M from getting lost in complexity later.

...and I should say... is there really a choice between a Giraffe and a Dinosaur? I say Dinosaur all the way!
(providing access to a variety of pre-made animals to study and then having the student proceed with a Dinosaur might be ideal)
Perhaps we can have a contest like your Terrain Wiz contest and come up with several animal modeling tutorials for students to choose from.
Sounds like good fun either way.

Added: The thought strikes me that all along the way the students are going to want to render what they've made. Perhaps each lesson could be somewhat progressive in nature from simple rendering to the grand finale OMG! complex. The emphasis being on keeping test renderings simple. Just enough to measure success.

I am reminded here of a project I had hoped to launch regarding the TaoA:M certificates. The idea was that as each lesson was rendered an image in a generic certificate would be replaced. When done with all of the lessons the student would have their final certificate. Yes, it was a crazy idea but it's crazy enough to work with a little HTML, .JPG and/or .PNG. The extended version of this idea dovetailed into what I termed Lendering (a feature request that was never made) that would have had A:M spitting out the framework html.

If we take Rendering and fold that back into each Lesson and then make the first Lesson an Intro I think that leaves us with 13... Hey, you owe us one more Chapter! biggrin.gif
MJL
Great Chapter list, Rob. I was wondering if in the materials section, when texturing the robot, (great idea, everybody loves a robot) could there be a subsection on using decals (color, bump,etc.) to texture with?
Just my $.02. biggrin.gif

EDIT: Just reread Rodney's post, maybe the decal texturing could be done with the vase section.
robcat2075
QUOTE
Perhaps the first lesson on your list could be 'Lathing and Extruding' or simply 'Modeling' rather than just Lathing.
The idea being to demonstrate right out the gate there can be different ways to approach things in A:M.


Your mention of extruding makes me recall that the FW-190 fighter plane tut in TAoA:M is all about extruding and might be a very apropo follow up to the all-lathed Spaceship. It also introduces using a rotoscope to model and applying decals.

QUOTE
Added: The thought strikes me that all along the way the students are going to want to render what they've made. Perhaps each lesson could be somewhat progressive in nature from simple rendering to the grand finale OMG! complex.


I was thinking of having them load render pre-sets until we got to a "render" chapter, but explaining it progressively might be better and would save a chapter.



My v0.01 list departed from my goal concentrating on Model>Rig>Animate so I'll need to rethink that.

A budget of 14 tuts is going to be tight. Current TAoA:M has 20. Maybe the first 14 tuts get them well versed in Model>Rig>Animate and then 7 more are optional but more fully cover the TD things like lighting, decals, materials, simulations, dynamics... things that are only touched on as needed in the first 14 tuts.


QUOTE
Great Chapter list, Rob. I was wondering if in the materials section, when texturing the robot, (great idea, everybody loves a robot) could there be a subsection on using decals (color, bump,etc.) to texture with?
I definitely want to cover this. One problem is... do they have a paint program and which one is it?

Rodney
QUOTE
I definitely want to cover this. One problem is... do they have a paint program and which one is it?


Hmmm... This would add to your chapter list budget but..

I've often thought that any newbie tutorial specifying use of a Decal could benefit from having the student use A:M to create those decals.
For instance, creating flat 2D shapes to form a rocket and using the Font Wizard to create text.
Then this image would be rendered out with an Alpha Channel set to on and applied as a decal.

Perhaps more complicated than necessary but this would teach the student how to model and render really basic images quickly, use the Font Wizard and hint at the power of Alpha Channels. Something for consideration.
The logo here was created quickly using the Font Wizard, Lathing, Extruding and Distortion Mode (to rotate/realign the lettering). It is a completely 2D logo with seperate elements pushed forward/back so that they properly render. I used a screen grab from your spaceship movie as a rotoscope to draw the spaceship. The students could probably just render the spaceship. The top image demonstrates the effect of the PNG transparency created by the Alpha Channel.

Rodney
Sorry for the Off Topic but I couldn't resist.

Night Operations. (Cranking up the Ambiance of the logo after applying it to spaceship). smile.gif


Of course the logo could be just about anything... (Rabbit didn't want to get left out of the new revision because it has cool spaceships!)



I also added a sped up video capture of the process of putting together the Rabbit Logo. If may be a bit hard to follow at times because I redo several steps in order to find better approaches.
robcat2075
Good "nose art"!

I think we would still need to cover some sort of paint program workflow, however, just to fix that in their mind since a paint program would be the most typical way to create decals.


It needs to be a paint program that allows alpha channel editing.

Any nominations?
Rodney
QUOTE
Any nominations?


I suspect the most popular will be GIMP
(GNU/Linux (i386, PPC)
Microsoft Windows (XP, Vista), Mac OS X, Sun OpenSolaris, FreeBSD

followed closely by

Inkscape (Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X).

As far as online cross platform programs (java) Sumo Paint is very straightforward (Note: It has both free and Pro versions) and has layering with transparency which is useful in texturing. Like most online paint programs you can paint on the Model's texture image in a browser window, save and then see the updates in A:M's window when you refresh the program. Launch Sumo Paint in a browser HERE.

For ease of use I would nomiate Sumo Paint. For features... GIMP. For hidden/unique features Inkscape.
Alternatives: There are a whole lot of graphics programs out there and they do (more or less) the same thing. For a whole suite of online tools users should check out Aviary. They seem to have some sticking power and a developmental vision for the future. For instance they are one of the few that has a Sound Editor and Image Markup tools. You do have to login/register in order to save most files which will be too restricting for some users.

All support Alpha Channels in some form or fashion with the common standard between them all being .PNG.
bubba
Inkscape is a good choice. And since it can export .svg files, maybe A:M could begin to import them? (Sorry if this is somewhat off topic.)
phatso
No reason you can't just start with the plain old bitmap paint program and then revisit the subject. It's primitive, but everybody's got it, and beginning students are at a primitive level. Alphas can come later.

Why a chapter budget? Are you thinking of this as a hardcopy book?

Rob, I bent your ear about this when I was in Dallas, so apologies for repeating it, but I want to lay this out so everybody else can think about it. Everybody has a few things they won't shut up about, this is one of mine. Long post, wanna do the whole stump speech all at once and then I'll give it a rest.

Basic premise: textbooks are obsolete.

My home town is a little burg in the middle of Minnesota, 12,000 people, in flyover country. The local school district does not buy print textbooks. This is hardly New York or LA; if that's what's going on here, it ought to tell you where things are going.

Emedia has so many advantages, and frees you from so many print book constraints, that it's probably stupid to try to make a list off the top of my head. I should spend some time and compile a list. I am currently producing a series of ebooks using plain old Paint for the simple 2D graphics and A:M for all the 3D ones. If we were sitting in a restaurant eating pizza (pizza's on my mind right now) and you told me you were planning a new TAoA:M in hardcopy, I'd look at you like you were crazy and ask you why on Earth you would choose a format that:

> commits you to considerable up-front printing costs, which you will only recover over time and may never recover, as opposed to one where the physical media cost is zero?

> requires you to decide quantities in advance, guessing at the potential market, instead of one where quantity is irrelevant?

> forces you to create an animation course that cannot include animations?

> teaches about syncing animation with sound but cannot include sound?

> financially penalizes you for every added illustration, every use of color, every added line of text, as if punishing you for doing a thorough job?

> forces you to think in terms of 16-page booklets for binding purposes, instead of letting the material dictate the size?

> requires you to lay the material out in a set page size, routinely forcing separation of illustrations and explanatory text onto different pages, instead of HTML where you can keep a picture on the screen and scroll the text next to it?

> entails a chapter budget at all?

> makes updating expensive and difficult, as opposed to a format where errata can be corrected and a new version distributed immediately?

> does not permit you to work in a video format, where you could do narration while showing the student what to do click by click? (I've heard this called a "vook" - a video book.)

> does not permit you to add new chapters whenever you feel like it?

> does not permit esoteric and highly detailed material to be pulled out of the main text and made accessable by links, so the book can be 200 pages for one student and 1,000 pages for another, however much detail is appropriate for each student? (A lot like 1:1 tutoring.)

...and so on. After working in emedia, I think of someone working in hardcopy like the mime who's trapped in an invisible box, and maybe doesn't even know it. There must be fifty constraints that you're not even aware of until you start working electronically. Speaking from my own experience, the hardest part is freeing one's mind from limiting habits.

And a print book on computer animation, which is inherently electronic? A print book on ancient Rome or Shakespeare, maybe, but in 2011 a print book on a computer-based technology seems as incongruous as a book about cooking meat written by a vegetarian. TAoA:M, or whatever, ought to be an advertisement and example of A:M and computer animation. You know that highly polished and persuasive dog and pony show Hash puts on at conventions? TAoA:M should look like that. I can't think of anything to get students' juices flowing more than, "Look at this spiffy animation, and then we'll show you how you can do one like it."

I don't know about your experience, but I found the A:M learning curve steep - and the competition's learning curve impossible. The interface is NOT intuitive; there's no way a program with this many capabilities can be. I have long believed that A:M as a program has reached such a level of sophistication that the most promising avenue to wider acceptance is not enhancements to the program but enhancements to the available instructional material. Rob has talked about spending ten years working with it constantly. Does that translate into an A:M "installed cost" of a quarter million dollars? What if there were instructional material so thorough and efficient that it could cut that time by 75%? But print could never do that cost-effectively; it would take 5,000 pages. Emedia can do 5,000 pages, developed gradually over years, with no strain.

Question: instead of a new TAoA:M, how about a new version of David Rogers' book?
Answer: too big a project to bite off all at once.
Question: why all at once, when if done electronically, it could start ToA:M size and grow chapter by chapter?
Answer: this sounds like your old idea of a monthly A:M periodical, with a subscription.
Question: why carry the distinction between book and periodical, a print concept, over to emedia? Free your mind. The appropriate form for emedia is a hybrid book/magazine/video/reference library. A book, in that the core is written and published all at once; a magazine, in that it's expanded month by month; a library, in that - unlike the ephemera of a magazine - it accumulates into a continuously useful body of knowledge. Maybe a "vookazinebrary." Essentially, the Forum, but structured and edited. Speaking from experience, the Forum is a vast, mysterious sea for the beginner who needs structured guidance.

I wouldn't claim that dumping print has no downside. I've never seen a change, no matter how much gained, where there isn't also something lost. But if the gain far outweighs the loss, you go for it. Also keep in mind that you want this stuff to have an extended shelf life, which means we should be thinking of how today's junior high school students are going to be accustomed to learning when they reach adulthood. They do homework on their phones. Those who want print can print out the ebook, probably for less than what it costs Hash to do TAoA:M. Actually, not print the whole ebook, just the parts they choose to print. Or a distilled summary that comes with the ebook. Chalk up another advantage.

A few comments on the proposed chapters - TAoA:M doesn't get into modeling until later, preferring to emphasize the point that students can take premade figures and animate immediately. Shades of DAZ? Anyway, is going to modeling immediately a deliberate shift? Just asking. (A magazine format would facilitate parallel development of many threads. Also provide continuing revenue. Maybe the first 6 months free with A:M, then $5 a month.)

I would vote for chapter 1 to be a detailed explanation of the PWS etc. Every button, every function, especially the context-menu ones. Any teacher (any good one) will tell you the hardest part of teaching is remembering how little the beginner knows. I'm quite sure I'm using A:M stupidly in a hundred ways, because I had to work out procedures that weren't covered in TAoA:M, the tech reference, or Rogers. That's a testament to how rich A:M is, but people shouldn't have to buy the program and then hack it.

I have donned my armor; let the counterattack begin.
robcat2075
QUOTE
Why a chapter budget? Are you thinking of this as a hardcopy book?


I think there's an aversion to a large number of lessons. If we can make it seem like a do-able undertaking more people will try it.


Ideally all of the tuts will have a video version and a pdf version, suitable for printing if they want.

I like having a print version of tutorials because you don't have to keep hitting pause and play when you are following along and doing the tasks yourself also.

I think video tutorials are really demonstrations, they have the downside of getting watched but not done.


QUOTE
Anyway, is going to modeling immediately a deliberate shift?


It's not an accident, but the plan is not...


modeling modeling modeling modeling modeling rigging rigging rigging rigging rigging animation animation animation animation animation

it's more like...

modeling rigging animation modeling rigging animation modeling rigging animation modeling rigging animation modeling rigging animation


Everything that gets modeled gets rigged (might just be one bone to start) and then gets animated and the complexity ramps up with every cycle.

That's my goal.
dblhelix
(interpretatation key: blurting)

sounds like

guy fest. this is probably raining ugly on the parade, but - rocket launch, robot, candle?
while i find the complexity and order of subjects wonderfully realistic, overdue even,
you need a humanoid in motion/posed as a part-headliner just to spark up the x-genes.

plus it's possible to make a showreel with one ready-made rabbit, for instance.
groups are a must, as someone already said - you want to customize your rabbit first,
so you need to understand groups and hierarchies. how to change colors, or the apparent
material on the rabbit's sweater. this sounds like a chapter 1B, like an introduction to pws.

decals follow suit;
(how to make an image in the front of the sweater?)
don't leave out alphas. explain how they work in a:m, what they look like in pws, how they
react to hierarchies, how to manipulate=troubleshoot, and leave the choice of application
to the customer, to learn alphas in their respective program in the respective site. (still
sounds like introducing pws?)

posing should come early, maybe as an introduction to a rig, before making a rig;
naming names, showing the user properties, the balance and how and why to turn it off.
explain that there are different rigs in the library.
(the simplest constrain excercise could be how he has a beanie in his hand and puts it on
his head.)

isn't this already (at least partly) done btw? do bake it into this new order, make it part of
the new and improved dazzle in an including manner. there could be a suggested, clickable
study route - "if you want to pose/animate a ready-made, read 1B - 2A - 5A".

core idea in the above:
show empaths the way in at first glance.

if there's going to be rendering, explain the included shaders please? an image gallery
with a brief description PS style would suffice.
Rodney
COUNTERATTACK!!! In three parts. wink.gif

Part I

Thanks for the feedback. The TaoA:M revision will be better because of the feedback.
No need for armor here. (but it gets more comfortable the longer you wear it) smile.gif

QUOTE
No reason you can't just start with the plain old bitmap paint program and then revisit the subject. It's primitive, but everybody's got it, and beginning students are at a primitive level. Alphas can come later.


This is possible but also limiting. The basic paint programs that come with operating systems tend not to have capability to save transparencies. This is something an animator (especially one intent on creating their own short film) should be exposed to early and often.

QUOTE
Why a chapter budget? Are you thinking of this as a hardcopy book?


I think much of your response is based on seeing this as a hard copybook.
While it perhaps will be available in hardcopy that isn't it's primary form.

Regarding the budget, you may just be getting confused with our use of the term.
Everything has a budget. The chapter budget is mostly just a tool used to plan the revision. Thinking in terms of budgeting time more than dollars here. A project needs to have a beginning and an ending for the person managing it. For live texts that (theoretically) never end, this budget is generally consists of the framework which others will add to and change. The budget is the minimal/essential requirements of that plan. TaoA:M is not currently oriented in the way of a wiki but more of a effort to update and refresh the lessons in TaoA:M. In this sense the format is largely irrelevant, pliable and adaptable. It could be a number of things but it's the content that primarily counts. In order to be beneficial that basic content must be manageable.

QUOTE
Basic premise: textbooks are obsolete.
Emedia has so many advantages...


No argument there concerning textbooks but remember... TaoA:M is not strickly a textbook and hasn't been for years.
For the record, I find the primary reason to embrace Emedia to be the automated search capability which (the last time I checked) is impossible to achieve with printed text.
As long as a printed manual remains an option this constitutes not an 'either/or' but an 'also/and'.

Textbooks are not going obsolete only because of digital's advantage. As much as I'd like to think it's a practical matter, cost remains the primary factor.
People expectation is free and they negotiate from that vantage point. (In the digital age they have a means to leverage their advantage)

QUOTE
> commits you to considerable up-front printing costs
QUOTE
as opposed to one where the physical media cost is zero?


...and here we have the other side of the cost factor. The first was with regard to the end user (teacher, student). Now we can look at it from the publisher's standpoint.

Print on demand seems to be the most likely recourse for procuring books as physical assets. This works especially well because it is the consumer who determines the value they are willing to place upon the physical nature of the asset. If the cost is too high or the desire compelling enough they may opt for the less costly and more accessible digital asset.

QUOTE
> requires you to decide quantities in advance, guessing at the potential market, instead of one where quantity is irrelevant?


While the trend is certainly away from textbooks people still like physical assets they just don't want or need them all to be physical assets.
When purchasing a product in person, they are more likely to want the physical product, so it's good to have some available assets.
Consider for instance the Hash Inc boys plugging away at Comic Con. "Thanks kid, there's your CD... and here... have a manual."
While this may seem trivial, there is value added in the form of that physical asset.
Online purchasing is different. Unless people are specifically wanting to add to a personal collection (TShirts, books, memorabilia, whatever) they aren't as likely to be as interested in those physical assets. The physical product is a tactile and experiential form you take with you.

Most publishers have embraced Lean Management principles (maintaining less inventory, producing less waste, etc.) Print on demand is an answer to that and provides the exception for those who project longer term planning.

As an artist/animator touring from convention to convention or demonstrating at a school or library it'll make good sense to have some physical assets on hand. It's these niche products (signed books, limited print runs that provide a personal touch and something that can be taken from the experience with you to later refer back to. My view on this is that failure to do this will be resounding and everlasting; a missed opportunity. I don't think TaoA:M is quite this personal but it can be once you've personalized it.

QUOTE
> forces you to create an animation course that cannot include animations?


TaoA:M hasn't been strickly a physical book for many years now so I think we can agree the point here is largely moot.
Your challenge seems to be to leverage the technology that wasn't available to us when TaoA:M was first produced.
the release of some significant technology.

For instance, did you know that attachments can be embedded in PDFs?
Rodney
Part II

The following are very good points you've raised and I've extracted them into suggested requirements that illustrate the opportunities rather than arguments against the old ways:

QUOTE
- Sync animation with sound and include the sound files
- Add lots of illustrations, color and text
- Think outside the limits of 16-page booklets and bound volumes. Let the material dictate.
- Free layout of material from set page sizes
- Allow separate illustrations and explanatory text on the same page with HTML keeping a picture on the screen while text scrolls can be scrolled next to it
- Open the chapter budget, save expenses and reduce difficulty through use a format with errata/corrections allowing new versions to distributed immediately
- Allow for video formats, where students follow narration showing the student what to do click by click by click (Ref: "vook" - a video book.)
- Allow new chapters to be added whenever you feel like it
- Allow esoteric and highly detailed material to be pulled out of the main text and made accessable by links, so the book can be 200 pages for one student and 1,000 pages for another
- Let the student determine the level of appropriate detail (1:1 tutoring)


QUOTE
Someone working in hardcopy is like the mime trapped in an invisible box, who may not even know it. There must be fifty constraints that you're not even aware of until you start working electronically. Speaking from my own experience, the hardest part is freeing one's mind from limiting habits.


Box? What box?
We are all constrained. There are an infinite number of constraints. If you've got them narrowed down to fifty that's great.
As you are now doing, please continue suggesting changes to the budget to help us adjust and overcome those constraints.

QUOTE
A print book on computer animation, which is inherently electronic?


What can I say, I like books. I have thousands in both digital and physical form and I find more every day.
Emedia and the printed page are similar in that neither will finish evolving later today.

QUOTE
TAoA:M ought to be an advertisement; an example of A:M and computer animation.
You know that highly polished and persuasive dog and pony show Hash puts on at conventions? TAoA:M should look like that.
I can't think of anything to get students' juices flowing more than, "Look at this spiffy animation, and then we'll show you how you can do one like it."


For those who purchase (and this is an important distinction because as hard as it is to believe, some folks do walk away) getting the printed manual is all part and parcel of attending the show. It's value added to the experience and as a manual presents a target-filled plan. I liken this to the movie books you can purchase at theaters here in Japan. They let me take the experience with me and look a little deeper. If I want to learn more I login to the computer at home and make a connection.

Rodney
Part III

Back into editing mode here for me as you've now ventured into the realm of perspectives and criticisms:

QUOTE
- The A:M learning curve steep - and the competition's learning curve impossible (debatable)
- The interface is NOT intuitive; there's no way a program with this many capabilities can be. (debatable)
- A:M as a program has reached such a level of sophistication the most promising avenue to wider acceptance is not enhancements to the program but enhancements to the available instructional material. (debatable)
- Rob has talked about spending ten years working with it constantly. Does that translate into an A:M "installed cost" of a quarter million dollars? (Calculable)


QUOTE
What if there were instructional material so thorough and efficient that it could cut that time by 75%? But print could never do that cost-effectively; it would take 5,000 pages. Emedia can do 5,000 pages, developed gradually over years, with no strain.


Agreed. There is an instructional material so thorough and efficient that can cut cost and increase effectiveness.
I don't think it's one product however. It's called the internet.
On the internet you can take a lesson designed for something else and apply it to A:M.
I'd say this averages out to an 80% solution in almost every case.
In the olden days this would have been 'research'.
The remaining 20% would have to have been worked out laboriously anyway.

QUOTE
Question: instead of a new TAoA:M, how about a new version of David Rogers' book?
Answer: too big a project to bite off all at once.


Someone would have to phone David and initiate negotiations.

QUOTE
Question: why all at once, when if done electronically, it could start ToA:M size and grow chapter by chapter?
Answer: this sounds like your old idea of a monthly A:M periodical, with a subscription.


Kind of like what is happening now, right here in this forum area.

QUOTE
Question: why carry the distinction between book and periodical, a print concept, over to emedia? Free your mind. The appropriate form for emedia is a hybrid book/magazine/video/reference library. A book, in that the core is written and published all at once; a magazine, in that it's expanded month by month; a library, in that - unlike the ephemera of a magazine - it accumulates into a continuously useful body of knowledge. Maybe a "vookazinebrary." Essentially, the Forum, but structured and edited. Speaking from experience, the Forum is a vast, mysterious sea for the beginner who needs structured guidance.


It is hard to use what hasn't yet been created or demonstrated.
That the Newbies and TaoA:M areas should be streamlined and structured we can all agree on.
That is why we are here.

QUOTE
I wouldn't claim that dumping print has no downside. I've never seen a change, no matter how much gained, where there isn't also something lost. But if the gain far outweighs the loss, you go for it. Also keep in mind that you want this stuff to have an extended shelf life, which means we should be thinking of how today's junior high school students are going to be accustomed to learning when they reach adulthood. They do homework on their phones. Those who want print can print out the ebook, probably for less than what it costs Hash to do TAoA:M. Actually, not print the whole ebook, just the parts they choose to print. Or a distilled summary that comes with the ebook. Chalk up another advantage.


You've convinced me.

QUOTE
A few comments on the proposed chapters - TAoA:M doesn't get into modeling until later, preferring to emphasize the point that students can take premade figures and animate immediately. Shades of DAZ? Anyway, is going to modeling immediately a deliberate shift? Just asking. (A magazine format would facilitate parallel development of many threads. Also provide continuing revenue. Maybe the first 6 months free with A:M, then $5 a month.)


DAZ is a shade of A:M but... anyway. wink.gif
I've wanted an A:M Digest since I started working with A:M (Hey, I like magazines!). At this time there is neither the required interest or support for such a thing.
Apparently folks that want this kind of thing actually have to say they want them or no one recognizes the need.

Back to editing mode as you are making specific requests:

QUOTE
Chapter 1 should be a detailed explanation of the PWS etc. Every button, every function, especially the context-menu ones.


An explanation of every button and every function in the PWS (you didn't mean to leave out the Menu buttons in Chapter 1 did you?) is what the TaoA:M as a whole goes through in detail. You just prefer it to all covered in Chapter 1. Perhaps we could transform your Chapter 1 into an Index that references/links to applicable chapters, tech references and exercises?

QUOTE
The hardest part of teaching is remembering how little the beginner knows. I'm quite sure I'm using A:M stupidly in a hundred ways, because I had to work out procedures that weren't covered in TAoA:M, the tech reference, or Rogers. That's a testament to how rich A:M is, but people shouldn't have to buy the program and then hack it.


This is so true. We don't know what we don't know and we forget most of what we've learned.
Animation is a hack. There is no getting over that.

Back over to you.
Do not shoot me. I am very obviously unarmed. smile.gif
Rodney
dblhelix posted these so I want to flag them for review and assimilation and repost them so they aren't lost in the recent exchange.
Please use this as a gap analysis tool to see what is getting through in the interpretation:

QUOTE
The complexity and order of subjects is wonderfully realistic and welcome but you need a humanoid in motion/posed as a part-headliner just to spark up the x-genes.


Is that a request for a sexy girl? More specifics are requested please.

QUOTE
It's possible to make a showreel with one ready-made rabbit, for instance.

Recommendations:
- Named Groups are a must
- Customization of characters
- Understanding Groups and Hierarchies
- Determining how to change colors and materials (Ref: Rabbit's sweater)
- Chapter 1B: Introduction to the Project Workspace (PWS).
- Decals (how to add an image to Rabbit's sweater)
- Alpha Channels (How they work, what they look like in PWS, how they react to Hierarchies, Manipulation/Troubleshooting
- Leave choice of image editor to the customer to learn specific Alpha Channel handling in their respective program in the respective site.
(This is all relative to the Introduction of the PWS)

Posing should come early, perhaps as an introduction to a rig prior to creating/installing rig;
Naming (variable?) names, showing the relevant user properties, the change effected and how and why to turn a setting off.
Explain the different rigs in the library.

The simplest constraint exercise might be a Character with a beanie in his hand who then puts it on his head.


I like it!

I'm not sure about all of what follows here. Perhaps you can explain in more detail:
QUOTE
isn't this already (at least partly) done btw? do bake it into this new order, make it part of
the new and improved dazzle in an including manner. there could be a suggested, clickable
study route - "if you want to pose/animate a ready-made, read 1B - 2A - 5A".

core idea in the above:
show empaths the way in at first glance.


QUOTE
For Rendering include the description and application of Shaders.
An image gallery with a brief description (PS style) should suffice.


Makes sense to me.
Any Shader experts out there should submit their consice write up on Shaders for inclusion in ToaA:M.
We could write a whole other book on Shaders.

Thanks for the feedback! smile.gif
robcat2075
Random thoughts...

-The value of TAoA:M is that it gets the new user's feet wet in the various things that A:M does. The down side is that they think it's "the manual" and that's all there is.

-The Tech Ref is a manual and covers all except some very new features, but new users seem not to refer to it at all. Everything that the above commenters have said isn't covered enough in TAoA:M is covered in the Tech Ref.

- Something I want to do in New TAoA:M is tie in TechRef more. At the end of every chapter I'd want to mention "The Tech Ref covers this in more detail beginning on page...)

-The Tech Ref is in need of updating to include new and revised features and to correct some out-of-date screen captures.


-Comparison of Maya introductory book and A:M introductory book:

Click to view attachment


The Maya book certainly looks more substantial but with nearly 4x the pages still only teaches about the same skill level that TAoA:M teaches. I've done the Maya book and after every chapter I thought "That would have been easier/faster in A:M"

dblhelix
QUOTE(Rodney @ Aug 3 2011, 08:03 AM) *
QUOTE
The complexity and order of subjects is wonderfully realistic and welcome but you need a humanoid in motion/posed as a part-headliner just to spark up the x-genes.

Is that a request for a sexy girl? More specifics are requested please.

- - the- - err-- whu-- nyyoess?

that was a fun mishap and a tough question rolled into one!
i simply mean that all of the female persuasion WILL find a humanoid more
interesting than metal. (yes i do indeed realize this is an invitation to testimonies
to the contrary.) the rabbit will undoubtedly do the job!

when thinking about it, all of the humanoid content seemed so eminently applicable
for an introduction to pws. going through the content, changes are made to the rabbit.
we want the other chars for sure - for a metal, the rocket is just too cute
(wanna kiss it then move right in), and i can't wait to see the robot!

and the thought was, that when one wants to wrangle a humanoid, the message is
not "go to dusty old corner". it should be integrated in the brand spanking revision.

oh hey you could pose the rabbit for the decal! if the rabbit decal was part of the established
order?

this is gender politics smile.gif

make the X feel at home.
robcat2075
Tidbit I just found out... Some animals like birds and butterflies do not have X and Y chromosomes, they have Z and W chromosomes.


Well... what would a girl version of TAoA:M look like?
Rodney
Robert said:
QUOTE
- Something I want to do in New TAoA:M is tie in TechRef more. At the end of every chapter I'd want to mention "The Tech Ref covers this in more detail beginning on page...)


Interestingly, when Hash Inc first published TaoA:M they moved (most) of the Tech Ref material into HTML files on the A:M CD. It was a little disappointing that almost no one referred to them and if they did they didn't mention it prominently. Back in the days of the old animation listsevers newbies that asked questions were very often greeted with 'RTFM'. This seemed rude (and it was to the untrained newbie) but it had a curious effect; newbies tended to open and at least peruse (I love that word!) the manual first before asking their question. It could be said the downside of this was that it stifled discussion by newbies and it wasn't until the online forum arrived in 2003 and a Newbies forum was created that the basics really started to be discussed opening (before that those newbie discussion occurred largely via private email).

A:M even had it's own tutorial browser which (should I mention this?) due to lack of interest and usage recently went away.
A:M still has browser capability via the Community portal that we can tap into but we'd need to plan to take advantage of it.

My point here is that as technology goes Hash Inc was way ahead of the power curve but we did not take full advantage of what was there. What isn't used is neglected. What is neglected eventually fades away. Should we be more confident that A:M Users will take full advantage of a new revised TaoA:M today?
I'd like to think so and think many will appreciate the effort.

Sorry, I'm still answering Phatso challenge to throw printed books away.
I'm confident the end of chapter Tech Ref references will be welcome by many!

dbhelix clarified:
QUOTE
- - the- - err-- whu-- nyyoess? etc.


Thanks for the clarification.
Robert has already stated that a humanoid character is under consideration so we are in good hands there. Getting the rig of choice finalized is an important piece in this and that'll make swapping out Actions using different characters and modifying characters with the same rig a cinch. There is enough innovation and ingenuity in this forum that I know we'll be looking at some great characters.

QUOTE
this is gender politics
make the X feel at home.


Hopefully everyone will feel at home and see something that seems specifically designed for them.
We are just trying to balance things out after 10 years of "Flower Power" exercises in TaoA:M.
(Kidding!)

Perhaps the second time you model the Robot she's in the form of a female robot. smile.gif
Rodney
Robert is free to move these discussions around as he so chooses but here's the current v1 Chapter list again for everyone's consideration and input:


QUOTE
chapter list v0.01



Quickstart: Lathe a vase.
-concepts: CPs, splines, patches, contour modeling, basic interface navigation.
-assignment: Lathe 3 more models of simple things in your home. (examples: dinner plate, drinking cup, sewing spool...)

Rocket Launch:
-concepts: using lathed parts, duplicator wizard, sweeper, path constraint, ease, simple channel edit. Extra credit: terrain wizard.
-assignment: make spaceship fly in and land instead of taking off.

Mechanical modeling: Robot

Simplest rig: Rig the Robot. Learn bones, basic constraints

Keyframing basics: robot jumps over a box

Materials: texture the robot?

Simple face construction and rig: Candelaire

dialog exercise: speak short phrase with Candelaire using drop on poses.

Whole body animal: Giraffe or Dinosaur

CP Weighting: Rigging and weighting the Giraffe or Dinosaur.

Walk cycle: If the dinosaur were a biped like a tyrannosaurus...

Rendering: formats, codecs, NetRender

More complex organic modeling: some humanoid character

Installing a Premade rig: possibly on the humanoid character

Lighting: 3 point, daytime, nighttime, AO

Rodney
Didn't see you post this one Robert:
QUOTE
Tidbit I just found out... Some animals like birds and butterflies do not have X and Y chromosomes, they have Z and W chromosomes.


Well... what would a girl version of TAoA:M look like?


Excellent question. While I might have an opinion I'm likely disqualified to answer.
We need an expert here.

NANCY!!!
NancyGormezano
QUOTE(dblhelix @ Aug 3 2011, 03:10 PM) *
i simply mean that all of the female persuasion WILL find a humanoid more
interesting than metal.....

...the rabbit will undoubtedly do the job!

this is gender politics smile.gif

make the X feel at home.


Hmmm...I find I am conflicted as to suggest what would appeal to today's aspiring female animators.

I could guess more accurately at those closer to my age...you know: getting ready to die...but am at a loss to guess what might appeal to the 20-something plus, or even younger ones (hello Kitty), and especially have no idea what ladies inclined to go to events like Comic-con might like (anime? S&M?).

In general - I would guess that a humorous, simply shaped, anthropomorphized creature/caricatured animal could have a broader appeal, and might cross gender & age barriers. And still be able to demonstrate A:M concepts.

However, a warm, fuzzy potty-mouthed evil, macho testosterone laden Robot-Rabbit in tights with Fairy wings, weilding light sabers is probably not what I'm thinkin'... but would be funny.

EDIT: Ok. I left off the fire breathing part. Thought that might be a bit excessive.
pixelplucker
LOL
dblhelix
QUOTE(robcat2075)
Well... what would a girl version of TAoA:M look like?

taking a moment to happily declare you've already done it:
it's the holistic approach, where the excercises build parts toward a final result.
this idea is simply brilliant. genius.
(it's the "this button so, that button so" without aim that puts an x to sleep.)
but it would help if there was also a visually appealing element to confirm inclusion.

i see Nancy took the exact same route in reasoning as i did, considering the broad demographic.
QUOTE(NancyGormezano)
a warm, fuzzy potty-mouthed evil, macho testosterone laden Robot-Rabbit in tights with Fairy wings, weilding light sabers

now you've got me all tingly, and i'm fireproof. you think i could get his number?
robcat2075
It's not warm and cuddly yet but it's got pink feet!

Click to view attachment


itsjustme
Looks great, Robert!
markw
Thought I'd look in on this thread again and see how its all shaping up.
And its looking very good so far!

Two thoughts; Definitely think the tuts should be as screen captures but also have a PDF to accompany them. With Holmes's tuts I like to print them off. That way I don't have to keep switching out of A:M to refer to something.

I would still like to see something on cameras in the new TAoAM. In the physical world you would not expect to start learning film making and never have at least one lesson on the use of cameras. After all this is the tool that will be recording all that you do, even in the simulated world of the computer.
jason1025 posted a clip on the use of CG Cameras in his thread on the Techno Crane, here http://www.hash.com/forums/index.php?s=&am...st&p=321530
After watching it the first thing I wanted was a tut/demonstration of how to do those setups and moves in A:M.

Lastly for now, the little eggbots Rob. I so want to do that tut right now!
Rodney
QUOTE
I would still like to see something on cameras in the new TAoAM.


My thought on cameras is that we'll be seeing something related to cameras in every exercise.
Robert seems to agree that each time an exercise is completed A:M Users will want to render out their scene.
This gives us an in to discuss camera-related themes.

I spent a little time looking for Raf Anzovin's 'Camera Guy' but I didn't locate him.
My memory is failing because I was sure he was posted here in the forum somewhere.
He was used for the CG/Live Action rotoscope tutorial just before the original TaoA:M when to press.
Either that character or a similar one might be useful in relating brief but important tips on camera usage.

I'll check through my older files and see what I can see.
Worse case scenario we could probably contact Raf Anzovin or Bill Young and see if they've got him handy.

If that character could be combined in some way with the Camera Rig... that might be ideal.

Added: I should also say that there is a heck of a lot of information that could fall under the Camera heading.
Some other very useful constructs of the Camera include Composition, Multiplane, Rotoscopes, Post Effects... and even Rendering (as most of the rendering options can be set under the Camera options.

If we have any Camera experts here perhaps they'll step forward and champion that area of expertise.
markw
QUOTE(Rodney @ Aug 6 2011, 04:52 PM) *
QUOTE
I would still like to see something on cameras in the new TAoAM.


My thought on cameras is that we'll be seeing something related to cameras in every exercise.
Robert seems to agree that each time an exercise is completed A:M Users will want to render out their scene.
This gives us an in to discuss camera-related themes.

Ah, I see. Education by stealth. Like it wink.gif
robcat2075
It is a daunting challenge to plan what things should be introduced when and to distill what is essential from what is merely useful and "for further study".
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