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TaoA:M 2016


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#1 Rodney

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Posted 28 July 2015 - 11:09 PM

Initial preparatory work has been made for a minor update to bring The Art of Animation:Master manual up to date.

 

A few goals:

- Newer artwork

- Update of obsolete data (references to accessing data on CD Rom etc.)

- Correction of typos (if any)

- Inclusion of links to current resources

 

A few exploratory ideas:

- Simplifying the collection of exercises in TaoA:M to focus more on basic introductory material.  This in order to set the stage for a few other aspirations and to meet the needs of the A:M Community:   i.e. Prepare the way for intermediate/expert/complex resources to be collected elsewhere (in new books, forum areas, hash ftp, etc.  This might include dropping a few exercises and/or adding others but changes from current content would very likely be minor.  As TaoA:M is the primary access point for new users of Animation:Master the focus of TaoA:M would narrow even more toward introducing users to the A:M experience and pointing the way toward additional resources  

 

- Streamlining TaoA:M with the ultimate goal of producing an annual update to TaoA:M with the primary goal of spotlighting the Art of Animation:Master with the primary change in the manual being artwork.  This would harken back to the days when artists and animators vied for placement on the CD Rom and A:M startup spash screen but with additional space available to showcase A:M Users creative work.  The printed manual would likely not change out as quickly as the online version but would change when current stock of printed manuals was depleted.  Alternatively, via print on demand the purchaser is able to choose which release of the manual they prefer and even print custom (annotated) manuals of their own.

 

- Continuing to provide TaoA:M in a variety of formats easily accessible by users.some which have been tested and directly encourage usage of A:M features in their implementation.    

 

- A longer term goal (although not anticipated for 2016 release) would be to update TaoA:M with the goal that upon finishing the manual, a short film (calling card, demo reel) will have been produced.  The challenge here would be to accomplish this without removing but rather enhancing the thought and theory behind the current TaoA:M.  

 

- Providing a completely customized (local) TaoA:M (ala The Annotated Art of Animation:Master) where TaoA:M reflects the current personalized state of the art of Animation:Master for each individual user.

 

As all of this would be unoffiical to a great extent a two tiered approach would go into effect:

1.  Creation and maintenance of an annotated/ever changing TaoA:M (unofficial but readily accessed and used)

2.  Hash Inc official endorsement of a volume as the current TaoA:M. (signaled by which manual is reproduced and distributed)


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#2 largento

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Posted 29 July 2015 - 08:52 AM

Two things I would love to see explained clearly and well in a future TaoA:M:

 

1) Spline continuity. Modeling in A:M is nearly impossible when you aren't aware of this concept. We see this often on the forum when new modelers are struggling to understand why their model isn't smooth.

 

2) Weighting CPs. This is a very important thing to know when you are creating a character. 100% weighting doesn't work very well in joints and other bendy places.

 

Both of these things were "aha!" moments for me and both were things that weren't explained in TaoA:M. At least the version that I had at the time. It would be great if there could be sidebars or call-outs that emphasize key ideas and fundamentals. We all agree that A:M is very intuitive, but there are some very important things that aren't apparent to the new user. Things hidden behind right mouse-clicks and contextual menus.



#3 Rodney

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Posted 30 July 2015 - 11:06 AM

Thanks Mark!

 

Regarding Spline Continuity:

While I don't recall your comic strip tutorials delving deeply into spline continuity* (the continuity part... not the basic spline part... it does great at that) those may provide an ideal introduction to the concept of splines and control points.  Perhaps we could collect those into one document and post/spotlight those intros for newbies to review?  If not too small even have them accompany text on some new pages of TaoA:M?

 

*My memory says that your focus for those comic strip tutorials was primarily basic splines and patches and didn't delve too far beyond that.  I'll have to look at your tutorals again to be sure.  Spicing up the modeling section of TaoA:M with some simple examples would be nice.  My thought on the current TaoA:M is that it attempts to keep new users in the realm of extruding, lathing, etc. where A:M always optimizes continuity.  The giraffe tutorial, where folks tend to delve into spline continuity and can get lost in that adventure is where I'd guess the discussion on spline continuity might occur.  While there is no official video tutorial to accompany that exercise I believe Robert did an excellent walkthrough from start to finish where he delves deeply into spline continuity.  That's another modeling resource for me to investigate as we move forward.

 

Regarding Weighted CPs:

I confess I'm not quite sure how to approach CP weighting because way back when there was some discussion on why weighted CPs as implemented by the industry wasn't optimal.  This may have been more of a discussion on how best to implement such a thing in A:M.  What this suggests to me is that examples of what methods are available might be reviewed and then optimal approaches left to further exploration.  I suspect at the time TaoA:M was written Smartskin was the only/preferred approach to dealing with those pesky joints and bendy places.  I guess what I'm saying is that at present I'm surely not the one to tackle this one.... although researching the issue would certainly be well worth the education I'd get in the process.  The key to success here will likely be something that clarifies where the different approaches work best as well as highlighting pitfalls to avoid.  For instance, if you perform one process before the other what might not work.  Translation:  All this business behind smartskinning and CP weighting is something I need to know more thoroughly so I'll look into it!   :)  In the meantime we can certainly point folks to some very useful resources.


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#4 Rodney

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Posted 31 July 2015 - 03:52 AM

This is a test.  This is only a test.

 

Link

 

Yay.  Worked.   :)

(My apologies... the link will now no longer work)


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#5 Rodney

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Posted 31 July 2015 - 09:16 AM

I just ran a test with an iPod browsing a bare bones online TaoA:M and it worked well (better than expected).

It needs lots of polishing but it's there and working... and I'm learning new stuff all over again because I've been diving into TaoA:M again.

(From time to time is good to review TaoA:M)

 

The basic content is there but I need some ideal formatting to make updating easy (i.e. with the goal of replacing images so that there can be periodic updates of TaoA:M that spotlight what is being created with A:M.

This is giving me other ideas for future endeavors once the refreshed framework/content of TaoA:M is in the can.  But gotta stay focused!

Once I get something worth showing hopefully some folks will want to beta test the experience and give it a smile or a frown.


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#6 largento

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Posted 31 July 2015 - 05:12 PM

Rodney, if you think any of my tutorials would be of help, feel free to make use of any part of them. I still hate that my hard drive died and I lost all of those files. I suppose I could rebuild them, but I was too downhearted about the loss.

 

But yes, I was covering some of the basic stuff that I thought wasn't immediately obvious to new users. The stuff that made it so much easier to use A:M once I knew about.



#7 Rodney

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Posted 01 August 2015 - 02:43 AM

Thanks Mark, I'll put my 'be Largento' tshirt on and try to wip up something that will do you your comic tutorials justice.

I know it wouldn't be the same but perhaps we could vectorize your tutorials to at least get at their basic construction/layout as it'd be nice if we could replicate the general style and add a few more tutorials in that same or similar format.

Matt (Bigboote-type) has a few comic tutorials in his own style (I recall one on Newton Dynamics) so if we added those it'd make for a pretty decent edu-comic.

Animation:Master is first and foremost about animation (character animation at that) but... as you know very well from experience... it's also great for publishing.  

 

If/when it gets to that stage (pdf compilation that is) I'll try to reserve a spot for your free ad on the back cover (inside back cover most likely).  ;)


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#8 largento

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Posted 01 August 2015 - 08:26 AM

Feel free, Rodney. I don't need an ad. I don't do anything anymore. :-)



#9 Rodney

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Posted 01 August 2015 - 09:16 AM

I don't do anything anymore. :-)

 

 

That's okay, you don't have to reveal your secret projects here in public.  ;)

 

Your body of work speaks for itself my friend.   And besides... your signature has a link to a free smurf model.

Ha!  How many folks can claim that! 


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#10 Roger

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Posted 23 August 2015 - 06:10 PM

Largento, I downloaded and saved all your comic tutorials if that was what you lost.   I still have them on a flash drive somewhere.  I'm happy to PM them to you.   I found them very useful. 


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#11 Rodney

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Posted 24 August 2015 - 01:52 AM

Largento, I downloaded and saved all your comic tutorials if that was what you lost.   I still have them on a flash drive somewhere.  I'm happy to PM them to you.   I found them very useful. 

 

 

Mark can clarify but I'm pretty sure he means the original files with layers etc. (PSD format?) that he used to create the final documents/images.  Unless he shared those originals with someone they may be gone-gone.


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#12 largento

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Posted 24 August 2015 - 08:11 PM

Thanks, Roger. Rodney's right about it being my original files and the models I made to represent control points and splines. Hard to believe that hard drive crash happened seven years ago! 

 

Actually, looking back, I did do some after the crash, but I covered the really important things I wanted to cover. I had the notion at the time that I would do enough pages to make a book out of them and obviously that never happened.

 

@Rodney, not being secretive. Although there are projects in the back of my mind, I just don't seem to have the will/energy to work on them. I've had a lot of family drama over the last couple of years and I'm suffering from sleep apnea again, which tends to make me nod off whenever I sit down at the computer and stare at a blank page.



#13 Rodney

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Posted 25 August 2015 - 01:24 AM

Sorry to hear of your trials and tribulations Mark.  Hang in there!

If there is anything we can do to lift your spirits and help you through the rough spots let us know.

This isn't to suggest that family drama shouldn't take precedence... it must and it should... but we sure miss having you hanging out with us here in the forum.

Your mastery of splines (and the graphic arts in general) is inspirational.


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#14 Rodney

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Posted 23 October 2015 - 11:35 AM

For those interested, here's a copy of an online copy of TaoA:M (with html links) although not ideally formatted or brought up to date.

For those that often misplace their hard copy or PDF versions it might come in handy.


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#15 Roger

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Posted 05 November 2016 - 06:16 PM

I still have a copy of all Largento's comic strip tutorials if those are needed.   Should I post them?   I'd have to look for them but those were the only things that made sense to me as far as understanding the spline basics.   The original TA:OAM didn't do that good a job at that.


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#16 Rodney

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 02:20 AM

I still have a copy of all Largento's comic strip tutorials if those are needed.   Should I post them?  

 

You could but he's already got them posted in his special topic... >HERE<.

I think we had a link at one time from the tutorials forum to that but I can't locate it.

 

You are right about Mark's tutorials being highly useful.


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