Jump to content
Hash, Inc. Forums

*** Help Revise TAoA:M ***


Recommended Posts

  • Replies 102
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

What if Rigging in NewTaoA:M was an and/or choice?

 

Build SimpleRig from scratch to learn about rigging theory

 

and/or

 

Learn to install PreMade rig for faster results.

 

 

I think you would have good results with this approach. I know I wanted to do a rig from scratch with my penguin as much as possible, just so I would have some kind of background with that.

Having done this, I know I am going to use a prebuilt rig on my other characters. I just don't have the kind of time to do a "from scratch" rig on each one. Maybe if rigging was something I inherently enjoyed I would, but one is enough for now.

Link to post
Share on other sites
What if Rigging in NewTaoA:M was an and/or choice?

 

Build SimpleRig from scratch to learn about rigging theory

 

and/or

 

Learn to install PreMade rig for faster results.

 

 

I think you would have good results with this approach. I know I wanted to do a rig from scratch with my penguin as much as possible, just so I would have some kind of background with that.

Having done this, I know I am going to use a prebuilt rig on my other characters. I just don't have the kind of time to do a "from scratch" rig on each one. Maybe if rigging was something I inherently enjoyed I would, but one is enough for now.

 

This brings up a related point. For someone like you, Roger, the real problem point is the CP weighting. This is pretty much the same complexity whether one builds a rig from scratch or installs a premade rig. Either way the user still needs to decide what CPs to attach to what bones.

Link to post
Share on other sites
What if Rigging in NewTaoA:M was an and/or choice?

 

Build SimpleRig from scratch to learn about rigging theory

 

and/or

 

Learn to install PreMade rig for faster results.

 

 

I think you would have good results with this approach. I know I wanted to do a rig from scratch with my penguin as much as possible, just so I would have some kind of background with that.

Having done this, I know I am going to use a prebuilt rig on my other characters. I just don't have the kind of time to do a "from scratch" rig on each one. Maybe if rigging was something I inherently enjoyed I would, but one is enough for now.

 

This brings up a related point. For someone like you, Roger, the real problem point is the CP weighting. This is pretty much the same complexity whether one builds a rig from scratch or installs a premade rig. Either way the user still needs to decide what CPs to attach to what bones.

 

True. CP weighting is not really something you can automate and is going to be different for each character. Hopefully as I do it more it will be easier to do.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Other artists think about tutorials:

 

Bach's Two and Three Part Inventions are student material for the keyboard. He made this modest description:

 

Honest method, by which the amateurs of the keyboard – especially, however, those desirous of learning – are shown a clear way not only (1) to learn to play cleanly in two parts, but also, after further progress, (2) to handle three obligate parts correctly and well; and along with this not only to obtain good inventions (ideas) but to develop the same well; above all, however, to achieve a cantabile style in playing and at the same time acquire a strong foretaste of composition.

 

He saw it as not only for technical development but as a springboard for new ideas by the student.

 

 

Hector Berlioz wrote a treatise on orchestration. Saint-Saens said this about it:

 

For all its oddities, it’s a marvellous book. The whole of my generation

was brought up on it, and well brought up, I would say, too. It had that

inestimable gift of inflaming the imagination and making you love the art

it taught. What it didn’t teach it gave you the desire to find out, and one

learns best what one learns oneself.

 

 

A most famous musical tutorial is "Gradus Ad Parnassum" (Steps to Paradise) by Johann Fux. He said:

 

My object is to help young persons who want to learn. i knew and still know many who have fine talents and are most anxious to study; however, lacking means and a teacher, they cannot realize their ambitions, but remain, as it were, forever desperately athirst.

 

"Gradus" is famous for presenting all the lessons as dialogs between a master and his student. It begins like this:

 

fux1.JPG

fux2.JPG

 

I like his honesty.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What's the most interesting thing you can make with lathing? Within the bounds of a beginner.

 

A modeling tut that also introduces the basics of A:M navigation would be a good first tut.

 

I'm thinking something like the old candle tut.

Link to post
Share on other sites
What's the most interesting thing you can make with lathing? Within the bounds of a beginner.

 

I don't know if it's the most interesting but a Sphere would be one of the most useful objects to Lathe.

Lathing something that can be used in latter exercise would be ideal.

Something that could be animated (via path constraint) such as an Arrow would be quick.

 

It's funny you should mention the Candle exercise as I was about to suggest we reinventory the older exercises for possible use in the revised TaoA:M.

The Candle exercise would be ideal from the standpoint that it could be used later in a Lighting exercise... something that is really needed.

 

There are several exercises and write-ups from the old A:M Manual (pre-TaoA:M) that would be useful.

The Basketball Exercise (pp 473-492) and the discussion of Channels (pp493-506) for instance.

These and others were dropped when TaoA:M was written and didn't make it into the Tech Ref.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I like him Robert.

It seems to me that he could be used/adapted in a lot of different kinds of exercises.

 

In the process of getting the character made you've already got thus far:

 

- Modeling

- Lathing and (perhaps) Extruding

- Dealing with 5 point patches

- Rigging and Constraints

- Character Eyes

- Animating Poses

- Facial Animation

- Lip Sync

- Surface Texturing (even an exercise on use of Sub Surface Scattering!)

- Lighting and Effects

 

I'm sure I've overlooked a few others.

 

No Eyebrows? (Yeah, I know candles don't have eyebrows... but they don't usually have faces either)

 

Note: I would suggest making him capable of expressing extreme optimism and happiness.

For more on that... read on.

 

The basic design is generic enough that a lot of different candle personalities could be created which could fill up the set of a candle shop. In this way the aspiring animation director would be able to further venture into Sets, Scenes and Choreographies. Or perhaps the set might be a Pawn Shop where Modelers could create (and share) a variety of fully articulated, inarticulate and otherwise inanimate Props. This would make this character more unique in the sense that he's got a unique talent... an inner spark of creativity that compels him toward greater things... something the other's haven't (yet) got.

 

Bottom line: I think this new guy may have what it takes to enlighten new users about how to develop the artistic skill and technical craft required for computer animation.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a thought so wanted to add it here...

 

Perhaps the very first Candle character a new user models could be with simple button eyes (little black dots)?

A later exercise would then have the user upgrade the character with the more fully articulated and complex (modeled in) eyes?

 

This would allow those who aren't up to the challenge of rigging yet a different track to follow as they could still proceed on with character animation.

 

The very first candle might be ridiculously simply. In the rough... a five minute demo of basic modeling.

Each time the candle is created he'd get a little more complex.

 

Added: This is a quick proof of concept for the Animated Distortion exercise in your next next next book "A:M Kids Club" which (I'm told) caterers to the 9 to 99 year old in all of us. ;) (No eyes OR BONES added yet to this one)

AMKidsClub.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I'm still sort of exploring what is too simple vs. too much.

 

 

He wouldn't be the very first tut but he'd be an early one. He'd probably stretch over several tuts.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In reviewing the current TaoA:M I am once again impressed by how thorough and deeply it covers both theory and application.

I've never been able to get anyone to admit they wrote "TaoA:M" but there is genius in this book. At times I know I'm reading Martin Hash... Steve Sappington is there throughout... I also seem to sense Raf at times perhaps filtered through his dad, Steve Anzovin. I'm sure William Eggington authored the 2001 Rig install (I believe his classic tutorial was the source from which the exercise is adapted) and of course in later editions there is Colin Freeman modeling the face of his son Cooper. A lot of great and innovative minds have poured their knowledge and experience into TaoA:M and that shines throughout.

 

Those that haven't taken the time to read through TaoA:M should do so at once.

You don't even need to do any of the exercises.

Just allow what you read to inspire you.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I must like the candle idea because I've been playing around with it for the past few hours.

 

So... for what it's worth...

 

The attached movie is some testing of animating a candle with no bones. (Errors and everything are on this video so if you don't want to waste your time, you may want to pass on it. )

My thought here is that if we could show basic animation without bones it'd then be easier to demonstrate the need and utility for bones. There is of course, a whole lot that can be animated without bones and this video has several of them; distortion, animated control points, retiming rendered animation (via Layers) etc.

 

...and I remodeled the candle again because I wanted to test out the black dot eyes and a Boolean mouth with tongue. I call him HappyCandle because he's... um... happy.

 

 

Woah. Very low quality on that video. Sorry about that but you should get the idea.

BonelessCandle.mov

HappyCandle001.png

Link to post
Share on other sites
I like your squishy look!

 

Thanks. There should be some good opportunity for some contrast between the hard surface of the candleholder and the soft squishy wax of the candle.

That might go a long way to incorporate a few lessons about Straights and Curves.

 

I suppose in later exercises as TaoA:M approaches it's finale and it looks like the exercises are almost done we could setup a scene and begin to melt him.

The final task of TaoA:M might be to come up with a unique conclusion to the story.

 

How will our hero emerge from his trial by fire... the audience is on the edge of their seat and... only the director (and animator) knows.

 

I'm tired... ignore me. ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I really love Rob's candle. The value of letting people work with a character that is compelling should not be overlooked. Of course, working with a simpler version for some exercises also makes sense. It is amazing how much you can teach just with this character.

 

-Vance

Link to post
Share on other sites
I really love Rob's candle. The value of letting people work with a character that is compelling should not be overlooked. Of course, working with a simpler version for some exercises also makes sense. It is amazing how much you can teach just with this character.

 

It is amazing. I think that is why I got lost in the idea. :)

 

We live in a complex world and with TaoA:M we are dealing with a lot of those complexities. The trick is to keep the lessons interesting for those who have already learned the basics and want to delve into the more complex. I admit that I am firmly planted in the utterly simple when it comes to animation and tend to regress there. I enjoy seeing others master the basics and then move on to other things. When it comes to learning I find the simpler the lesson usually the better. Then everyone can move from those simple concepts and apply what they've learned to the utterly complex. Not just the brilliantly talented... everyone.

 

There are different schools of thought on this of course. For instance 'Sink or Swim' works quickly and cuts to the chase but is rarely pleasant. Throw someone into the deep end of the pool and only offer a hand if they fail. Usually they learn to swim but sometimes they fear the water and will never go near it again. The cognocenti prefer this approach because the riffraff (those deemed not to have what it takes) leave the pool sooner rather than later... more space and higher quality company to swim with. I'd love to hear arguments both for and against the 'Sink or Swim' approach here. My wife learned to swim in real water that way and she's a pretty darn good swimmer while I mostly tread water having never really learned how to swim. I can still do a belly flop with the best of them.

 

In each lesson it'll help to consider the intended audience.

With A:M it is important that we challenge but not lose them.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I'd love to hear arguments both for and against the 'Sink or Swim' approach here.

 

I guess they always have that choice since any instructional book is up to them to choose to use. They can try to go without it if they want.

 

A book is for people who want guidance and my goal is that it should be as efficient and clear as possible so they aren't dissuaded from the time commitment of doing all of it.

 

Without a helpful forum, books are pretty close to sink or swim anyway. :(

Link to post
Share on other sites
I really love Rob's candle. The value of letting people work with a character that is compelling should not be overlooked. Of course, working with a simpler version for some exercises also makes sense. It is amazing how much you can teach just with this character.

 

-Vance

 

thanks! It's one possibility out of a total of one I've come up with. :D

 

I think it's within a TAoA:M student's ability to do and I think that demonstrates A:M's clear superiority over other programs in that regard.

 

I have Maya and the TAoMaya that comes with it. You get to pg. 433 before you start animating the character you've built and it's just a jointed robot. It's a nice robot but it doesn't even have a real face, just two lenses for eyes.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Without a helpful forum, books are pretty close to sink or swim anyway.

 

We've certainly got that going on here in the A:M Forum.

Always room for improvement but, like wine, we hope to age well.

 

(The Candle is) one possibility out of a total of one I've come up with.

 

That's one for one... you've got an impressive track record!

Link to post
Share on other sites

It could be argued that TaoA:M currently uses the Sink or Swim approach by diving into animation before touching upon the subjects necessary to get there.

This approach has been noted (and praised) by others outside the A:M Community (one of the most recent was when Tony White praised TaoA:M in his book on animation)

 

Perhaps it also could be argued that this approach can be detrimental after the initial euphoria of experiencing something new wears off and the student is faced with what is left; too many variables, endless complexity and some difficult choices to make.

 

I suspect the truth is that many want to be animators (it looks so easy!) but fewer care to devote the effort to mastering the craft (this is so much harder than it looked before so I think I'll try something else that looks easier).

 

In the case of the current TaoA:M new users aren't thrown into the deep end but ToaA:M does a great job of getting you there without knowing how you got there.

This is the essence of 'sink or swim'. By the time you think to contemplate your destiny you realize you've already arrived there.

 

The revised TaoA:M seems ideal for instructing those who sense they have arrived already but want to know more about how they got there.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all, i may be a bit out of line here or perhaps didnt read all the replies properly but i think what we are doing here is to revise or update the old manual.?????

Well as a newbie i was fasinated a few years back when everyone one was working on the door is stuck. i did it exactly as the manual stated but then i saw what other people were uploading and i was taken aback. people were adding tunnels and other iteams in fact one animator actually turned the door is stuck into an incredible version of indiana jones.

Ok my point is, is would it be possible to start with the basics then have us all creat a charactor ( like the candle), design a basic rig for it, then maybe create a scene or two ( to learn perspective ) and then basicly to act out a small animated movie. Then in future lessons we could build on this movie to enhance and get a little more creative as we go along. This way i think people could add there own personalities and they will be working on something for there demo reel. What do you think.

thanks

mike

Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi all, i may be a bit out of line here or

 

All input is welcome here, there are no bad ideas during the brainstorming phase.

 

 

perhaps didnt read all the replies properly but i think what we are doing here is to revise or update the old manual.?????

 

Yes, "The Art of Animation:Master"

 

 

Ok my point is, is would it be possible to start with the basics then have us all creat a charactor ( like the candle), design a basic rig for it, then maybe create a scene or two ( to learn perspective ) and then basicly to act out a small animated movie. Then in future lessons we could build on this movie to enhance and get a little more creative as we go along. This way i think people could add there own personalities and they will be working on something for there demo reel. What do you think.

 

I like the idea of an introductory manual that is a unified "project". It's a bitch to figure out how to make all necessary instructional goals serve that specific end goal, however.

Link to post
Share on other sites
All input is welcome here, there are no bad ideas during the brainstorming phase.

 

I've certainly been trying to put that to the test. :)

 

We need to up the ante Mike and appreciate your input here... the more brainstorming the better!

 

Well as a newbie i was fasinated a few years back when everyone one was working on the door is stuck. i did it exactly as the manual stated but then i saw what other people were uploading and i was taken aback. people were adding tunnels and other iteams in fact one animator actually turned the door is stuck into an incredible version of indiana jones.

 

'The Door is Stuck' was something I always looked forward to because everyone really poured their ideas and ingenuity into it. But there was a lot of personalizing of the other exercises as well. I was particularly surprised by the innovative Poses people would come up with with the 'Move It' exercise. I always looked forward to what people would come up with next.

 

One of the appeals for me was that these weren't just technical application of step by step procedures (Do this. Do that. Rinse. Repeat) but they were artistic expressions of the person sitting behind the computer screen. It was also an excellent way to immediately tell how well the lesson had sunk in.

 

Another aspect that made them more successful was that these efforts were (for the most part) easier to analyze. The 'It's a Pitch' exercise was a bit more difficult because of it's technical nature. You either hit the mark or you didn't. Then as the lessons progressed it became harder to troubleshoot what was going on. Those more technical areas forced something more of a checklist approach if for no other reason than to gauge where the student was at that particular time in the lesson and (where necessary) lend a helping hand or provide useful feedback. There are few things more discouraging to someone stuck on a problem than someone helping out by addressing a problem that doesn't exist. In those cases, clear communication is perhaps the most important thing. Asking and answering questions usually clears the fog away.

 

One thing that did strike me as relevant when viewing the result from the lessons over and over again was how the application of little principles led to profoundly interesting results. For instance, composition, staging, exaggeration, repetition/the rule of threes, color and focus, contrast and differentiation (those are the ones that I still can remember as if they'd been posted yesterday). These design principles were never taught in TaoA:M but students were applying them anyway. Proof positive that TaoA:M doesn't have to teach everything. If we are shown the basics we will innovate.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ohmigod, I wish I weren't up to my eyeballs in my own books and had enough in the bank to plunge into this. (Maybe RC is glad I don't.) This is exactly what I've been dreaming about for years and the juices that are flowing here are magnifique.

 

As I was reading thru the posts I had the urge to jump in again and again, but by now I have few comments to add, the mental creativity of others puts mine to shame. Obviously this is tapping into a long-held dream.

 

First lathing project: definitely a vase. Gotta go in baby steps. Somebody who has made a lot of progress won't be thrown if they hit a roadblock, but a beginner needs only one snag to get discouraged. It's significant that the A:M demo at conventions features a vase. The purpose of that demo is to show how easily one can get one's feet wet. Take note.

 

How about developing a simplified standard rig to start with? Most of my own use of A:M has been modeling - thousands of images - but little animating yet, and the rig is still a big mystery.

 

The techniques of good animation can wait; ya can't play Mozart until you've mastered scales and fingering. Many of the people here have started with crude movement and then gained refinement later.

 

If you've read my post in the other room you already know my biggest suggestion: conceive this as an ebook, not a print book, from the outset. A print book on hand-drawn animation makes sense. A print book on computer animation does not. Hash is a virtual company now; it's made the transition to the 21st century and TAoA:M should too.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

I still consider myself a beginning user, but here are a couple of things I wished were explained better in the beginning:

 

- When to use action vs. the chor.

- There needs to be a much better explainatioin of walk cycles. They have always frustraited me.

- Getting around in the different looks of the timeline and the Tree (on the left) I forget it's name.....PWS or something...

 

I love the fact that this is getting done. I love the idea of having it all tie together, possibly towards a finished short.

Link to post
Share on other sites
- When to use action vs. the chor.

My short answer on that one is it's almost always better to animate in the chor...

 

-you know exactly how the camera will see your animation

-it's rare that a character needs to exactly repeat a motion in a scene as an Action would do

-it's easier to transition from one activity to another because the keyframes are all in one timeline.

 

I do want to cover this better in New TAoA:M

 

 

- There needs to be a much better explainatioin of walk cycles. They have always frustraited me.

 

Tell me more about what you find difficult.

 

 

- Getting around in the different looks of the timeline and the Tree (on the left) I forget it's name.....PWS or something...

 

Yes, I feel this needs better coverage.

 

 

thanks, Thumperness!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Robocat, 1st realize that it's been a couple years since I have used A:M so forgive my lack of terminology. I'll be subscribing in about 2 weeks when the money becomes available.

 

That being said, I remember having alot of confusion about the beginning and ending markers of the stride length. Like do you put the back marker at the heel when it's flat on the ground or when the heel is raised. It was just worded oddly.

 

Also, I remember working on a guy speaking on a stage and wandering as he spoke. I never got it working right. He'd just slide along the path or not stop walking when I wanted him to. I don't need a long tut. at the moment. Let me get back into it for a bit and see if anything makes more sense to me now. (It's gonna be a long 2 weeks as I wait. :rolleyes: )

 

I really look forward to seeing what becomes of this whole discussion. Thanx for all the work you are doing.

Link to post
Share on other sites
That being said, I remember having alot of confusion about the beginning and ending markers of the stride length. Like do you put the back marker at the heel when it's flat on the ground or when the heel is raised. It was just worded oddly.

 

It is a bit confusing because when the front heel touches the ground, the back heel has already been raised so there's never a frame where you can catch both heels on the ground, which would be an accurate measure of the stride length.

 

You have to estimate back to where the heel would be if it hadn't lifted off yet. This is easier if you use a rig that can leave the basic foot bone in place while the heel is being raised. AM2001 isn't one of those.

 

An alternative is to set the stride length from toe-to-toe on a frame where they are both on the ground, but this can also be inaccurate if the animator hasn't properly animated the toe to be moving back while the rest of the foot is being lifted.

 

 

This is something I'll try to cover in NewTAoA:M

Link to post
Share on other sites
It is a bit confusing because when the front heel touches the ground, the back heel has already been raised so there's never a frame where you can catch both heels on the ground, which would be an accurate measure of the stride length.

My take on the complexity of walk cycles has been that it is up to the animator to make the feet that are planted on the ground move at a constant rate, and that rate changes when the stride length changes (e.g. oops, he's stretching too far for each step, but now it's too late). Look at the Z channel of the feet in the famous and ubiquitous Resolute Walk, and you will see that the feet slide even there. (I would much prefer a mode where A:M does that for you, and you animate as if the ground were still. Or even if there were angled guidelines in the Z channel to show what the angle of "still" is. But that's more of a feature request, and not productive for the revised TAoA:M.) But I do think it might help to mention the relationship of the Z channel and how fast you have to move feet compared to what the stride length is.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

In going through this thread again...I really do think the candles either Roberts or Rodney would make great obejects to learn a host of things. I think beginners need to A: be able to follow the tutorial B: Be able to successfully produce the intended results to a level of own satisfaction.

 

For good or bad beginners - especially with such complex software like 3d- need lots of successful steps....lots of them ---too many frustrations and they drift off. Also I am a believer that things need to be of shorter duration than longer. But whatever you come up with am sure will be great and I cannot wait to see some of these tutorials out in the wild.

 

 

Rich

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...
  • 7 months later...

I have yet to start any of TaoA:M however based on what I have seen, the comments here and several 2D animation principles books I have perhaps the tuts could include making a flower sack, rigging it, texturing it, and animating it.

 

 

I made these two animations in trueSpace several years ago. All of the flour sack animation was done using deformation meshes as the version of trueSpace I used didn't have bones.

 

flour_sack_test.mov

 

flour_sack_final.mov

 

My intention is to recreate this animation A:M and I would like to finish this animation.

Link to post
Share on other sites

A genuinely Squetchy floursack that deforms smoothly and can do what a hand drawn floursack does is a bit of an advanced rigging topic. :o

 

Here's my initial investigation into a simple two-control sack.

 

sackjump500.mov

 

Here's the model you can play with although it's only about 25% of the functionality on would need.

 

Simple_Sack_Jump.zip

 

 

I have yet to start any of TaoA:M

 

Do look into that! :D

Link to post
Share on other sites
A genuinely Squetchy floursack that deforms smoothly and can do what a hand drawn floursack does is a bit of an advanced rigging topic. :o

 

Here's my initial investigation into a simple two-control sack.

 

sackjump500.mov

 

Here's the model you can play with although it's only about 25% of the functionality on would need.

 

Simple_Sack_Jump.zip

 

 

I have yet to start any of TaoA:M

 

Do look into that! :D

 

 

Really nice, though your flour sack looks a bit empty.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Wow, a 6-month gap with no posts! I hate to be a wet blanket, but this is going to be a hyooj project. I oughta know.

 

My problem with the TAoA:M is that it's so oriented toward immediate results - "Here, look what you can do with almost no learning curve!" - that you come out of it significantly underprepared to progress on your own. I'm reminded of chord organs of the 1960s, where you had buttons under your left hand that played whole chords, so you didn't have to learn them. You got books with tunes written out for the right hand, with numbers for the buttons you were supposed to push. Problem was, when you got to the end of each book, there was nothing to do but go out and buy another book - you never learned to play on your own.

 

To me, trying to learn A:M years ago, the most glaring omission was a lack of detailed discussion of the UI, going through each tool and showing what it does. Even 1.5yr ago, looking over Robcat's shoulder, I learned a lot about the UI that I hadn't known. Project chapters should be interspersed with UI and procedure chapters, often very short.

 

My gut feeling is that, as badly needed as this is, it isn't going to happen this decade unless we figure out some way for the participants to get paid. I have always thought that we're dealing with an A:M V17 product with about V6 documentation, and that it's the principal barrier to getting A:M more into the mainstream. The saddest part is that the more advanced features never get used by the vast majority, not because they're too advanced, but because users never get past the basics. I personally have done probably 400 simple models in my work, but almost no animation. I still don't know how to copy a model without losing the rig. I know you're going to say "here, look at this thread," but how are beginners to look stuff up when they don't yet know what they're looking for?

 

Just out of curiosity - how many A:Ms are sold each year and what's the current going rate? (I'm still using V13.) How much would the per-subscription price have to rise to compensate the participants? I understand that the economics of animation software have radically changed.

Link to post
Share on other sites

(SMACK FORHEAD) So two seconds after I post, I figure it out:

 

1. Remove anything remotely advanced from the book.

2. Reassign those pages to more detailed instruction on the basics. The aim should be to get the newbie up to complete mastery of the UI, the simplest modeling, and the simplest animating as efficiently as possible. At the back of the book, include maybe 3 pages of teaser for book 2.

3. Print a second book detailing the stuff taken out of the first book. Sell it.

4. Print a third book on more advanced techniques. Sell it.

5. Print a fourth book...

 

Thus the necessary source of continuing revenue to pay the writers etc. If this suggests unmanageable printing costs, do it in e-book form - I've always thought that's how an animation learning guide should be done anyway.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My original vision was that we'd get 12 people and each would do a new tut and BANG we'd be done. :yay:

 

But the other 11 never showed up so it's become more of a "me" project that will be quite different from TAoA:M. I'm thinking of calling it "Victory Through A:M Power!"

 

In my mind I have a sequence of about 12 tuts that would progressively introduce the vital concepts. Not that you'd be a master at the end but that you'd not be baffled by other non-A:M information you might pursue.

 

For example you'd know how to put Richard Williams animation advice into practice even though he doesn't address CG animation at all. Or if you saw tut on lighting, you'd know enough about A:M lighting resources to make use of it.

 

 

 

The saddest part is that the more advanced features never get used by the vast majority, not because they're too advanced, but because users never get past the basics.

 

This isn't unique to A:M, it's true of all 3D programs.

 

 

I still don't know how to copy a model without losing the rig.

 

save it, rename it, reload it.

 

Also, in the PWS you can drag one model onto another to copy it into the second model.

Link to post
Share on other sites
For example you'd know how to put Richard Williams animation advice into practice even though he doesn't address CG animation at all.

After the experience of this year's forum project, I'm kind of thinking about making a video about walk cycles, building on top of the excellent analysis you have on your site, but going the next step to focusing on not just the key frames as is done by Richard Williams and others, but focusing on the weight and the forces exerted by the walker. All this would be demonstrated using the A:M 2008 rig.

 

Also, I wonder if there is any kind of graph or table that shows relationships between stride length, leg length (or inseam), and speed for real people; demonstrating the differences between a slow walk, quick walk, jog, light run, and all-out run.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

"My original vision was that we'd get 12 people and each would do a new tut and BANG we'd be done."

 

Here's my experience on that. I took on a project that's supposed to total six books. First book of twelve chapters, six had been submitted by various authors. They didn't track, they overlapped in some areas and failed to cover others, they contradicted each other. Most were badly written and the authors didn't stick to the topics assigned. Three other chapters had been assigned to authors who produced nothing. The last three were never assigned; the project manager had given up and decided to write those himself. He never wrote anything. This was a paying proposition, with the promise of royalties, and still the performance was abysmal.

 

So I rewrote six chapters, wrote the other six fresh, and wrote books two and three. I wrote most of book four, but there's one chapter where I didn't feel qualified, so I started asking around for another writer. After a long search, I found one who made promises but has given me nothing except something he previously wrote. That will be useful in book five, but I find my poorly qualified self writing the chapter in book four because it's the only way it will get done and it's the only thing holding up publication.

 

Timeline: when I was in Dallas I was finishing book 2. Now I'm finishing book 4. That's about one book every nine months. By that reckoning I'm still a year and a half from finishing the project, though I tell myself I just darn well better not be. I'm not discouraged yet - maybe by October I will be - because I still think this thing can make me some money. If I didn't, I wouldn't have started on it.

 

So, as I say - if the A:M community wants a new TAoA:M, the A:M community needs to figure out how some $$$ can come of it. My vote would be to simply raise the price of a subscription. Anybody who values his/her time would know that the shortened learning curve more than offsets the extra dollars.

 

Somebody must know the answer to the question I asked before: how many subscriptions to A:M are sold every year?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Somebody must know the answer to the question I asked before: how many subscriptions to A:M are sold every year?

 

I'll refer you to the forum rules....one of them says "-No discussion of Hash Internal Affairs (finances, advertising, PR.) "

Link to post
Share on other sites

I presume sales for all 3D apps are not what they were in the rah-rah days of the dot com boom. Telling clue: Maya has to pretty much give itself away with "student" licenses.

 

New TaoA:M will probably be more of an interesting project for me to see if if CAN be done better and if it really CAN get the self-learner off to a better start.

 

But first i gotta get this damn roof figured out...

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Announcements


×
×
  • Create New...