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Id like to contribute to the official taoam. I am willing to work on this lesson. Let me know if thats acceptable and I will take on the task. I will make a thread showing results so everyone can give their 2 cents and I will update it as advised.

 

Jason, when you are covering the extra buttons that are in the Customize dialog, it's not necessary to explain what every button does, but point out that they can click on any button in that display to get a text description of what it does.

 

Of course, when you are demonstrating adding buttons to a panel you probably will want to explain what that particular button does that made it worth adding, why you find it valuable.

 

The answer to "Why would I want to do this?" should always be evident.

 

 

Understood.

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like when you click to add a spline and you see nothing, check to see that you aren't in "9" view, whatever you call it.

Can you tell me a bit more about both those cases? I have a vague idea of what you mean.

I believe that he is talking about when the model is on shaded mode (9), then, the cp's and splines aren't visible....

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I believe that he is talking about when the model is on shaded mode (9), then, the cp's and splines aren't visible....

 

OK, that will be a good point to make.

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Personally i get very excited when I see something like this in the works. As a noobie, I am not interested in getting an animation out as fast as I can. I am more that willing to work through as many tuts as are needed to teach me the ins and outs of this software. If i end up with a good short when I am done, that's fine. But I would like to learn this thing from the inside out from the people who use it day in and day out.

 

Keep up the great work Robcat! (See I didn't say Robocat this time ;) )

 

What's the time frame for when some of this may be available for use?

 

As a noob, I'd gladly take your rough drafts and run through them to see if it's clear enough for noobs.

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Robcat and all - this is indeed a great undertaking to make. As one of those thousands who tried before and gave up - I thought i would give some comments to my experience. I even think I nearly finished the original Taoam practice tutorials. And in many ways felt like i was getting it. However when ever i went to try and make things of my own I seemed to stumble (alot) . I just had a hard time getting my models to look good. I would seem to really have troubles trying to tie body parts together for instance or have creases or weird unsmoothness -- And I would try and try --somewhere I was missing some correct practices as obviously people can make amazing models here. I however had not grasped it. I did also have envisions of making a short animation by myself but always ending up having to use some (all) content models here. Now they were great for getting me to learn the animation , dope sheet etc but in the end ---it was not mine.

Eventually I got so frustrated I kind of let AM drift away this was version 12 . I moved on to easier ways like Poser and Carrara and some others but still have that yearning to make something completely of my own. So i have come back to see what has been going on and see if anything new is here that might get me over the hump with the spline modeling and maybe just maybe make something finally of my own .

Indeed --I know this is not easy task. It takes thousands of hours to make a short (very short) film That's a lot of effort and time . A lot. I have some more time now ---thankfully- but also that means much of that extra time I have is on a laptop. So there was some talk of screen resolutions earlier and yes --I bet a lot of folks are stuck with something around 720 p. So keep that in mind.

For me your outline is growing nicely. I think it is a nice mix of things and yes please get rigging in there somewhere. Give some solid training to get someone to be able to make their own 30 second film from nothing but their ideas. . (A nice goal anyhow) I really think that folks will do these in good faith trying to learn. Give them a little challenge here and there as they will need it when they try to do things on there own. Its easy to follow a video or pdf tutorial and do everything step by step. and yes you learn to make that object or do that event --but what you really want to (need to ) learn is the right techniques and practices. That is what you use when you start with your own blank screen.

So this project has really caught my attention ----and If you are able to get enough solid training into it --you may just get some more folks actually staying with AM and dare I say start posting some more wips and or little short films which was mentioned by Bruce --how few there actually are compared to the number of forum members. Today-- i just looked at AM film and stills which I had not in years and was really surprised how much of it is very dated . and very few new items posted at all...and hardly any comments posted ----(I threw down some comments of my own on a bunch that caught my eye today ) .

So yes this project --if you are able to do it- might be a real boost in the arm to the whole AM world. So please continue with your efforts ----as this is just the kind of thing that makes me think to jump back into the AM pool with both feet again but hopefully with better success. :D

Rich

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However when ever i went to try and make things of my own I seemed to stumble (alot) ...

 

The challenge of A:M is that is is a few generalized tools that can be used to do almost anything... if you can see through their simplicity to the final goal. Teaching that is difficult, but we'll try.

 

Compare that to Poser which is a very specific tool with narrow focus. Poser makes great humans with minimal user effort, but I don't think you can even make a vase in Poser, or a car or a house or anything else. (I don't know... can one make a vase in Poser?)

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No --there are no modeling tools in Poser ---you can import obj etc to get your own models but that would require another application....and indeed I know that 3d software packages and 3d in general is not for the faint of heart .These complete packages provide a lot of power to do almost anything you can imagine but that also brings a certain complexity inherent. Now this brings up a interesting thought about AM -----right now in the 3d market place ---lots of choices. Lots of opportunities around but ---if the question is which one can get you up to speed the fastest where one person --and one application can get you to tell your story in a pretty visually compelling fashion using your own models , rigging and animations etc. ----AM has to be very near the top. Now that said --it still takes a lot of effort granted less than the others to reach that goal but still effort --so having a bunch of fun tutorials focused on getting new people to reach the goal of the software would go very far to getting AM a lot of new zealots .

Because AM is a little different than the rest so you need to get folks to see that those differences are not obstacles but opportunities and if you can - then you are well on your way to success. If you can keep folks learning....progressing and getting better ....keep learning and practicing more will stay and use the program and upgrade etc etc. All good things. In fact i think even besides a new TAoAM ..it would be great to have in the beginners forum little short exercises . ie. Here is a chair to model and show the steps and have new folks try and follow and produce their own. Then they can be critiqued or helped with ideas on how to do better . I maybe off base here ( and speaking personally as well ) but I think one of the biggest stumbling blocks to using AM is getting good at the modeling. IMHO I think if you can get more folks learning, practicing and making things of their own ---they will feel more confident and accomplished and determined -- as for me the other parts of AM are actually in many ways easier then the competition.

So bottom line ...your project of a new TAoAM is noble and very important I think to getting more folks to use AM as their choice to tell their 3d stories.

 

Rich

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--so having a bunch of fun tutorials focused on getting new people to reach the goal of the software would go very far to getting AM a lot of new zealots .

 

The last thing we want to do is gain a lot of new zealots. ;)

That works well for awhile but when the euphoria fades zealots will tend to be just as passionate when they begin to blame the software for their failures.

A:M will get the job done but it helps when we align with it's workflow rather than fight against it.

To rephrase W. Edwards Deming, "Can we not learn to animate?"

 

Get folks to see that those differences are not obstacles but opportunities and if you can - then you are well on your way to success.

 

That is an important part of our challenge.

Especially to someone new that is learning, it helps to have a plan and stay with it.

 

it would be great to have in the beginners forum little short exercises . ie. Here is a chair to model and show the steps and have new folks try and follow and produce their own.

 

We've been moving in this direction for awhile now and Robert's move to update TaoA:M will help define how the rest of the forum adapts to that change.

I can easily see a forum area catering to 'kids' that would demonstrate the extreme basics (something most of us would likely think too simple) and teach the language of computer animation from A:M's unique perspective. One of the reason's people fail with A:M is that they try to use it in incompatible ways (i.e. we create our own obstacles). The good news is that learning the way early helps us overcome/circumnavigate/avoid obstacles as we move forward. Hence, ToaA:M, The Art (way) of Animation:Master is pretty important in the over all scheme of things.

 

one of the biggest stumbling blocks to using AM is getting good at the modeling. IMHO I think if you can get more folks learning, practicing and making things of their own ---they will feel more confident and accomplished and determined -- as for me the other parts of AM are actually in many ways easier then the competition.

 

I can see you've thought through this.

As Robert mentioned one of the great things about A:M is that there are usually several approaches to any given task. For instance it's possible to build models without even laying a spline... only building from previous models or modifying what already exists but I really don't fully endorse that as I think everyone has much more creativity and potential than that.

 

This is a challenge because we all come to this with preconceived ideas about how things should work. Tutorials can be both a blessing and a curse because while they do show us how to accomplish something we then tend to think that it must always be done that way (and given our limited understanding it may not actually be the best way!). A successful approach would be to begin to think in terms of Splines and Patches. We don't even need A:M to think in these terms but it certainly helps!

 

a new TAoAM is noble and very important I think to getting more folks to use AM as their choice to tell their 3d stories.

 

If we can refine the skills of those who have purchased A:M to that point we'll be able to call it a great success.

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Rodney--always nice hearing your feedback and one final comment by me is ---I think in tutorials --i do like to see how someone did make that chair or table or arm but often what i learn most is the different techniques and practices that the more expert uses. sometimes in a 5 minute tutorial you learn one gem of a practice... "like never do this when you are trying to that" or "if you get stuck like this ..do this and this and this" They never are really hints getting you to building the chair , table or leg but they help you figure out a problem you may have been running into or will . The other most beneficial thing most helpful in tutorials is general workflow tips and hints-----often beginners do not know the best way to start --or start badly and get frustrated and get bad results which leads to more frustration. (I hate to say it but many beginners including myself are kind of like children.......we want instant results and want to have it done for us......lol) So having a good plan where success is built upon success slowly but steadily will be so very beneficial especially if you can work in some practices, techniques and workflows.........

rich

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  • 3 weeks later...

I think every lesson should have at least two modeling techniques embedded in them. And repeat those techniques in other lessons. Quietly, but repeat them.

 

One way to model a table or chair that would give a good example of different approaches would be to model a dining set. Meaning a table and four to six chairs. This would give an opportunity to learn the lathe, copy & paste, duplicator, patch extrusion and stitching as well as other methods.

 

Over the years, I have used all of the above and more to create things in A:M. Without just staying in the 'deep end' of the pool sort to speak, I would have never learned how to become proficient with the interface, let alone the techniques to use the modeler as well as I have.

 

I found the other day when wanting to mess with cloth, that I nearly modeled half a humanoid character in under 10 minutes without even really thinking or planning it out. This could only come from that familiarity.

 

I know I have not produced much of my own 'finished works' here, but I feel that with the TWO project, I was beginning to really shine. Other priorities took over after that unfortunately.

 

I would like to contribute to the TAoA:M chapters or sections. I really like where the list is going and is a great start.

 

I agree that basic texture techniques could easily be woven in early. I use them now, but felt I was stuck with materials for a long time.

 

Thanks for all your work on this Rob!

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Robcat and mmz -- I think you both have great ideas . Rob I think the goal of 15 min is right on the mark for best time. That leaves watching the thing and practicing together and probably have someone busy for at least 30 minutes to an hour depending on what the lesson is and that works great for today's busy folks. But if you think the detail is needed..leave it as we beginners learn sometimes from the little things that you might cut.

 

Rich

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It's 34 minutes long! I'll need to streamline that.

My goal is 15 minutes.

 

How does that translate to file size?

 

I haven't worried about that yet. My 15 minute benchmark is with an eye to both the short-attention span user and the teacher in a class who would want something they can show and still have enough time in the hour to work with students.

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My 15 minute benchmark is with an eye to both the short-attention span user and the teacher in a class who would want something they can show and still have enough time in the hour to work with students.

 

That is an excellent benchmark. :)

 

I was assuming you were thinking about something along the lines of one hour in the classroom (presumably with additional lab time to follow as necessary).

Most of that time shouldn't just be sitting there watching the video but working to accomplish what is being taught in the lesson.

 

Considering it further, you've got me thinking 15 minute lessons would be just about perfect.

Most of the classes I've taught in the military were broken down into lecture/demonstrations of 45 minutes to one hour duration. A rifle class might consist of three such sessions (interestingly ending with an emphasis on the fundamentals) then often a lunch break and a trip to the range for live fire qualification. The size of our firing range's usually meaning that one group of students would immediately proceed to the firing range while the other group would head off to lunch where they'd immediately begin to forget what they'd just been taught about marksmanship fundamentals. Ah, the good ol' days. So depending on thoroughness of that day's teacher you might end up teaching them all over again on the range.

 

Luckily, running through the rules of safety with A:M should be pretty easy. ;)

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Rodney,

 

Some of the best video training lessons I've used have about 15 minute modules and usually have you pause the video several times to perform the exercises WITH the teacher.

 

So I would agree that 15 minutes is just about perfect.

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I'll tell you... the worst training video I've seen recently was AnimationMentor's Maya training video that they gave us at the start of the first quarter.

 

It was "hosted" by two guys in ninja outfits who did lots of ninja talk. The screencaptures were done by pointing a camera at the screen and were only barely legible.

 

I'm sure they were trying to keep it fun but I really doubted that I was going to learn what i needed to learn about Maya in time to get assignments done so I decided "I'm sticking with A:M". I think the shortcomings of those Maya videos were a big reason a lot of those first students fell behind and had trouble early on.

 

Several quarters later I noticed they had ditched those Maya videos and replaced them with something more conventional and better presented.

 

I worked in instructional video for ten years and for a long time we thought we had to make them "fun" but by the end I realized that a technical audience primarily wants information presented clearly and doesn't want to sit thru "fun" to get to the info.

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I worked in instructional video for ten years and for a long time we thought we had to make them "fun" but by the end I realized that a technical audience primarily wants information presented clearly and doesn't want to sit thru "fun" to get to the info.

 

I probably knew that but have forgotten your video experience. This explains how you are able to make quality video tutorials look so easy to produce. I do recall that you were a band teacher though!

 

Perhaps the fun factor has lessened even more now that people have a penchant to race through a whole lot of video tutorials.

 

I'm sure they were trying to keep it fun but I really doubted that I was going to learn what i needed to learn about Maya in time to get assignments done so I decided "I'm sticking with A:M". I think the shortcomings of those Maya videos were a big reason a lot of those first students fell behind and had trouble early on.

 

Several quarters later I noticed they had ditched those Maya videos and replaced them with something more conventional and better presented.

 

Everyone has to deal with the dreaded learning curve.

Something that looks great on paper may not play out so well when it's released into the real world.

 

I had a similar experience over at the Don Bluth forum where he had launched 'The Cyber Gargage Project'. This was a traditionally animated short that was going to be created in much the same way as TWO here in this forum. The talent was a bit too raw and the technology (for communicating with traditional animation tools) not quite up to the task. I came in on the end of that and was a bit cautious because of my experience with TWO.

 

...and so we learn.

 

I hesitate to ask but... do you regret not being able to continue in Animation Mentor?

Besides losing out on the obvious benefits (the access and interaction with and learning gained from experienced animators) what do you regret the most?

(Feel free to defer if you prefer)

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I worked in instructional video for ten years and for a long time we thought we had to make them "fun" but by the end I realized that a technical audience primarily wants information presented clearly and doesn't want to sit thru "fun" to get to the info.

 

I probably knew that but have forgotten your video experience.

 

In retrospect we were a bunch of wanna-be film-makers doing things with actors and scripts and sets that were way beyond what was needed to explain telecom to telecom technicians. But this was also feeding the egos of higher ups who wanted glossy things.

 

Nortel Networks has since gone bankrupt and there were probably a thousand similar situations there where someone was spending too much money for too little mostly for image and status purposes. (the CEOs who fleeced the company and cooked the books may have been a problem also>)

 

 

I hesitate to ask but... do you regret not being able to continue in Animation Mentor?

Besides losing out on the obvious benefits (the access and interaction with and learning gained from experienced animators) what do you regret the most?

(Feel free to defer if you prefer)

 

My biggest regret is that it didn't come along 10 or 15 years earlier. That would have fit my career timeline better, there's no one out there doing the sort of work I'd like to do that is going to take on a 52-year-old "new hire" now no matter what I'm a graduate of.

 

It would be fun to go back and finish it but not $6000 of fun. I've heard too many stories of graduates who can't find continuing work or have had ghastly experiences when they found it. That sounds like "sour grapes" but I think, in this case, the grapes may actually be sour.

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Fun telecom instructional video fact:

 

Among the many acronyms encountered at NORTEL were TGAR (Trunk Group Access Restriction) and TARG (Trunk Access Restriction Group).

 

What are the chances of those getting mixed up?

 

 

One concept floated to explain them involved "TGAR the Tiger" and "TARG the Caveman". I saw a script that had someone wandering down a dark cave with paintings on the walls.

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Thanks Robert, you've answered my question and more.

 

I'm endlessly fascinated by this stuff and God willing, in a few months time, it looks like I'll be able to delve even more deeply into it.

I am utterly perplexed at the fact that students have to pay upward to $120,000.00 for a degree at school.

I understand that these institution need money flowing in but there is something broke with how this all works.

In a perfect world, schools would pay you so they too can learn.

 

Death and taxes. I realize that is all we are really here for in this world. Render until Caesar the CG animated films he wants to show. But... and it's a big but... there is opportunity along the way for us to enjoy the fruits of our labors and share with others what we've learned from the experience. Death is inevitable. Taxes encompass the soul. And yet somehow, life is worth living after all.

 

"TGAR the Tiger" and "TARG the Caveman"... you know... I like that. I got a good visual with that. That is something that only a creative artist (cartoonist?) mind would think up. Silly stuff but worthy of the source subject which is just as equally ridiculous. Frivolous? Absolutely. But that has always been the realm of cartoony stuff.

 

In retrospect we were a bunch of wanna-be film-makers doing things with actors and scripts and sets that were way beyond what was needed to explain telecom to telecom technicians. But this was also feeding the egos of higher ups who wanted glossy things.

 

I think a lot of this may fall into the category of 'work should be fun'. I don't know any of the details but I don't think Nortel was immune from that one. I do agree that excesses will sink the boat and that is never a good option. The first rule in business is Survive. In fact I think that may be the only one.

 

My biggest regret is that it didn't come along 10 or 15 years earlier.

 

This too me is a validation of the old theme of grab these guys/gals while they are young. With the exception of the inevitable brainwashing part (reportedly the youth and the aged are more susceptible to that) and human trafficking (which with the internet is moving more into the mainstream labor force) there is good reason to 'bear the yoke' while you are yet young. TaoA:M works like that... learn the right way to use A:M first before you launch into outer space on that space rocket. (Combining the two as you are though... well... that's simply awesome).

 

too many stories of graduates who can't find continuing work or have had ghastly experiences when they found it.

 

And there's the rub; when we arrive at our destination we find out it wasn't what we wanted.

 

Here is about $80K worth of that:

- Create two-dimensional and three-dimensional images depicting objects in motion or illustrating a process, using computer animation or modeling programs.

- Design complex graphics and animation, using independent judgment, creativity, and computer equipment.

- Make objects or characters appear lifelike by manipulating light, color, texture, shadow, and transparency, or manipulating static images to give the illusion of motion.

- Apply story development, directing, cinematography, and editing to animation to create storyboards that show the flow of the animation and map out key scenes and characters.

- Participate in design and production of multimedia campaigns, handling budgeting and scheduling, and assisting with such responsibilities as production coordination, background design and progress tracking.

- Create basic designs, drawings, and illustrations for product labels, cartons, direct mail, or television.

- Develop briefings, brochures, multimedia presentations, web pages, promotional products, technical illustrations, and computer artwork for use in products, technical manuals, literature, newsletters and slide shows.

- Script, plan, and create animated narrative sequences under tight deadlines, using computer software and hand drawing techniques.

- Implement and maintain configuration control systems.

- Assemble, typeset, scan and produce digital camera-ready art or film negatives and printer's proofs.

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The problem with TGAR and TARG was that it was VERY important for techs to understand it or your phone system wouldn't work, but none of the explanations made sense to anyone who didn't already understand it.

 

To me, they all sounded like this sketch...

 

http://youtu.be/Wd8qzqfPfdM

 

 

 

 

 

Here is about $80K worth of that:

- Create two-dimensional and three-dimensional images depicting objects in motion or illustrating a process, using computer animation or modeling programs.

- Design complex graphics and animation, using independent judgment, creativity, and computer equipment.

- Make objects or characters appear lifelike by manipulating light, color, texture, shadow, and transparency, or manipulating static images to give the illusion of motion.

- Apply story development, directing, cinematography, and editing to animation to create storyboards that show the flow of the animation and map out key scenes and characters.

- Participate in design and production of multimedia campaigns, handling budgeting and scheduling, and assisting with such responsibilities as production coordination, background design and progress tracking.

- Create basic designs, drawings, and illustrations for product labels, cartons, direct mail, or television.

- Develop briefings, brochures, multimedia presentations, web pages, promotional products, technical illustrations, and computer artwork for use in products, technical manuals, literature, newsletters and slide shows.

- Script, plan, and create animated narrative sequences under tight deadlines, using computer software and hand drawing techniques.

- Implement and maintain configuration control systems.

- Assemble, typeset, scan and produce digital camera-ready art or film negatives and printer's proofs.

 

That one job description would just about cover everything our 16-person department at Nortel did.

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To me, they all sounded like this sketch...

 

I will never understand British humor.

 

That one job description would just about cover everything our 16-person department at Nortel did.

 

Truth in advertisement: That listing relates to what you could expect to be exposed to (from such places as the Art Institute) over a four year period at a cost of $80K (plus about $35K in housing etc.). (Sorry, I should have linked the source)

 

The listing at this link has a percentage applied to each line item which I find useful. The assumption of course being that the higher the percentage the more useful would be that particular exposure. It stands to reason that someone pursuing completion of the curriculum should concentrate on those areas first and gain some level of familiarity with all.

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Truth in advertisement: That listing relates to what you could expect to be exposed to (from such places as the Art Institute)

 

That looked exactly like job descriptions I have seen posted on places like Monster.com. Those absurd expectations for skillsets are so common it didn't even occur to me that was what a school was offering to teach.

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  • 1 month later...
I would like to contribute to the TAoA:M chapters or sections. I really like where the list is going and is a great start.

 

BTW, I didn't mean to ignore your offer of help! Among other things, certainly the NetRender info you've been working on would be a good candidate for video treatment, if you can figure out how to present it.

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  • 1 month later...

"One thing I think new users would like is a tour of all the buttons on the screen, but i don't like doing it all at once. I should find a way to sneak that in over several lessons." Do a tour all at once, but announce that it's just an overview and you'll be talking about each button again. That way they don't think they have to memorize it all at once, but they don't think you're glossing over stuff either.

 

Do you want a keypad with the views? I think you should do everything you can to get people away from toolbars and encourage the "one hand on the mouse, the other hand on the keyboard" approach. I was like a man on crutches til I got used to doing things with hotkeys.

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Do you want a keypad with the views? I think you should do everything you can to get people away from toolbars and encourage the "one hand on the mouse, the other hand on the keyboard" approach. I was like a man on crutches til I got used to doing things with hotkeys.

 

I think i suggested that as an easily understandable case for why you might want to create a custom toolbar. I prefer keyboard shorcuts but I recently got a slate PC with no keyboard at all and when i tested A:M on it I realized I would absolutely need some sort of on-screen keypad. The RMB-menu method of selecting views is too cumbersome.

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