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Kyrah Abattoir

Why beginners don't learn the basics first?

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On 1/20/2019 at 7:57 PM, Kyrah Abattoir said:

What's the deal there, I don't get it, the first thing I did when I started with blender was to head to https://www.blender.org/support/tutorials/ and went through the "Blender Fundamentals" (the equivalent we had back then) no matter how dumb it made me feel.

I'm just going to slip in here while the adults keep talking over my head to answer this original question.

Just like the quote, I am at present trying to learn Blender 2.80 and it's freaking overwhelming, but I'm currently taking a course on it and taking it one step at a time, one day at a time. The thing is this is my third attempt at learning Blender; the first two times I was like pretty much everyone else you listed in your OP. I taught myself to use Mesh Gen and Mesh Studio and felt I had a pretty good handle on things. On top of that I saw all the awesome builds and I wanted to be able to do that. So I installed this awesome free program, read a few guides that went straight for the jugular on what specifically I wanted to do while skipping all the basic instructions, broke or uploaded lag pits and then quit, utterly disheartened.

My expectation was unrealistic. I wanted to run before I could walk. But it's hard to be patient when you're surrounded by the promise of quick results and money (and I'm referring to much of the content I see on the Marketplace and in Sales Events that are the same mesh just tweaked or repainted). As a society we're used to immediate gratification; instant information at our fingertips, instant meals, instant movies and TV on demand, instant everything (not literally everything, but you get the point). That way of thinking was/is no different here. I know that was wrong now, but like so many others I simply didn't care. Not about waiting, learning, Tris/poly, lag, or anything else for that matter. And none of my friends (some of whom have been in SL a lot longer than me) appear to care about any of those details either (except perhaps lag, which they usually see as LL's problem, not theirs). Some people don't want to work, it's just that simple. Why put in the extra effort if you don't have to (but should)?

Another aspect that didn't/doesn't help is that Blender itself is quite isolating; its a steep learning curve on your own especially when you've spent the last several years building in-world getting real-time feedback and often chatting with friends as you go as I did. So there's a kind of urgency to get back to what I know or what's familiar, and that's likely going to take some time to overcome. On top of that, while some people are going to claim they are the exception to the rule, a majority of mesh "experts" I've spoken to seem elitist and condescending when asked a question, like scaling the mountain gave them the right to talk to us new users like brain-dead morons. I'm sure some pupils (a lot, probably) don't want to learn and just want that quick fix or answers without bothering to look for them first so they can be the next DRD, but it's hard when you're tarred with the same brush (which of course goes both ways). Some people here on the forums are absolute gems. But some are so acerbic I'd rather say nothing to stay out of their cross-hairs because they'll jump on anything said to prove a point. Which means I'm stuck trying to figure things out on my own or find alternate sources, some of which are contradictory or confusing, and then the overwhelming feelings come back, and I start to question why the heck I'm putting myself back through this in the first place. Rinse and repeat ad nauseam. It's easy to see why people just skip this stage altogether.

I'm not answering for other people. My own experience is limited since I'm so new to this (learning from the ground up this time instead of bits and pieces) and I know there's a long, frustrating path ahead. That's daunting to face, and yes the experts know how challenging it is since they've been there and done that too, but I don't like feeling dumb. And I don't like others making me feel dumb either, especially on a public forum. I think unless you're willing to take a lot of backward steps, and are driven to actually learn (not succeed as much as learn new skills) then you're not going to bother with the basics. :) 

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1 hour ago, RaeLeeH said:

I'm just going to slip in here while the adults keep talking over my head to answer this original question.

Just like the quote, I am at present trying to learn Blender 2.80 and it's freaking overwhelming,

On that note, is there a reasonable guide to read if you know Blender 2.79 and have to convert to Blender 2.80? Not a video, something where you can look up stuff.

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Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, animats said:

On that note, is there a reasonable guide to read if you know Blender 2.79 and have to convert to Blender 2.80? Not a video, something where you can look up stuff.

Wouldn't know. I'm going through Udemy (video tutorials) and the Blender 2.80 Reference Manual. Any search to convert leads me to release notes or more tutorial videos, not what you're looking for, sorry. 😞

Edited by RaeLeeH

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On 8/2/2019 at 7:56 PM, animats said:

On that note, is there a reasonable guide to read if you know Blender 2.79 and have to convert to Blender 2.80? Not a video, something where you can look up stuff.

None that I really know @animats I've been going through that transition myself, and with the reomval of blender render, that also means crash course-ing through cycle shaders.
If you aren't already i'd recommend you join the Blender Benders group, Graham does classes there, and he will start 2.80 soon I believe.

But if you where experienced with 1.79 and cycles, most tools I've seen are basically unchanged, and you can still get the 2.79 keys and mouse controls if you so desire.

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4 hours ago, Kyrah Abattoir said:

None that I really know @animats

I'm amazed that they shipped this without a few pages of "Major changes" somewhere. But no one seems to be finding such a document.

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How does one deal with UV mapping for multiple LOD level if you want to create the LOD models yourself instead of using the uploader? You can't have different textures for different LOD levels, right?

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9 minutes ago, Candide LeMay said:

How does one deal with UV mapping for multiple LOD level if you want to create the LOD models yourself instead of using the uploader? You can't have different textures for different LOD levels, right?

If you want to make impostors you essentially need to "reserve" a material for that, hide it on a lone triangle on your high lod, and show it (and hide the others) on the low lod.

But usually you can reuse your existing UVs/textures on your simplified lod models, it's just that in some cases, making an impostor texture can be more efficient.

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18 minutes ago, Kyrah Abattoir said:

If you want to make impostors

I am guessing that her question is more about how to retain UV mapping and avoid their destruction during decimation/reduction of sort, which would lead to re-do the UVs and associated textures (hence the question regarding a different material per LOD) 

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26 minutes ago, OptimoMaximo said:

I am guessing that her question is more about how to retain UV mapping and avoid their destruction during decimation/reduction of sort, which would lead to re-do the UVs and associated textures (hence the question regarding a different material per LOD) 

Manually degrading your mesh by removing edge loops usually gives you the best results, but you will always get a certain amount of distorsion after a point, but it doesn't matter if it's at a distance where you cannot notice it anymore.

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20 hours ago, Kyrah Abattoir said:

Manually degrading your mesh by removing edge loops usually gives you the best results, but you will always get a certain amount of distorsion after a point, but it doesn't matter if it's at a distance where you cannot notice it anymore.

^^this.

For this reason alone it's often a good idea to start by making your highest LOD model - or even an "insane LOD" model with details you'll later bake as a normal map - first. And then unwrap it before you start removing detail to make the LOD models you upload. Get rid of the details in blender by "dissolving" them rather than "deleting" them to make a lower LOD model - that will not destroy your UV layout so long as you make sure to not remove any UV island seams. Zap a seam and your UV mapping goes to hell in a handbasket, because you'll then have a "face" made up out of vertices from different islands which will not conform to your layout.

Adding detail after unwrapping will usually result in a UV map that is not compatible with the lower-detail one - to the extent that blender will barf if you try and bake normals from one to the other, for example. To maintain compatibility the unwrap has to be done at the highest level of detail and then you keep that same UV map while making the lower detail models out of the more detailed ones.

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Posted (edited)
On 8/4/2019 at 9:48 AM, Candide LeMay said:

How does one deal with UV mapping for multiple LOD level if you want to create the LOD models yourself instead of using the uploader? You can't have different textures for different LOD levels, right?

Well, just try to have your lower LOD's seams match up as best ya can, then just kind of match up the UV as best ya can. Don't worry about it being a bit of a mess, you won't be close enough to see the LOD's anyways when they're working as intended.

One thing you can do is select the full model, then the LOD, and when your in the UV window, click on view and toggle on the option to like "draw other" or something like that there, it'll show you the UV of the other selected object as a sort of faint backdrop.

Edited by Digit Gears
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On 8/2/2019 at 6:09 PM, RaeLeeH said:

I'm just going to slip in here while the adults keep talking over my head to answer this original question.

Just like the quote, I am at present trying to learn Blender 2.80 and it's freaking overwhelming, but I'm currently taking a course on it and taking it one step at a time, one day at a time. The thing is this is my third attempt at learning Blender; the first two times I was like pretty much everyone else you listed in your OP. I taught myself to use Mesh Gen and Mesh Studio and felt I had a pretty good handle on things. On top of that I saw all the awesome builds and I wanted to be able to do that. So I installed this awesome free program, read a few guides that went straight for the jugular on what specifically I wanted to do while skipping all the basic instructions, broke or uploaded lag pits and then quit, utterly disheartened.

My expectation was unrealistic. I wanted to run before I could walk. But it's hard to be patient when you're surrounded by the promise of quick results and money (and I'm referring to much of the content I see on the Marketplace and in Sales Events that are the same mesh just tweaked or repainted). As a society we're used to immediate gratification; instant information at our fingertips, instant meals, instant movies and TV on demand, instant everything (not literally everything, but you get the point). That way of thinking was/is no different here. I know that was wrong now, but like so many others I simply didn't care. Not about waiting, learning, Tris/poly, lag, or anything else for that matter. And none of my friends (some of whom have been in SL a lot longer than me) appear to care about any of those details either (except perhaps lag, which they usually see as LL's problem, not theirs). Some people don't want to work, it's just that simple. Why put in the extra effort if you don't have to (but should)?

Another aspect that didn't/doesn't help is that Blender itself is quite isolating; its a steep learning curve on your own especially when you've spent the last several years building in-world getting real-time feedback and often chatting with friends as you go as I did. So there's a kind of urgency to get back to what I know or what's familiar, and that's likely going to take some time to overcome. On top of that, while some people are going to claim they are the exception to the rule, a majority of mesh "experts" I've spoken to seem elitist and condescending when asked a question, like scaling the mountain gave them the right to talk to us new users like brain-dead morons. I'm sure some pupils (a lot, probably) don't want to learn and just want that quick fix or answers without bothering to look for them first so they can be the next DRD, but it's hard when you're tarred with the same brush (which of course goes both ways). Some people here on the forums are absolute gems. But some are so acerbic I'd rather say nothing to stay out of their cross-hairs because they'll jump on anything said to prove a point. Which means I'm stuck trying to figure things out on my own or find alternate sources, some of which are contradictory or confusing, and then the overwhelming feelings come back, and I start to question why the heck I'm putting myself back through this in the first place. Rinse and repeat ad nauseam. It's easy to see why people just skip this stage altogether.

I'm not answering for other people. My own experience is limited since I'm so new to this (learning from the ground up this time instead of bits and pieces) and I know there's a long, frustrating path ahead. That's daunting to face, and yes the experts know how challenging it is since they've been there and done that too, but I don't like feeling dumb. And I don't like others making me feel dumb either, especially on a public forum. I think unless you're willing to take a lot of backward steps, and are driven to actually learn (not succeed as much as learn new skills) then you're not going to bother with the basics. :) 

I hear you, and kinda take it personally, but you're also right. I'm not a good teacher, and I don't have a lot of patience, or tact. I'm probably not what you can consider nice, but when I'm replying, I genuinly want to help. Even if it's not delivered in the nicest manner.

That being said... any criticism is good criticism, yes it hurts, but it's also invaluable. It's not possible to truly get better solely from a strictly subjective point of view, we all become blind to our own flaws eventually and we need others to remind us what isn't right in our work.

Otherwise you end up like one student I was in class with who got absolutely obliterated by the teacher at the finals, when he revealed his project for the very first time since we started (6 months ago). It was so wrong the teacher didn't even know where to even begin telling him what the issue was. So yeah criticism hurt but it's probably better to risk a few little stabs along the way (and survive!) than a giant takedown at the end.

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On 7/23/2019 at 1:16 PM, Wulfie Reanimator said:

Why @MaxSilverDragon thinks Maya is a good example of a "simple" program or interface boggles my mind, but I digress.

In my opinion, Maya is a good example of a well organized interface that makes learning things easier. It's not simple, just well organized.

On 7/23/2019 at 12:29 PM, Kyrah Abattoir said:

Now, I know you are in the "auto-lod boat", but since we aren't there yet.

Since "auto-LoDs" isn't a reality we'll see anytime soon (if ever), that's the reason i made my auto-lod script for Maya. At the very least, for rigged meshes (i was thinking to animesh objects), because those are the type of objects that give out the worst result and the highest amount of trouble upon upload, so my script automates the (time consuming and tedious) process required to make things work, as a mean to incentivate good LoDs models by my user base. I'm hard testing it against a creature avatar i'm currently making. It all works flawlessly so far, with no skinning issues (fixed by my automation) and quick-and-easy iterations when things need to be fixed after test imports filures (a bad deformation i didn't notice earlier from a joint i totally overlooked). Degradation inworld is smooth and unperceivable at each single LoD switch. There's only one weird thing happening SL side, not pertaining my script: when rezzed, this creature in total weights 685 LI, when switched to animesh its LI LOWERS to 130 LI (and performing the animesh LI calculations manually, it should be 137.022). So, i can agree with @animats about the LoD implementation in SL: it is ridiculous, deceiving, arguable and disappointing, although i don't agree with his vision of automation-and-impostoring-all-the-way. A perfectly industry-standard-alined set of LoDs models (50% the triangle count of LoD above) should give a consistent result, no matter what the final use the model is intended for

.Screenshot_2.png.3080f9f1290262112e64a275e82fcfc8.png  Screenshot_1.png.1f40b738a4656d1274c88459934090ea.png

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Nice. And works for avatars, too, not just simple objects.

Will there be a Blender version?

"A perfectly industry-standard-aligned set of LoDs models (50% the triangle count of LoD above) " - didn't know that was an industry standard.

It works well for animesh. But for objects, it means background objects have significant numbers of triangles. "Lowest" is only 1/8 of "Highest". A 30,000 triangle shoe (not unusual, rez a shoe you have in inventory and look at it in edit) is still 3750 triangles when it's 250m away. As a rule of thumb, you can have about 1 million triangles on screen in SL before the viewer starts to choke. (Expensive graphics cards increase this number.) So a pair of shoes a sim away are 0.7% of your scene budget. Distant over-meshed objects will choke the viewer.

Maybe drop to 33% between LODs? Then you're down to 370 triangles at full distance. 0.07% of your scene budget.

LL is  talking about Project Arctan again, redesigning the LOD calculation. Right now, there's too much reward for getting the lowest LOD down to some useless value like 2. Or at least creators think there is. So this is worth discussing now.

(This week's clothing LOD annoyance: I have an animesh character which has a skin that looks good down to "low" LOD, and at least fills the space at "lowest". Someone gave me a dress to try. It's about 30,000 tris at "High" LOD. Medium LOD is 2. Two. Back off 5m and the dress disappears, leaving the character looking semi-nude, with junk triangles instead of a dress. At 5 meters range.)

 

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11 hours ago, animats said:

didn't know that was an industry standard.

For hero-sized objects such characters, it's the most common setting

11 hours ago, animats said:

Nice. And works for avatars, too, not just simple objects.

Will there be a Blender version?

It works only for rigged meshes, whatwver they are (avatar, clothing, animesh). Static objects don't really need such complex management script, since there isn't skinning involved. 

No, there won't be a Blender version. I develop stuff on Maya only, and even if i can script in python, Blender API and its internal structure represent a big headache for me. Not going to use any of my time on that. 

However, what i was showing was the result of those settings, my script accepts user input to define how much reduction to perform on each LoD. Mine was just a test. 

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2 hours ago, OptimoMaximo said:

For hero-sized objects such characters, it's the most common setting

You got a source for that since you insist on it?

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39 minutes ago, Wulfie Reanimator said:

You got a source for that since you insist on it?

I assume that you're aware of the fact that I'm talking about full characters/creatures, not a general content creation process applied on everything, including static objects. Indeed what I'm talking about is only rigged content. With this said... 

Where exactly did I "insist"? Need a source for it? Do a search among game engine forums, polycount, modding comunities as i did, and except for specific cases about particular items, i found that to be the most commonly used ratio on characters. Want an hands-on example? Skyrim or fallout mod creation kit, and inspect the models. 

 

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9 hours ago, OptimoMaximo said:

For hero-sized objects such characters, it's the most common setting. (50% triangle reduction per LOD level)

Hm. This suggests how Project Arctan might do character LI:

  • Characters have land impact using the animesh formula: 666 tris = 1 LI, half that for each lower level of detail.
  • Regions (or parcels, or viewers) can specify a maximum LI per character. This doesn't count against parcel LI.
  • If a character is over the maximum, its LOD ranges are reduced so that it switches to a lower LOD sooner. If it's still over, it's rendered in impostor mode. If that doesn't work, it goes to jellydoll mode.
  • The nearest characters still show at full LOD at short range, 4m or so. So you can still admire your friends million-triangle avatars when you get close enough. But a roomful of them won't choke the viewer.

Now this provides an incentive to get the lower LODs right on avatars and clothing.

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23 minutes ago, animats said:

Characters have land impact using the animesh formula: 666 tris = 1 LI, half that for each lower level of detail

And use the bigger number that result from those calculations

24 minutes ago, animats said:

If a character is over the maximum, its LOD ranges are reduced so that it switches to a lower LOD sooner. If it's still over, it's rendered in impostor mode. If that doesn't work, it goes to jellydoll mode

I like this idea

 

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And I like the idea of parcel/region limits.

But I don't see this kind of power being given to us filthy landlubbers.

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2 hours ago, animats said:

Regions (or parcels, or viewers) can specify a maximum LI per character.

If we could harness the energy from the resulting drama, we could power the world and solve climate breakdown in a week :SwingingFriends:

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Bitsy Buccaneer said:

If we could harness the energy from the resulting drama, we could power the world and solve climate breakdown in a week :SwingingFriends:

There has been drama for the introduction of mesh as the end of the virtual world too. It will go down after a while, outweighed by the benefits. I see your point and you're right, but if things have to change for the better, let the drama begin

Edited by OptimoMaximo
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1 hour ago, OptimoMaximo said:

There has been drama for the introduction of mesh as the end of the virtual world too. It will go down after a while, outweighed by the benefits. I see your point and you're right, but if things have to change for the better, let the drama begin

It was just a wee joke and observation. Mostly it was a joke.

For those who want to take the observation seriously, is there interest in brainstorming ways to engineer the social aspects as well as the technical?

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