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Why beginners don't learn the basics first?

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Nextio said:

Blender's documents are usually outdated and explained very poorly.  It also doesn't teach you how to be proficient, which is your original gripe in the first place.  It just teaches the basics on how to use the tool.  It's not going to teach you how to be better.

More specifically, even if (and I don't know, I teach myself -- poorly) Blender had a great general tutorial on how to make any kind of model, it wouldn't cover SL's needs.

The workflow required for SL is a subsection of a subsection of Blender's feature-set. Performance budget, texturing (and not being able to rely on Blender to display textures as they will appear in SL), LOD models, etc. The things we do for SL are not things that Blender should be teaching for Blender users in general. Even if Blender made a "game asset tutorial," it would still be pretty close to the original problem. The workflow for Unity models (for example) isn't the same as you'd need for SL.

Edit: What I'm saying is that we should have an SL-specific set of guidelines (not necessarily rules) from Linden Lab. What's recommended? What makes sense? What should you not do and why? Community-created tutorials are nice and all, but tutorials are often followed very literally and if the tutorial makes uninformed decisions, those are passed on which perpetuates bad habits that are difficult for most people to correct on their own.

Edited by Wulfie Reanimator
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Ok....So, after the basics where do you go?

Pretend learning how to use the program (like Blender) is easy. You found a lot of great tutorial's and how-tos, ready to make a thing and you do and it's glorious. That's all fine and dandy and totally doable.

But now I want to know how to apply that, not to SL concepts but to actually use it on my avatar.... Now what?

The idea of rigging is easy: attach your model to the right bones. But how do we get SL's bones? How do we know we're using the right SL model to weight on? How do we know weighting with SL's skeleton?

 

Personally, I've found a TON of info on how to use Blender and all the tools relevant the kind of object I want to make. I have, in comparison, found maybe one website somewhere that makes a connection in terms of Bento and nothing in between. It's like going from point A to B to C to H...what happens with D through G? Where does a person find this info?

There are videos on importing already made items and putting them together, but there's a lot of info missing in between. It's that missing info that causes a new creator to make leaps and bounds in confusion, hoping no to trip in the dark.

If you haven't guessed, I'm new to mesh...and as such, I'm extremely interested and also lost lol

 

As a comparative example, making textures for SL follows specific design rules: the texture needs to be a certain size, you have the blueprint to know where your paint will be applied on the avatar (if you're making clothing texture or makeup or something), you have to save it as a specific file type, and there are even guidelines on how to make that file type contain alpha portions... and let's say you're using photoshop. You know how to use the program, all you do then is paint your thing, save it with alpha info at the right size, import to SL and apply to clothing layer...boom, done

 

But making mesh for SL? Learning the basics of a program is one thing, and utilizing it to its full extent is loads of fun, but after you're familiar with those basics where does a person go from there to get to their intended destination in SL? Where are the guidelines in this?

(As a reference, I'm trying to make rigged mesh hair to practice the entire process from start to finish...besides the file type, there's a big gap between the object and its destination I'd like to learn about and have had little luck in finding info)

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Posted (edited)

Well, we can go on complaining, and we probably should to keep the topic hot, but this is what need to be done:

First somebody has to write the documentation, because that is the basis. Any good and reliable practical tutorials have to refer to the docs. How much work that is, depends on how much reverse engineering and research has to be done but even with the full cooperation of LL's developers, it's easily two months or more of full time work for a trained educator who udnerstands both practical building and programming. Without LL's help, it may well take more than half a year to finish. (Except of course it's never really finished, it'll have to be continuously updated.)

The tutorial authors wouldn't have to wait for that long of course, once one part of the docs has been written, they can start making tutorials based on that. But somebody still have to make the tutorials. How much work would that be?

The documentation writing is not something that will be done by volunteers in their spare time and crowd funding isn't realistic either.So the only way I can see that would make this possible at all, would be if LL decided to finance the ground work and that ain't gonna happen.

Edited by ChinRey
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Well, maybe if you wanted to be very thorough. Personally, I'd be happy with a short check list of things to google lol at least as a start. Just the bare-bones "these items are important to understand" like a trail of bread crumbs to follow and the rest would kinda fall into place. Like a reference list of what to consider when making a mesh (more specifically a rigged mesh) would go a LONG way to being helpful and wouldn't cause too much trouble to someone with the knowledge because they wouldn't be explaining in depth, just pointing down the right path.

At that point, with a sort of scavenger-hunt list in hand, putting the pieces together is up to the creator's discretion regarding the project.

I think I could work with something like that. I'm sure the info is out there somewhere, but if you don't know what to look for, finding it is almost accidental.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Cleopatrina said:

I'm sure the info is out there somewhere

Don't be so sure about that. The old LL developers weren't going to (or possibly weren't allowed to) put more effort into the mesh code than absolutely necessary and they had to bolt that new feature onto software that was never intended to support it. So they resorted to quite a few ... let's call them unconvetional solutions. The result is that very much of what is true for good mesh in general don't apply to SL's variant and information not specifically made for SL by people who understand SL mesh, can be downright misleading.

On top of that, LL doesn't have a tradition for documenting what they've done - they tend to go for the old programmer's motto that the code is the documentation - and to make maters even worse, Falcon Linden, who was in charge of the mesh project, quit shortly afterwards and he seemed to have been the only one with a reasonable overview of the whole thing.

As far as I know, the only group of people who have done a substantial job to get to the bottom of SL mesh and made their finds public, is an informal bunch of forumites and (mostly) ex-forumites. That info is buried in the vast number of old posts here though so it's disorganized and very, very hard to find.

---

I think the best way to illustrate the problem is by looking at the mesh produced by the Moles, the builders hired by LL themselves. When the Mole force was originally organized, back before mesh was launched, LL was able to hire some of the very best builders in SL and their early prim, sculpt and texture works range from really good to absolutely briliant. Recently they've hired some new Moles, presumably because they were thought to be mesh experts.

Even so, the Moles are not making very good SL mesh. They are good builders in every other respect and I know from what Michael Linden once told me, they've really worked hard to figure this out. But after eight years they are still fumbling. Perhaps most telling, a few of the pre-mesh Moles seem to have a slightly better grasp on SL mesh than the newcomers. Even Silent Mole does and she's supposed to be mainly a scripter rather than a builder. I don't kow but I strongly suspect that indicates that experience with and knowledge of the old SL buidling materials are actually mroe important than general mesh experience from otehr environments if you want to make good SL mesh.

Edited by ChinRey

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5 hours ago, ChinRey said:

Don't be so sure about that.

I think you might be making the task Cleopatrina's asking for more complicated and harder than it needs to be.

It could start with a list of the factors the author(s) considers most relevant when creating mesh for SL. Having that in one place would help those who are beginning. It could also be a collaborative project with different people contributing where they best can.

It doesn't have to be Drongle-level investigation of how the servers handle mesh. A well-organised selection of suggestions for better practice would help a lot.

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5 hours ago, ChinRey said:

Perhaps most telling, a few of the pre-mesh Moles seem to have a slightly better grasp on SL mesh than the newcomers. Even Silent Mole does and she's supposed to be mainly a scripter rather than a builder. I don't kow but I strongly suspect that indicates that experience with and knowledge of the old SL buidling materials are actually mroe important than general mesh experience from otehr environments if you want to make good SL mesh.

I share this point of view indeed. From a technical point of view, persons who master building in-game have good prerequisites to create maximised meshes. And to understand how materials work : a good proof is the way the water will work on a mesh, with the usual scripts.

Primitives in-game are our mother-meshes, we should not forget it :)

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12 minutes ago, Bitsy Buccaneer said:

It could start with a list of the factors the author(s) considers most relevant when creating mesh for SL.

The essentials:

  1. How to make the most out of each triangle and vertice in the mesh
  2. When to use mesh and when to use prims
  3. How to make good solid LoD models
  4. How to make efficient physics models
  5. How to make the most out of each texture pixel
  6. When (and how) to use baked texturers and when (and how) to use tiled ones
  7. How to avoid The Deadly Sins Of Texturing
  8. And if you want to make fited mesh or animesh: how to rig

Aine Caiomhe has actually written a good primer for rigging: http://ainetutorials.blogspot.com/2015/11/tutorial-principles-of-blender-rigging.html. It's a bit outdated though, it's pre-bento and I think it's even pre fitted mesh. It's also for opensim (Aine gave up on SL long ago) but that shouldn't matter.

 

23 minutes ago, Pierre Ceriano said:

I share this point of view indeed. From a technical point of view, persons who master building in-game have good prerequisites to create maximised meshes.

I have another good example of that. Remember the first build LL showcased to promote Sansar, the Grand Hall. If you visit it in Sansar, you'll see it's a really great build, mae by a top quality professional mesh maker. It's not a Sansar original though, it was part of the set for a fairly high budget movie and the maker has reused it several times, including in Second Life. The SL upload of it however, is rubbish. So, there we have one of the best mesh makers in the 3D modelling and he still doesn't know how to build well for SL.

Becoming a good SL mesh maker is more about understanding SL than about understanding mesh so the basics isn't found in Blender or Maya at all. It's on the first floor of the Ivory Tower and at the classes of Blu and Toady and the other good teachers at BB and HHBS. I can't think of a single good SL builder who didn't start with prims.

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35 minutes ago, ChinRey said:

If you visit it in Sansar, you'll see it's a really great build, mae by a top quality professional mesh maker. It's not a Sansar original though, it was part of the set for a fairly high budget movie and the maker has reused it several times, including in Second Life. The SL upload of it however, is rubbish.

How is it "good" in Sansar? How do you quantify that?

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Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, Wulfie Reanimator said:

How is it "good" in Sansar? How do you quantify that?

That's a good question but it's also the answer.

I'm only talking about the technical aspect of course - LoD, lag, physics, load time and the use of available shaders - and the point is, in Sansar there's nothing special about those compared to the more common mesh based 3D platforms. From a mesh modeller's point of view, Sansar is basically a simplified and slightly outdated Unity clone so if it works in Unity, it works in Sansar too. Except load time of course but that's mainly due to a fundamental flaw in Sansar's core concept so there's not that much a builder can do about it.

 

Edited by ChinRey

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On 3/15/2019 at 10:29 AM, ChinRey said:

The essentials:

  1. How to make the most out of each triangle and vertice in the mesh
  2. When to use mesh and when to use prims
  3. How to make good solid LoD models
  4. How to make efficient physics models
  5. How to make the most out of each texture pixel
  6. When (and how) to use baked texturers and when (and how) to use tiled ones
  7. How to control land impact without reducing the visual quality
  8. How to control display weigh/ARC without reducing the visual quality
  9. How to avoid The Deadly Sins Of Texturing
  10. And if you want to make fited mesh or animesh: how to rig

Aine Caiomhe has actually written a good primer for rigging: http://ainetutorials.blogspot.com/2015/11/tutorial-principles-of-blender-rigging.html. It's a bit outdated though, it's pre-bento and I think it's even pre fitted mesh. It's also for opensim (Aine gave up on SL long ago) but that shouldn't matter.

 

I have another good example of that. Remember the first build LL showcased to promote Sansar, the Grand Hall. If you visit it in Sansar, you'll see it's a really great build, mae by a top quality professional mesh maker. It's not a Sansar original though, it was part of the set for a fairly high budget movie and the maker has reused it several times, including in Second Life. The SL upload of it however, is rubbish. So, there we have one of the best mesh makers in the 3D modelling and he still doesn't know how to build well for SL.

Becoming a good SL mesh maker is more about understanding SL than about understanding mesh so the basics isn't found in Blender or Maya at all. It's on the first floor of the Ivory Tower and at the classes of Blu and Toady and the other good teachers at BB and HHBS. I can't think of a single good SL builder who didn't start with prims.

 

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Posted (edited)

Who is teaching the "basics" to beginners? 

 

Let's not pretending the learning curve for blender is pretty high. It took me well over 6 months to learn how to create some basic things, from watching tutorials and trying things out myself, there aren't too many other creators within the SL community willing to "teach". And newbies like me and others are left to figure it out ourselves, of course the outcome of that will be creating whatever we want however we want.

I have been more mindful about polycounts but, my process has not been perfect and while I am already my worse critique it just sucks that there is no one in world that I can go to, to say; hey can you help me out with such and such... I have to figure out the answers myself. And everyone just acts like you're out to steal knowledge, thats why I don't bother and just do my own thing. 

Either you guys complain about new mesh creators or you talk to us and tell us what the right way to do stuff is...

Edited by No Fairlady
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, No Fairlady said:

Who is teaching the "basics" to beginners? 

...

Either you guys complain about new mesh creators or you talk to us and tell us what the right way to do stuff is...

I think the question is who should be teaching.

Personally I feel I've done more than my fair share of that job, here on the forums, in-world and, recently, through my blog. It is very rewarding when I see people really apreciate what I try to do but it is very time consuming and for the most part what I get in return is frustration, complaints and occasionally downright harassment. It has cost me quite a lot of money too because all the time I've spent advicing others means I haven't been able to give enough attention to my own little SL stores or my own building.

I only speak for myself here of course but I'm quite sure you can find many others who will say similar things.

Edited by ChinRey
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Posted (edited)
On 3/23/2019 at 10:20 AM, ChinRey said:

I think the question is who should be teaching.

Personally I feel I've done more than my fair share of that job, here on the forums, in-world and, recently, through my blog. It is very rewarding when I see people really apreciate what I try to do but it is very time consuming and for the most part what I get in return is frustration, complaints and occasionally downright harassment. It has cost me quite a lot of money too because all the time I've spent advicing others means I haven't been able to give enough attention to my own little SL stores or my own building.

I only speak for myself here of course but I'm quite sure you can find many others who will say similar things.

 

 

I get what you're saying and that's the general attitude around SL. Most designers or content creators do not have the time or energy to teach. My point is, if we're going to complain about how things look in world ( as experts ) do so with the intent to mentor or "teach". And some point it starts to just looks like bullying if you're nitpicking at newbies  as a master of the craft. 

I hope my point is clear and not being misunderstood but, if it is, no offense taken, we can agree to disagree. 

Edited by No Fairlady
typo
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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, No Fairlady said:

And some point it starts to just looks like bullying if you're nitpicking at newbies  as a master of the craft. 

I hope my point is clear and not being misunderstood but, if it is, no offense taken, we can agree to disagree. 

The forum is full of best practices, but, as I see it, those are neglected for various reasons:

  1. assumes learning more about the 3D tool at hand
  2. It slows down the process (less releases in the same time frame)
  3. who wants to listen, claims "step by step" instructions on specific topics (like copycats) instead of trying to understand and adapt the principles/methods to their specific case, so they drop out because of points 1 and 2
  4. "I'm a pro already, I don't need your 90's game stuff to dumb down my gorgeous products"
  5. who cares (which looks like it is the most prominent reason)

 

Edited by OptimoMaximo
added one point and...typos
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, OptimoMaximo said:

The forum is full of best practices, but, as I see it, those are neglected for various reasons:

  1. assumes learning more about the 3D tool at hand
  2. It slows down the process (less releases in the same time frame)
  3. who wants to listen, claims "step by step" instructions on specific topics (like copycats) instead of trying to understand and adapt the principles/methods to their specific case, so they drop out because of points 1 and 2
  4. "I'm a pro already, I don't need your 90's game stuff to dumb down my gorgeous products"
  5. who cares (which looks like it is the most prominent reason)

 

You forgot the main reason :

As long as no one cares to compile it into one good howto, it cannot be so important. Sorry, Optimo, but no one with a sane mind is going to hunt down information that has been scattered all over the place... you need a certain unhealthy obsession to do so...

Edited by Fionalein
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1 hour ago, OptimoMaximo said:

The forum is full of best practices, but, as I see it, those are neglected for various reasons:

There's no organisation to it though. Sometimes search will find answers to the questions at hand (if you figure out a good search string to use and the info happens to be there under those words), sometimes it will be hours reading through threads which end up being more confusing than enlightening. And the wonderful explanatory graphics Drongle and Aquila made were removed when LL redid the forums, so even if you do find great info it's often very broken.

The request here, as I understand it, is for some sort of organisation and overview of what's needed. I can see the value in that even if the current population of big guns can't.

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22 hours ago, No Fairlady said:

And some point it starts to just looks like bullying if you're nitpicking at newbies  as a master of the craft.

I really hope I don't come across as nitpicking at newbies. I've said it in several other threads, the lack of relevant information is not the average hobbyists' responsibility. But nor is it the responsibility of the volunteer teachers who have spent countless hours trying to reverse engineer the software to figure out how it actually works and inform others about it. Yet even Linden Lab complains that we're not doing enough. The only appropriate answer to that is of course f**k off but I'm proud to say we haven't gone that far and never will.

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3 hours ago, ChinRey said:

I really hope I don't come across as nitpicking at newbies. I've said it in several other threads, the lack of relevant information is not the average hobbyists' responsibility. But nor is it the responsibility of the volunteer teachers who have spent countless hours trying to reverse engineer the software to figure out how it actually works and inform others about it. Yet even Linden Lab complains that we're not doing enough. The only appropriate answer to that is of course f**k off but I'm proud to say we haven't gone that far and never will.

No dissenting voice from me there. That bolded part though - really? The Lab has complained? I would like a link (or links) to that please, text only*.  I have tried to look through user group archives as since moving I have no real chance of attending but for a long time its been - crickets.

* I have no patience for 'internet' voices with a few exceptions - have been really enjoying the tuts by Grant Abbitt on texture painting in Blender. What with me being incapable of drawing a straight line with a ruler.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, mikka Luik said:

No dissenting voice from me there. That bolded part though - really? The Lab has complained?

On 6/27/2018 at 4:36 PM, Patch Linden said:

I genuinely love feedback.  I have yet to see or have any one suggest to us how you would use your masterful expertise to do any of this differently.

...

Since none of you have any insight in to how we do or why we choose to do things the way we do them, it would be great if you stop trashing the people who quite potentially are also your friends outside of being a Mole.   If you feel you have some meaningful way to show us how you would have precisely done anything, any better than we have, I'm all ears.   Four of them as so pointed out to be exact.   I invite you to come talk to us, and hopefully in a much better atmosphere than here.

Full post here:

 

Oh, and if you actually tried to do what Patch suggested at the end of the post, you were simply told to post whatever you had to say on the forum.

Edited by ChinRey
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20 minutes ago, ChinRey said:

Oh, and if you actually tried to do what Patch suggested at the end of the post, you were simply told to post whatever you ahd to say on the forum.

doom loop?

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If you want newbies to get better, the information has to be readily accessible, and no one person has time to run a class on the subject. That much is clear. I just made a thread for organizing SL-specific mesh tutorials, tips, information, etc. Please share your good info there so we can help each other out. I'll be looking through this thread as well and updating my intro post with links that have already been shared here.

 

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On ‎3‎/‎25‎/‎2019 at 8:49 AM, No Fairlady said:

My point is, if we're going to complain about how things look in world ( as experts ) do so with the intent to mentor or "teach". And some point it starts to just looks like bullying if you're nitpicking at newbies  as a master of the craft. 

Most of those "complaining" have earned the right to do so, as they have put in vast amounts of time trying to help others. And even if they have not helped much usually the "complaint" points to a problem that I can follow up on -- it might not be easy to find the needed info, but at least I know something is wrong and can start a search in order to fix the problem.

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1 minute ago, Luna Bliss said:

Most of those "complaining" have earned the right to do so, as they have put in vast amounts of time trying to help others.

You know that is code for "but failed", right ;) ?

 

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10 minutes ago, Fionalein said:
14 minutes ago, Luna Bliss said:

Most of those "complaining" have earned the right to do so, as they have put in vast amounts of time trying to help others.

You know that is code for "but failed", right ;) ?

I have learned much by studying the mesh thread on this forum, so it didn't fail for me.

I do understand the need for a more organized instructional method though.

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