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Old 11-04-2012, 03:12 PM   #1
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Default First Impression: Space Shuttle Tutorial

I was very excited to get the Space Shuttle tutorial, as tips on precision modeling of such a complex object is exactly what I need right now. The description and images shown were very impressive, so I jumped right in and bought it. Little did I know that the movie was going to be of the animator speed-modeling through the project while randomly offering basic modeling tips that had little to do with what he was currently working on. While I don't need someone to hold my hand on every little thing, a little bit more connection between the narration and what's going on in the video would be nice.

I've done my fair share of tutorials in both book and video form, and this one is slightly below the middle in terms of quality. Great, the guy making the video is incredibly good at modeling. I'm not. That's why I spent real money on his tutorial. He doesn't even include all of the reference photographs that he uses within the supplied project files. Sure, I can Google for them; heck, I can pause the movie and look at what he's doing! But I shouldn't have to. Unless there's some sort of legal reason for not doing so, throw them all in there! Or at least put in a disclaimer as to why you didn't.

I've only just started the tutorial, but it's a slog; its taken me 30 minutes just to get through the first 7 because of all the pausing and jumping back. I have a suspicion I might get more out of it if I just mute the audio and mimic what I see on the screen.

I know I'm not crazy; I just finished an advanced-level tutorial on node-based animation using replicators by Dana W. Burman that was actually easy to follow and taught me what it promised. There are good ones out there; this one just isn't it. Being a good animator doesn't automatically make you a good teacher, unfortunately.
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:32 PM   #2
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Well I'm very sorry you did not like it, the decision to speed the video up was not one we took lightly, unfortunately modeling at this detail level does take a long time as you no doubt know. So we decided maybe wrongly to speed it up, I do feel it gets better if you persevere with it.

It's not the easiest tutorial in the word. I thought it was good but I'm pretty bias I hope you continue with it if you do please keep us updated.

Thanks for the feedback we appreciate it good or bad it's appreciated. If your really not happy please email me directly admin@simplylightwave.com and I'm sure we can sort something out.

I urge you to continue with it though Milivoj is an excellent modeler and I think you'll learn quite a bit if you stick with it.

All the best
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Old 13-04-2012, 12:41 AM   #3
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By "sped the video up", you mean that you actually re-encoded the video playback at a higher speed and then had Milivoj do the narration separately?

What can I say; Rome wasn't built in a day. Anybody insane enough to want to go through a tutorial on modeling the Space Shuttle (like me) is already prepared to invest the time. You can't take shortcuts with things like these, and I think your users will be understanding even if you present them with a 16-hour modeling session as if it was a feature. Make the perceived weakness the selling point and re-brand the tutorial as a full-blown course. You could break the first part into "Day 1" and "Day 2", for example.

For the sake of learning with an expert modeler, a week's time invested is totally worth it. I don't think your users are going to begrudge you if you're upfront about it - as long as the material is worth the effort.

I understand that fiddling with the video or narration at this point would probably be impossible without starting from scratch. A compromise might be to add some lower-third overlays on the video that indicate which tool is being activated at which time, with measurements and percentage values displayed where appropriate. Otherwise, you might consider a PDF supplement to the course material that allows people to both enjoy watching the modeler work without so much frantic pausing and rewinding; you could even have step-by-step instructions with time-code callouts. Just some ideas. I made a few tutorials myself back in the day and have an idea how something like that might work if you'd like any help.
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Old 13-04-2012, 01:38 AM   #4
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Yup, we re-encoded the video then had Milivoj voice it over, it was something of an experiment. We did include a half hour sample, but we will also state this more clearly in the the tutorial information page. The last thing we want to do is mislead people.

I'll look into a PDF supplement or adding some subtitles to make it easier for people. It was set as an intermediate tutorial as we knew people would need to know lightwave pretty well to follow this.

Could be it's been sped up a bit to much, we'll have a chat about it this end.

Again thanks for the feedback, please do let us know how you get on with it.

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Old 13-04-2012, 03:44 AM   #5
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Great, It's been sped up. Not a big fan of sped up tutorials. Just about ready to watch it. Looks like I won't be now. Sorry to say.
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Old 13-04-2012, 09:19 PM   #6
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Sorry to hear that, we thought it was for the best, but maybe not.

I'll await more feedback JasC33 you've been a very good customer over the years I'll happy credit your account with a few parts of it so you can give me your opinion. If people are not happy we want to know.

Thanks guys
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Old 14-04-2012, 09:38 AM   #7
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Hi Guys

I hate being negative as ive been here so long and loved the site from the go..

I have the same issues the jack tute was the same too 2 X speed up with Milivoj talking over it
i gave up..

Ive dabbled for years now with lightwave so know the ins and outs...i like my hand holding when doing tutes

I may just be expecting to much but i prefer the old format much better, i know the files size are much larger and tutes would cost way more, so i understand why they are speeded up so they are cheaper for the masses.

So sorry David and Milivoj Jack and the shuttle would have been cool to model but i was pausing constantly try to figure what tools were used

All best
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Old 14-04-2012, 10:06 AM   #8
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arma thanks for the feedback I'm starting to see the writing on the wall here. Anyone else want to jump in?
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Old 14-04-2012, 07:27 PM   #9
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This is a long discussion that encompasses many different aspects of pedagogy, learning styles, and personal preference. In that light I offer my opinion which may or may not be similar to those already voiced here. First I think it's important to convey what I look for in a tutorial, and why. Whenever possible I choose tutorials in print over video, but these days it's getting very difficult to find decent tutorials in print...

Why print? Isn't video inherently BETTER? It depends on what you're looking for and how you learn. When I approach a tutorial I'm focused first on learning techniques and an approach to THINKING of how to solve a modeling problem. I don't start a tutorial thinking, "Gee, I've always wanted a space shuttle model!", instead I'm saying to myself, "How is this instructor going to tackle that specific shape? What techniques will I learn that will help me on other projects in the future?" With this in mind, something in writing becomes invaluable. When agonizing on a specific curve or bend I don't have to pause and switch applications, I just look up from my book. If I run out of time in a session I don't have to write down the time I left off, I just place my bookmark and close the book. These are all great features, but my favorite is pacing. If I misunderstand something in a video, I have to rewind and hope it makes sense. Sometimes I'm having to go back in a video up to a dozen times just to have an understanding of what's going on. In a book, I just back up a couple of sentences. The final aspect of print tutorials is polish. The author has to carefully think through the tutorial, write it, take appropriate screen-shots that demonstrate the technique or concept, then it's read over by someone else and edited until it's concise and makes logical sense. The mistake many make is thinking that video is "complete" since you see everything the instructor is doing, but too often videos don't have the preparation and polish of written tutorials, and feel more stream-of-consciousness. This isn't always bad, but usually leads to sloppy tutorials where the instructor either seems unprepared, glosses over key techniques, or makes mistakes that effect the rest of the tutorial.

Back to video. I prefer the shorter, more focused tutorials to those that take 300 hours. The reasons behind this are many, but time and understanding are the key motivations. When starting a video tutorial I watch each section without Lightwave open to be sure I fully understand what I'll be working on, then the second time through I follow along.

Even then it's frustrating to switch back and forth between the video and Lightwave, pausing, switching, tweaking, and moving before resuming the video again. For this reason it's extremely important to me to have very specific, deliberate, and concise explanations while working. I'd much rather have a 2 hour tutorial where the instructor was prepared and had written himself notes than one that was 25 hours but seemed broad and unfocused.

The next area of concern is that we must know WHY an instructor is doing something. I don't care if we're making a cube, tell me WHY. What I aim for is understanding. Why 3 sides instead of 7? Why subpatch now instead of later? Why bandsaw instead of knife? I already know what these tools are, what I'm paying for is an understanding of why YOU use them a specific way, and how I can incorporate that into my work. To this end I think for the most part the beginner/advanced labels on tutorials are a misnomer. Just because I already know what the tools are doesn't mean I understand YOUR use of the tool and YOUR thought process behind the choices you make. I want to know your motivation behind using quads instead of tris!

This brings me to my next point: What kind of tutorials would I like to see, and why? The HDR Glass tutorial is an excellent example of what I'd like to see. It's 1.5 hours, but it's super focused on one useful and usable technique. What else would I suggest? How about a series on using the material editor? After this, a series on the node editor? Don't just tell me what to use and when, show me what the nodes DO, then make some suggestions on possible uses. Small tutorials on FiberFX, dynamics, hypervoxels, render settings, walk cycles, lighting rigs, making image maps, UV texturing... There's SO much to go over! The great thing about these smaller tutorials is that they'd be bite-sized, easy to do in one or two sittings, easy to digest and use. The other advantage is that they'd take less time to create and give the users more choice on topics that are of interest to them. Once the library of the small, focused tutorials is built up, have some "master classes" that use techniques in the smaller tutorials. "This tutorial is 6 hours and requires knowledge of the following shorter tutorials: Subpatch Modeling I, Nodal Surfacing I, II, and III, Dynamics IV." Am I making myself clear, or am I just confusing the issue more? I remember reading that an author said the definition of a short story is: A story you can read in one sitting over the course of an evening. That's what I'd like to see. Short story tutorials. Don't get me wrong, my primary focus is modeling (as opposed to animating and lighting, etc.), so I'd like to see more on hard surface, subpatch, architecture, organic modeling, etc., but just make them more focused and to the point.

Next I'm going to give a quick rundown of my preference for the SimplyLightwave instructors. I've taught in the past, and I know it's not possible, but try not to take it personally, it's just my opinion based on the videos I've seen.

Philip Meyer
-An expert on modeling and texturing.
-Seems to have a very detailed idea of where his modeling is going.

-Seems unprepared at times, but it's not very noticeable since he's a great problem solver.
-Long-winded. Tends to take a wide approach to a topic.
-Since he knows his craft so well, he seems to take some steps for granted and leaves the rest of us wondering about his reasons for a modeling/detailing choice.

David Mitchell
-Affable, easy-going style.
-Many tutorials are well focused and well paced.

-Tends to ramble (especially when something doesn't work like he expected).
-Skips steps when trying to fix a problem in a model.

Cody Burke
-His approach to modeling is simple and usually novel/innovative.
-Explains the WHY more than the other instructors

-Sometimes goes into his head, seems like he's so focused on the modeling that he forgets to talk! ;-) Let us in, man!
-His models are so detailed that a small mistake on my part means almost starting over. I love the detail, but in an 8+ hour tutorial if you skip one step, I'm lost.

Milivoj Popovic
-Excellent (almost eery) understanding of object shape and how to recreate that in Lightwave.
-Subject matter. All of his tutorials are a subject matter that immediately sparks my interest.

-Skips steps. Was that a merge points, or did you delete the points? Are you sizing, or scaling? Why? Drag or dragnet? These are super-important if we're to follow along in a tutorial as involved as yours.
-Of all the instructors he seems most likely to gloss over why he's doing something. Don't get me wrong, he talks a lot, but usually the things he's describing aren't as important as the things he's NOT describing. Yes, we shouldn't use too many or too few polygons, but WHY did you choose 7 instead of 10?
-Moves too quickly. I wouldn't say I'm a beginner, but it's still very frustrating going through his tutorials as it takes me 4-5 times as long as the others to figure out what he's doing.

All of this being said, I'm still a huge fan of SimplyLightwave. I'd purchased more than a dozen tutorials here before I purchased my lifetime membership, and I STILL feel that I got an excellent deal. Keep up the good work, just, maybe, refocus a bit.

Finally I'd like to show you what tutorials I have in my collection so you can see where I'm coming from. For the record, my favorite go-to person for tutorials (in video or print) is Steve Warner. Case closed. He's detailed, organized, concise, and descriptive.

The Lightwave 7.5 Primer
Essential Lightwave 3D 7.5
Lightwave 3D 8 Revealed
Inside Lightwave 8
Lightwave 3D 8 Lighting
Lightwave 3D 8 Texturing
Cartoon Character Creation Vol. I
Polygonal Modeling
1,001 Tips & Tricks
Inside Lightwave v9
Essential Lightwave v9 (a favorite)

Introduction to Lightwave 3D Modeling and Special FX
The Ultimate Guide to 3D Modeling (Steve Warner)
Introduction to Lightwave 3D Lighting & Shading (Nicholas Boughen)
Exploration of Facial Topology & Polygonal Modeling (Dick Ma)
Lightwave 3D 9 Logo Design & Creation (Larry Shultz)
Lightwave 3D 9 Advanced Modeling: Project Chariot (Larry Shultz)
Lightwave 3D 9.x Cartoon Character Modeling with Splines (Larry Shultz)
Lightwave 3D 9 Rigging & Animating with IK Booster (Larry Shultz)
Lightwave 3D 9.x Introduction to Particles and Hypervoxels Volume I (Tim Dunn)
Lightwave 3D 9.x Introduction to Particles and Hypervoxels Volume II (Tim Dunn)
Lightwave 3D 9.5 Advanced Particles & Hypervoxels Volume I (Tim Dunn)
Lightwave 3D 9 Practical Lighting (Nicholas Boughen)
Lightwave 3D 9 Introduction to Character Modeling (Larry Shultz)
Lightwave 3D 9 Introduction to Hypervoxels (Larry Shultz)
Lightwave 3D 9 Water Visual Effects (Larry Shultz)
Lightwave 3D 9 Introduction to Node Based Texturing (James Willmott)

Dan Ablan:
Lightwave [8] Signature Courseware
Lightwave 7.5 Advanced Courseware
Lightwave v9 Signature Courseware
Lightwave v9 Product Shots
Lightwave 9.5 Casino Courseware
Lightwave 3D 11 Signature Courseware

Lightwave 101 (Epic Software Group)
Lightwave 9.6 Modeler Bundle Pack (Adam Gibson)
Lightwave 11 Mechanical Display (Dana W. Burman)

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Old 17-04-2012, 07:55 AM   #10
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hi guys!

Tnx for the feedback!
The Shuttle scene is an ambitious project to tackle, it was for me as a tutorial maker, and also for those who follow it. This means it's not so easy, it requires patience and more important- an adventures spirit, and then-some more patience
To fit it into a tutorial format i just had to speed up the video, otherwise it would be a lot longer than 10h, or 16h. And believe me when i say- not something i wanted to do coz it meant a lot more work for me!
I tried my best to give all the explanations, and showcase the modeling techniques one would need to make such a scene, within a tutorial format, and imho, i think it's all there! Now, it's not gonna hold your hand all the way, but it will get you there, and at the end, you'll learn a lot more because of it.

My advice would be to approach the tutorial by watching a section and then try to model that section your self. Not so much to try and mimic all the moves you see on the screen(coz anyway they are not 100% all there), but rather to boldly go into the unknown and do it your way, using as a roadmap and a goal what you just saw in the tutorial. This is more difficult, for sure, but the pay-of is much bigger, as you will learn a lot more! And to create scenes like this, you need that spirit.
And if you get stuck in some part, don't hesitate to drop me a line, at milivoj@lemonade3d.com. I'll be more than happy to check out your model and your progress!

It would, certainly, be a lot better to have this material in real time, make a course out if it, and on my part- it think that's a good idea : )
Until then, i really hope you dive into the Shuttle tutorial, into the deep end- and i am looking forward to seeing your versions of it! remember- images like this don't come cheap (and i don't mean money vise )

MidnightBrewer- tnx for the feedback! Yes, i didn't put those images in there coz of the copyright laws, but it's a 5 min search on the google to get them all.

tnx again for you feedback guys (and galls, any galls in there? didn't see )!

Milivoj Popovic
-GI Artist-
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Old 17-06-2012, 09:36 PM   #11
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I want to put in my two cents worth into this discussion also, I do like video tutes, I hate holding a book open with one hand while trying to use the mouse and keyboard with the other, the book goes closed or flying every time.

My approach to a tutorial is I want to see how the "Pros" attack a project (that is why I like project based tutorials best) I usually watch the video first and then go and try to follow along after. I do want to know why they use this tool, why they are approaching the problem in this manner, and explain themselves not only in short term, but in an overview style of how to solve the problems that pop up.

I have done a lot of tutorials and I had expected a different style with the Space Shuttle, but I was dismayed that there was a lot glossed over. While it was explained at times very well, there were other times it was not even mentioned. I know that every one has their own weak points, and that is why the speed style tutorial does not always work as well. I do understand the length is problematic also.

I admit with the Space Shuttle, I have watched and re-watched so many times I do feel (with my ability level, that I think is at least intermediate) this this tutorial is not the best. Perhaps, I should have started with his Star Trek model, I might have been able to catch on much better with his "style" of working.

I was surprised that Leroy3rd has echoed my feelings very closely, even to his opinions of different tutes and authors. I am hoping that this feed back has been positive and informative and I do know that sometimes the project based tutorials can get overly large in their scope and the ability to get them in as far as size and cost. Keep plugging away and I am sure you will be able to put out some top notch tutorials in the future.
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Old 21-01-2013, 07:10 AM   #12
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