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Vector Blur Tutorial/Tutorial Protocol Consensus

8

40bv.pngFor those of you who are like me, that is, "technically challenged" to understand a new function in Blender, I really, really appreciate those of you who take the time to decipher a function and write a tutorial in a simple, clear and precise manner. Sometimes when I read what the Coders describe of how to use new function, it's usually in a more technical explanation. I get frustrated because it just doesn't sink in.

So I then dig in and experiment by pushing buttons and setting parameters, render it and hope I get the desired result. While this can be fun, it's also time consuming. Yes, I know, one can learn more by experimenting, but I'd rather be modeling, animating and creating a story than spending hours learning a new concept.

Oliver Saraja's Vector Blur tutorial is a prime example of a well written tutorial. It's simple and to the point. Thanks Oliver! It's just what I needed.

Here's an short clip of before and after adding the blur from an animation that I'm working on.

No Blur

Blur Added

One other point to you tutorial makers, because Blender is constantly evolving, buttons and menus sometimes change locations. So when a tutorial is written for say Version 2.37, the same tutorial is no longer valid in 2.42. It would be great if every tutorial followed a basic protocol such as stating what version of Blender was used and who the author is.

Here's an example: I was going to write about a Softbody Video Tutorial that Eugene saw on BlenderArtist a while back. It's a very good tutorial but as I was following along I could not find the locations of the buttons. Well since it was a video tutorial, I could see what version of Blender was used which was older than the version I was using and the Coders must have change the location of the buttons in the newer version. Since I've been using Blender a long time and know my way around, it didn't take me very long to find them. But if a Newbie or an experienced CG'r are trying out Blender to see if it's good enough for their pipeline versus the paid-for program they're currently using. Think of the frustration that they will have and what a turn off it is to not find the buttons.

I know a lot of you have been there too. Something as simple as stating what version was used can save the tutorial user a lot of frustration and headaches and help make Blender more user-friendly.

So what do you think about this? Leave me a comment about your trials and tribulations with tutorials and what suggestions you have to improve them. If there's enough input, perhaps we can come to a consensus and I'll create a Tutorial Protocol list that will be posted in the BlenderNation Tutorial section. Oh yeah, and don't forget to check out the Vector Blur tutorial, it's very good and so are the other tutorials on OlivS' Feeblemind site.

8 Comments

  1. "... For those of you who are like me, that is, “technically challenged” to understand a new function in Blender, I really, really appreciate those of you who take the time to decipher a function and write a tutorial in a simple, clear and precise manner. ..."

    True words.

  2. I totally agree: the technical explanations of the re-written render engine with informative snippets of code somehow doesn't do anything for me. It is really great when the giants of the Blender world write tutorials for us lesser users.
    As far as Blender version numbers on tutorials go, I can also agree. When I started learning to use Blender (2.32 era), most of the tutorials were written for 2.25. A lot of the buttons took a lot of looking for, and some I couldn't find at all! I remember searching in vain for the "Background Image" panel whose hotkey was supposedly Shift+F10.

  3. Coming from a 1.8 era & on, this is a fine, simple set of guidelines, and the more you can centralize the various tutorials I'm sure it will be a simpler task to keep everyone (authors & users) on the same page.

    If only some of the "pay-to-play" tutorial sites stuck by such quality control. :)

  4. What would be very nice would be a unified Blender tutorial website -- or perhaps the Wiki -- wherein a tutorial's author could specify the action to be taken during any given step of the tutorial, instead of the keys or menus involved. Along with a way for the site to parse the actions into the correct control operation for the current Blender release.

    For example, the author of a 2.37 armature tutorial would simply specify "parent the mesh to the armature" and "don't create vertex groups," maybe with a button click. As long as 2.37 is the most current version, the site automatically displays the steps "select the mesh, select the armature, Ctrl-Pkey>Armature>Don't name groups." When a new Blender is released, the site changes the steps to "select the mesh, F9 (edit buttons)>modifiers>Armature, set object to 'Armature.001,' disable 'Envelopes.'"

    While certainly possible with server-side scripting, I'm not sure how feasible this would be. But it would be a huge help to Blender newbies, and help keep old tutorials up-to-date.

  5. My sympathies, Tim, for your frustrations with typical coder written explanations. The fundamental problem, as I see it, is that most programmers don't really get the distinction between "what it does" and "how it works." Having spent years in the documentation industry, and many hours in conversations with coders, systems analysts and software design engingeers, I've come to understand that this is a major blind spot.

    It's like trying to learn to drive from someone who explains how the steering wheel is connected to a pinion gear, which engages a rack, then, after a digression into shock mounting parts on movable chasis, goes on to explain the connection of the rack to the variable wheel mount bar. Well, yeah, maybe it's all true and correct and all that, but does it really tell you what you want to know?

    The technical explanations don't sink in because they are not relevant to solving the problem at hand, which is to get the software to do what you want it to do.

  6. Gryphon: the wiki is supposed to be the tut heaven; I just added a link to this tut. The wiki is organized by section; I added a link to this tut to the Compositing section, and asked the author if I could move it from their site into the wiki, so that if their server crashes or goes away, the tut remains. Just go to mediawiki.blender.org/manual, scroll to your section, and click on the Tutorials link to see the tut's available relevant to that section.

    All: each page of the wiki has the Blender version in it for just the reasons you just stated. If you are reading a page and it says 2.37, then you know right away it might not be perfectly current. I have it easy because all the Compositing Node stuff I wrote is new, so I dont have any maintenance nightmares.

    I would propose as a blender tut protocol that all people who have a tut on their servers to make that final step and migrate it to the wiki, so that it can be preserved for all eternity. Thanks for listening.

  7. hey all...
    after a 3-days buisness trip (and total cut from the community) I'm back and I discover that my little and modest tutorial found great interest from the community. I'm glad for this. Concerning the Blender version for which a tutorial is written, you are perfectly right, but I must say that I'm very lazy sometimes and I never could get myself it putting this kind of information in my tutorials for one very stupid reason: when your tutorial is outdated, people come and ask you to update it ;) but hey, why not? I'll try to do it in the future, but I certainly can't promise :D

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