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Help Needed: Difficult Things to Learn for Beginners

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Help Needed: Difficult Things to Learn for Beginners

Postby Louis » Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:46 pm

We've started this new beginners forum as a place where newcomers to TouchDesigner can talk about any issues they're struggling with as they start using the program. For now, we're limited to our small (but slowly expanding) beta-group: some of whom have a large amount of Touch knowledge, some who are still exploring all TouchDesigner has to offer. We want to try and help those first-time explorers out by putting together a section in our wiki specifically for them. Also, we don't want to overwhelm anyone joining the Touch community so we're going to limit ourselves to ~30 things for now and trying to keep the individual articles short (1-2 pages max). Hopefully, it will be like the Reader's Digest of TouchDesigner.

What we need to know now is simple: What are those things you wished you had known when you started using TouchDesigner? What are the things you still wish someone would show you to do cause you know it must be there somewhere but you just can find it? We've come up with a short list of ideas, but we need more. Please post any ideas you have in response to this sticky and over the next few weeks and months, we'll start adding articles to the Derivative wiki so that the information is available for our new users. (And if you want, you can always add the wiki article yourselves! :D )

Here are some suggestions we've come up with:
  • Getting Components from a palette
  • Rendering the simplest scene
  • How nodes connect together
  • Exporting from CHOPs to Parameters
  • To and From DATs
  • For what do I use different views?
  • Inputs and outputs of components
  • How to use a Value Ladder
  • Getting Media into TouchDesigner
  • Navigating in a Network
  • What's an Expression?
  • Making a Motion Curve with Channel Editor
  • What is a Clone?
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Re: Help Needed: Difficult Things to Learn for Beginners

Postby girBringerOfDoom » Wed Dec 12, 2007 6:53 pm

Table DATs - how to use them, what are they good for would be my biggest request
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Re: Help Needed: Difficult Things to Learn for Beginners

Postby nodus » Wed Dec 12, 2007 9:12 pm

all those suggestions sound good. i'm keen to know more about attaching chops to parameters. i have always found video tutorials to be the best way to learn, personally (the lynda site has good examples of this). so just watching you make stuff in touch that addresses the areas you have itemized would be ideal. if it were for example, possible to conceptualize a project that used all these features, perhaps in separate 10-15 min clips, that would be the most useful learning tool i can imagine. i'm currently editing and annotating a project that jarrett did with me that took this approach, though i don't think we necessarily set out the create the sessions with as clear of an agenda as you have. in our case, jarrett was actually generously helping me with a project, and we just 'camtasiaed' it all. in any case, i should have them ready and then i think they'll go up the wiki soon. i hope they will provide a resource for other beginners, and may be they can serve as a model for other tutorials. honestly, if pro's like you were just to tape your noodlings in touch (ideally narrating whatr you're doing in there), i, for one, would watch them religiously.
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Re: Help Needed: Difficult Things to Learn for Beginners

Postby rodberry » Wed Dec 19, 2007 9:00 pm

The COPY SOP - we need a better explanation of how to pass parameters to and from it.

there's so mucch can be done with it that is not obvious form the documentation so far.

I wish also there was a way to make this process more in keeping with the logic of the rest of the interface in touch.

Rod.
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Re: Help Needed: Difficult Things to Learn for Beginners

Postby rodberry » Wed Dec 19, 2007 9:58 pm

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Re: Help Needed: Difficult Things to Learn for Beginners

Postby jim ellis » Fri Dec 28, 2007 6:25 am

How about:
1) Building a simple character and setting up simple control rig
Nothing nuts, just simple modeling with pulling a few points around, and maybe shape animate it, or Lattice, or single IK chain.

2) Video in

3) audio file load

4) Movie file as texture

5) program the VCR ;)
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Re: Help Needed: Difficult Things to Learn for Beginners

Postby Louis » Thu Mar 20, 2008 4:51 pm

I've put up the first version of this page: http://www.derivativeinc.com/wiki/index ... chDesigner

Feedback is appreciated :D
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Re: Help Needed: Difficult Things to Learn for Beginners

Postby teflonjf » Thu May 01, 2008 1:26 am

Here's my list of beginner to maybe intermediate topics . . .

- TOP overview. Some examples of common things to do, TOPs to CHOPs, when to have multiple renders vs. trying to fit everything into one.

- I'll second the Copy SOP . . . lot's of fun stuff can be done with it, as well as it can so quickly lead to poor performance. Some discussion of Copy vs. Sweep.

- SOPs to CHOPs and back. Some examples of SopTo, Channel, Event

- Optimization and building efficient networks. Some basics on rendering flow and common things that cause poor performance, understanding and using the performance monitor. I know this is mostly covered in existing docs and some threads I've seen on the forum, be nice to gather into one tutorial.

- Clones. What are they, when and why to use them . . . something I don't know yet.

- Same as Jim, building a simple character.

- Modeling basics.

- Basics of hooking up MIDI controllers.

- Pointers to relevant Houdini tutorials and books, I've found them very useful.

- As many example synths as possible, that is the single best way to learn Touch. Ideally create 15-20 examples scenes that cover the begginer topics.

- More tutorial videos would be great, as Nodus suggests just recording a session while an experienced Touch head noodles around would be very helpful.
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Re: Help Needed: Difficult Things to Learn for Beginners

Postby Achim » Fri Jun 12, 2009 6:09 am

Well, new users want pretty pictures, fast. So with TOPs that should be fairly easy to figure out by playing, but when it comes to modeling and especially texturing/shading/lightning a scene, it can quickly become "frustrating". So I think some SOP/uv/texture/render articles and examples would be a good idea. The geo can be fairly simple (but more complex than a box and a sphere (maybe 3d fonts would be good)), but the texturing, shading and lightning should be stunning . After-all having SOPs is one of touch's greatest advantages over other 3D authoring environments.

Cologne area TD artists? Let’s get in touch

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Re: Help Needed: Difficult Things to Learn for Beginners

Postby kakamakura » Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:47 pm

Achim wrote:Well, new users want pretty pictures, fast. So with TOPs that should be fairly easy to figure out by playing, but when it comes to modeling and especially texturing/shading/lightning a scene, it can quickly become "frustrating".

A Vote to Achim.

I am a newcomer to TD community.
Greg triggered me again when he last visit Tokyo to support Richie (Plastikman.)
For instance, please take a look at this. Enjoy! :lol:
http://www.youtube.com/kakamakura

In the last weekend I had a little struggle to setup TD077 FTE environment on both iMac(late2009) for me and MacBook(late2008, alumi) for my son, like this:
1. Backing up user data and environment of Mac OS environment using TimeMachine.
2. Backing up user data and environment of Win7 and delete partition of exisiting bootcamp + Win7 environment to save memory (4GB available on both Mac.)
3. Recreating Mac OS partition and recovered the whole original environment using TimeMachine.
4. Assigning a new partition for bootcamp + WinXP.
5. Restoring user data and MS Office etc... on Win XP with the latest sp3 patches. (very time consuming)
6. Downloading TD077 FTE latest build and requesting key. (no key were sent per email so I had to logged on to Derivative web site and had to push it to send key per email.)
7. Tetsu (who posted some art pieces in this BBS) gave me a few pieces of .toe files. I copied it on desktop and double click them, but nothing happened. This was because Japanese Windows/Mac OS use two bytes characters which TD077 FTE does not support. I copied them under c: directory and, finally, it worked fine on the low end built-in GeForce video card with 256MB main memory shared, which apparently falls short the minimum requirements described in this BBS.
8. After that, I had to solved many more small issues such as copying my iTunes libraries to WinXP environment, hooking up Apple genuine bluetooth mouse, hooking up USB type 3G wireless network adaptor, VPN setup to my office network etc .... for both XP/Mac OS environments.

I had a strong drive to get my own TD077 FTE environments, so I planned and did the time-consuming procedures but I assume newcomers would say good bye in the 6 - 7th steps, or, just read minimum requirement of hardware resources and would never come back again.

I assume preparations before starting up TD077 FTE is very time-consuming and requires a bit technical backgrounds so I guess Derivative should take some notes on:

1. An affordable choice of specific target machine configuration from time to time for new comers (I suppose they should be college students.)
For the target users I strongly recommend MacBook Alumi, MacBook Pro, New MacBook Air(11-13") for 2011.
It's rumored that Sandy Bridge would be built-in for those affordable MacBook line-ups instead of GeForece, so I do hope Derivative to study OpenGL compatibilities of the new architecture by borrowing prototype from Intel and/or Apple.
# The beauty of Apple is to support box, drivers, OS (incl. Windows) and related
# input/output gadgets (ie. iPhone/iPad) in consistency.
# Over 90% of target users of TD might use Mac/iPad as MIDI sequencer and
# authoring platforms with Max/MSP and KORG iELECTRIBE/iMS-20 etc...
# so I do hope Derivative should get one Apple and be prepared for. at least,
# WinXP/7 on both bootcamp and VMWare fusion together with Sandy Bridge
# for 2011. ideally, a port to Mac OS X would be the best but I guess it is not
# realistic with the current resources.
2. Write quick start-up guide with a specific target machines for beginners in details.
3. Add more 5 min. Vimeo Tutorials with sample .toe/.tox files. (Visuals are better than scripting in the first place.) They should not be fake ones.
4. With the limitation of resources at Derivative, I do hope ya'll, TD advanced evangelists and enthusiasts, to post a bunch of cool & small art pieces (cos it must be running on low-end GeForce) for students togetherwith 5 min. Vimeo Tutorials with it and encourage beginners to play with for fun. This would accelerate rapid increase of the number of "critical mass (registered users)." They would carry their MacBook + TD077 FTE with small art pieces at a small party and VJ events and would rapidly let the rest of the world know the unbeatable authoring and playing tools on words-of-mouth basis.
5. A half of the "mass" group want to be more creative in a few weeks.
Then, Derivative encourage them to begin with "drag & drop" things, say,
1) Live video in (using built-in cam)
2) Audio file load
3) Image/movie file load as texture on a simple polygons/primitive
4) Interactivity using mouse gesture + audio file
etc .... be more 2D focused with minimum 3D in order not to scare beginners.

Achim wrote: So I think some SOP/uv/texture/render articles and examples would be a good idea. The geo can be fairly simple (but more complex than a box and a sphere (maybe 3d fonts would be good)), but the texturing, shading and lightning should be stunning . After-all having SOPs is one of touch's greatest advantages over other 3D authoring environments.

A vote to Achim, again.

I guess 10% out of the half of "mass" group would like to step up procedural 3D to become a big guy like Richie, then, give them pre-set 3D animation template (.toe/.tox) and encourage to hook it up with motion control device like iPhone/Touch OSC preset.

I recall, in mid-1980s, when Namco and SEGA bought a bunch of Prisms for production of Ridge-racer on a 3D focused arcade game box, we made a fake "how to make Ridge Racer" demo/tutorials for new comers.
1)Draw a spline curve
2)Copy cross section of highway along the spline curve
3)Skin it to create procedural 3D highway model
4)Place a cube primitive and add motion along the spline curve
5)After motion editing set, replace the cube with a realistic racing car model import from a 3D model libraries (we did not force customer to learn procedurism to create car/character.)
6)Fine tune a spline curve in 1). and everything changed in harmony with the beauty of procedurism.

We need a story like this to attract and tutor beginners.

Thank you for reading.
Last edited by kakamakura on Tue Dec 21, 2010 2:55 am, edited 6 times in total.
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