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Technical and CHARACTER Rigging from 3DBuzz

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The other is your complete apathy for other users. It is selfish for you to expect everyone to be on the same knowledge bar as you. If everyone thought like that, then how would anyone learn anything.

But 3dbuzz doesn't always cater for the total newbie, i think they have found a perfect balance of explaining concepts and procedures that are out of someone bounds and teaching them in an effective and efficient manner.

:D

If you reread what I've written about "total newbee" - I didn't mean that tutors shouldn't be for the "total beginner" level. I meant that the idea of "total beginner" guy sitting and speaking in mic with the main lecturer is totally irrelevant and a waste of time. I think 3DBuzz made same suggestions and latest videos are without this "flaw", I hope it'll stay that way.

So, no point in accusing me of sins (which I definitely do possess :D but not in this case). I hope that my opinion is really outdated (haven't seen bridge/elevator tutorials) and we'll all enjoy this rigging set.

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Hi all

I am a 3dbuzz member, and also am currently working through the Fast-Track TD dvds, and just wanted to give my opinion on some of the topics mentioned here.

Firstly, the whole sidefx thing. There were tutorials on the 3dbuzz site on older versions of houdini 5 years ago when I first went there. For years Jason was saying that he loved houdini and was going to make a class on it, long before any affiliation or sponsorship by sidefx was considered or mentioned.

When version 9 was released, I watched all the old videos to try and start learning. The one day the free fundamentals course started, and I watched 90% of those videos.

I agree that some of the videos felt repetitive to me, but that is because they were aimed at people new to the concepts of networks etc. I can also see that the analogies used are a great idea, to get someone to understand the ideas involved by comparing them to real-world situations that they will already identify with. As an aside, and as with many of the 3dbuzz vtms, often you can start watching one of these thinking you know all about it, and find little gems of information you didnt know, because by breaking it down you get a feel for why things happen rather than just being told that it should happen.

This to me is shown greatly in the Technical Directors dvd, where I have just finished dvd 1 of 2. The stages in development are broken down into small, focussed videos, with any required details like maths, nodes, logic that are involved being explained first on the whiteboard, and then seeing how this translates into houdini. Also the repetition is kept to a minimum ( if something is the same as a previous video it is repeated but not in so much depth ) so you always feel like you are moving forward.

The fundamentals course is just that. It seems to me it is intended for someone not only new to Houdini, but maybe new to some 3d in general. If someone had never used a 3d package at all, they could start off with fundamentals and progress through, and have a good base knowledge of what they are doing.

Finally, I personally find the more relaxed feel of the videos perfect. Seeing people draw things on a white board rather than just narrating a set of pre-prepared slides helps me to get the thought processes, and it feels more like you are involved somehow, like you are sat in a lecture. And relaxed does not have to mean that it is not taken seriously, to me it is nice to see tutorials that make an effort to help you feel comfortable with what you are learning, rather than just force feeding you information.

I guess my feeling is that if you know a tutorial is aimed at people lower than you, by all means choose to watch it or not, but dont complain that its too simple, or claim it shouldnt have been made just because it doesnt benefit you. 3dbuzz makes 3dmax videos, and I dont use max, should I ask them not to bother?

Ilera

P.S. I am a member of 3dbuzz, but do not work for them, this is just my opinion having used the site and videos. If anyone is interested in my WIP / review thread that I am keeping as I work through the DVD, it is in the Houdini section of the 3dbuzz forum.

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This whole debate rises a problem I have with the instructional materials lately: what's with all this video craziness?? I'll buy the rigging videos when they'll show on 3D buzz, but I'll be ten times happier to buy a book in PDF format.

Can someone enlighten me: why is better to present convoluted, technical topics as many-hours-long videos instead of a book (PDF)? I find it much harder to follow stuff like CMIVFX or 3DBuzz compared to the Houdini help or Craig's book or Andrew Lowell's PDF book. I personally find a book much more ergonomic and well suited to the learning process, so I find it hard to get why lately companies favor videos as mediums for their materials (this is not only about Houdini, but a general industry trend).

Dragos

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Personally i think there are many reasons.

1. Books cant expose chronological mistakes as well as video.

In a book you can say avoid this or make sure your don't do that but no matter how careful you are you cant always plan for things to go wrong and when they do if your writing a book you can go back a append additional content. 3D BuZZ's content is very good at showing things that are unexpected and how to deal with them. In a book, you many never know.

2. Believe it or not, its quicker.

This training series i think is a bad example of efficiency because something that is 4 or 5 DVD's long gives the impression that it spends too much time on redundant content. It covers alot of topics (which obviously would be useful in the future) and an end result that would take anyone a certain amount of time to complete.

Look at the Bridge and Elevator asset. In a few hours you can not only create the assest but you can also use the knowledge for other projects.

3. Books have to be very accurate.

Because you don't have the visual contact with the reader, you have to be very specific about how to do things. This takes up alot of time/effort and pages.

4. Its easier to expose the thinking process with the aid of video, ie using the whiteboard.

A lot of 3d, especially in the technical realm deals alot with concepts that have to be understood before they are put into practice. Its alot easier to follow (in my opinion) a video of someone putting together a diagram of how things work and why.

and the last one and probably the most important.

5. Books take longer to produce.

To have images correspond with the text even if it isn't with every action is a very big task.

A lot of thought and planing went into this series long before a second of video was recorded. But the video was made over 2-3 months. Now i cant predict how big the book version of this would be but im guessing it would be big.

Its also depends on sales. Do certain books make more than training material? Will a pdf book sell more than the video version? If we are making a physical book who will be the publisher? How much of the book's cost will eat into the final profit? Will a book be easier to pirate than a cleverly watermarked video? How will we support ourselves if we take 6 months to produce a book?

Some of the point ive made might be a personal choice others may reflect the views of hundreds. I dont know.

This is what i think anyways.

:)

-andrew

Edited by phrenzy84

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:D

If you reread what I've written about "total newbee" - I didn't mean that tutors shouldn't be for the "total beginner" level. I meant that the idea of "total beginner" guy sitting and speaking in mic with the main lecturer is totally irrelevant and a waste of time. I think 3DBuzz made same suggestions and latest videos are without this "flaw", I hope it'll stay that way.

So, no point in accusing me of sins (which I definitely do possess :D but not in this case). I hope that my opinion is really outdated (haven't seen bridge/elevator tutorials) and we'll all enjoy this rigging set.

Then i took what you wrote to mean something totally different.

I agree that in most cases its not always in the best interest of the viewer to have a "newbie" present. But sometimes, especially in the case of the videos you are talking about, it is. I am of course talking about the houdini fundamentals.

With this series more than any other is catered to the newborn. And having someone who is just like that to provide genuine questions is very useful.

But you will notice all other content, which moves away from the "newbie" has someone else in place of them. And they tend to be very apt at Houdini and just provide additional support. Although a lot of the times you may not be aware there are more than one person recording because the other one is letting them teach a whole lesson if its needed.

In terms of the Houdini content.

The tornado asset (which is made of expressions, SOP, Procedural Animation and has a very good primer into VOPS) is done with BuZZ and Joel (Joel is very proficient in Houdini)

The Bridge, Elevator and these new set of DVD's is done with BuZZ and Steve (again both are very proficient)

so if this is you initial worry, then fret not.

Because these DVD's have only the people who truly know what is going on and the experience to teach it.

Judging by your last post i feel you would highly enjoy the latest tutorials then and if this is any consolation i had to watch a 1-2 of them more than once because im not so technically minded. :)

And don't worry, we are all sinners in one way or another.

:)

-andrew

Edited by phrenzy84

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Personally i think there are many reasons.

1. Books cant expose chronological mistakes as well as video.

2. Believe it or not, its quicker.

3. Books have to be very accurate.

4. Its easier to expose the thinking process with the aid of video, ie using the whiteboard.

5. Books take longer to produce.

I actually disagree (strongly) with all the arguments presented except for 5.

I think books can expose chronologic stuff very well, and if there are project files available one can study them at any moment if mistakes are made when trying to reproduce examples from the book.

A book is much more ergonomic and accessible, you can "rewind" in no time, go over the same topic easily, access random stuff when needed without problem; you can put it on your desk and not have your display occupied with the video but with your app; you can read the book even when you're not at your desk; I totally disagree whiteboards are better on video--diagrams and processes are much better explained in high-resolution print. About "quicker": maybe in some instances video is quicker (for "tips and tricks" kind of stuff) but for complex stuff books are much better (at least for me): I usually browse a chapter and read diagrams and in few minutes I get a general idea about what's explained and then go into the details by actually reading it page by page. I can't imagine Adrew Lowell's CHOPs book as a series of 20 DVDs :) and I strongly think that the VEX videos from CMI would be much useful as a book. The same goes for complex rigging stuff :)

I agree with the views at the end of your post: people do videos because they're more profitable in the end. A video takes less to produce and is more expensive (or as expensive) than a book, while in the end it contains less material. If 3D buzz would make the rigging videos into a book, all the material would easily fit into one single book which could be sold for 50-70 USD.

Dragos

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Holy %(W$* .. the thread turned into an educational product customer service war!

this is what happens when I don't read the forum in a week :lol: People ... CHILL OUT. Let's remember a short time ago when there was absolutely no learning material for Houdini what so ever. Not even for stuff like SOPs or particles, forget rigging ... Houdini doesn't do that stuff right? There certainly wasn't a user base large enough for almost any educational company to dedicate their time, for profit or not, to Houdini. Personally I'm very thankful for any company or individual who takes the time to educate others in whatever delivery medium they feel most comfortable or successful in .. and very glad they see Houdini rigging as valuable or important enough to dedicate their resources to it.

Ok, well .. I think that the book vs video debate is really interesting, and one I've spent quite a few hours pondering so I'll comment on that. At first the CHOPs book did start off as learning videos, as well as lesson plans for SESI classes. Dragos is absolutely correct in that I quickly realized it would take quite a bit longer than expected to create the content I wanted in video form, so I started converting the tutorials and plans into an "outline" for a book.

In terms of software, technical, or art education ... I see the advantages of books as this.

a. extremely well suited to getting across overall concept and theory

b. good at spanning very large learning curves and different proficiency levels

c. good at addressing very wide audiences and unintended markets

d. easier to dissect for users applying variations of techniques presented

HOWEVER .. I'm currently working on a Houdini Music Video Production training vids for cmivfx. I intend for this to be every bit of the same quality level as the book; but for different reasons.

Here's where I see the advantages of training videos.

a. good at addressing current and practical techniques

b. shows the interactive process, shows the teachers thought process

c. good at demonstration, and showing various approaches

d. Closer to the classroom experience, and shows mistakes and gives strong opinions. Many people might think these are things that are hindrances to learning videos. Personally, I learn just as much from a teacher making a mistake as getting something right (as long as they don't make too many mistakes).

So, the CHOPs book was intended for a very wide audience of many skilll levels, and attempted to open the door to many different projects and ideas for users. My plan for the training videos is more industry-centric; and will hopefully get Houdini in the spotlight for Music Video production. I'll be able to demonstrate music being played and interacted with just as the user and artist would. This kind of approach I don't think is suited for a book. It will also take very well under a year to make, which is sometimes necessary to get across current topics.

Just my 2 c anyway :blink:

Anyway, I can't wait for the Rigging videos, I'm sure they'll be very well suited for video training; and I'm really looking forward to someone really RIGGING in Houdini. It's an art, and I can't wait to see a master perform it for many hours. I'll also add one more little comment. When I taught classes full time they educated us in different learning styles. It's important to realise that not everyone learns the same way. Books are best suited to about 1/4 of students. For the other 3/4's other techniques such as demonstration, group work, and personal learning/deconstruction (messing around) time are best suited. Just because we learn best a certain way doesn't mean others do also, which is what makes teaching ... an art in itself

http://www.haygroup.com/tl/Downloads/Why_People_Learn.pdf

I actually disagree (strongly) with all the arguments presented except for 5.

I think books can expose chronologic stuff very well, and if there are project files available one can study them at any moment if mistakes are made when trying to reproduce examples from the book.

A book is much more ergonomic and accessible, you can "rewind" in no time, go over the same topic easily, access random stuff when needed without problem; you can put it on your desk and not have your display occupied with the video but with your app; you can read the book even when you're not at your desk; I totally disagree whiteboards are better on video--diagrams and processes are much better explained in high-resolution print. About "quicker": maybe in some instances video is quicker (for "tips and tricks" kind of stuff) but for complex stuff books are much better (at least for me): I usually browse a chapter and read diagrams and in few minutes I get a general idea about what's explained and then go into the details by actually reading it page by page. I can't imagine Adrew Lowell's CHOPs book as a series of 20 DVDs :) and I strongly think that the VEX videos from CMI would be much useful as a book. The same goes for complex rigging stuff :)

I agree with the views at the end of your post: people do videos because they're more profitable in the end. A video takes less to produce and is more expensive (or as expensive) than a book, while in the end it contains less material. If 3D buzz would make the rigging videos into a book, all the material would easily fit into one single book which could be sold for 50-70 USD.

Dragos

Edited by andrewlowell

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whoa dvds? Where? When? dang. So caught up in work I haven't browsed the forums and stuff for a long while. Man, once I'm outta a job I have sooo much stuff to catch up on. Especially Andrew's book :)

Gw

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... We were never commissioned, asked, paid or otherwise rewarded by any company (including SideFX) for our involvement in the fundamentals online course, if that's what you were suggesting. If you'd like confirmation, check with Robert Magee. ...

Our sponsorship of the 3D Buzz website was an advertising opportunity on a site that brings good traffic to our site. Because Buzz had decided to do Houdini video lessons, we felt that it was important to promote Houdini to the wider 3D buzz community through sponsorship to help steer them to the new lessons. Feedback from the community itself has always determined the Houdini content 3D Buzz creates and we do not influence these decisions at all.

Several companies have stepped up with Houdini content such as 3D Buzz, cmiVFX, digital-tutors, carden FX, Vizy Acky and now TD-Academy. We will encourage and support anyone who is serious about creating Houdini content for educational purposes. The different flavors of all this material offers students lots of options. In most cases there are free lessons to let you check out the approach taken by each website which lets you decide if their material is right for you.

The lessons created by 3D Buzz involve a more conversational approach which for many students provides a more natural learning environment that is akin to sitting in a classroom with a live instructor. While this might not suit everyone, it has proved effective for a number of artists and has helped many of them get jobs in the industry.

I originally came to Side Effects with the idea of writing a book because that is what I did at Alias with Learning Maya and the Art of Maya. I know that there is great value in the written word and personally prefer it over video in most cases. But Houdini development has been moving at a rapid pace in the five years I have been with Side Effects and video has proven to be an easier way for everyone to share ideas. The call for more written material has been noted and we will be exploring this over the coming months. It is a slower process therefore I can't make any promises but we are listening. OF course the docs have been getting better and better with each release and that is providing a great foundation.

In the mean time, I must thank all of our training partners for their hard work and to Peter Robinson and others at Sidefx who have been building up our video library. Studios and artists are looking for ways to work smarter and Houdini's node-based approach offers a lot of unique solutions that can be helpful in production. Education is an important tool for ensuring success for all of our customers and you will certainly see even more of a focus on learning in the coming year.

Robert

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Thanks for the input Robert. There are so much learning material these days that it should be relative easy to pick up Houdini and get enough "meat on the bone" to pursuit a career. Personally I use Maya at work but wouldnt mind using Houdini at work anyday. If a job-offer appeared that needed instant "know-how" then I

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Soo where are the new training kit? =)

Coming VERY soon. There'll be an official announcement when they release... I'd highly doubt anyone would miss the launch ;)

We're literally in the very last stages of adding polish right now. I can't wait until they launch :D. I'm very excited!

Thanks for the interest,

Steve

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I'm very much looking forward to this release for two reasons:

1) Steve's lessons just work with my brain somehow so I get a lot out of it.

And the biggest of all:

2) I've really been looking forward to crazy in depth training that can be applied to Houdini Escape (i.e. dynamics and particles not required). I've had extreme interest in using Houdini as a primary tool for not only stunning visual effects but also the classics (modeling/rigging/animation).

Edited by geneome

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Ah i know you guys are working like crazy to get this out as soon as possible, but is there any news :P just a picture of something would make my day =)

Keep it up guys.

Cheers

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Houdini Technical Rigging Series now Available!

We are proud to announce the launch of the new Technical Rigging video series for Houdini, for the award-winning visual effects software package from Side Effects Studios, Inc.! This new series includes specialized rigging topics, emphasizing essential skills and custom tool creation with Python! The set includes five separate volumes:

Technical Rigging I: Intro to Skeletal Systems and FK Rigging

Technical Rigging II: Introduction to Capturing Geometry to Bones

Technical Rigging III: Introduction to Inverse Kinematics and FK/IK Blending

Technical Rigging IV: Stretchy IK Systems and Dynamic Curves

Technical Rigging V: Advanced Vehicle Rigging and Automation Systems

These videos will become an invaluable reference for anyone aspiring to become a rig developer or technical director with Houdini! Lessons will take you from the basics of using bones all the way through creating a wide variety of custom tools with the Python programming language. Other topics in the series include capturing (known as “skinning” in other 3D applications), creation of stretchy IK systems, and rigging complex vehicles that have automatic simulated animation of steering, suspension and more!

Also, starting with the Houdini Technical Rigging series, you will be able to not only receive the DVD of each volume you order, but we will also give you on-demand access to a streaming version of the videos! Now you can view the training anywhere you have an internet connection, and leave your discs at home! Please note that access is subject to an order verification process!

For pricing, and to find out how you can get one of these products for FREE, click here!

pbox_houdini_rig.jpg

http://www.3dbuzz.com/xcart/product.php?productid=68

Thanks!

Steve Twist,

Director of Houdini Education,

3DBuzz Inc.

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Just ordered mine, seems like a huge and most welcome mass of information on rigging in Houdini.

However, after browsing the TOC and preview videos on the site I have one huge disappointment: no info on muscles. This is the ONE place where I personally need most info ATM when it comes to rigging, and (at least this is what SESI says) that's the new and modern way to do deformations in Houdini.

Can't wait for Volume VI: Rigging with muscles in Houdini :coffee1:

Dragos

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Guest Swann
Can't wait for Volume VI: Rigging with muscles in Houdini :coffee1:

Dragos

Next 3 DVDs will cover Advanced Character Rigging. They are on the way about one month from now. Atleast thats what I heard.

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Just ordered mine, seems like a huge and most welcome mass of information on rigging in Houdini.

However, after browsing the TOC and preview videos on the site I have one huge disappointment: no info on muscles. This is the ONE place where I personally need most info ATM when it comes to rigging, and (at least this is what SESI says) that's the new and modern way to do deformations in Houdini.

Can't wait for Volume VI: Rigging with muscles in Houdini :coffee1:

Dragos

Not to step on any toes, but isn't this mainly focused on technical rigging, as in hard objects etc?

And for the future, we need Quote: "tutorials on muscles" Mantra rendering, and the list is just so long.

Ah well, we have only so much time.

Again, great work 3d Buzz!

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