Beyond Tutorials
  • For a feature, I'd like to write up an article about moving beyond tutorials. There's so many tutorials out there, but everyone is looking at the same ones, producing mostly the same results. It might be more common knowledge to experienced motion designers, but so many beginning and just-out-of-school designers have reels that look like complete rips from Video Copilot & GSG. I'd like to highlight approaching tutorials from a more abstract, broad angle, moving beyond what was shown, and picking up concepts without necessarily mirroring an aesthetic in a tutorial.

    Thoughts?
  • Oh, I completely agree with this idea. I have a major beef with VCP/GSG ridden "reels". Tutorials that teach application and encourage(or even force) the user to think for themselves and apply the tutorial teachings to their own design. Maybe throw some design/color theory in the tut as well. 
  • Right, putting more emphasis on the technique and not the exact results.

    Another idea I had from going through a job interview, I was asked what was my biggest accomplishment in my design career.  Had a difficult time answering it because I feel like I always try to make everything I work on to be my biggest accomplishment, but I think it would be interesting discussion for future blog posts.
  • I don't know about you guys but unless I'm searching for a specific look that I know a tutorial will show me how to achieve, I stay away from them. I think there was a VCP tutorial a while ago for recreating the SyFy logo...Why? If you complete that tutorial, what will the end result be?

    What I'm trying to say is I agree completely with you guys. Let's purposely teach process-driven stuff, and I guess if it's at all possible we should try to include some academic-level theory. I particularly enjoyed the_Monkey's spiral/xpresso exploration that GSG hosted a couple of months back; it had all the ingredients I look for in a great tut: booze, geeking out and useful explanations.

  • Dan, you pretty much nailed what I wanted to say. The mentioned Monkey xpresso style of tutorial is where I really think we can shine. As opposed to basic tutorials that become the fodder for demo reels, I think giving them pointers/techniques, etc. (that folks can then really make their own) is the best way to differ ourselves from, say, VCP.
  • I think how we can go about this is that we never have a finished, polished product.  When you're learning technique, you're talking about ways to get to the end point, not showing you the end point.  Showing exactly where to go with what you're teaching I think can constrain some people into just thinking about going that one direction instead of them taking an idea and making it into something of their own.
  • Sounds like we have a solid plan for a section of comprehensive tutorials, just need to think some through.
  • Take a look at how Robert Leger does his tutorials, its a refreshing take on them. First off, he launches a task, and gives people a week or so to see if they can either figure out the technique, or devise their own way of doing it. After the week period, he does the result tutorial explaining how he achieved the goal. He also lets all user submit their work to a gallery. 

    I love this idea, because it makes people think out of the box, and more for themselves, instead of just being handed a pre fab tutorial design. Not to mention, with the gallery, you get the benefit of seeing what others came up with, and thats a huge learning point too.

  • I was thinking of something similar to this. A cross between that and the 5 sec project. Challenges, I guess you could call them. Give an idea for people to try to work towards (ie. recreate a given scene, general themes a la 5secproj, or xpresso driven animations, etc). Give a set amount of time to submit them by, then at the end, pick the top 5 and have the people explain how they did theirs. Nice way to get the community involved in explaining their own workflow and methods. Could be enlightening.
  • Cool ideas Jordan and Michael! 

    I tried to run something similar at BlenderUnderground.com before I ran out of steam/became disillusioned with the whole thing due to a lack of interest from participants.

    I actually think we could go further and have something a bit like the cgtalk focussed critique section. Set really tight limits by restricting the task to - for example - compositing with set assets and xyz plugins.

    Maybe I'm getting too far into this, I don't want to have something that tries to compete with FXPHD!
  • What do you think about including some articles on the process of becoming freelance?, helping the younger/more inexperienced mographers to advance their careers? The way I see it there are an awful lot of hobbysists, tut addicts, and forum leechers, as well as students and emerging motionographers who could benefit from advice in getting into the industry and using the skills and software button pressing prowess they have been developing from all the tutorial sites. I did a bunch of these on my blog http://dazpix.co.uk/resources/whatyouneedtoknow_pitching/ but like Dan, ran out of steam somewhat after 5 or 6. I still think there are some miles in this though, a bit like Motionworks Business Of Design but maybe as a much shorter paragraph of advice now and then, a weekly snippet or something. My articles are a bit long winded and maybe not easy to digest quickly. After all everyone wants video these days, so perhaps it could be done in a simple info-graphic way....just an idea
  • That's certainly a new challenge, making something with a strong design sense into advice; make the medium match the message. Maybe that could be a good way of setting challenges - we come up with the copy for some bumpers or title cards (or maybe even something with more scope than that) and the challenge is to animate it.

    We then ensure that our advice is backed up by good design/animation - which is what we're here to focus on in the first place!

    @dazpix - great link, you now have a new subscriber..
  • Hey Everybody,  Just wanted to throw my opinion in here. I'm diggin' all these suggestions from every realm of production. This is quite the group here.

    Here's a exercise that I tried in the past: Give 5 people the same goal and then explore the method each used to get to that goal. Rostenbach & odd_enough

    touched upon this above,

    Similar to the 5 second projects on GSG but with a "explanation view" of what they did rather than just showing the end result. Kinda like if the Top 5 GSG 5 second winners each made a :60 walkthrough of how they started and finished their full visualization (or at least as close to it as possible:) 

    the exercise could be a character rigging walking cycle, special effects or a logo reveal, the point is we all do things differently and we need a pool our experiences/education in a fun way. Just look at all the different logos for motion league you've all come up with... i bet you all could share some funny/real world stories while conveying design advice, animation principles, best practices etc.

    In my opinion, something that would be different than anything I've seen out there is a "half competive, half learning" experience.

    Stay Human




  • Yes, that's exactly what I had in mind. :) I think it could really help us all out. 
  • That sounds like a really interesting idea, I think the rober leger thing is cool too, will check that out..

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