Blender doc = frustration

Hi!

Being a bit more than loosely interested in 2D, 3D graphics and because I am a programmer and am aware that Open Source is always better than closed sources, Blender has attracted me from the first glimpse. I have tried 3DSMAX and Maya a bit but have found the opportunity to help build a great graphic tool more attractive than the sheer brute force of those apps.

That’s how, every couple of weeks(busy schedule), I find myself drawn into Blender. I play with this and that and see what comes of it.

Being a relatively young software and because it is getting more and more love from developpers worldwide, Blender is ever evolving. Each time I decide to play with Blender, a new version has been released, with new toys to play with.

That’s where frustration hits. Documentation. It makes me want to shoot my PC with a tank and then laugh like a madman. How is it that documentation evolves soooo sloooooowly? I have just been trying (wrestling with) armatures, IKAs, etc. and trying to apply sub-surfacing to a mesh. I found out through a forum that the latter has been moved to a drop-down list box and have had no luck in matching existing documentation about IKA to the behaviour it shows in 2.40.

Let me say this clearly: without proper documentation, an application is not an application. Where I to be a new user to Blender, drawn by the quite extensive coverage some graphics sites have made of v2.40 release, I would say: “Hell, how come that crappy app is getting so much attention? I can’t even work out how IKA works from the documentation! Come here my beloved 3DSMAX and your many, many commercial-grade plugins!”

Listen, I am acutely aware of the fact that Blender is Open Source. I just think this is an area of the project that needs immediate attention. If I were a Blender guru, I would gladly volunteer to work on it. There’s a need for some more structure there, a more cohesive cooperation between the programmers and the documentation staff. There’s now way a rewritten component could take as long to write doc for than rewriting took itself.

Nuf said. Now, where can I get some up-to-date documentation on v2.40, or am I better sticking with good old 2.34?

Have you been to http://mediawiki.blender.org? That’s the current documentation location.

:expressionless:

No. And it would’ve saved me a lot of typing.

Damn.

Thanks.

Sorry.

Doh.

The release notes are here :
http://www.blender3d.org/cms/Blender_2_40.598.0.html

A search on these forums will teach you the rest.

About the documentation : we’re aware of it and we are on it. If instead of stating the obvious you had done your part, a bit of proofreading, a little tweak here and there, a constructive opinion in the docboard mailing list, nothing anybody can’t do, we would be a little bit further.

I just finished to update the first part of the 30+30 tutorial and it took way more time than 60 minutes.

It’s there have a look and tell me what’s wrong so I can do a better job.

http://mediawiki.blender.org/index.php/Manual/PartI/Your_First_Animation_in_30_plus_30_Minutes_Part_I_v2.41

Jean

Yes. I know Jean. I have already expressed shame in accomplishing the singlemost horrible no-no for a programmer, which is not reading the f****** manual, and I am currently in the process of channeling this in something more positive for Blender.

BTW, look at my profile(EDIT: especially the email).

Til next time!

Welcome home Alex.

LOL

Best one in years !

Jean

I’d just like to add here that, being a new user myself, and using the BlenderWiki all last week, I was able to get to grips with most of the basics of Blender quite easily. There were some moved tools that took a few minutes, but all it takes is a bit of hoking about.

For all the buttons I found that I couldn’t understand I just used the knowledge from the related buttons and worked it out myself.

So in my opinion the documentation is pretty good, even the non-2.40 version. Only thing it won’t tell me are the hotkeys for the cool new tools :smiley:

I couldn’t write any articles myself in the BlenderWiki, but I’m a REAL stickler for spelling, and some of those sentences in the BlenderWiki put me off so much I wanted to change it. Would I be allowed to be added to change things if it were only the spelling etc to make it read better?

Also in like umm…a zillion years when I become a guru at blender I’d love to be part of the documentation team 8) (if you’ll have me.)

EDIT: Sorry IamInnocent, took a look through your tutorial, looks nice, but its just not a Gingerbread man, its GUS! he he %|

You’re more than welcome. E.g. my english is not so good (pretty bad in fact), and my writing does need a lot of correction. So go to
http://mediawiki.blender.org/index.php/Main_Page

and follow the instructions, i.e. create an account and join the mailinglist.

Oh please VividHazE don’t wait.
I write English… I don’t know, by radar ? I never had any formal education in that language and my sources vary from reggae to royal speech on the throne. It can’t be always, if ever, good.

In other words : God help me !

:wink:

Jean

IamIamInnocent: You write English better than a lot of people who learn and speak it throughout their entire lives.

I took a peek at the Gus tutorial (the temporary 2.40 link) and it looked mostly the same as the old version (eg. still uses duplicate, mirror, join, rem doubles, recalc normals instead of just mirror modifier). Are you writing it offline and going to upload it or have you left some things unchanged?

Andy :
thanks for reassuring me. I know it sounds right in my head but I never had anybody around to see their reactions.

There must have been something funny happening : I just followed the same route as you did (blender Wiki, user manual, part I of 30+30, temporary link and it leads to the new version. Maybe try the link in my first post in this thread, the one ending with ‘v241’ : you shouldn’t have seen any flipping and remove double : I explain how to use the Mirror modifier. But yes, I did start a new page since it is my first run with the Wike format and I had to experiment a lot.

If comments are good I’ll commit it this weed-end.

Thanks for the comments.

Jean

Does that apply to anyone? I’d love to be able to help out in this way. My artistic talent has yet to come to the fore (or even be visible in any way :wink: ) soI’d like to be a spelling/grammar checker.

Does that apply to anyone? I’d love to be able to help out in this way. My artistic talent has yet to come to the fore (or even be visible in any way :wink: ) soI’d like to be a spelling/grammar checker.[/quote]

Yes, this applies to everyone who is willing to put some serious effort in the documentation. This has not to be much, but spellchecking and grammar corrections are always welcome, because many writers are not native english speakers.

One other way to help that doesn’t require to be a guru is to update the images. It is not always possible to know what image should replace that very image that’s confusing to you but, many times if not most, the reader is using the current version and the difference, while not being great enough to cause puzzlement is still noticeable : go ahead and update because there’s a cumulative effect if we don’t update as soon as we should and, after neglecting it long enough, communicaton failure creeps in.

At other times you’ll notice a mistake, a lack of precision, bad wording, all these small things that, if not corrected will send most readers off track. Your correcting it may save hours of frustration for a lot of people.

Everyone has heard someone saying : “Oh if only everybody was willing there could… (whatever the person wishes)”. Well I am not going to wait for ‘everyone’ and neither should you : God himself can only do miracles and this one is not about to happen. Whatever small part I can have I will have and what will be done will exist and be of use. That a small scheme not the Grand One but I’m glad to be a pixel in the image of Blender and not a dead one. Wouldn’t you ?

Jean

Pretty good speech Jean. I could almost hear the Blender national anthem in background :smiley:

Well I’ll be more than glad to help too, albeit small contributions here and there!

So, in the end, me going against Blender docs has indeed brought something useful I think! Yeah!

:stuck_out_tongue: :smiley:

Well I’ll be more than glad to help too, albeit small contributions here and there!

So, in the end, me going against Blender docs has indeed brought something useful I think! Yeah!

So you see : it wasn’t R(ead)TFM but W(rite)TF(ine)M that I was telling youl

LOL

Thank you for your help.

J.

@IamInnocent: I agree with Andy, your english is pretty well written, and that last speech there was damn near awe inspiring! :slight_smile:

I’m off to see the wizard…I mean umm, make an account on the Wiki, he he.

EDIT: Ok I’m all set up now and jesterKing allowed me to make changes! I’ve done one small addition to the vital functions section, and will continue to make small changes as I notice them on my way through the Wiki.

There must have been something funny happening : I just followed the same route as you did (blender Wiki, user manual, part I of 30+30, temporary link and it leads to the new version.

Yep, it sure does now. I don’t know what happened before. Two questions though. Why have you labelled it 2.41 and why does it still say 2.3 in the small type at the top of the new page?

Also, I tried to edit a page recently (I think it was one of Gabio’s) but was denied editing access to that page (I had edited another page a few weeks earlier and was logged in). Do you know if many authors lock their pages this way?

AndyD: you didn’t have edit rights yet (you didn’t need these a few weeks ago yet), I just added you to the docboard group, you should be able to edit now!!! (most authors can’t lock pages anyway!!!)

AndyD:

It is a matter of days before 2.41.

The 2.3 has been corrected, by Ewout.

Thanks AndyD.

Jean