Request to those who make tutorials

To: all who are producing tutorials and lesson plans, a simple request.

Blender has a good repertoire of tutorials on the shelf for most aspects of it’s functioning. In fact, the number of quality tut’s and seminars seems to be growing at the same swift rate as Blender is developing. Which provides us, the end users, with better capacity to use Blender as a worthwhile tool. And therefore Blender becomes more viable and relevant.

However, I’ve noticed one common shortfall of presentation by many narrators which creates serious distractions to your viewers - the use of the erratic mouse.

People commonly talk with their hands. And in a normal setting, the hands can properly emphasize the words being spoken. They give words an appropriate “weight”.

And, when viewing an internet video the use of the mouse pointer also “can be” a substitute for hand gestures for gaining attention of the audience, or … when done improperly, be incredibly distracting.

I recommend several points.

  • Never shake the mouse to emphasize a feature, rather circle the desired point of the screen slowly.
  • When moving the mouse from one part of the screen to another, Slow Down! Don’t whip the pointer across the viewport. Move the mouse at a deliberate speed and then, regardless of what nervous impulse is driving you, Keep it stationary. Or in worst case, move it slowly for a second or two to attraction attention and then park the pointer to allow the viewers time to take in the information being presented.
  • Last, the same thing goes for moving around the screen, scrolling and shifting through various tool menus and windows, Pause first, take a breath, and then shift into the new window.

Nothing fancy. As a general rule, move your pointer twice as slow as you’d normally move your mouse. If it feels gallingly slow, good. Trust me, it will pay dividends for your viewers.

Don’t stop producing information and lesson plans. They’re great.

Hmmm, lesson plans…

I agree with your point on mouse tracking. It can be very difficult indeed to follow a skittish mouse. Apart from embelishments like pointers and zooming to the focal point, what other hints can you provide?

Thansk for taking the time to rail against this BTW :wink:

As an old friend use to say; “What do you want for nothing? Your money back?” So I feel bad about complaining about something I haven’t paid for… but if you’re taking suggestions tutorial makers; :slight_smile:

Quit constantly moving your mesh and when you do move them move them slowly and precisely. I know why you’re doing it and I do it to when I’m working on something, but unless you are recording a very high frame rates at high resolutions, all we get to see is a blur. Maybe we don’t miss any important information, but it is a needless distraction and really seems to say, ‘I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about this before hand.’ Or, ‘I making this up as I go along.’

Close the panels you’re not using! How many tutorials have you watched with the timeline stuff at the bottom and they never use it. Close it and and the properties panel when you’re not using them so that you can display the important information at a better resolution! Don’t be afraid to use CTRL + up arrow!

I’m sure that many people who are doing tuts right now would like to get to the point where they can ask for money for their work. Little things like what FXR mentioned and I ranted about will help you take a few more steps toward that goal.

joe

I agree with the screen real estate issue. Loose the extra panels and windows not in use. Also refer to keystrokes by name. I was in the habit of performing a simple snap and realised that no one would know what magic just happened. The addon Screencast Keys is cool but only works in 3D view :frowning: so I can’t use it for VSE tutorials.
EDIT: turns out that it does pick up keys and mouse events from VSE now! Will have to amend my setup :wink:

Also I really wish other people would go to the trouble of finding out the actual name of the function they are demonstrating, it can be annoying when you go to google it later or the tooltips are counter to what the demonstrator is saying.

Great suggestions!! Honestly, I’m not sure people that make tutorials get this kind of feed back. I’ve received fantastic feedback about some of my tutorials, but there is still much room for improvement.

Teaching is a skill and just like any other skill it can always be improved.

Great point! I’ll keep your ideas in mind. Thanks kindly.

I’d even go one further and say:

Do some post-production work. There are a number of free video editing packages out there and maybe you already have a commercial one.

Some things to consider for post:

  • overlays such as arrows, circles, etc. for directing attention to a give part of the interface
  • edit out all those annoying “Oh! I did something wrong! I have to backtrack!” moments. It’s really difficult to follow a procedure when you have to mentally ‘rewind’ and go forward again toward a different end product.
  • write a script and redo the voice-over to cut out all the digressions, word whiskers, etc. Example: “Let’s go ahead and…”
  • if it’s an advanced/intermediate topic, don’t assume we need a recap of elementary topics to lead us into the advanced subject. Edit those out, too, or put them in a separate video. Figure out where someone would reasonably be with their study of Blender before they’d attempt what you’re tutorializing about and start from there instead.
  • If you’re plugging another tutorial or something else you’d like people to know about or who you are, your background, whatever… Please do it at the end of the video, not the beginning. If people are interested, they’ll stick around to watch that part.

Especially if I’m paying for a tutorial, I prefer not to have to wade through all these things to get to the meat of the subject. Just MHO. :slight_smile:

Can’t agree on all points. Often I learn from the digression or error, as it maybe one that I make too.

I disagree, I don’t really care about nitpicking the presentation, as long as you can clearly hear the instructions (but it would be nice if they sounded interested and not like they were reading a script). Just don’t cover something that already has tutorials available for it, pick a subject that hasn’t been explained yet. All the basics are covered already.

What is needed are more advanced tutorials on rigging, corrective shape keys, etc. Maybe we could compile a “Wish List” of tutorial subjects. That way if someone has the time and the skill, they could pick something off the list until we have a resource of tutorials that explain most aspects of blender. (like blenderwiki, but more up to date and in video form )

Only one hope. Please speak clearly and not very fast. We are lots of people here who do not speak native English.
Thank you very much for so many great tutorials.

“Please speak clearly and not very fast. We are lots of people here who do not speak native English”

I concur with marksto. Even those whose native language IS English, sometimes find it hard to follow if the words run together. But keep the great tutorials coming!

I love what joededman wrote "… As an old friend use to say; “What do you want for nothing? Your money back?
That was worth it!

I find many tutorials (which again are awesome, I don’t even need to mention it !) are too long, and I’m discouraged to watch the tut when I see it is 1 hour length !

Andrew Price has been making a good practice, that is to write a short text tutorial after the video, explaining the main steps in 2 min rather than having to watch a lengthy tutorial …

Maybe a good idea would be that at the beginning of the video you spend just 5 min giving the main ideas, getting straight to the point, so that we can skip the rest if we’ve understood.

Anyway, thank you guys again for your tremendous work !

Another good approach to larger video tuts, include a contents list with times for each section.
From BlenderDiplom site, a good example http://www.blenderdiplom.com/index.php/en/tutorials/item/102-tutorial-dynamic-paint-ball-intro

  • 00:00 - 02:04 Intro and Overview
  • 02:04 - 07:28 Starter File and Background
  • 07:28 - 11:55 Introduction to Dynamic Paint
  • 11:55 - 17:14 Setting up the Dynamic Paint Rig
  • 17:14 - 25:10 Displace and Fade-Out Effect
  • 25:10 - 37:45 Particle System and Materials
  • 37:45 - 43:30 Lighting and Compositing

This is really funny, and so true and find myself in agreement with much of what has been posted here.

It’s funny because the mouse wiggle is such a hard habit to break. I’m honestly trying! I’ve been recording a bunch of tutorials over at my homepage annex2nothing.com as a kind of overview and introduction for maya users or beginners. I really want to do more creative tutorial projects not just overviews but i thought it might be a sensible place to start.

I think I could rip my tutorial delivery to shreds but I’ve give it the ol’ college try. It’s time to get that stuff out there, grow and improve, rinse and repeat.

You may be talking about free tutorials, but I’m talking about the ones I pay for.

And anyone who eventually expects to sell me a tutorial needs to show me (with their free ones) that I’m going to get a quality product.

I think that any tut, free or not, should at least try and communicate as best it can. After all, that is kind of the point of making it in the first place.

Well said, sir!