Blender New Innovative 2d Animation "GP Tools"

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Re: Blender New Innovative 2d Animation "GP Tools"

Postby herbert123 » Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:50 pm

Let's talk a bit more about point-and-click graphic adventures (I am a huge fan, played most of them). Greg is correct in saying that creating the animation for one is far more forgiving compared to a broadcast quality level animation. On the other hand, making a good graphic adventure will take a lot of time and perseverance. I know - I tried and failed two times now. Lots of work.

Of course, the scope could be set to a very low one.

One of the best current 2d click-and-point adventures is Technobabylon. You can get it for a dollar, or so, in the latest Humblebundle deal:
https://www.humblebundle.com/humble-gems-bundle
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Re: Blender New Innovative 2d Animation "GP Tools"

Postby exile » Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:52 pm

Edit - this is in response to Greg's comments on the Playmaker video on turning the cube green and red. Great that there were two posts while I was typing.

That was encouraging - I even got a bit further than that with Construct 2's "actions". But not much.

But to get back to your very kind offer of mentorship - I would certainly try to follow the first tutorials, and then we would have to see if it's over my head.

I'm examining some discontinued projects started with versions 9 and 10. The songs they were based on had a story line, but when I wrote them I wasn't thinking of the challenges they pose for an animation project. At least I could recognize why the mechanical movements of the characters met with criticism in the Lost Marble forum. Rightly so, here are the people with a strong passion for the art of animation. Some of the work can be salvaged for another try, the animation needs to be started from scratch again. "Remove all animation from this document" doesn't seem to change from version to version.

Just to give anyone who might be interested an idea of how I plan to spend whatever time I have for animation in the months ahead.
Last edited by exile on Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Blender New Innovative 2d Animation "GP Tools"

Postby Psmith » Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:03 pm

Herbert:

Here we go again.

Visionaire is tailored specifically for the Adventure Game genre. The stereotypes are all in place. It has an unchangeable Stark White Theme for its user interface (which, if you don't know this by now, DAMAGES YOUR EYES - mine have been irreparably damaged from decades of working with interfaces like these). I have my doubts about a company who can't engineer a simple web interface that, when you are viewing an English Language overview page describing the product - and click on "Licences" - that page is displayed in the German Language - despite having the "EN" tag displayed in the main menu.

Image

And then there is the obligatory paragraph shown above.

Unity Free can now be forced to have a Dark Theme UI (answering my objection stated above):

https://forum.unity3d.com/threads/zios- ... rt.411818/

Dealing with programmers is hard enough. Dealing with non-native English speaking programmers is beyond the pale, in my experience.

NOT gonna doit.

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Re: Blender New Innovative 2d Animation "GP Tools"

Postby Psmith » Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:27 pm

Janochli & Herbert:

Fungus is designed in the vein of Playmaker - taking a Finite State Machine-Based programming approach. Finite State Machines directly address the needs of a simple, interactive presentation of animated characters in an environment (like Cosmic Osmo). They are, as the name would imply, very Machine-Like to work with - not anticipating the needs of any user very well.

If you are familiar with both PlayMaker and Fungus - could you do a quick comparison of the 2 - with Pros and Cons listed?

Construct 2 is Windows Only. I've been a Mac guy from waaaaay back. It also has a Stark White Interface (which can be changed after much labor). I hate using Parallels (which I have had to do for each and every OpenToonz tutorial I've made).

I'd say the makers of Construct 2 have made it - maybe 1/3 of the way - to offering an intuitive system of programming without the use of code.

But, programmers simply cannot help themselves. At some point, usually very early on - they force the user to "speak" in code and "expressions" and assume knowledge and understanding of code-like syntax - even when we are talking about using simple commands and actions. This, Construct 2 does in overabundance.

Fungus - as demonstrated on YouTube - puts the same requirements on any potential user.

I just love to watch a programming NERD try to put into plain English - a very simple set of steps - and diverting at least a dozen times into irrelevant branches of the topic in question - all the while assuming the viewer is familiar with several examples of coding syntax. This was done to great effect by the guy on YouTube, demonstrating Fungus. Introducing language like "Float", "Int", "Bool" without blinking an eye or accounting for the status of his audience even once.

We're just NEVER going to get to first base.


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Re: Blender New Innovative 2d Animation "GP Tools"

Postby herbert123 » Mon Oct 31, 2016 3:11 am

Psmith wrote:Herbert:

Here we go again.

Visionaire is tailored specifically for the Adventure Game genre. The stereotypes are all in place. It has an unchangeable Stark White Theme for its user interface (which, if you don't know this by now, DAMAGES YOUR EYES - mine have been irreparably damaged from decades of working with interfaces like these). I have my doubts about a company who can't engineer a simple web interface that, when you are viewing an English Language overview page describing the product - and click on "Licences" - that page is displayed in the German Language - despite having the "EN" tag displayed in the main menu.

Image

And then there is the obligatory paragraph shown above.

Unity Free can now be forced to have a Dark Theme UI (answering my objection stated above):

https://forum.unity3d.com/threads/zios- ... rt.411818/

Dealing with programmers is hard enough. Dealing with non-native English speaking programmers is beyond the pale, in my experience.

NOT gonna doit.

Greg Smith


I've used dimmer software since the times I had an Amiga (50hz interlaced is no fun on the eyes!) - currently I use PangoBright
http://www.pangobright.com/download.htm
(Windows only)

So bright interfaces work just fine for me - I just turn on the screen dimmer while working. :-) Mac dimmers are also available. They may be helpful for you when dealing with bright GUIs.

As for Visionaire: The LUA scripting interface is available when very particular functionality is required. Otherwise a full classic point-and-click graphic adventure can be visually developed - there is ABSOLUTELY NO NEED to touch LUA for regular "adventuring work" :-)

Disengaging just because of a bug in your browser (because it works fine for me here in Chrome, Firefox, and IE - perhaps it is because of the link I posted it did not set the cookie for EN) sounds like you've already made up your mind about the software without even giving it a chance.

The fact is that Visionaire is used in modern commercial and successful 2d adventures; I find that it works really well, and it is a lot of fun to create an adventure or interactive storybook game in Visionare. If a 2d adventure is your aim, Visionaire will get you there much faster than a generic system like Unity. And Unity complicates matters further because it is a 3d game environment.

Playmaker is nice for simple things, but there are a number of glaring issues for anyone wanting to tackle a larger project with it. I myself was enamoured by Unity and Playmaker two years ago, and purchased Playmaker. The problem is that Playmaker's visual code becomes overly complicated to understand at some point. And then you will need to implement that code yourself within the Playmaker's paradigm, which is less than optimal to say the very least. In essence, while Playmaker makes it initially easy to get going, the more you add, understanding what is going on becomes more difficult as you progress. Anyway, this is my experience with it. I stopped using it. To be fair, it also has to do with Unity in general and the licensing (which I dislike).

When you use regular code, this does not happen. Visionaire prevents visual over-complication by focusing on one sub-genre of games; graphic adventures of the pointy-clicky kind. And it does this really well. A ten-year old can be taught how to create an adventure in it. And in the ten years I have used it, I never encountered any issues with support related to the company's German origin. (As a matter of fact so far all German developed software and support has been exemplary in my 25 years of software experience!)

If you are interested in Unity and Playmaker, I would urge you to check out Unreal and Blueprint as well, and compare.
https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest/IN ... lueprints/
Perhaps you already did, though?

Finally, no general visual programming system can completely occlude and hide what is actually going on behind the scene(s). I understand that variables and programming terminology can be scary at first to the novice programmer, but IT IS NOT THAT HARD. Sorry for the all-caps. It really isn't. Learning basic programming concepts will only help you achieve what you want/need in a visual dev environment that much faster. I would compare it to drawing and digital design: sure, it is possible to create good looking digital art without drawing skills, but basic drawing skills will get you there much quicker and with better results.

Btw, programmers I know personally are NOT "nerds" (I dislike the term vehemently, because it puts a tag on people again - just as bad as "Blonds" or "Irish men", or "brown/yellow/black/white/green/pink people take your pick). I design. I animate. I draw. I paint. I sculpt. I play music. I love walking in the woods. And many other things. And I code and develop. Does that make me a "nerd" to you? Putting tags on people makes them one-dimensional, and an easy target. Sorry for the rant here - I have seen too many bad things related to this type of 'tagging' people in my life. You probably did not mean it this way (but you did capitalize the word...).

In your example the person in that Fungus tutorial is untrained in teaching skills. He makes unfounded assumptions about the audience. That is all we can say, in my opinion. Good teaching is a hard-fought for skill. The guy is doing his best - respect that. His mental model is quite different from yours or mine.

On the other hand, your teaching skills are excellent. I am enjoying your Blender videos quite a bit (I watch them even though I already know all that stuff). I can't believe I mistook your voice for an artificial one that time you created your first tutorials ;-P
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Re: Blender New Innovative 2d Animation "GP Tools"

Postby herbert123 » Mon Oct 31, 2016 3:18 am

Greg, Construct 3 is in the works, and will be made available on Mac as well. The are working on improving the GUI and overall experience. No ETA on when it will be ready - "it's done when it's done".
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Re: Blender New Innovative 2d Animation "GP Tools"

Postby herbert123 » Mon Oct 31, 2016 9:28 am

Greg, in one of your responses here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nwW9KIDhjE you mention that Blender lacks text and titling tools. This is not true: Blender's text tools are actually quite powerful, and even allow for threaded columnar text, and kerning. They can also be easily used for titling. It is also possible to create text in Blender's text editor, and convert that to 3d text.

Anyway, great tutorials. I see the Blender community is starting to take note of the quality you deliver!
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Re: Blender New Innovative 2d Animation "GP Tools"

Postby Psmith » Mon Oct 31, 2016 4:52 pm

Herbert:

Dimming the screen that is, to start with, a Stark White in color only produces a still unsuitable light grey. Like the standard Unity interface color. It is blinding to me after only a few minutes. This was the primary reason I never used Unity in the first place.

Why would anyone need a piece of software to dim their screen? You can do this through the "Display" settings.

I am of the strong opinion that we were NOT meant to serve computers and learn their language, so to speak. The reason nothing, and I mean NOTHING has changed to make computers - as they should be - machines that serve people of ordinary roots and means is largely to do with the mindset you so aptly expressed:

"Finally, no general visual programming system can completely occlude and hide what is actually going on behind the scene(s). I understand that variables and programming terminology can be scary at first to the novice programmer, but IT IS NOT THAT HARD. Sorry for the all-caps. It really isn't. Learning basic programming concepts will only help you achieve what you want/need in a visual dev environment that much faster."

The reason a visual "programming" environment cannot completely occlude and hide what is actually going on is because PEOPLE (programming people) make it so. They see no reason to occlude what is going on behind the scenes because they like what is going on behind the scenes - they LOVE it, in fact. And, because they see no need to occlude these things - they cover themselves by saying "IT IS NOT THAT HARD - just learn basic programming concepts - it will only help."

Sorry Herbert - I think that philosophy is a load of (#&%))(*#* - (code)

I cannot count the number of times I have tried to reason with people who state things like that.

We are all human beings who are used to doing things in a physical world - communicating in a physical and native way with easy to understand languages. We have done it since childhood. It's as simple as that.

Software can and should be designed to approach people and cater to people in the way that is second nature to them and in line with the way they think. And I am not talking about the way the best "programming people" obsess and operate.

People do not think in Flow Charts. People do not think in math statements and arguments. People do not communicate with others in abbreviations and acronyms. People do not relate to other people in anything but language - and, sometimes, gesture.

When you want someone to do something, you ask them to do it - in language. When that person does not fully understand what it is you want - they ask you questions - anticipating what you possibly might want. This should be the goal of all software design. To interact with the user just as a person, a serving person would do with his "master".

"Would you like your tea this morning, sir?" "No, I think I'll try the new Chai stuff." "Em, would you like that made with milk, sir?" "Yes, that would be fine." "Very good, sir."

In the case above, the serving person already knows what TEA is. He also knows what time it is - and bases his actions upon this knowledge. He knows what time the master usually likes his TEA. He is also aware that he was instructed to buy a new beverage called Chai. From past experience he knows that his "master" likes his TEA with milk - so he anticipates the wishes of his master and inquires whether he would like the Chai stuff made with milk.

Most of the burden of getting and doing what the master wants falls on the serving person - his knowledge and experience. The master merely answered some basic questions in a very simple way. The role and requirements of software should be just like the role and requirements of the serving person - the burden of understanding and doing should be laid upon the software and not on the master or user.

If the roles are reversed - as is primarily the case with present day software - we are destined to become the servants of technology - instead of technology serving us.

Why is most software designed to be (inadvertently) harmful to the eyes if used over long periods of time? Because the designers, themselves, do not think into the future - or ponder many possibilities. Nor do they possess the human quality of empathy for their users. You see, they are the masters and we are their servants - and they intend to keep the roles in that order.

They are the geniuses (as society has deemed them) and we are dopes who buy stuff.


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Re: Blender New Innovative 2d Animation "GP Tools"

Postby herbert123 » Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:18 pm

If only it were so easy. Simple things are often the hardest things to do.

A computer is only a tool - a very simple tool, actually. It only does what you tell it - but the issue is that it is not backed up by conscious 'understanding'.

Someone must write a program to make a computer respond to the word "Tea", for example. Some programs search through databases for this word (Google, for example). Other software will run this word through a list of words and corresponding actions. For example, a text adventure. There is no 'true understanding', though.

The fundamental issue at hand is that a computer is merely a collection of on and off switches. A human brain is not. Its underlying structure is utterly different - although some people believe this not to be true (which is quite ignorant), humanity still has no real idea how the brain actually works - or how consciousness is 'generated' or whether it actually resides in the brain in the first place.

No matter how the brain does its 'thing', a computer programmer can only do one thing to simulate 'true understanding' - just throw more brute force at it.

A real-world example: Chess. Chess programs are now capable of beating chess world champions. Chess is quite simple: a limited amount of moves, and a limited number of choices at any time. You would think it is easy to beat a good human player with some simple programming. Of course, we learned it is not so simple at all. It proved to be excruciatingly hard. A chess program uses both brute force to calculate all the possible moves in combination with large databases of past matches played. Learning algorithms have been developed to allow Chess programs to 'learn' from its mistakes. Of course, true understanding never occurs in a Chess program. It has taken the best programmers decades to come this far.

I am a firm believer that, as long as true artificial understanding is missing in computer applications - "self consciousness" if you will, it will be either impossible or require VAST computational resources (way beyond what is available currently) to move beyond what computers currently are as tools. I think it will require a rethinking of the fundamental structure of computers. Perhaps quantum computing might get us there. I don't know.

My personal pet hypothesis is that brains process information akin to wave theory - in the end all matter is only a state of wave patterns, and the universe consists of wave patterns only. A programmer can attempt to reproduce these patterns in software simulations only, but this will require tremendous brute force processing capacity with computers as they are built now. Which means the core principles of computing ought to be revisited.

All this pondering aloud does not change the fact that your tea computing scenario is (probably) a pipe dream for the foreseeing future. There are fundamental differences between how computers work and human brains work that make it impossible at this moment.

As for the assertion that human language is simple and second nature? It takes the average person the first 18 years of his/her life to become reasonable proficient. Writing mostly takes longer. Learning a new language takes at least a couple of years to become proficient (excepting those few individuals with a special gift). Let alone learning all the implied understanding of various expressions and words that allude to historic and cultural meanings.

Learning yourself the basic principles of programming only takes you a couple of months at most in your free time. Becoming a reasonable up to a good programmer a year at most. I have seen students of mine grow from not knowing anything about coding into quite savvy coders in less than a year - students with no programming backgrounds at all, and a number of them completely anxious about it.

I do very much agree with you that software developers often miss the ball completely when it comes down to interaction/user experience design. And yes, all software should be adjustable in colour scheme. As a matter of fact, this ought to be built into the operating system itself. For example, on the Amiga any change in colour scheme affected ANY application. Nowadays, however, developers often rely on GUI frameworks which take over control from the OS. And a secondary problem is that operating systems seem to hide or even disable these controls for whatever reason. We are definitely moving backwards in this regard.
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Re: Blender New Innovative 2d Animation "GP Tools"

Postby herbert123 » Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:32 pm

Psmith wrote:Herbert:

Why would anyone need a piece of software to dim their screen? You can do this through the "Display" settings.



Because
1) my screens are hardware colour calibrated. I do not want to touch either the screens' settings or the display settings. I merely need to temporarily dim one or more screens.
2) it allows me to control which screens are dimmed.
3) it is very fast and efficient: two clicks or a short-cut key.
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Re: Blender New Innovative 2d Animation "GP Tools"

Postby Psmith » Tue Nov 01, 2016 12:27 am

Herbert:

I think many programmers - when they think of writing a program that has limited function and variability - they inevitably overthink the task or tasks and start spinning their gears trying to come up with EVERY POSSIBLE scenario. As they build their prototype - they become engulfed in the seemingly infinite possibilities of any and every part of the task. Being fair minded fellows (mostly) - they want to give every possibility a "voice" within the program - which ultimately translates into program OPTIONS (branches) and FUNCTIONS.

As a result of this kind of development that issues from that mindset, programs grow bigger, more complicated - interfaces begin to boggle the mind - and, ultimately, the ordinary user runs away and hides. Those with the most experience may never return to such an application ever again.

Instead of going this route - programmers need to immediately set up a very small number of choices and possibilities.

If, in the case of my Bertie Wooster and Jeeves example - we DO NOT try to imagine everything Bertie might ask or want - and we do the same for Jeeves - we can produce a very simple program or set of steps that handle ONLY the "when Bertie wakes and usually has TEA" scenario.

You, Herbert, being an instructor in programming can surely demonstrate why even this simple scene would be a mammoth programming effort for anyone to achieve - given the following limitations:

1) Bertie wakes between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm
2) Bertie almost always chooses TEA
3) Jeeves only checks Bertie's Awake state 3 times - AND he also waits for the Bell to Ring.
4) Jeeves knows that Bertie can only choose to be served the following beverages:
a. TEA b. Coffee c. Jeeve's "Pick Me Up" d. Chai e. Whiskey & Soda
5) Bertie only remembers to ask for any of the 5 beverages listed above.
6) Jeeves knows what Bertie's beverage choice will be (most times) by observing the following visual cues:
a. Glassy-eyed silence dictates a "Pick Me Up" b. Pillow over head dictates Whiskey & Soda c. Upright & Smiling dictates TEA e. Upright & Lethargic dictates Coffee. Chai is a wildcard that either Jeeves or Bertie may request or suggest.

7) Jeeves knows that if the Bell has not rung before 1:00 pm that Bertie will most likely NEED both a "Pick Me Up" AND a Whiskey & Soda.

The goal is not to create sentience in either Jeeves or Bertie - but to simulate it through programming "slight of hand" - by having very limited but unexpected and seemingly random States and requests (on Bertie's part), as well as questions and suggestions (on Jeeves' part). This is typical of a simple adventure game "Scene".

I'm pretty sure we do not have to redesign a computer from scratch using simulated neurons to accomplish the above task.


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Re: Blender New Innovative 2d Animation "GP Tools"

Postby exile » Thu Nov 03, 2016 10:11 pm

Greg and Herbert,
After all those fireworks, I have nothing substantial or philosophical to add. I found there is a free course at Udemy for Unity Free and AS/Moho showing a very basic setup of a 2D game character (imported into Unity as a png sequence exported from AS, of course another animation program could be used) that can switch between idling, walking left or walking right.

At the end of the free course, there is an offer of a 50% discount ($15 instead of $30) on the course Fungus and Unity to create 2D games without code. https://www.udemy.com/get-your-animation-game-ready-with-unity-anime-studio-pro/

You will have to sign up for the course to access the last page with the discount offer. An alternative would be to wait for another Udemy-wide sale and you might be able to get it for less than the discount. I've seen a lot worse than the way this instructor teaches, but if Greg decides to do a series of tutorials, that would set new standards. In the meantime, my pockets are empty but my hands are full learning Moho.
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Re: Blender New Innovative 2d Animation "GP Tools"

Postby jahnocli » Fri Nov 04, 2016 10:24 am

I've taken that course - it's good.
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Re: Blender New Innovative 2d Animation "GP Tools"

Postby Psmith » Fri Nov 04, 2016 11:01 pm

The course on Udemy that has been mentioned implies everything he teaches is "without coding" - yet . . . right in the middle of the training . . . he points out that some coded scripts must be used to keep following along - (which he will supply) - but you just gotta slip 'em in there . . . take no notice of the code.

Why can't people be honest? Why do they have to sell something that is not what they are advertising?

I think I'm going to have a look at GameFlow for Unity. No Flow Charts. More "English-Like" actions/commands. Only $20. Number one "no coding" seller on the Unity Asset Store:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... YcYjp6-b7A


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Re: Blender New Innovative 2d Animation "GP Tools"

Postby jahnocli » Sat Nov 05, 2016 10:09 am

Yeah, he could have been a little more honest -- but he's not actually asking the user to code, is he? Like I said, I've done the course, he's a good teacher, and it's worthwhile content. I use the occasional embedded script in Anime Studio (still got AS11), but that doesn't make me a code junkie...
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