Psmith

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  1. Being now an old codger, myself - I sympathize with all of the other struggling codgers in the world. We are a species all our own. Now, if we are viewing 3D-Coat as a tool for people machining things and printing things on a 3D Printer - I would have to recommend sculpting with Voxels using Primitive shapes. 3D-Coat has a rich abundance of Primitives (and adjustments to these, galore) - to make some really interesting and useful objects. You can even make them to scale. Since we are dealing with Voxels, subtracting and adding one shape to another or from another produces outstanding results. I have printed many things using 3D-Coat as the final step in producing a model ready for printing. When it comes time to print or mill whatever it is you have designed - you can quickly and reliably export an "air tight" model by simply choosing from the "File" menu: "File/Export/Export Model". Works every time without a hitch for me. I print using Simplify 3D - and it can handle large numbers of triangles (which 3D-Coat typically produces). Prints come out beautifully - and the possibilities for detailed organic shapes are endless. Greg Smith
  2. BurrMan: Long ago, I made a series of video tutorials for people mainly wanting to learn to sculpt with Voxels (a Voxel can be imagined to be a "cubic pixel", since it is 3 dimensional - a pixel, a square, occupies only 2 dimensions). The Voxel sculpting portion of 3D-Coat has changed very little since I made these - and I only use a minimum of tools. You might find these helpful: Greg Smith
  3. A so called 3D-Coat "Minimalist" UI is not a simple matter to engineer - since you would have to be a master technician of the application, already, to know which things can be safely hidden away - and which ones must be present - even for a very straightforward workflow of any kind. Just go with what Don said, "More options is always better than not having enough." - and then commit yourself to watching several days worth of videos. Greg Smith
  4. "More options is always better than not having enough." I think this phrase epitomizes the state and direction, today, of software development - as envisioned by the technicians - for the technicians. Don is a technician and has done much to lead the development of 3D-Coat. This state of mind and vision now controls the entire creative software manufacturing industry - and I don't think it will ever change. Not for these developers, anyway. Here on this forum, it has been repeatedly stated by forum Leaders that the target market for 3D-Coat is and should be the Studios, (i.e. Technical Directors). A thorough view of the computer graphics software manufacturing industry will reveal that this is the target market for ALL major CG software offerings. What very few entrepreneurs of new software realize is that today's "studio-based" market is shrinking and will continue to shrink until many products will simply disappear (or be absorbed by the monopolies) from the entire CG marketplace. Just as the days of the megalithic movie studios vanished from the face of the earth back at the end of the 60's and beginning of the 70's - so will go the megalithic CG oriented studios of today. That industry is unsustainable by any measure. Yet, a market for creative, visual software exists and will exist and grow in the future. Perhaps those who develop software for what is now considered a small "niche" market will lack the technical pride of today's monolithic software developers - but they may be prosperous, nonetheless. Those who see this trend today may be able to survive what is coming tomorrow. Those who refuse to see or change deserve what they will end up getting. Greg Smith
  5. I've always loved this application. It's been "out there" for many years, now - and nothing comparable gives you that sense that making a tree is an artistic endeavor where you, not the numbers, are in control of the outcome. The results are fast and the variations are all quite satisfying. Javis suggestions for incorporation into 3D Coat are good ones - especially the "leaf plate" part. The 3D Coat renderer is now quite good enough to render beautiful nature scenes, so I hope Andrew might take another look at continuing development. Greg Smith
  6. Lewis: You have hit the nail on the head. There is no need to have so many tools. Rather, there should be a handful of tools - each of which can perform many different functions - simply based on how you "wield" them. The "Move" Tool is a great example of multi-functionality in a single "Brush". Having fewer tools also immediately unclutters the workspace. Having worked with so many different computer graphic applications over several decades - I am convinced that the present paradigm of making software that has all of its "guts" on the outside - ready for tweaking - is never going to go away. Software design remains in the hands of the mechanics of programming. If I may make an analogy: the most prolific automobile mechanics usually love to produce whole automobiles as their primary joy - automobiles which display all of their handiwork and knowledge in places on the automobile which provide easy access for tweaking. That's what mechanics love to do - they love to Tweak. And they love the appreciation of other mechanics, as well. So, to them, the perfect automobile is the one you can most readily perform Tweaks upon - with all controls (usually unlabeled) on the "outside", so to speak - for fellow mechanics and tweakers to appreciate. The "look and feel" of the automobile is absolutely secondary to its function. Of course, most users and purchasers of automobiles prefer to have many of those controls hidden away and invisible to their eyes and fingers (for sanity's sake). This design preference only entered the golden age of automobiles when the overall design process was taken out of the hands of the mechanics - and into the hands of car designers. We are still in the early 1900's (allegorically speaking) of graphic software design. The mechanics run the business of making software for the end user. Their desire and vision for producing the ideal software application varies widely from what an artist or graphic designer or animator really wants or needs. Today's software is made for those "in the know". Greg Smith I love this one . . .
  7. Even survivors eventually die. Greg Smith
  8. I'm not an evolutionist - so you lost me there. The Nazis thought they were the fittest - but things aren't always as one thinks. Greg Smith
  9. A simpler application does not only involve the simplification of user interfaces - though that is quite important, as well. The ultimate way to simplify, while at the same time, empower a software application is by means of its tools. In 3D-Coat, for example, why do we tend to use mostly a very small selection of tools - over and over again? I would say it is because each one of these can do so much - with a minimum of fuss and wasting of time. This motive may be seen in the "workflow" practices of some traditional artists - who use only a handful of tools to produce masterpieces. Take the "Move" tool as an example of this kind of utility and versatility: It stretches a shape while at the same time adding to that shape's volume - and by means of a simple keyboard modifier, can smooth the same shape. By another modifier, can reverse the building action. Supplementing these functions, Andrew has, in my opinion, perfected the usefulness of "Brush" manipulation - by employing the Right mouse button and gestures - resizing the brush by moving the cursor in one axis - and by adjusting its influence by moving in another - all the while providing a very thorough graphic representation of what has been adjusted. All the while providing a smooth and seamless user experience. Both the name of the tool and its function are exactly what you expect from it. The definition of "intuitive". So far, no rival application has equalled this kind of ideal use of technology. Sheer brilliance. The "Move" tool exemplifies the kind of economy and utility that every tool in the application should employ. This tool requires no journeys to menus - nor does it require the entry of numeric values to be used, to create an incredible variety of organic objects - almost entirely by itself. Those who have been paying attention might have noticed this almost exclusive tool usage in my 3D-Coat series (now ancient): (O.K. - directly above is a forum produced, automatic "advancement" that reinforces and illustrates one of my points) - I simply wanted to post a URL, which I copied and pasted from another forum thread - and the software, without my consent, put all that other junk in a giant blue rectangle. What the heck? I continue . . . By making every default tool a multi-purpose, menu-less, number-less tool - each gains value, exponentially. Forget about the gazillions of possibilities for making different tools - give me a handful of supremely useful tools - all aspiring to the power of that one, quintessential tool - THE MOVE TOOL. This same principle can be applied to every "Tab" or "Room" needed in the application, as well. Consolidating, while at the same time simplifying and empowering. Since 3D-Coat is not, and hopefully never will be, an engineering application - eliminate all numerical entry displays that are simply alternates for producing the same effect with the tool directly, all by itself - visually - not by abstraction into the realm of digits. We are attempting to make art with this application - not to engineer a machine. I have yet to be introduced to the works of any notable artist who has created his visual, audible or tactile work primarily by means of mathematics or from any series of intelligently sequenced numbers. IF an application were produced with the awareness of the power of simplification and the economy of it - (as defined above) - I think we could all be working, regularly, with a much smaller application, a much less stressful application - a much more pleasurable application to use - than anything on the market, today. Greg Smith
  10. Perhaps, if software developers really cannot resist the temptation to "move forward" - using the latest and greatest forms of hardware constructs, and matching software technique - they ought to simply "freeze" development on the monoliths that they have already made - and start over, from scratch - making an entirely new and better product. Just like starting something new on a new canvas. But they don't do this, nor will they. Motive must be considered fundamentally in the equation of software manufacturing. Profit, for nearly all of them, is the primary motive - while simultaneously maintaining the illusion of "advancement". Greg Smith
  11. I appreciate the cleverness of technology as much as the rest of you do. At least, I think so. When, however, did the term "technology" become synonymous with complicated? Yes, it is what people expect from technology - from years of conditioning to think so. (If we did not think so, wherefore would we need things like "greebles" to decorate our "high technology" models). I would argue that the best applications of technology are those that approach total invisibility to the user. The less technology requires of the user, the better it is. A paintbrush is technology in its best form - totally simple in construction - totally natural to use - yet extremely varied in the effects it is capable of producing. In the case of Tim's Vermeer, (and if this, indeed, was the technology Vermeer used to create his photorealistic works) - it is really a very simple application of simple technology. Mirrors and a lens (which all can be made by hand - as they were in Vermeer's day). Tim's technique, in its simplest form, used only 2 mirrors. If you, like many, are simply addicted to tinkering with the latest software technological "advances", (which in many cases are really regressions) - because you like to tinker with new things - then you have helped to fulfill the software manufacturer's wildest dreams. Yet, this has very little to do with the supposed purpose of artistically creative software. It does entertain, however. And, to some, this form of entertainment is worth regular installments of sizable sums of cash. I think a new phrase should be put into use, as of today: "Software Greebles" Greg Smith
  12. People do ask for changes, don't they. One requested change that I am pretty sure Andrew will never implement is the change toward simplicity - both specifically and in general - with regard to 3D-Coat, its interface, its tools and how to use it. I'm pretty sure that more buttons will be added - more menu choices - more tools - more icons - more mouse clicks - which, in turn, will result in the need for more continual study, practice and trial and error application of these "improvements". Please pardon just one more analogy . . . But, if I were Rembrandt, and every 2nd Tuesday I woke up to something like finding my favorite filbert had morphed into more of a palette knife - with the added feature of a few bristles - and that all of my carefully prepared paints had been remixed with a different oil - and that my canvas was no longer canvas, but linen . . . I might become frustrated and demand that the gnomes who have initiated these "improvements" stop, at once. Greg Smith
  13. Candy-Floss: Exactly, precisely . . . and to the point. Greg Smith
  14. Thank you for your offer, AgentSam. Those who are familiar with what I have written in the past know that I am a big proponent of software "that just works, period". Software that anyone can figure out and use without prior technical knowledge. Software that speaks for itself and wastes as little of your time as possible. And, I think, this should apply to forum browsing software, as well. 3D-Coat, for example, once was much more an artist's tool - and now it may look more like a tool for "Technical Industrialists". Some people obtain great joy by tinkering with things of all sorts - (you know, the kind of boy that loved to take apart their parents' mechanical alarm clock, for example - relegating the pile of parts to an obscure box in the garage). Time is too precious for each of us to waste so much of it in software functionality analysis. I just want to enjoy making things - whimsical like - art like. And now, less frequently than in the past, I occasionally enjoy seeing what others make, as well. The works of people who care nothing about recreating their favorite Sci-Fi movie cast and their accessories. The forum, as it functioned before, allowed a time-saving method for "skimming" through the posts of others. The current forum makes this a much more time consuming and tedious task. Greg Smith
  15. This has been bothering me for quite some time, now. Why is it necessary to change something that is good? Something that works well and is simple to use. I think back to the days of 3D Brush and what it did and how it looked: http://www.3d-brush.com A very handy application that had the purpose of simply texturing models - and exporting them for use elsewhere. It was revolutionary and simple and quick to use. Really cheap, too. I once told Andrew, at a more ambitious time in my life, "3D-Coat is just like a plug-in, right now." And Andrew replied, "Yes, but there is a market for plug-ins, too." - (or words to that effect). My point, back then, was that it was evident that 3D-Coat was turning into more than just a plug-in type of application - with new features constantly being added into the application. One might as well go for the whole "nine yards" in developing 3D-Coat as an "All Purpose" 3D application, I then thought. After a while, I changed my view. "When would it end?" , I began to think. "Where would it end?" "When would it become a perfected version of itself - without becoming something else?" Andrew likes to invent - I know that. It is his passion. He'll never stop. And those inventions will find their way into 3D-Coat. What once took one man to "maintain", now takes a whole crew of guys to keep "fixing". Is this really better? For Andrew, I mean. For us, I mean? And then there is the forum, the 3D-Coat website. Before this week, it took me a couple of minutes, several times per day, to look at the new topics "since my last visit". This was great ! It worked really well. It wasn't presented as pages upon pages of information to scroll through and wonder if this was there last time. What does it really mean "unread content"? Since I can pretty much read the gist of every post from now backward to infinity - by scrolling through them all - surely these count as threads I have read. But they still come up - every time I visit. I really don't want to scroll through every reply to every topic every time I visit the forum. Wasn't "Topic Consolidation" a better, more streamlined and time-saving approach? This is better - because it's NEW? Because it's TRENDY? WHY? Greg Smith