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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

 

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I was really concerned about the new forum updates at first, especially since I knew from past experience, that the IP.Board software is notorious for breaking backward compatibility on many levels.

However, after I created a few custom CSS fixes for myself (which I can also share), I noticed there are also many nice improvements in this version of IP.Board - so I soon started to enjoy the new version. Everything that is wrong with it, is something that I can fix for myself by injecting javascript via Greasemonkey (assuming that the webmaster is unable or unwilling to apply the fixes globally).

The new "Unread Content" activity stream is really very useful, and works identically to the old "View New Content". It's THE most important/useful way of keeping track of new/undread messages on this forum.

I'm willing to "work with you" to get you up to speed on this new forum version.

Edited by AgentSam

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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

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Hey Psmith  I hear you on this subject .  the program aggravates me in that never stop to fix , correct, polish what it has  but always moving forward with latest greatest which breaks things then a bunch of fixes would look like progress but like you say it was already working .That's fine but take  care  of  the core basic  get the rooms set up to there full potential  seams that things are just good enough to be there  and have a Work around for it. I just accept it for what it is and move on. I just don't get it .  if I did not care about the program I would not of typed a word about wanting it better .   

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Quote

so much of it in software functionality analysis.

You ain't kiddin' Brother!!
S'why I still use version 4.1

Condensing and perfecting the core functionality of what is required to create art?
You can do it musically with 3 strings and a tambourine .

Yours monastically ,
Brother Floss

 

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Guys , with all respect and honestly to you both  (no jocking,  very very seriously speaking) , softwares do need to evolve or else they die , fast. (new site will get better and issues will be resolved)

Its all about competition and competition will never stop.

 

Peace to all 

 

Michael.

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Michaelgdrs , I have no doubt that the site will improve.
As for opinions on progress?
Opinions as they say are like belly buttons.
We philosophize not criticize , the vagaries of the day nor the whims of the tide shall sway our belly buttons from holding opinion.

To continue…..

Quote

a tool for "Technical Industrialists".

After playing tonight with  V4.5 for the first time since stopping at V4.1 It appeared that I got better results in 4.5 If I used a slower more definite stroke. It was more accurate than 4.1 at this tempo but felt very different to use by comparison .
Sculpting wise I had to slow down - somewhere between Largo and Adagio - the response did not seem to favor the frivolous passions of an Allegro.

Could it be, ( aside from new features ) that the change in the tools responses are affecting your emotional response to the application?
That the response of the tools themselves enforce a tempo of creativity that feels more Bauhaus than Bohemian ?

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I see exactly what you mean , cant answer that as each tool feels different to everyone (referring to // Could it be, ( aside from new features ) that the change in the tools responses are affecting your emotional response to the application? That the response of the tools themselves enforce a tempo of creativity that feels more Bauhaus than Bohemian ? . //)

What i tried to avoid here is having a bunch of users that simply agree with what old members say (may be right for the reason each one use 3DC) with out having a full understanding and as a result this could change the path of 3DC that i personally find it just goes from the best to to the very best and moving on only.

 

Seen this happen so many times with many softwares and it will be a pitty to see 3DC to take another root than the one is currently on. (no offend , just my personal opinion as always)

Each user can use it as he wants , use a previous version and paint only , other users may only use it for retopo only , sculpt area yes it needs improvement i agree and i am patienly waiting for it to come.

 

Got so much success in my carier from using 3DC the last 2 years than compining the previous 5 working worldwide with more than 185 clients and more than 300 / 350 projects using other softwares and techniques. For this only ,  i can only defend 3DC in general as is a real working tool for me.

 

3DC tools  is freedom to my hands if you ask me , i may be still young to philosophy this in general , and i do understand what you mean and try to say here , i honestly do.

 

 

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ahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahah i see that your sense of humor is young though ;) , just like your spirit.

 

Hope you didnt take anything i said in a wrong way.

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Thank you.

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I like where 3D Coat is headed, and quite frankly, the PBR tech has indeed made my life a LOT easier and the whole experience that much more enjoyable than having to go the old school route of doing every single little detail by hand, and having to wait and see what the rendered result would look like in a host app. It's a MASSIVE leap forward, and as Michael stated, if Andrew had not added PBR, 3D Coat would rapidly begin to shrink in sales...as it would be the only one of the top 3 texturing apps without the technology.

The PBR shaders is also a huge leap forward compared to what we had before. The added Retopo tools make life a lot easier. I was banging the table for years trying to get many of the ones we recently received. If you do a lot of retopo work, you should be pretty happy about the changes. They actually fall under the category of "Refining what is already in the app" as they plug holes in many of the small, annoying gaps. Such as being able, now, to cap that last polygon with the Add/Split tool. The Strokes tool now lets the artist use selection marquees from the E-Panel to quickly draw very precise shapes....the chiefest among those is the ability to use the Polygonal Lasso to draw a perfectly straight line at any angle. 

As for terminology changing, it is bit hard to keep up with sometimes, but it's because people asked for the changes.....just like they ask for the features.

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13 hours ago, Michaelgdrs said:

Guys , with all respect and honestly to you both  (no jocking,  very very seriously speaking) , softwares do need to evolve or else they die , fast. (new site will get better and issues will be resolved)

Its all about competition and competition will never stop.

 

Peace to all 

 

Michael.

Indeed, many aspects of the jungle have survived the paleolithic.

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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

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1 hour ago, Psmith said:

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

I actually suggested recently that if would unify the mesh structure of the Retopo and Paint rooms, you could eliminate the Tweak Room and the UV tools from the Retopo Room. Because of the different mesh structures it is literally like importing objects and maps from one application to another, but inside the app. That has to be daunting to a new user, who is used to having a completely unified environment.

But that would take some structural work = no chance. :)

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On 4/8/2015 at 11:44 PM, Psmith said:

And, if you want to take Hockney's discoveries and revelations a step further, watch "Tim's Vermeer".

 

This film - produced by Penn and Teller - features their close friend, Tim Jenison (founder of Newtek and inventor of the Video Toaster) as he moves from studying a particular Vermeer painting (The Music Lesson) - to actually reconstructing a close replica of Vermeer's studio, and, through the use of technology that he theorizes Vermeer used in the creation of this masterpiece - actually attempts to recreate "The Music Lesson", using the same technology.

 

The results are astounding - especially if you consider that Tim Jenison is not an artist - nor has he ever painted before in his life.

 

An enjoyable and phenomenal film.

 

 

Greg Smith

Hi Greg !

Remember this quote ?

Art is not only manipulated by the expression of feelings , but also the tools used to make it.

Unfortunately for digital art you need digital tools.

And these tools can always be improved because the technology is constantly evolving.

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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

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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

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With 3D-Coat's GUI tools, it would seem possible to 'create' the much simpler app that you call for. For instance, I never use the UV or Tweak rooms and need only Sculpt, Retopo and Paint. This leaves scads of under utilized neurons that are (potentially) available for perfecting my Sculpt skills.  I'm glad that Andrew moves "forward" and I believe I benefit materially from his doing so.

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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

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Y agree some points with you, I think these changes are necessary at the time.

The commitment of developer for his creation is keeping it alive .

And therein lies the responsibility to keep it competitive .

Technologically prevails only survival of the fittest .

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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

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Believe it or not, evolution goes on every day. Hence drug resistant bacteria, mosquitoes that can eat a thousand times the malathion that would kill an ordinary mosquito, etc. AI is evolving fast enough to put mid-level managers at risk of losing their jobs. I see 3D-Coat as a survivor.

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