Help! I feel really stupid.

  • Scathach

    Scathach - 2009-11-17

    Hello, I've just downloaded AOL and I feel a little lost. No no, make that a LOT lost!
    I tryed the first toroial and it was terrible (I'm talking about the one to make an hourglass).
    I did the grid all  good an fine, so I thought, maybe I'll be able to figure this out. Then, nothing made sense to me. I got the box on the screen, but I don't even know if I got it in the right sport, or for that matter, size.
    I feel really stupid, not being able to understand any of it.
    I have no experiance with Animation, except watching an Animated movie or two now and again. I'm not sure what I should do. Maybe just get rid of AOL and try something  easier, or just to stick with it, even though it is going over my head like a 7 40 7 aireplane. I want to understand it, but I just don't know how to, if that makes sense. I'm waiting for a reply from a friend that told me about it, but even she is having trobble with it.

    Should I see if someone can expain it to me, or should I forget it all together?

  • Harald G

    Harald G - 2009-11-17

    >>Should I see if someone can expain it to me, or should I forget it all together? Thanks, Scathach<<

    Not easy to answer.
    If you are interested in technique or arts or both - why not stick with it.
    There are many tutorials around - look for the links to the friendlyskies forum or the Art of Illusion Wiki.

    If you are an impatient person then modeling, texturing and / or animating and at least rendering is maybe not yours.


  • Scathach

    Scathach - 2009-11-18

    Little by little I'm finally understanding the totorial. I had some trobble with the supports of the Hourglass; they were too skiny and they were too tall. So, I just decided to make them the size I wanted! So now I'm about to make the glass part of the Hourglass. I have no idea how that part is going to go, but I'm happy I've made it this far. Maybe I'll be able to make something else on my own someday….In the next few years.

  • Nik Trevallyn-Jones

    Hi Scathnach,

    Great to see you're making progress. Almost all computer software requires you to spend some time learning the way it thinks about things.

    Out of interest, AOI is generally regarded as being easier than many other 3D modelling applications.
    If you would like to compare it to something that is reputed to be significantly harder, try installing "Blender" - it is also Open-Source and free.

    > So, I just decided to make them the size I wanted!

    That is definitely what the designers of AOI intended you could do.
    If you find it difficult to size things by dragging them using the mouse, then look at the "Object | Edit" menu item, and the Object properties panel, which is at the bottom-right corner of the window (initially).

    Once again, it's great to see you're making progress.
    Don't feel afraid to ask more questions on the forums, though the more specific the question, the more likely that you will receive and answer, and that that answer is useful to you.


  • Nik Trevallyn-Jones

    > Maybe I'll be able to make something else on my own someday….In the next few years.

    Entirely possible - I have always thought it would be great to model a boat in AOI one day… :o)


  • Nik Trevallyn-Jones

    Hi Scathnath.

    I case you've misse them, here are some useful resources:

    1. AOI Wiki (read the "Getting Started" section, especially the part about downloading plugins):
    2. If you have a reasonable Internet connection, then ensure you download the AOIManual plugin - this installs the (excellent) AOI manual into the AOI Help system, so the manual is accessible from the Help menu.
    3. Try further tutorials:


  • Scathach

    Scathach - 2009-11-18

    Thanks for helping-I know I asked a very open-ended question, I was about to pull out my hair though!
    I haven't done the glass part of the Hourglass. I'm a little bit scared of that……But I'm sure, just as before, it'll be a little trail and error and I'll have it.
    I'm happy I have this in my time of need. Hopefully my hourglass will be able to tell me just what time soon. (Yes, I am aware that hourglasses don't tell you what time it is, but go easy on me!)

  • Nik Trevallyn-Jones

    Hi Scathnath,

    Having no idea what you have and have not worked out about AOI, I will offer a few tips on the basic way AOI thinks, in the hope they help you get familiar with it more quickly and easily.

    1. You can enhance AOI using "plugins" The Wiki tells you how to use the built-in "Plugin Manager" to download and automatically install plugins.
    2. The buttons on the left of the AOI window, with pictures (icons) on them are "tools". They control what your actions with the mouse will perform in the drawing area ("canvas"). 
    3. There are further tools available in the "Tools" menu.
    4. Each 3D shape is considered by AOI to be a 3D "object". 
    5. The "object" menu contains various things you can do to the currently selected object (or objects), including editing properties.
    6. There is a "tree" view of the objects on the right of the window. If you right-click on an object's name in the tree view, you get a menu of various things you can do to that object, including editing it.
    7. There is a "property" panel at the bottom-right of the AOI window which allows the properties of the currently selected object to be edited
    8. A group of one or more 3D objects is called a "scene", and so an AOI file, which can contain any number of 3D objects is called a "scene file".
    9. The basic 3D objects are considered "primitives" - these are essential building blocks: cube, sphere (spheroid), cylinder (cone)
    10. You can edit a primitive object by editing its properties, or by using mouse gestures to drag sides or corners around.
    11. AOI represents other non-primitive shapes as a mesh (imagine making a 3D shape by bending wire-mesh and soldering/welding the seams)i
    12. You can change general things about a mesh using mouse gestures, but when you "edit" the mesh you get taken into a separate window that allows you to edit the mesh structure.
    13. AOI can also create composite objects out of primitives and meshes using the "boolean" modelling tool - I would strongly recommend leaving this as an advanced topic.

    Note: There are 2 types of meshes: those made of triangles (trimesh) and those made of shapes with more than 3 sides, the most common of which is squares (quadmesh).

    AOI only supports trimesh directly. The "PolyMesh" plugin supports non trimesh objects, and in particular quadmeshes.

    Trimeshes are easier to program, but quadmeshes can be easier to work with - particularly when you want to work with symmetrical or "organic" shapes (animals, plants, rocks, etc).

    If you have never modelled meshes before, you should probably ensure you have the PolyMesh plugin installed, and start with that. There are many tutorials on the PolyMesh plugin, and many general tutorials on the web for modelling with quadmeshes.

    So, the normal workflow in AOI is something like this:

    1. create an object (cube, sphere, cylinder, mesh, etc) or using a tool to construct one (eg lathe, tube, etc), or convert a primitive object to a mesh
    2. drag the object, or change its "layout" to locate and position it as you wish
    3. edit the object to get the shape you want.

    Hope this helps :o)



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