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Old 9th November 2005, 22:24   #1
JFASI
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OK ---- I GIVE UP! I'll take my chances and ask...

For a really long time, I've been looking at what AVSers like UnConeD, EL-VIS, Tuggummi, et al. do and ask myself the simple question:


HOW DO THEY DO IT???


Now before you start the ruthless screaming and puffing and fury, hear me out. I want no details (cuz I've seen the charred remains of thus who foolishly did). I want to know what level of learning is involved in this line of expertise. Is it higher-order calculus, vector math, advanced programming, or just long hours spent at a computer screen??? Betray to us suckers the true road to mastry.
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Old 9th November 2005, 22:46   #2
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I personally learned how to do it by spending long hours in front of the computer, reading how everything works, looking at everyone else's code. Sooner or later, things just clicked and began to make sense.

Most recently, I've begun taking higher-order math classes, and this has helped a little bit. Sure, if you want to create something like UnConeD's "Fiber Optics" or his Chmutov, it certainly helps to know what the hell you're trying to make, and how to draw it. But for my money, avs doesn't even really require much math skills. It's just understanding avs code.

For me, learning avs simply requires time.

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Old 10th November 2005, 00:41   #3
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Ok, might I ask, are you what level of education are you in? I'm in high school and I've been messing around with AVS for about a year. I still don't get much, though.

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Old 10th November 2005, 03:56   #4
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most of the effects i have seen in avs are well known computer graphics techniqes that have been adapted to avs. most good computer graphics techniques boil down to mathematics though.

for example, i beleve that unconed's fiber optics preset was based on ray tracing, which is itself based on the physical model of light but needs some reasonably complicated maths to make it work right.

i think a lot of presets are made with just messing about though, trying to get cirtain effects but ending up with something diffirent.
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Old 10th November 2005, 04:00   #5
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I'm in my second year of college, currently taking pre-calculus algebra, and am signed up to the end of the math courses this college offers, which is calculus 3, which is multiple independent variables, partial derivatives, multiple integrations and vector analysis.

I don't know, or even care, if this will help me in my avs hobby. I'm taking these classes because I not only enjoy math, but it will hopefully further me in my career later in life.

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Old 10th November 2005, 04:13   #6
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I'm a junior in high school, and I have absolutely no knowledge of calc, slight knowledge of trig. Your opinion is kinda comforting, but I figured that the more complex presets used such maths.

Another important aspect that I have noticed in lots of peoples' presets is the use of slick render and effect combinations. There is such a diversity of effects that they achieve that there has to be a basic understanding of how the image is drawn on the screen. This could also be worth consideration...

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Old 10th November 2005, 04:55   #7
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Well again, for me at least, a lot of the slick render and effect combos are just tips and tricks I've picked up along the way by looking at some other presets for inspiration, talking to some other artists in the community (come to #avs on freenode for irc sometime, a lot of the "biggies" hang out there).

If I could recommend one artist, who may not have slick renders, but uses real slick and original effects, is framesofreality. For some of my more stylish and slick presets, it's a lot of experimentation. For any preset where I use effect lists, I try every different combination of input and output blendings. However, as time has progressed, I am pretty certain what will happen when I do this.

Try applying some of the different trans effects, especially in areas where you would not normally think they would work well.

By the way, do you have any presets that I could take a look at? If you're willing, I'll try and remix some of them or spiff them up a little bit, try and give you a few ideas if you would like.

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Old 10th November 2005, 14:21   #8
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I can't even figure out why something like
code:

r=i*$pi*2 ; d=0.5+v*0.5 ; x=sin(r)*d ; y=cos(r)*d



Produces a oscilliscope ring, i just know that it does.

This is the result of about 6 years of experimenting with avs. (6 years coming this christmas to be exact, so were not only celebrating Jesus Christs birth, Santa Claus or Hanuka or whatever weird thing you worship, but my AVS career's birth aswell )

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Old 10th November 2005, 14:28   #9
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There certainly is no shortage of documantation to guide one along the way, and then there are always the presets ehemselves one can disassemble for insight. Thing is that even if one does not "get it" right off, 3, 6, 9, days, weeks, months (perhaps years) on down the line, things will come into focus... that's life, not just AVS presets. Good luck and have fun.
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Old 10th November 2005, 18:49   #10
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Yeah it really depends on what type of stuff you're looking to do. The real high tech stuff is usually college level math and computer science. For instance, if you're looking at the famous Chmutov presets then you're looking at knowledge of basic raytracing setup (computer graphics course), approximation methods (a numerical methods course), and gradients (multidimensional calculus course) to say the least. On top of that years of experience with AVS and probably plenty of other related fields help. Of course you could learn this stuff on your free time, but you're not gonna get the same well rounded knowledge of the related topics which could be used in other presets.

If you want to do "tech" stuff then you're looking at a lot of math and a lot of programming... There's just no way around it.
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Old 10th November 2005, 21:24   #11
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everyone says the math is really bad. but if you have an aptitude for it you can learn the neccessary pieces as you go along.

raytracing is no more complicated than equation solving like ax+b=0 or ax^2+bx+c=0 etc.. which you have probably learned some of. and vectors are very simple too, they just dont get taught early because they arent useful for school maths.

a lot of the time just knowing something works is good enough, and understanding isnt always needed. a lot of the best stuff comes from random experimentation. a lot of the 'tech' stuff even boils down to a pile of hacks.

good luck with this...

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Old 10th November 2005, 22:47   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tuggummi
I can't even figure out why something like
code:

r=i*$pi*2 ; d=0.5+v*0.5 ; x=sin(r)*d ; y=cos(r)*d



Produces a oscilliscope ring, i just know that it does.

As far as that's concerned, a parametric circle is a compilation of every possible right triangle. See here:

Circle - Sine Animation

Ok, so its scetchy, but you get the image. Draw a circle around the origin and draw a line to any point on the circle from the origin. EGAD!!! A right triangle!!! Trig explains the rest.
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Old 11th November 2005, 00:33   #13
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raytracing no more hard than equasion solving? o_O i realise that raytracing is basically equasion solving but its like compairing pushing a pebble over a slight bump in the road to that greek guy who was forever pushing that bolder up the mountin. maths can be a lot like that if you arn't mathematically minded.
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Old 11th November 2005, 02:52   #14
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well you really aren't doing anything more than solving for the intersection of a line and a sphere. It really is basic algebra.
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Old 11th November 2005, 11:57   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by JFASI
Trig explains the rest.
I don't understand Trig.

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Old 11th November 2005, 14:21   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by UIUC85
well you really aren't doing anything more than solving for the intersection of a line and a sphere. It really is basic algebra.

Huh? I was thinking more like a plane and a sphere.
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Old 11th November 2005, 21:19   #17
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what's also useful is to take an interesting effect, not too easy, but not brain-breaking difficult either, rip it to shreds in notepad or something and start by watching how it changes when you alter a variable, a sine to a cosine or anything. Later on, you'll learn why it happens by experience. (note that I'm saying ripping apart, not ripping the preset to claim you coded it, but let that be obvious)

Also, browsing math websites can also give you some ideas (or totally wreck your brain)

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Old 11th November 2005, 22:04   #18
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Still, dissecting is tough, since it's much easier to build a system than to crack it open.

What good math websites are there?
Apart from mathworld, I mean.

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Old 11th November 2005, 22:13   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by JFASI
Huh? I was thinking more like a plane and a sphere.
Regardless, you're still just plugging in an equation and solving for a variable using algebra.
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Old 12th November 2005, 13:53   #20
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Cool

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Old 12th November 2005, 17:20   #21
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I usually just google

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Old 12th November 2005, 18:24   #22
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Google?

I just flip through the big guys' works...

Which I need some more of. Is there any place other than Winamp.com that everyone posts their stuff? Because this they post here once in a blue moon.

Besides, they're cool to watch.

By the way, what signature plugin do you use to show your songs? I can't find any that actually work.
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Old 12th November 2005, 18:32   #23
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For more presets go to: www.deviantart.com
You'll definitely find more good stuff there!

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Old 13th November 2005, 01:44   #24
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The thing that sucks about AVS is its learning curve. If you open up a Wacko pack or Extra Dimension, there's no way you're going to understand all the crap that's going on in the equations. In fact, I rarely know what's going on in my own code, let alone anyone else's. If you're trying to emulate your effects to get to the point where the big guys are, don't try emulating their presets directly. The most successful AVS artists take some time to develop. I'd like to think that their skills are primed outside the world of AVS. If you can't imagine how to spot all the points of a 3-d sphere, perhaps you should concern yourself with making a good circle. Hopefully, you'll develop an understanding for all the code that goes into some of the really high-end stuff. But this takes experience.

And that's just if you want to be a copy-cat. Being an original AVS artist is going to take lots and lots of practice figuring out what you want to make. So much trial and error will be involved, you'll either love it or hate it (most of us do both). It's very easy to conceptualize "I want to make a preset just like Tugg/UCD." Or "Amphirion/Zamuz is my idol." When you start thinking on the level of "I want to make a really cool preset that reminds me of this poster I saw" you'll be in another realm altogether. Best of luck to you.
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Old 13th November 2005, 05:02   #25
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Good post Nemo! Might I add that AVS isn't all about equations too. There are a lot of amazing things you can do just by knowing how to use the filters right. And even if you do know equations like nobody's business, that doesn't mean you can make an preset that actually looks good. There are many artists who are successful just because they know how to add the right touch with effects not equations. I mean look at the bulk of Tuggummi's presets. He even said in this post he doesn't understand tech stuff, but he's got more style in one preset than I could muster in a year. That's skill.
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Old 14th November 2005, 02:57   #26
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Yeah, I see that in a lot of presets. Sometimes, if I get the perfect equation going, it still doesn't look quite right for me. It's still missing <<something>>. I totally agree.

Sometimes when I see a cool effect in an ad or on TV, I have a rough idea how to replicate it, but I still can't the finer points right, and the whole project falls apart.
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Old 16th November 2005, 21:01   #27
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Quote:
Originally posted by NemoOrange
... When you start thinking on the level of "I want to make a really cool preset that reminds me of this poster I saw" ...
90% of the presets I make come from that sort of reasoning, posters, cool effects on TV shows and films etc..

http://PAK-9.deviantart.com

...innit
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Old 16th November 2005, 21:06   #28
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Quote:
Originally posted by PAK-9
TV shows and films etc..
Must... resist... pr0n... joke...

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Old 16th November 2005, 22:30   #29
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Eeeeeeeew...

I still can't take my ideas and turn them into a cool looking effect. I just can't. Needless to say, I have ideas, but...
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Old 16th November 2005, 23:04   #30
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I just remembered a great preset that used no fancy math at all, but was still awesome. mir's Hyper*******ce. Tres awesome.
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Old 25th November 2005, 12:04   #31
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Stuff like that MAYBE looks cool, but usually the artist has got no idea what he is doing. Using stuff because it looks nice is a lot less effective than making something because it does exactly what you want.

You dont need fancy math to make stuff look good yourself either. In fact that maths for constructing specific stuff is usually the most trivial sort, except in the case of DM.

I would iterate a list of tips for constructing superscopes.... but I have done it before enough times...

The 'fancy' stuff like rotation matrices and raytracing, are only half understood by most who use them. So don't feel down if you don't understand them properly or at all, neither do Tuggummi or PAK-9 or most of the rest... and they still make a ton of awesome presets.

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Old 25th November 2005, 17:42   #32
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Quote:
Originally posted by jheriko
Stuff like that MAYBE looks cool, but usually the artist has got no idea what he is doing. Using stuff because it looks nice is a lot less effective than making something because it does exactly what you want.

You dont need fancy math to make stuff look good yourself either. In fact that maths for constructing specific stuff is usually the most trivial sort, except in the case of DM.

I would iterate a list of tips for constructing superscopes.... but I have done it before enough times...

The 'fancy' stuff like rotation matrices and raytracing, are only half understood by most who use them. So don't feel down if you don't understand them properly or at all, neither do Tuggummi or PAK-9 or most of the rest... and they still make a ton of awesome presets.
Hey! I understand fancy stuff!

http://PAK-9.deviantart.com

...innit
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Old 25th November 2005, 18:55   #33
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Jheriko is right...
I can do fancy iterative (whittaker/newton)-raytracing,
but i cant figure out how to do raytracing the way Pak-9 does.
And Pak-9 doesnt like/understand the raytracing i do.

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Old 25th November 2005, 23:06   #34
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I know all the code that I'm using when it comes to SSC's.
But most of it I learned from ripping the sourcecodes from El-Vis en Nic01 to notepad, and then strip it down to the bit to figure them out. Then I tried to re-assemble them using my own variable names, shape, rotation, movement, colors etc.

Also, I can't create the main core of it by heart though, I usually use some of my (rather messy) templates.

The next thing is to know how to use the 'basic' modules of AVS (i.e. don't use invert and clear every frame at the same time). Old doesn't necessarily mean they're outdated. Experimentate and find out how to use a Water Bump and not make it kill the preset for instance.
Also, don't hesitate to experimentate. Before I created my first 3D SSC, I had created at least 50-60 not-working versions. Set a goal and go for it, one step at a time.

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Old 26th November 2005, 01:37   #35
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I could never get the craxy DM work that some do, since I'm better with a SSC or a Texer than with something like a DM. I guess some people are better with some bits than others.
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Old 30th November 2005, 08:05   #36
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Quote:
Originally posted by JFASI
I'm better with a SSC or a Texer than with something like a DM.
SSC and Texer are naturally easier since you position points naturally. DM is hard becasuse you have to manipulate texture co-ordinates... which is pretty unnatural. Its like tying a load of stones to a flexible sheet in a grid, then deciding how far you have to move each stone to warp the sheet so it looks how you want. I advise ignoring it to start with if its not easy for you to work with...

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Old 30th November 2005, 22:24   #37
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Ok, the issue comes down to being able to find ways to tye stones to a map. It's so abstract, and all or most of the guides I have read only scratch the surface, and leave all the discovering to the reader, not even like the good discovery, where you invent methods and such, but you have to figure out what every-single-thing does.
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Old 1st December 2005, 11:30   #38
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Quote:
Originally posted by JFASI
Ok, the issue comes down to being able to find ways to tye stones to a map. It's so abstract, and all or most of the guides I have read only scratch the surface, and leave all the discovering to the reader, not even like the good discovery, where you invent methods and such, but you have to figure out what every-single-thing does.
Its not hard to work out what DM does. If you look at any of the examples or experiment with simple stuff like x=x+1 x=x*2 etc... then you can work it out with out much head scratching. It basically allows you to slide/zoom/spin/warp the image depending on how each grid point's code evaluates.

There are plenty of guides for DMS floating around, i think very few of them really explain why it works... but they are good enough. PAK-9's programming guide has an excellent section on DM which describes how it functions and provides plenty of example code...

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Old 1st December 2005, 16:20   #39
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If you have any specific examples that you've been trying to figure out, maybe we could help you with those.
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Old 1st December 2005, 23:23   #40
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I'm fighting to resist the temptation to place UnconeD's famous line of brand name mazes...

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