Sunday, August 15, 2010

Tutorial Reviews: Overview

Hello again!

So to kick off one of my semi-regular posts that'll be coming up, I'm writing this overview. My plan is to take tutorials that I find on the net and use them to paint certain models (Either where I haven't decided on a colour scheme yet, or where I just want to give it a shot), and review them based off thier usefulness and ability to output great looking models (As well as entertainment value as well!)

I'll be rating each tutorial out of 5. Three factors will go into making up that 5 points:

Artistry: Namely how good the models will look when all is said and done, and how good the quality of the pictures are that the tutorial writer is putting up. They're rated on a scale of 10, where...

  • 1-3 means the models will look subpar at best (3 colour minimum, or poor painting skill), and/or the pictures are terrible (blurry, off centered, etc...)
  • 4-6 means the finished product will be tabletop standard, looking good in a massed force from three to six feet away; Pictures are decent, but not incredible.
  • 7-9 means the finished product will draw attention from gamers that you face, where they will want to get down to table level, or ask to pick it up for a better look; these are what I'd consider models that would stand a good chance of getting you best painted, or possibly winning a painting contest. Picture Quality is good overall, no blurryness and well focussed.
  • A perfect 10 means the photos are run through photoshop, and this model could compete in a Golden Demon, if not win it! This is what I expect from people who've been in the hobby for years on end.

Clarity: Specifically how clear the instructions are, and the detail that the person goes into describing what all you need to do to paint the model(s).

  • 1-3 is earned because there are little to no instructions at all: Either no pictures accompanying the instructions, or just a picture with the name of the paint to apply next. These instructions are very vague and require you to fill in the blanks for much of the model.
  • 4-6 means the instructions are simple, and straight forward. Pictures are included, and the process is divided into steps that may contain multiple colours of paint being applied all at once. The instructions, while fairly clear, still leave holes and miss portions of the model.
  • 7-9 is received because the instructions are clear and detailed, showing you step-by-step in photos how the look was achieved for the model. If anything is missed it's one or two small details, like a button on a panel. For each step you only apply one colour of paint, with an accompanying photo.
  • A perfect 10 comes because there is no possibility for error. The tutorial designates what paint we're using, why, and on what portions of the model. Multiple pictures may be taken for this step, and they each have indicators of where the paint is going. The instructions are step-by-step, with nothing missed.

Teachability: This indicates how helpful the tutorial is in teaching new skills or pointing out trouble spots in the process of the tutorial, possibly by providing links to other sources on how to perform techniques, or noting different ways of acheiving certain effects.

  • 1-3 is a tutorial that doesn't attempt to help readers achieve its affects, using terminology and techniques that a brand new painter wouldn't even have heard of yet, let alone hope to accomplish. An example of this would be a tutorial that uses Non Metallic Metals to achieve a gold look, and for the step involving it says: "Use NMM shading to highlight the gold on the armor. When you're done, move on to step two."
  • 4-6 describes a tutorial that gives basic hints on how to achieve techniques stated, but doesn't go into much detail. It assumes you're at least an intermediate level painter, with a solid understanding of techniques involved, and are willing to try for more complicated ones. Example: "Use Non Metallic Metal shading on the Gold Armor. You're going to want to do some blended highlights, with the lightest colours on the bottom edges of the armor to achieve this. Once the armor is done..."
  • 7-9 is a tutorial that goes into great detail, step by step with techniques and actively tries to teach the new painter to paint to a higher level than what they've done before. It provides examples and photo advice of how to achieve particular effects, and points out trouble spots involved with what you're trying to achieve. An Example, using the Non Metallic Metals above, would be one that starts like so: "Non Metallic Metals are a great way to get a metallic sheen on your model, without actually using metallic paints. This is a multiple step process, however, and you need to pick your colours carefully. To do the gold armor...." And proceeds to split the gold armor up into several steps.
  • A perfect 10 provides multiple resources on how to achieve different techniques, and teaches as though the painter was just picking up a brush for the first time, giving them practice ideas, or alternatives to more difficult ideas. In Example, using the NMM techniques above, the tutorial writer would also add something like this: "Now, if you're not ready to try Non Metallics, this is how we achieve the look of gold with the metallic paints..."

These three categories will be what I use to generate my mark out of 5 for the Tutorial in general, and then there will be a blurb underneath about the level of difficulty that I ascribed this one (Beginner, Intermediate, Expert).

After that, I'll move onto my own experience following the tutorial, anything that I choose to alter from it, and my finished efforts that I came up with, followed by a comparison between the tutorial outcome, and my own. Finally, if I feel that certain areas weren't covered well enough, I'll post up resources on techniques that will help.

That being said, I'm off! I'll be posting my first review soon, on a Tau Firewarrior tutorial for the Bork'an sept. Until then, feel free to comment on the idea, if you have ideas, and sign up as a follower!

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