tobles

31 replies · posted

Growing Dissatisfaction with CGCookie

Hello CGCookie-Community,

lately when I was logging in to CGCookie I felt a something like a little of disappointment, but I wasn't sure what that was all about. People around here are nice, the staff seems nice too and there is a vast amount of courses in good organized flows.
Right now I'm working on the Modeling Realistic Characters with Blender course from the Modeling in Blender flow and I noticed like two things that may be the root of my problems.

1. After sculpting my character, a fit guy with defined muscles, I wanted to go and try myself out on a "regular" character with no well-defined muscles, let's say "straight" arms and legs and I reached the borders of my abilities pretty fast. Since the body has not so many striking features I had no idea how to sculpt that. After some failed attempts I tried to do some more defined muscles and that worked out for me, because that was what I was shown/taught in the course and I got the impression that CGCookie offers way too few practicing options. I think it would be great if there was a section where one could practice what he learned in a course and get a feedback from the staff.

2. This leads me to the second point. From what I've experienced so far there is very little presence in the exercise submission area from the staff so far. For example, I've made a submission for a course about 8-10 weeks ago, my submission was marked with exercise passed but there was no feedback to me. Not even from the tutor after I asked him to do so please. All in all I think I only received one feedback from a staff member after I asked him too. And the professional feedback is one of the reasons why I came here instead of learning from YouTube, etc. I am totally aware that the tutors have courses and streams to prepare but I still find there is a lack of presence in the field of feedback.

Maybe I'm just a negative Nancy and I'm just expecting too much.
So if anybody has an opinion about this I'd like to hear it. It would be awesome if someone could give me a different point of view or help me change my mind. I hope this doesn't sound too cantankerous or rude, I've written this with respect and I don't want to attack anybody with this. If this is unfair or offensive to anybody, I don't mean to.

Greetings
tobles

  • Helo there. Newbie cgcookie member here.

    Well, to be fair, what I think so far is that :

    -Yes, I can see very clearly what I've already learned fromcgcookie compared to when I was trying to copy random tutorials from Youtube. I understand modelling way batter than before because some of the courses are of a very high quality in that they really help you understand the hows and whys.

    -For your first suggestion, I had the same feeling, but it's not a big thing missing. Lots of tutorials are ending with a "let me see what you guys are doing with that" at the end of the exercise. It's up to you to take what you learne and use it for your own defined exercise. I did it recently and it was reaaly good for me to see what I had learned, and trying to go through the process again. Maybe it just lacks an input category at the end of tutorial for personal project built from this exercise, but it's not too bad. You can still create your own gallery. This is where people will look for what you are doing I think.

    -I also had some exercises where it was just "passed" with no comments. For these, it was ok for me. You know what you need to do, if it's good it passes, otherwise you'll hear about what's wrong. I don't focus too much on that. That's also why I joined the current contest. It puts what I learned to the test, and keeping mysqelf a WIP thread allows me to get feedbakck from people, including crew. 

    That's the way I see it so far. 

  • I can't speak for all the staff members, as I am only just back from a break from CG due to becoming a father to twins , but I know for a fact that waylow , Wayne Dixon who is CG Cookies Animation tutor , makes a point of critiquing everyone's animation exercise submissions in great detail and he also started the 2.8 roadblocks and obstacles thread which was specifically focused on helping the community transition to Blender 2.8 and I have seen over the past 6 years , plenty of staff critiques, both on the excercises and through live feeds .

    I myself ,along with many others ,  grade  exercises as well , and most of us don't have time to write much in the way of feedback either , so don't get offended if you don't always get feedback. In itself, a pass or a fail is better feedback than nothing. 

    As for the rest of the staff at CGC who don't always grade excercises  , I'm sure they are doing their best and are very busy making awesome tutorials and making everything happen behind the scenes so that we can all have great learning material and a great community to learn from. 

    I've always loved CCG for its friendly, personal community based atmosphere which I think comes from the fact that it is a fairly small company,  so I would suggest you focus on those positives , and hopefully understand why the guys and girls that run CGC can't always do everything. 

    I have also found CGC to be much cheaper than other comparable learning hubs , and because of that I think its reasonable not to fret over some things that aren't always as you expect. 

    I am only speaking from personal experience, but I have been an ongoing , paying member of CGC since 2014 , and in that time I have come to love the company, the staff who make it happen , and the service they provide.  

    Hang in there and see if you can see things from a different perspective :) 


  • I disagree about the exercise thing.  A lot of them pass when they should have failed.

    • williamatics Unfortunately I agree with you. And that's also why, except for the animation exercises, I have completely stopped sending in my own exercise submissions. I still do the the exercises, I just don't send them in. The reason I still try to submit the animation exercises (when my busy schedule permits me) is because of waylow 's comments and suggestions. To me personally, that's worth more than the entire monthly subscription fee alone. It's a great boost to my confidence. I also like to read his comments to other people's submissions, as I have learned a ton from those alone.

      When I first joined CGC in December last year, I felt quite nervous the first time I submitted an exercise. It was the first time I had ever let anyone have a close inspection of something I had made. Every few hours I would check if my submission had been graded yet, worrying that maybe I had forgotten something, that perhaps it would fail. And there were a lot more submissions back then that didn't pass. Seems like the last submission that failed was early June this year. And before that, nothing has failed since middle of February!?

      I guess some people feel a bit uncomfortable giving a fail to a submission, especially when the submission kind of passed. And perhaps they also want to give more encouragement by letting submissions pass. I can totally understand that. But sometimes failing a submission (with the comment as to why, and some words on how they can improve and pass next time) does a lot more to help someone improve their skills. Also, by letting certain submissions pass, that clearly didn't meet all the requirements, you are sending the message that it doesn't really matter if you do all the required steps, that those steps are more like suggestions and guidelines, and that you don't really need to put any real effort into passing an exercise.

      https://cgcookie.com/exercise_submissions/15425  Here is a submission to the Modeling with Primitives exercise. Only two of the required 3 primitives were present. This one got a Fail, with 2 of the 3 exercise requirements filled!

      https://cgcookie.com/exercise_submissions/19518 This one on the other hand, (from a few months ago, I guess!?), only submitted 1 out of 3 primitives, and also just 2 out of 3 requirements filled,  but it passed the exercise!

      I'm not saying that the grading should necessarily be super strict, but at least it needs to be more consistent. Otherwise it's not really fair, and I think does more harm than good in the long run. We are here to learn from our mistakes, to practice what we have learned in a course, and to fill in the gaps when we lacked something.

      theluthier maybe some grading guidelines should be added, for people to follow when they help grade submissions. What should be expected of a grader, how strict (or not strict) we should be and so on. Perhaps that would make the grading more fair and consistent and could improve the quality of doing an exercise in the first place. Submitting an exercise is kind of like a mini version of an art critique, so I think more effort should be spent to make the best of it.

      These are just my opinions. I love this community. Even though I haven't been very active the last few months, because of my increasingly busy schedule, I still try to log on every day, checking out the forum and grade exercise submissions, and I have no intention of leaving in the near future. Joining CGC has done a lot to help me getting more confident and actually start modeling things.

    • williamatics Sadly I have to agree with you..

      But keeping in mind most are hobbyists who just doodle a bit for fun, most probably don’t care if it’s actually good enough..

      It sucks for those who do take learning seriously (whether hobbyist or wanting to learn the craft and find a job).

    • thebergh Grading guidelines won’t help.. Most people at the Cookie are hobbyists who just want to have fun and learn a little bit how to do something. I’m pretty sure they will ignore the guidelines..

      And there are many people on the Cookie (especially those type of hobbyists who aren’t too serious about learning it proper) who do not have the knowledge to properly grade exercises (there are a lot of people out there who think they are good and someones work is also good, while it’s actually terrible).

      And that okay, if it’s just your hobby and you just want to have fun and such. Have fun I say!

      But it doesn’t help with grading at all.

    • ssmurfmier1985 I'm sure you are right that many people would ignore the guidelines... I was just trying to think of something...anything... to bring the quality back into the exercise grading. But to say that there are many people who do not have knowledge to properly grade exercises is a bit exaggerating. Sure, some of the more advanced stuff, especially animation, is a lot harder to grade properly for a beginner. But the beginner exercises are not, and most exercises submitted are the easier kind.

      E.g.
      1. Use mesh tools learned in this course to modifying the provided primitive objects.
      2. Modify only the three provided mesh primitive objects
      3. Submit your finished exercise to https://sketchfab.com

      Basically you only need to check if there are 3 model present that has been modified from their primitive form. If they did, great, it's a pass. If not, fail, with a friendly comment letting them know why. And more advanced students could maybe add some pointers how to do it if they mentioned any difficulties in completing the task. Maybe some link etc. I guess my expectations are too high...

      I do agree that having fun is super important. I wouldn't be trying to learn 3d modelling if I didn't enjoy it. I would love to be able to reach a level where I could make money out of it, but that's never gonna happen unfortunately. So it's just something I do for fun, but I'm still taking it seriously, or I would just stay on Youtube, saving my money.

      Anyways, I don't know what the original goal was when CGC first introduced the grading of exercises. Maybe it was just something for fun, nothing to be taken too seriously. Or perhaps it was, but weren't able to sustain the quality of it. Either way, I do think that many people who are serious about learning, maybe after seeing some CGC ads, they come here only to find it's "just for fun", will most likely start looking elsewhere. I do feel CGC needs to be able to cater both the serious student and the doodler/hobbyist, or sooner or later all that's going to be left is the latter.

      Maybe it would be better to just get rid of the whole grading part itself, and just leave the submission and comments. I guess that could free up a lot of time for people to spend more on modeling instead. And students could still get feedback on exercises. But again, I do think that would be a shame... or perhaps grading should be restricted until a certain amount of XP has been gained....or just let you grade exercises you have passed yourself... but is just complicating things...

      But from your reply it almost sounds like the CGC community has given up on it. "That there are too many doodlers here and nothing we can do about it, so it's better to just let it be and let everyone do what they want as long as they are having fun." Again, a shame if that's true.

      Anyways, whatever the thoughts, opinions, decisions etc of the CGC crew are, I will respect that. And if most people are happy, then that's all that matters I guess.

    • thebergh I’m sorry, I should have been clearer that I meant not having the skill level to grade the more advanced exercises. If you are creating a realistic character for example, you would like to be graded and get feedback from someone with experience modeling realistic characters. But as far as I know, those people are very very rare in the grading section..

      I personally do not do the exercises anymore. I use the skills learned and create my own personal projects. Those I could potentially submit for a Live Critique Stream if I want feedback, that’s at the moment the best way to get valuable feedback at CG Cookie imo.

      It was fun when I was doing the beginner exercises, but I quickly realized that submitting exercises wasn’t the best way to improve. Doing them, yes, that was very valuable starting out. But submitting them, that didn’t contribute to my learning at all.. 

      Class is still the best way to skyrocket your learning progress imo, especially when starting out. As well as applying what you learn in the courses to your own projects.

      Animation exercises excluded from this opinion of course, Wayne is doing an excellent job giving feedback on those!

    • ssmurfmier1985 Thank you for clarifying. So it seems like a lot of people have more or less given up on the exercises, and it's basically just something to entertain newcomers. This goes to show that the whole idea of exercise submission and grading needs to be re-thought. Unless it was just meant to be a fun thing, then I guess it doesn't really matter. For me personally, I just help out grade exercises I have completed myself, or exercises I feel comfortable with enough to say that I can tell, based on the rules of the exercise, whether they passed or not.

      Doing your own project is always going to be the best way to learn. And submitting something for the Live Critique Stream sounds like good advice, although personally I neither have the skill nor the confidence for that. And then the fact that I can't really participate in the live streams anymore. (Because I have to use VPN to access youtube from my current location, and it hasn't been working smoothly for a long time now. Only works sorta OK on my phone, but then the image resolution defaults to 144p and can't be changed it seemed). Yes, I realize I can watch it later.

      Classes sounds great and fun...but it's during my busiest time of the year and I don't have the energy or the time to do all the work each week. But I'll probably watch them later at a time when I am less busy, and maybe do the homework as well.

      So, probably CGC should put even more focus on Live Critique, Classes and also on the Competitions in the future, since it gives more value to those members that really wants to learn. Because continuing doing things that even the members doesn't even find that useful, might just reflect badly on CGC in the 3d community. Anyways, this will be my final post on the matter...

    • thebergh I still wanted to respond to something you said earlier:

      I do feel CGC needs to be able to cater both the serious student and the doodler/hobbyist, or sooner or later all that's going to be left is the latter.

      But do they though? Have to cater both? As in provide different content / features aimed at one or the other? Considering the small crew they are, and how long it takes to create courses and such, that’s a hell of a lot to ask..

      As far as I know (from what Kent tells during streams), they aim to offer high quality content that takes you from noob to finding a job in the industry aka the serious learner. And with that choice comes certain sacrifices (maybe less doodle members), but also opportunities!  (like growing a strong community of passionate artists) I think it’s good they choose clear path, with the small crew they are. Focus is key in providing quality content.

      Doesn’t mean your typical hobbyist can’t enjoy CG Cookie, on the contrary! They have access and get to learn from this high quality content too 😊

      I do think you have to be consistent though, and make sure every part of the learning platform follows the same high standards you set. Cater to your chosen audience.  

      And as always the awesome Cookie crew is demonstrating they listen to their members and want to improve by engaging with us about our concerns here in this thread, which I applaud 🙌🏻

      I do strongly believe meaningful feedback (from artists ahead of you in experience) is super important for your learning progress, so the more ways those can be provided / implemented the better. Especially on a learning platform like this. Yes, you have your own responsibility to practice what you learn, but if you don’t know what you’re doing wrong and keep practicing the same mistakes you’ll never get better. You’ll probably just give up in the end.. I believe ttobles mentioned this also.

      Curious to see how this exercise thingy gets upgraded to the next level 😎

    • ssmurfmier1985 guess it's my turn to clarify what I meant. When I wrote that CGC should cater both doodlers and serious students, I based that on what you wrote. That most members are just doodlers/hobbyists, and just a small minority are serious hard core learners. I would prefer if the doodlers were the minority. 

      Also, I never commented anything on the courses themselves. And the reason for that is because I find them great. I have no complaints about that. There are lots of courses and smaller tutorials on here. The doodler can jump around and watch whatever they like, and the serious student can study more in depth.

      Hopefully I was better able to explain what I meant. Otherwise, I'm sorry.

    • thebergh yeah I got ya :)

  • Hey everyone,

    thanks to all of you for taking your time to read and comment on this.
    When reading your posts I get the impression that those exercise submission thingy is a bigger problem, that not only gets me a little disappointed but many others too.

    For me it would be great if someone from the (active) CGCookie-crew would maybe comment on this if they have the same impression or if they've made a totally different experience so far.
    (At this point I'd like to mention that I'm not angry with anyone, nor do I want to attack anybody)

    Cheers,
    tobles

  • crew

    I can't speak for everyone at CGC, but we do our best to grade exercises. Thing is we're a very small crew, and most of the time we're focused on creating more content whether that's a video course, article, live stream or something else along those lines. It's not unusual to dedicate an entire day or two to just responding to questions or grading exercises. We also need a better way of getting notified of exercises. Currently we do not get directly notified if an exercise is to be graded. It is something that we are trying to improve and I apologize if we miss these. Thank for bringing up these concerns, we do appreciate you all being here. We're always looking to improve. 

    • jgonzalez Thank you for taking the time to respond to this thread. I'm sure that most people that have been around for a little while knows you're a small crew and you're all working hard. And we're all grateful for the time you guys put into this. And that's why we only blame the doodlers, and not the CGC crew! Ok just kidding, we're not blaming anyone.

      Probably I'm just wasting bandwidth here, but I'll chip in with some ideas. And if they are bad ideas, then at least we know what wouldn't work. :)

      1. I don't really know how the grading is implemented on the back end, but let's say for argument's sake that each submission requires 5 votes to be considered either a pass or fail. I'm guessing an instructions vote is also considered as one!? If so, probably it should be either counted as two or maybe better, as 5. Otherwise, if 4 members vote a pass but then an instructor comes in and finds an issue and votes a fail it would still pass?! At least would help get through the grading faster. 

      2. Maybe a counter on the "view submissions" page. Something like, "X exercises left to be graded". Perhaps redundant. Just an idea to further stress how much is left once you open the page.

      3. I do think that maybe you should only be able to grade something you've passed yourself. But yeah... Would possibly increase the load on the crew and go against community spirit or something like that. But would improve the quality slightly.

      I really thought I was going to have more time to think of some ideas, but I have to get back to work. I apologize if I'm wasting everyone's times with my long posts.  :)

  • crew

    Hi Tobles,

    Thanks for your feedback.  Some of the things that have been brought up here are right on point,  We are always trying to improve, and we are aware of the flaws in the exercise system.

    It is my view that feedback is king, which is why I critique every one of the animation submissions.  You can't do any better than your best.  So it takes someone that can point out the things that you can't see to push you to the next level.  Then your best becomes better.

    I did design all the animation exercises so the students can learn and practice 1 skill at a time in sequential order.  But not all the skills in the courses and tutorials can be translated to 'exercises' like this.  That is where the learner needs to step up.  

    So if you are trying to practice modelling.  Take control of your learning.  Don't wait for CGCookie to create an exercise for you do that practice.  Just start practicing,  If you're struggling with arms, then grab a bunch of reference images and then start.  Why not spend a week (or 2) modelling 1 arm a day.  Everyday, model an arm.  You shouldn't try to be perfect, just aim to be better than the day before.  If you keep doing this, you will become super great and modelling arms.

    It's really important that YOU practice what you want to get better at.  You can use all the CGC content as a way to learn and get better, but also to discover the things YOU need to practice.  Then you can apply what what you've learnt into any of your own projects when necessary.  (sorry for putting some words in all caps but I was trying to make it stick haha)

    Here's some reading on learning if you haven't already seen it - https://cgcookie.com/articles/the-art-of-learning

    Don't look at your attempts to do something as 'failures'.  Work on your grit, and recognise that this is just testing your 'tolerance of ambiguity'.  You can do it, Tobles!!

    You can also join the CGCookie community Discord channel to get some feedback on your work.

    https://discord.gg/mrjUPCk



    • Hey waylow,

      thanks for your comment.
      I'd like to say a few words to the point of learning by myself. I am totally aware that the CGC-instructors are not there to pick me up and carry me to my goals without me doing the work. But for the example I made with the arm it's a little different. Mr. Trammell made very good videos where he shows references images and tells how to read information from them like shadows and how to use those informations. I think this is a great way to teach people how to do things on their own, but with this arm thingy, I have the problem that I don't know how to read those "empty" information where the arm has no striking features. Trying and practicing it by myself always left me behind with kind of a garden hose that has an elbow and a wrist... looks kind of weird, can give nightmares (maybe?). At this point I feel like running face-first into a solid wall again and again without improving since I think I'm making the same mistakes in the same places over and over again. I would've uploaded it to get feedback but this leads to the feedback issue.
      So, to round this up a little with what I said in my first post on this topic, I guess in this case it would have been good for me if there had been a short video in that particular course addressing different shapes/proportions.

      Writing these posts gives me kind of a "backstabber" feeling, so I'd like to say that I'm enjoying all the content of CGCookie and I'm very happy having all this available.

      Greetings,
      tobles

  • crew

    Hey everyone! 

    First, kudo's to ttobles for starting the conversation. Apologies to you and others if the exercise experience has been a let down.

    As a member of the CG Cookie team, a subject line like this can be a bit stressful to dive into. 😅 Though, not that different from an exercise critique, where sometimes we need that push from a different perspective.

    As Wayne said, 

    "You can't do any better than your best.  So it takes someone that can point out the things that you can't see to push you to the next level. "

    Agreeably, exercises on CG Cookie need some love.❤️ Originally created as a community feature to test one's progress, mimic real world job tasks and to break up the monotony of watching video after video. It's clear they fall short and could play a larger role in our community. 

    I like the suggestions mentioned, and we've begun a team discussion in parallel to kick the tires a bit. 

    In addition to what has been voiced above, what advice would you give to improve exercises for yourself and new members to the Cookie? 🍪

    • wesburke Hi Wes 😊 my suggestion is about the sort of exercises CG Cookie provides. I would suggest to stimulate more doing your own projects for exercises, use the skill learned and actually create something unique. Maybe not for the beginner series, but for some of the intermediate courses and definitely for the advanced courses.

      For example;

      Johanthan Lampel did this awesome sci-fi environment course. It is training you to be able to create any game asset you want. He is modeling an animated door. What is the exercise? An animated door. Which mean you could follow along with the course, copy everything Lampel is doing, submit that, and get a pass. Not very challenging imo..

      Why not ‘create your own sci-fi environment asset, with a movable part, but it can’t be a door’.

      That way you are stimulated to actually use the skills and your own imagination, to create something unique. I think this is something you could definitely ask of an advanced blender head.

  • crew

    Thanks for the feedback ttobles ! I definitely see what you mean. thebergh I really appreciate you explaining how you felt as you submitted your exercises - it really helps to show which parts of the experience we ought to focus on improving. There's a lot we can do in this area that we will be talking about as a team, so please continue the discussion! 

    ssmurfmier1985 Good thoughts! For the next FPS course I'll have you guys do something a bit different for the exercise than what I show in the lessons and see how that goes. 

  • Not sure if this has been suggested yet , but I am in a rush and just wanted to add this in 

    Why not make it mandatory to put a small critique in when you grade a submission ? You could set a minimum character count and that way everyone who grades them will have to say something about the submission to help out. This includes myself as I try to grade excercises when I can but I am terrible at just pressing the red or green button and moving on without writing anything - a habit I am working to change.

    Just a thought but surely it will be fairly easy to implement and even if less people vote, it will have a bigger impact on helping the submitter I would say. 

    • frikkr I think that’s a great start! 

      But how do you make sure everyone doesn’t just write ‘good job’, without making the minimum characters count so high that you have to type super long stories every time? Which would probably keep people way from grading.. 

      Just curious if anyone has any ideas on that? :)

    • ssmurfmier1985 Ha good point.... well ..... "good job" is 7 characters long , and "well done" is 8 long , and "great work" is 9  , so lets just make it 10 character min... problem solved :P 

    • frikkr How about:

      Good job !!!

      😛

    • ssmurfmier1985 aaah , damn those exclamation marks , I forgot about them lol. 

      But seriously , I think a character count of 15 min would not be too much and still encourage graders to write something helpful . Also , some friendly guidelines may help to avoid those default phrases and I would like to think that most people who grade excercies do it to be helpful so they will take it seriously. And at the end of the day, any "well done's" and "great work's" that slip through will still carry a pass or fail vote - so they are no worse off than what we already have.....

  • Hey wesburke,

    please don't apologize to me. Maybe my posts have sounded disappointed but I'm not THAT unhappy with CGC. When I started this topic my happiness with CGC was at an all-time-low of 98%. So I don't think we should talk about a "let down" here :D. I made this post to get myself up to a full 100%, with the help of the CGC-community, by finding out if there even is a problem with CGC or if it's me and my expectations.

    Now to an idea of mine to maybe improve or let's better say actuate the feedback for exercise submissions. In my opinion it would be pretty neat if people could kind of "subscribe" to a course to get notified when there is a new upload in the submission since I think there are people in this community that like to give a real feedback (I already made that experience), but searching out every upload or to even check if there is a new one is a nasty clicking through. If there would be a shortcut I think people would get more active. Furthermore, I think it would cheer people up to upload their results to the submission section instead of the polybook in the forum if there would be a number of interested subscribers shown in the submission area, so people know there are others wanting to give a hand and help with feedback. Basically like the RSVP to a life stream but to a course submission.

    Cheers,
    tobles

  • I don't know if my 2 cents are helpful or not. I agree the exercises need a bit of work. To me maybe its not so much the topic of the exercise. It could be to an extent but take the animation courses for example. Wayne's video is showing you how to do a bouncing ball. The exercise is a bouncing ball. People still submit poorly bouncing balls because the exercise is about training your eye much more than showing you followed along with the tutorial. The only way someone can get better from there is to be guided through what they are failing to see. Its why good feedback is so important.  If we could promote those that are grading to provide better feedback I think the exercises would be more fruitful. 

    Just to brain storm a few ideas, these are things that through my own experiences have been helpful in my learning:

    Peer Buddies:

    This was something that I saw being used at Animation Mentor. Basically as soon as you passed a class you had the ability to become a "Peer Buddy" where you would be paired with somebody new to the course. You could message back and forth/ get one on one feedback get tips on assignments. The help provided was based on what the newbie wanted it to be and the time the buddy could provide.  For CGC this could look like a badge or something. Once you complete a course you could apply to be a "mentor/peer" for that course and maybe upon approval that you understand the curriculum you're awarded a badge and maybe highlighted as such in the course syllabus. That way newbies can see who they could message for help or advice. 


    Feedback Friday:

    This idea could take on many forms but the main point is its a single day dedicated to feedback of our works.  The one I  was a part of was a 24hr google hangout where community members could pop in and out as they pleased. You could either share your screen of the work you want critiqued or you could submit it to the host who could then share it to the other viewers. Because of it being a 24hr hangout you would need people to volunteer blocks of time to be the host and moderate. This was usually in the form of a sign up sheet on Google Docs. This takes a bit of dedication to keep it going; but once it catches on its a really enjoyable thing to be a part of. It wouldn't be something that directly effects the exercise but it would help promote giving feedback and what good feedback is.

    What ever is done I feel like CGC can only go so far to improve the exercises. With CGC's size its really going to have to be the community that helps drive this area to be successful. 

  • Some people want feedback on their exercises and some just want to get that thumbs-up and move on so I think feedback should be solicited by the users so the CGC team doesn't spend their limited time doing deep-dive critiques on hundreds of modified primitives from the Mesh Modeling 101 exercise.


    I agree that the majority of the feedback will need to come from the community since the CGC team is heavily outnumbered. Maybe extending the XP system a bit could help incentivize community members to be more involved? Stackoverflow's system comes to mind; it more often than not results in very thorough, high quality answers to community questions with an increase to the answer author's point-based reputation as the reward.  For CGC, maybe forum topics can get a question [Q] tag and answers that get "love" or marked as "accepted answer" get the author an increase in XP (or reputation, etc.) resulting in an increased self-worth as an awesome member of the CGC community. Lists of weekly, monthly, and yearly (instead of all-time), top contributing users could help encourage some healthy competition on a regular basis.  Maybe just keep XP as is and publish the user's "love" counts as their reputation for simplicity's sake?  

    It might be a good idea for the CGC team to add a short addendum video to each of the existing exercises, after enough have been submitted and critiqued, showing common mistakes as submitted by users. This has the benefit of not having to code anything extra up for the website and reduces redundant questions and answers.

    Otherwise, I think live stream critiques are pretty useful, maybe just have those consistently on the same day each month.

  • A little late to this thread I suppose, but I did want to add my thoughts on the topic of exercises.

    Firstly, when it comes to feedback.  I confess that most of the time I've graded, I haven't left feedback; usually when I do it's to express when I've found a submission to be strikingly well-done; but I suppose that's of limited use really.  Mostly the problem that I need to overcome is that I'm self-conscious about critiquing peers' submissions when I've very much a student myself.  I suppose you could say I'm afraid of giving advice that comes off as presumptuous.  It would be incredibly awkward to tell somebody they need to clean up the smoothness of a curved surface on their model, however objectively true that is, when I know that in a week I could be making a model that has the same faults and wind up being given the exact same advice by someone else.  I suppose you could call it a minor variation of Impostor Syndrome.

    Secondly - some of those exercises it's -incredibly- difficult to give advice for.  Let's use an example that's already been used to make another point - the Three Objects exercise.  As has been pointed out, from a pass/fail perspective this exercise is a no-brainer to *grade* - there are three instructions; if you have followed all three, you pass that exercise and it's really that simple.  But therein lies the problem - okay, so if somebody fails that exercise because they only made two objects, or did not use Sketchfab, or whatever, your feedback can simply explain that.  But what feedback do you possibly give to an exercise that passes, beyond "good job"?  You have to edit three objects.  It doesn't say how extensively.  It doesn't say they have to be smooth-shaded.  It doesn't say they have to be very elaborate nor very simple.  Anything you can tell a passing submitter for that exercise beyond simple support and a Welcome to CGC (it's probably their very first exercise after all) would be entirely superfluous really.   And for that matter, if the exercise has failed - only one person needs to explain that there should be three objects and the submitter only made two.  Once the first grader points that out, what is left for the remainder of graders to add?  Just keep repeating over and over again that they needed to make three objects?  That's not particularly helpful.

    Thirdly - I can't overstate how much I LOVE Wayne's personally reviewing every exercise.  It's really awesome!  It would be great if other instructors could do that sometimes, although I completely understand why they cannot.  But there's also a rub...I know that when Wayne pointed out a mistake in my bouncing-ball exercise for example, my next few steps were pretty clear - take down submission, fix mistake, resubmit.   And I don't think I'm far off in thinking that most animation students will do that.   So there's the thing - if I come along and click on an animation exercise that's awaiting grading and I see Wayne has already left his own professional-grade and typically quite substantial feedback in it...what on Earth of value do I have to add to that?  "Uhhh....good job?"  In the case where he's found a mistake I don't even grade those exercises quite frankly, because I anticipate the submitter will soon be deleting the exercise and resubmitting a corrected version.  Note; this is NOT a suggestion that Wayne needs to do anything different whatsoever!  But his participation in those exercises changes the calculus a bit, and that's something that needs to be considered especially when we're discussing things like minimum-required commenting for grading submissions.

  • I'd like to try to summarize the ideas, if I missed something or got it wrong please don't post a reply but send me a personal message, so I can update this post and keep it as actual as possible.

    1. Introducing a minimum limitation of characters for an exercise submission comment.

    2. Adding an amount of pass-votes for exercise submissions to pass.

    3. RSVP-system for submission areas.

    4. Creating a (new) reward system for community-activity.

    5. Scheduling regular feedback-streams.

    6. Adding a peer-buddy-system.