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Kudos; camera question
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minkscooter
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Default Kudos; camera question - 08-11-2008, 07:32 PM

I just started using Alice 2 with my 11 year old daughter as a home school project. It was a huge success. She hardly did anything else the whole weekend (except watch Olympic women's gymnastics). Kudos to the Alice developers! My daughter and I can't wait to see what we'll get with Alice 3.

The camera controls under the Add Objects screen take a while to understand. After investing the effort to figure them out, you are rewarded with exactly the right shot to start your movie. However, as soon as you decide to add another object, your shot is spoiled and you have to jigger with the camera controls all over again to get that perfect opening shot. Is there some way to save camera shots? It would be nice to be able to make a list of shots and anywhere in a method say "Put the camera exactly the way it was" for such-and-such named shot. An extra control near the Add Objects screen to restore (or change) the opening shot would be convenient.

Also, we couldn't figure out how to use the camera controls for anything but the opening shot. To advance the story, we dragged various camera methods into our story methods, which required learning a new skill set. It seemed strange that we could get no further benefit from the skill we just acquired with the camera controls under the Add Objects screen. Is there some way to drag a camera method that says "put here" and lets you define "here" with the camera controls?
   
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DickBaldwin
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Default 08-12-2008, 04:49 AM

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Originally Posted by minkscooter View Post
I just started using Alice 2 with my 11 year old daughter as a home school project. It was a huge success. She hardly did anything else the whole weekend (except watch Olympic women's gymnastics). Kudos to the Alice developers! My daughter and I can't wait to see what we'll get with Alice 3.

The camera controls under the Add Objects screen take a while to understand. After investing the effort to figure them out, you are rewarded with exactly the right shot to start your movie. However, as soon as you decide to add another object, your shot is spoiled and you have to jigger with the camera controls all over again to get that perfect opening shot. Is there some way to save camera shots? It would be nice to be able to make a list of shots and anywhere in a method say "Put the camera exactly the way it was" for such-and-such named shot. An extra control near the Add Objects screen to restore (or change) the opening shot would be convenient.

Also, we couldn't figure out how to use the camera controls for anything but the opening shot. To advance the story, we dragged various camera methods into our story methods, which required learning a new skill set. It seemed strange that we could get no further benefit from the skill we just acquired with the camera controls under the Add Objects screen. Is there some way to drag a camera method that says "put here" and lets you define "here" with the camera controls?
The short answer is that there is a way to solve most of the problems that you mention. Search the forum for dummy or dummies (no insult intended here). For example, see http://www.alice.org/community/showthread.php?t=84

Dick Baldwin
Free Alice tutorials: http://www.dickbaldwin.com/tocalice.htm
Free Scratch tutorials: http://www.dickbaldwin.com/tocHomeSchool.htm
Free Java/C#, etc. tutorials: http://www.dickbaldwin.com/toc.htm
   
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minkscooter
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Default 08-12-2008, 05:14 PM

Thanks Dick! No insult taken (even before I found that you are referring to dummy objects) Only it seems like such a common thing for someone to want to do, I wonder why the controls are hidden? Did the developers worry that they were unintuitive? A simple snapshot widget that does "drop dummy at camera" without advertising the fact that the implementation uses a dummy object would be far more intuitive. I know that my daughter loves to take pictures and scroll through the list of pictures she has taken, so if presented with a similar interface, she would immediately guess what it was for and want to try it out.

Anyway this sounds a lot better than dragging in mushrooms and turning them invisible. Do you happen to know if it's possible to manually control the camera and drop dummy objects after the initial setup, after your movie methods have moved characters around a bit?
   
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DickBaldwin
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Default 08-12-2008, 05:20 PM

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Originally Posted by minkscooter View Post
Thanks Dick! No insult taken (even before I found that you are referring to dummy objects) Only it seems like such a common thing for someone to want to do, I wonder why the controls are hidden? Did the developers worry that they were unintuitive? A simple snapshot widget that does "drop dummy at camera" without advertising the fact that the implementation uses a dummy object would be far more intuitive. I know that my daughter loves to take pictures and scroll through the list of pictures she has taken, so if presented with a similar interface, she would immediately guess what it was for and want to try it out.

Anyway this sounds a lot better than dragging in mushrooms and turning them invisible. Do you happen to know if it's possible to manually control the camera and drop dummy objects after the initial setup, after your movie methods have moved characters around a bit?
I haven't used dummy objects a lot so I don't know everything that you can do with them. DrJim and LanceA as well as others can probably be more helpful than me.

Dick Baldwin
Free Alice tutorials: http://www.dickbaldwin.com/tocalice.htm
Free Scratch tutorials: http://www.dickbaldwin.com/tocHomeSchool.htm
Free Java/C#, etc. tutorials: http://www.dickbaldwin.com/toc.htm
   
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DrJim
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Default 08-13-2008, 09:23 AM

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Originally Posted by minkscooter View Post
I wonder why the controls are hidden?

Do you happen to know if it's possible to manually control the camera and drop dummy objects after the initial setup,
For the first, I doubt it was an actual decision but just a result the natural evolution from Alice 1.0, which was mostly script based, to the more extensive graphics of Alice 2.0. You might take a look at "Story Telling Alice," which does do more with camera work and scenes, to see where the program may be evolving to. Also remember that Alice is designed primarily to teach OOP, so in partitioning the screen views, program clarity - not ease of graphic manipulation - should (IMO) have priority.

For the second, see the attached for a simple, but fairly flexible, example. It is also worth playing separately with the camera's position and orientation, in addition to the overall "point of view" parameter.
Attached Files
File Type: a2w DynamicCameraMarker.a2w (219.3 KB, 77 views)
   
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minkscooter
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Default 08-15-2008, 04:08 AM

That's a neat trick! A little different from what I was asking, but I'm not complaining And you did that with a few events and no methods... I've been having fun with camera methods, and my favorite now is "set vehicle" to follow movement.

I was originally wondering about manual camera controls for non-interactive movie-making.

I'm glad to hear that Alice 3 will borrow more intuitive controls from Storytelling Alice. I think it's consistent with the goals of Alice to teach object-based programming in such a way that students don't necessarily realize what they're learning: a head-fake if you will I do see your point about prioritizing program clarity. Thanks for the response.

Ah, too many late nights watching Olympics. Hooray for Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson!!
   
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minkscooter
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Default 08-15-2008, 04:49 AM

Ah, I get it now! I didn't see the methods you defined for the dummy object. Sweet!
   
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