Source Filmmaker

Source Filmmaker

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SFM Workshop: Your Models and People
By Rayko
This guide will probably help you get your content needed and lure some attention to it. It contains basic tips on what people usually like to see, when they are looking for models, and how to make them a little bit more appreciating.
 
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Instead of an Introduction
You learned a lot in the area of porting models into source engine and decided to share it with other users of SFM. The creative process was rather hard, so what unpleasant things could happen to your assets now? Sure, it will win all the prizes, when you share it via SFM Workshop!

Or will it? It depends on many things, and the first thing is how you present your content. A vague description of your model with a poorly made preview, in which people are able to recognize only a little bit of the model, can drastically influence your addon.

There still may be some favs, rate ups and other feedbacks. You can even stop reading right now and continue posting your precious content, but if you do really care about people, for who you had bothered yourself to provide a good content, you should listen to this piece of advice. It's a pity when good content is left behind just because of poor description or bad previews.
Before the very beginnings
When you are uploading your content, consider if it would be useful for anyone except you. Yes, creating stuff for SFM is a charity and is art, but what is more – the content is a component of future works of art. If no one can apply your content for their self-expression, then your art is not needed and, therefore, will be forgotten quickly. Consider if sharing worth a while.
The Sharing
When you share your content, you, generally, have to include some images that relate to your content, name your content and make up a description.
The basic recommendation here: don’t be lazy.

Naming issues
Let's start with the easiest part. Names usually relate to the content in quite a direct way. If you port a model from a game, you usually name it like "%character_model_name from %game_name". I didn't see many addons with misleading names – just don’t name your content “The best thing evah” and it’ll be all right.

Preview issues
First, there should be a plenty of them. One group of images (or at least one) should contain well-lit model, displayed entirely and from different angles. Avoid using high field of view though, as it WILL deform your model visually. Second group of images should be eye-catching to lure additional attention. Groups may correlate, it is not important – they just should present.

If you unable to make images yourself, ask people to collaborate. It'll be better if you ask for previews before you share. If not, then you will lose a lot of attention, since the main amount of it comes during first days of sharing.

Usually there would be a collaborator or two if you didn’t fail with the basic stuff and the model itself. The previews should display all of your models, so don't get frustrated if people are asking for it. It's you, who decided to share your content after all.

Description issues
People don’t want your moaning about how your life is hard, how the process of creation/porting was hard, oh no. When they are looking for models, they want to see a clear description, so provide them some.

You may start with features of your content, like flexibility of posing, presence of rigs, is there bone mimics or flexes or both. Then you may want to mention all the collaborators, who were helping you.

Don't forget to include paths of the models/materials, it can be a help sometimes. Provide this info in any order alongside with everything you want to write and it will be even more than enough.

Basic culture of sharing
The way you share your content determine the way people will react to it. People like authors, who is humble, values their time/skill and quickly react to feedback (at least for a while), if there is something wrong.

Authors, whose reputation suffers from aggressive replies, deletion of reasonable commentaries and many different deviant behaviors, that show authors’ immaturity, will get negative feedback. It means that, because of you, people will hate your staff.

If you don’t care about people, why you even bothered to upload a model for people then?..
Technical recommendations
I am watching SFM Workshop and use SFM for quite a long period of time, so I think that I am able to judge what makes the model a good help.

Animations
  1. Generic, well-made animations are always welcome. Unfortunately, well-made is mostly the case, try to be objective.

Materials
  1. If possible, add previews that show your materials in use, if they have no model.
  2. Remember about shaders. You should test your materials thoroughly, since shaders might glitch on different maps.
  3. Ambient Occlusion. If you model is semi-transparent, you'd definitely encounter some problems with it making the whole model transparent. There are ways to fix that, don't turn AO off. The most straightforward way to fix it - compile the model with $mostlyopaque thing.

Models
  1. Make your model compatible with the default or any other rig. It will save user’s disk space.
  2. Check your rigging. Bones should move model parts conveniently: nobody wants their full metal robot bending his strong metal body as if it was made of rubber.
  3. Implement mimics. Flexes are most welcomed (hwm or not). Flexes + bones are the best option in my opinion.
  4. Don’t forget about eyeposing if eyes are present. Covering them is easy, but it’s the essential tool of showing emotions.
  5. Check your materials, you could put them in the wrong directory. Sharers do that a lot.
  6. Please, consider quality and usability of your content. Try to be objective.

Particles
  1. Avoid making your particle system hard-to-use. That means that user should have an opportunity to figure out how to use your particle without your help, even though instructions in description of the system are necessary.
  2. Some operators are glitchy, honestly. Remember, sometimes you can see bugs only after you render a picture or even a video. Example: Oscillate Vector/Scalar seem to confuse motion blurring systems during render, which makes particles too blurry, even if they are moving slowly.

Sessions
  1. Sessions are useful, if they setup scenebuilds or something massive. On the contrary, sessions of your 'first posters' won't be very helpful, your artwork really pushes Source engine to it's limits in a good way.
  2. Generally, complex scenes that can be considered as a 'professional art' are great educational material.
  3. Don't forget, people must have the content you used to load your session without errors. If you have a lot of mods for your models, people might need to have these mods too.
Notable examples
I picked out some of the addons here on the SFM Workshop just to give examples of a nicely presented content. No advertisement, really, just random picking.

Just look at this gorgeous addon! All previews display all the models from different angles and nice to look at. The description is more than enough to understand not only the quality of the models, but also their history, what they are and even to find a version for G-Mod!

An another nice presentation. Notice how many variations of the models are included into previews! The description is finely structured too.

A less structured yet still good addon. A couple of artistic images with a group photo of all the variations of the model are finely finished with a short description. A description contains features like skins and number of models in the pack
Post scriptum
Remember, people, you are the ones, who grant people good stuff. However, you are the ones, who is responsible for it.
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10 Comments
Rayko  [author] Jun 3, 2017 @ 12:21pm 
I don't see any reason to post music in workshop. From what I've seen, it is usually some commercial stuff uploaded without permission, and for your own compositions it's better to put them on a proper websites.

Sounds may be helpful, though, but the tips are mostly general. Just provide a clear description of what it is and maybe provide a simple nice and related pic to it to make it more attractable.
Faith Cerseh Jun 3, 2017 @ 9:08am 
what about music
Rayko  [author] Jul 22, 2016 @ 7:54am 
Nah, first uploads of fnaf models were pretty OK and needed before workshop had been flooded with UNREASONABLY SIMILAR RESKINS OF RIGS OF SOMEONE'S 'REMAKE' of them.
goanna67 Jul 22, 2016 @ 3:00am 
just add
'stop making fnaf models'
Rayko  [author] Apr 15, 2016 @ 7:12am 
Guide is updated, I guess.
Koldraxon Feb 22, 2016 @ 10:40am 
@Green-Light "Green" Mintiest, it's impossible to port from Xbox One, hence no Warden Eternal or Promethean Soldiers, but there are still many models to be brought unto this land, such as many World of Warcraft models, other Halo models, and whatever else appeals to general use.

The Dark Portal may be one thing you could look into porting, for the Legion to conquer all.
Rayko  [author] May 27, 2015 @ 8:37pm 
All you need is Blender, ripped models and youtube tutorials. You should also google for the ripping of the models - there is bunch of tutorials for this too.
TheVirginianist May 27, 2015 @ 4:49pm 
How to Port Game Character Models from any Game Console to Gmod & SFM?
Rayko  [author] Apr 27, 2015 @ 12:22pm 
Thanks for your reply.

I also had encountered some nasty authors who were deleting comments or plainly ignoring them. Thankfully, there are authors, who actually listen to people and move SFM modding forward.
Illegal Dreadlocks Apr 27, 2015 @ 6:25am 
:tgrin: Nice guide. You wouldn't believe the amount of rude people I've encountered who get mad when someone asks for an item preview.