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Friday, June 1, 2007

Wiki Wackey Wascally Wrabbit

One of the most difficult challenges in trying to provide useful information for helping other TBS users is trying to find the best ways to organize and present material. I certainly try my best to answer questions that are asked on the TBS user forums, and I also set up a special Tips and Tricks thread there to act as a collection point for useful items that I wanted to share. But it quickly became apparent to me that even that was not a satisfactory solution by itself. I had even set up a series of FAQ pages on the studio’s web site.

But eventually I decided that the blog style of approach was more practical. Thus the Cartooning In Toon Boom blog was born. As the blog evolved I wanted to improve reader’s ability to find past articles and so I added the 3 index articles that organize the other articles and tags and make looking for things easier. But still there was a sense that a more robust approach was possible. I solicited input and suggestions from a number of colleagues and friends and one suggestion surfaced several times from different sources. That suggestion was to create a wiki. Now if you are like most people who use the Internet you have at one time or other ended up using Wikipedia which is an amazing resource.

"wiki ? does it help with hemorrhoids and a swollen prostrate ?"

I liked the idea although I wasn’t sure exactly what it meant to create a wiki. Basically a wiki is a knowledge sharing community where visitors can assume many different roles. They can just be readers of the information, or they can assist in editing and enhancing the existing information, or they can author additional information. The whole thing becomes a huge spider’s web of interconnected information that is constructed as a collaborative of everyone interested in that information. It just grows and evolves to suit the wiki’s community. But most importantly the information is really easy to search through and locate what you want to find.

I recently recall a discussion on the TBS user’s forums where there was a pretty well stated opinion expressed that there was a great deal that was left to be desired about the documentation of TBS. But at the same time there is actually a strong and growing trend that continues to expand the available information and resources for TBS users. But I obviously must feel that there is a continued need for more information, tutorials and otherwise, because I’m out there actively producing that sort of material trying to help satisfy some of that need. And other TBS users like Will Reinhardt and Pat Kirlin and Rob Campbell are all out there doing their parts to produce materials too.




So the idea of having a growing collaborative resource that would benefit all TBS users in addition to all the blogs and the forum threads was pretty exciting to think about. Each approach satisfies an important and different need. A forum is a multi-purpose place to ask for help, report problems, express concerns or state opinions, ask for critiques of your work and even make announcements. A blog is a great place to publish articles both informational and tutorial. And a wiki is a great collaborative repository of knowledge that is easily organized and quickly searched and accessed. That being said, I want to welcome you to the next phase in our efforts to help our fellow TBS users the Cartooning In Toon Boom Wiki. If you have any questions please post them on the TBS user forums. That’s the best place for Q&A. Comments and suggestions are welcomed either here on the blog or on the forums.

The wiki is just getting started and it is going to take some time to really get it up to a significant level of knowledge content, but it now exists and hopefully you can start using it and it will become another valuable tool. Special thanks go out to Rob and Pat and Will who I know will all be helping to grow the wiki. Extra special thanks goes out to Marty Bish, who is so quiet in the background, but who is always there encouraging and helping me to produce all the blogs, tutorials and articles.



"I'm JK's number one inspiration & I make these funny drawings too!!"

Last, but certainly not least, I also want to thank Mathieu Lavigne of Toon Boom Technologies who has been a big supporter of all these efforts and is the driving force behind making TBS even better for all of us.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Rupert Piston said...

Speaking for myself, JK, the amount, quality, and regularity of material you have created is staggering, appreciated, and extremely valuable. Somebody pitches you an idea and you run with it, and fast. Pat and Will have put together some terrific materials as well, some very useful stuff, but I have to tip my hat at your giving of yourself. Some people drink loads of coffee and don't accomplish a tenth of what you do.

Thanks for counting me in such good company as yourself, Will, and Pat.

rob

June 2, 2007 at 6:17 PM  
Blogger Pat the Pirate said...

I'll second that, I've said it before but it's true, I've learned more about cartooning (TBS related or otherwise) from you than any other single source of information. I've never taken a class in animation, but I feel like I've taken many thanks to you. I have to laugh that anyone considers me a source of information for this stuff, because 99% of the time I'm just parroting something you've said 100 times over.

If I didn't live a thousand miles away I'd be glad to buy you a beer, hey maybe next time I visit cousins in S.C. I'll drive a few extra miles & do just that. But I can't thank you enough for all the time you've put in to teaching & sharing what you know, you're definitely one of the good guys. Cheers to you.

June 2, 2007 at 9:12 PM  
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