Miscellaneous Thoughts on Tutorials

I know up-front that what I am about to say will be looked down upon by the masses, but I’m still going to say it.

I appreciate all the time & effort & skill that folks are putting into making youtube video tutorials. Many are quite professional & well done. Personally, I find video tutorials for things such as wiring a ceiling fan or installing a garbage disposal quite helpful. What I don’t find very helpful are video tutorials for teaching software. Often times, it is difficult to see what menu options are being selected, requiring one to stop, backup and replay the video multiple times. For me, tutorials on software should be written documents, which are easier to read at your own pace without distracting background music or fancy video techniques. Even on my ultrawide monitor, having two windows open - one for watching a video and the other for the software I’m trying to learn - is at best difficult and time consuming.

Why is it that those who are making these outstanding video creations can’t take the time to write the directions down and provide a document - what we used to call a User’s Manual back in the Dark Ages (circa 1980) - which pairs up with their video? It is easier and faster to find a specific topic in a written manual than it is to go searching through a video clip for that specific thing you’re looking for.

I can’t begin to estimate how many videos folks have directed me to to learn this or that about scanning. Very few of them are what I am looking for.

One more suggestion: please STOP using the bust supplied or toys/figurines. A little figurine is a very simple structure to successfully scan - it is a single surface (which may be complex in terms of topography). Seems most if not all the videos concern themselves with single-surface objects. For example, I’ve watched a number of videos that demonstrate how to merge different scans of the same surface. But how do you put together two different surfaces to create a 3D model that you can subsequently convert to gcode for printing? For example, one model that is frequently used is that of a lego block. A lego block has two surfaces - an outside surface & an inside surface - which have different topographies. I have not found a single youtube video (let alone a printed manual) for scanning the outer surface and the inner surface and merging the two into a 3D lego block ready for producing gcode.

Sorry that this rant is so long, but yet again, I am quite frustrated by my 3D scanning experiences. Hours spent on youtube videos with little to show for the time. Oh, I would bet a kidney that there is a youtube video somewhere demonstrating how to take scans of the two surfaces of a lego block & merge them into a model ready for a slicer, but I haven’t found it yet. And I am willing to bet a kidney that I will not find a written tutorial on how to do it. Just very frustrating.

I can tell you that when I do find that elusive video that does an excellent job of demonstrating how to merge scans of different surfaces into a single model, I will spend hours writing everything down to create a manual, which I will be happy to share with anyone who wants a copy. Its just a shame that folks these days put more stock into video than they do a really good manual, especially when a manual takes far less time and skills to produce.


I understand the frustration and actually think that’s a good idea, although I myself am more a fan of watching videos and writing things down on the side. That’s how I learn best. However, I can also recommend that you engage with the subject itself. There are many books on point clouds, meshes, 3D scanning, and photogrammetry that I would recommend to you.

Simply scanning and printing, in my opinion, is an illusion. There’s always some reverse engineering or mesh post-processing required, and those are topics one must engage with. If one simply wants a model to duplicate, then it should be outsourced.

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Watching videos and writing things down is creating your own manual. And who better to do that than the author of the material? :slight_smile:

Of course you just don’t scan & print - there is always work to be done. That’s not an illusion, but reality. I do disagree with your statement that “If one simply wants a model to duplicate, then it should be outsourced.” I am looking to make replacement parts for vintage Apple II computers. A broken drive case. A broken monitor door hinge. That sort of thing. Outsourcing is not financially feasible for one-offs. The cost of one part outsourced is prohibitively expensive, and even if I were to print several, I would never break-even. I would think that personal 3D scanners & printers would be ideal for this sort of use. But it seems that currently, the niche for personal 3D scanners & printers are toys/figurines. There is nothing wrong with that. I just wish the niche would expand beyond that.

Back in 1980 when I got my first Apple II+ computer, Apple provided really outstanding manuals on DOS and the BASIC programming language. That was probably one of Apple’s best decisions at the time: personal computers were a new technology and what better way to educate your consumers! A good manual not only teaches them the use of the product, but assists them in finding their own uses for that product. As the years moved on, personal computers became more appliance and thus there was less need for manuals. Buy a desktop or laptop today & chances are you get nothing printed! Just plug it in, turn it on and away you go. Just like a toaster or can opener in your kitchen!

3D scanners & 3D printers are relatively new technologies, yet they are being sold as if they were appliances, & they are not there yet by a long shot. RevoScan is a nice bit of software but it is far from complete. You shouldn’t have to go find more software just to complete your scan project - it should be incorporated. It should include a full editor and yield a final product ready to bring into your favorite slicer. And because it is a new technology, it should include an extensive manual.

Think of a word processor: in the 1980s the technology was new and you needed to learn the software. Now, go out and buy a new laptop, you turn it on, and regardless of what word processor it comes with, you can jump right in and start word processing. Sure, you may need to search a bit for some obscure command, but you inherently know how to use your new system because the technology is old and standardized. 3D scanners today are like word processors circa 1980. Maybe in 30 years no one will need a manual, but for now…

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I agree that providing tutorials in different formats will help: how useful a given tutorial is for someone depends on how you learn, some prefer video, some prefer text, others would benefit from text plus screenshots etc.

My guess is that in order to create a smooth video you write a script, which consists of what you’re going to say. Then you add some screenshots/pictures to show what you’re doing (highlighting options, menus etc). This should be a minimal additional effort which opens up the material to a wider audience.

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Hi @drkenb

Thank you very much for your sincere advice; I find it truly inspiring. After the Chinese New Year holiday, I will discuss with colleagues from our video and forum teams to explore how we can make the tutorials more helpful to users. You will see our improvements in the future. Thanks again.

Maybe build something like an online platform could be created, for example, RevoPoint Academy. A platform where one can learn, test, and later also take an exam and receive a digital certificate.

For example: Python Tutorial

Should also be good for Search Engine Optimization :wink: .

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@drkenb @Revopoint-Cassie I fully agree with the OP. Video’s do help but indeed it is mostly very difficult to actually see what button or options are used. Even more, mostly it is not explained why certain options are used.
With tools and software we use here, there are so many settings that make your scan more useful (or worthless), so I would appreciate more documentation on the use of the software, reasons to change settings from default etc. Videos are great for introductory stuff, but for deepdives I’d say, create a manual or other written forms, such as specific written tutorials that explain in detail what a change of a certain setting will accomplish. That will make the user experience for those new in the 3D scanning world much, much better.

First, I would like to thank all of you for your kind comments!

To clarify, I don’t think that videos are useless. Quite the opposite, But I do think that relying on videos to teach computer software is not the best vehicle. For that, a good written & illustrated manual is the best way to go. Videos have their place, but they are not the best means for teaching software. A few years down the road, when 3D scanners attain the “appliance” status, manuals won’t be needed. But we’re not there yet!

Nicolas - you are correct. Most videos probably already have a great basis for a manual already written. The general term is “storyboard”. I’ve done quite a bit of technical writing in my career, & it is a skill that not many folks have. A good technical writer is worth their weight in gold in the tech world. I would be willing to do the writing if a video producer provided me with their “storyboard” materials. (I’m retired & have a fair amount of free time to offer LOL.)

Example of when video training fails. Fusion 360 is a prime example of a complex program relying entirely on video training. I bought a very good book on Fusion 360 that was written a few months earlier, & when I got the book I found that Fusion 360 already had numerous changes. Because Fusion 360 is only available online & not as a downloadable program, and because they don’t follow any version control, the program changes almost on a daily basis. As such, any book you purchase on Fusion 360 will quickly become outdated. The point is, the more complex the software, the greater the need for printed documentation and the less valuable stand-alone video training is.

In my opinion, the folks at RevoPoint are really responsive to their customer base, so I hope that they will give plenty of thought & action to documentation. And don’t forget that documentation is like the software itself: you need to beta test your documentation just as you do your software development.