Back in the day, designer and Alias expert Kerry Kingston created a slew of Alias training videos that she hosted at www.aliasworkbench.com.
The decision to call the site a “workbench” was a deliberate one: Kerry wanted the videos to reflect the lived experience of designers (which can be messy, with a short attention span for training materials). So she created this smorgasbord of content that anyone could dip into and consume at their own pace.
For an intro to Kerry Kingston and her Alias approach, watch the video below.
These videos work for completely new users, those getting started, and a refresh for more experienced designers.
Kerry lays out which ones to take in first and why they’re valuable:
F1.2 – First I’d open up a car model and just get the hang of tumbling and viewing the model, and controlling your 3D space.
F1.3 – Whether it’s Photoshop Layers or CAD system Layers, most people know they have to organize their geometry, but this video also shows how Alias works with symmetry.
F1.5 – Manipulating and moving geometry is a basic skill, but this video is missing the new Transform tool – but you’ll see the transform palette and be able to find that and work with it easily enough.
Marking menus are one of the best interface elements in Alias, and the sooner you start using them the more comfortable you’ll be in Alias.
F3.1 – this one is key to understanding NURBS geometry – and its important to note that this set of tutorials were written before subdivision modelling was introduced to Alias so it focuses on NURBS modelling.
F3.4 – and creating curves is a basic skill too, and most new users will be familiar with drawing shapes with curves and then extruding or revolving etc. to get surfaces.
F5.4 – This whole section takes you through the main surfacing tools, but I like this one as it shows you how to work with control windows open to tweak the settings to get the shapes you want.
And then finally it’s useful to understand how shapes are blended into each other, and the second half of this intro video shows the Align tool which is one of the foundation stones of Alias.
After you’ve got the basics in place, you can go a bit deeper with Alias geometry.
F1.4 is about selecting, and this is one of the simplest tasks in a modelling system, but because Alias provides a really efficient workflow for the professional user, it has some tricks and quirks that it’s well worth really understanding well. It may feel odd to start with, even frustrating, but trust me once you’ve mastered selection then Alias becomes a whole lot easier to use and learn.
And then there’s the geometry boot camp of section 2. If you are carving from wood or sculpting from clay, you want to have a real feel for the shapes you are creating and feel in control. By the time you complete all these tutorials you’ll be on the way to mastering NURBS sculpting. And by the way, every one of these skills will be essential for subdivision modelling too.
And by the time you’ve done these two segments, you’ll understand the terminology enough to be able to jump into whichever section will give you the info you need to move forward with your learning.
- Dipping into the tutorials to get an idea of the lingo and the workflow
- Switching to Alias and seeing what you can find out for yourself, and where you get stuck
- And then just referring back to specific sections of the tutorials when you want to get a steer on one aspect of the modelling process.
There are different types of content for Alias training.
The ‘make a cup of coffee and sit back and watch or read’ type can be found in the Alias Golden Rules and Theory Builders (both available through Alias Help) and also some of the longer videos you’ll find on the web, the “how I built this whole BMW in 1 hour” videos. (For example: on Alias Car Modeling – in Korean, and on Sketch Modeling a Car Exterior Part 1 and Part 2.)
Then there’s the ‘Monkey-see, Monkey-do’ videos, where you really want someone to take you step-by step, with the video rolling on one monitor while you follow the steps on another in Alias. That would be the above videos as well as Barry’s advanced ones. You can access his Deep Dives here, and his Class A videos here.
Don’t forget the ‘I need help now!’ content – use the Alias Help Menu ‘What’s this’ tool to get info on a particular tool.
The search function in Alias Help is a huge asset. And there’s always Google.
Learning Alias is a big task – it has a unique personality, and it will take a while to make friends with it. Spend time on the intrinsic things like selecting, moving, aligning, viewing until you feel totally in control of the 3D space, before raising your ambitions up to learning all the tools and building professional level models.
Yes, there will be more!
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