3D-Palace

3D-Palace is recognised as one of the first sites to use the End to End video tutorial approach for teaching complex subjects such as 3DS Max. During 2002 when the website was first created as a project to bring members wanting to learn 3d together, the founder and tutorial author Cris Robson used what was at the time a novel idea for technical learning of approaching a large and complex end result, for example a minigun, and rather than using timelapses and cuts that expect the end user to have a fairly broad specific knowledge, the video tutorial would instead run using a cradle to grave approach, taking an Empty application to final 3D model.

This was unique at the time for several reasons, primarily cost. During 2002 and 2003 when 3D-Palace first started trying this method, there had been a drop in the prices of high bandwidth packaged servers. Rackshack (now merged into Theplanet) was able to offer a high bandwith and low cost dedicated server which meant small budget websites were finally able to offer a service invlolving the transfer of large files. Before this the main option for lower budget sites open had been using peer to peer networks, which led in turn to problems with control of quality and material. During this time several tutorial sites had started to allow members to download video tutorials - most on a commercial basis, such as SimplyMaya, others on a mixed stock basis would offer free and commercial sets for download, the commercial sets being available under a subscription service. Jason Busby's 3DBuzz was a prime example of this, his site initially distributing learning material on CDs that were sent out free of charge to anyone who requested one, they would rapidly move to being primarily a download site supported by member sponsorship (subscription). 3D-Palace at this time did not decide to embrace the commercial aspects of tutorial authoring - the first tutorials produced were all end to end, unlike all of its peers and were all available for any member to download free of charge. There was a sponsorship system in place however this was a donation system and did not reflect on the materials that the end user was able to download.

The end to end video tutorial approach used by 3d-palace was developed by its founder Cris Robson as a way of replicating the popular methodology used by popular TV artist Bob Ross. Impressed by the methods of his teaching and the formation of a solid foundation of learning by use of the watch, repeat and learn, 3D-Palace embraced a methodology based learning approach, a way of taking the pupil through the entire process, no matter how repetative, reinforced with a calm and helpful, relaxed tutor to explain the processes and what was happening at the time. This varied markedly from even some of the most expensive commercial sets available on the internet in that a set could be several hours long and have a specific goal at the end that any user would be able to duplicate given time, rather than a set being 90 minutes long and focussed on one specific target area.

During 2003 3d-palace developed a new method of encoding tutorials in order to make them smaller for the end user to download. This method, whilst being a trade secret, is known to use processed from VDbub, Camtasia Screen Recorder and some in house software. File sizes for AVI files playable in windows have seen a drop that is considerable thanks to this. The 24 months following the creation and eventual growth of 3d-palace bought about necessary changes, following which 3D-Palace produced the worlds first ever commercial end to end video training DVD, The Set. Before the release of this set, learning DVDs and VHS Cassettes had contained at most two hours of video content, presented in a more or less standard classroom setting with some video examples superimposed over the top, Gnomon was most notable for this, them being the market leader at the time. 3D-Palace's data DVD release gave over 40 hours of video content for the same price and on only two DVDs. Unlike a lot of small studios at the time the DVDs were presented in a case with disk labels and a menu system. The popularity of this release was a great suprise and allowed 3d-palace to purchase much needed tools for development of future sets. Following the success of the large scale learning project, many other tutorial production studios followed suit and now the end to end tutorial is a commonly available product for technical learning, although 3d-palace still is a forerunner in development of larger and larger learning sets; developing new methods of tutorial delivery, methods of showing information on screen and new methods of free tutorial distribution to aid the community.

At present 3d-palace has over 160 gigabytes of free and commercial stock on it's servers for download and manages a community of over 90,000 members. It regularly releases new free upgrades and features in an attempt to improve the learning experience and heighten interest in learning more about 3d.



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