Dark Scarab Tutorial Guide

Dark Scarab Tutorial Guide

Postby IrascibleOne » August 9th, 2013, 7:19 pm

Are you interested in sharing your knowledge on Dark Scarab? If so, this guide will walk you through the special format that tutorials on DS follow and ways in which you can make your tutorial the best it can be.

All tutorials on Dark Scarab follow a step-by-step format. While this format may seem restrictive at first, there are many benefits to doing so. First, it helps ensure that all tutorials are clean and in a format that is recognizable to readers. Also, it means each tutorial has the necessary components required to reach the high quality that Blender users have come to expect. Finally, it helps break down tasks into logical steps that make a tutorial easier to follow, easier to take breaks with, and easier to return to at a later time.

Tutorial Title
A good title is short, sweet, and to the point. Readers will only give your tutorial a quick glance, so it important that the title properly informs the reader what the tutorial is about as fast as possible.

Short Description
While the description does not appear on Dark Scarab, it will appear on search engines. Since your tutorial will not benefit from a preview image on a search engine like it does on Dark Scarab, you want to use the description to tell people what they will learn about and which parts of Blender they will be using in your tutorial.

These are predefined topics that you choose from when submitting your tutorial. These allow readers to find your tutorial on the tutorials page and help give people a better idea of what your tutorial will be going over in Blender. Knowing the topics can also help you write a good description. If you are covering a topic that is not listed in the submission form, let me know and I will add it.

Preview Image
The preview image for your tutorial is simply the first image in your tutorial, even if it is not in the first step. If you do not use an image, then the default one will be used. I recommend using the first step in your tutorial to display a final render of your tutorial to ensure a good preview image.

Blend File
The blend file for your tutorial is a file that readers can download to see the final result. This helps readers who may find it easier to follow your tutorial by looking at how you set up your blend file.

Your tutorial can have one or more steps and each step has their own components. Each component is required for each step, no matter how many steps you may have.

  • Step Title
    This is similar to the tutorial title, but is specific to the step itself. If your tutorial has a single step, you can think of this as the subtitle to your tutorial.
  • Step Text
    This is where you tell your readers how to complete the step. Good tutorials avoid unnecessary chatter and are straight to the point but also avoid simply listing out keypresses and mouse clicks. If your tutorial is either of these, you risk having readers that do not finish your tutorial. A good balance is text that is efficiently goes through all the necessary actions but also explains why it is important to perform key actions.
  • Step Media Item
    This is either an image or a YouTube/Vimeo video that accompanies the text. The media item is meant to provide further explanation to help readers confirm they are following the tutorial correctly and to help readers understand the step when it is difficult to explain with just text.

As mentioned at the beginning of this guide, this may feel like a lot of work and restrictive when it come to writing tutorials. However, there is still a great deal of flexibility. Here are some ways to post a tutorial without doing the usual text tutorial.

Video Tutorials
Your tutorial does not need to be all text and images. If you are doing your tutorial in video with a voiceover, simply submit a tutorial with one step. Use the step title as the subtitle for you tutorial and use the text to give a broad overview of what you do in your video.

Quick Tips

Don't want to write a whole tutorial, but have some quick tips to share? You can post many single step tutorials or put many tips and tricks into a single tutorial. Maybe 10 hidden tricks that most Blender users don't know about?

Beyond Tutorials
Stretch it beyond a basic tutorials! Teach people where to find top Blender resources around the web, share what you learned in your latest speed modelling session, or the process you went through during your last project. As long as you are teaching and sharing valuable knowledge, DS is open to many different ways of doing so. And if you aren't sure about an idea, post it in the forum first and we will give you all the feedback you need.

1: Do not create your tutorial in the DS Panel form! If something goes wrong, you could lose everything. I definitely recommend typing it up in a text editor and copying everything into the form when you are ready.

2: Crop your images. Your images will be resized to 650px. To prevent getting necessary info squished, crop your images to be 650px wide. Height doesn't matter as much. By doing this before submitting your tutorial, you also save a lot of time uploading images to our server. Show what you need to show and don't waste time and bandwidth by showing more.

3: Optimize your images. A huge factor in whether or not people will read your tutorial is page load time. You can drastically speed up the load time by saving as PNG-8 rather than PNG-24 or by lowering the quality of your JPG images to get a smaller file size. Just don't lower the quality so much that it makes your images look bad!

4: Try not to go over 3-4 paragraphs of text per step. There's nothing stopping you from doing so, but the longer your step is, the more likely it is you are doing more than one step. I typically shoot for 2 or 3 paragraphs. This keeps steps short, readers will feel like they are making good progress, and everyone is happy. I find that following this rule helps prevent unnecessary chatter and keep the tutorial moving.

Have any other information I should add to the guide? Or other tips to help improve the quality of tutorials on DS? Don't hesitate to speak up and let me know!
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