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Advice on organizing a vvvv workshop?

I know the task of deciding which content to present, and preparing and creating some of the content is my responsibility and no one else can do that work for me. Still I wanted to ask for recommendations and guidance from people who did stuff like this themselves and have more experience than me.

Although I have been learning vvvv for more than a year now, and know my way around it pretty well, I am still a beginner on the scale of the vastness that vvvv is. My motivation is to share my fascination with vvvv and present it’s capabilities to other people (who may have more time to learn and use it better than me).

There is a small local annual music festival coming up soon http://summer3p.subotica.com/, http://www.myspace.com/summer3p. I’ve recently talked to someone about doing a vvvv workshop and I need to submit a simple description of the workshop and perhaps an summary time/content plan. I would probably do 1h-3h each day of the 4 day festival, depending on people’s interest and attendance of course.

About the content… (aka “the main question”)
Last year I downloaded and looked at a lot of patches in zip packages, some of which were clearly from various vvvv presentations and workshops. Does someone have a suggestion on which of those packages to use? Is it OK to use them (you know, ethically and legally)? I know simple reuse of other workshop patches seems kind of unoriginal and simply “bad”, but I expect these attendants will be people who probably never heard of vvvv. Also, I don’t have enough free time to prepare it myself (having a full time job). That’s why instead of showing off some specific advanced functionality I would like to keep it introductory and simple mostly, adding some intriguing things at the end of the day to keep them coming every day. Still, at the end of the four days I want people hooked on vvvv, so some advanced/cool topics need be covered :)

I would also appreciate any other wisdom you are willing to share regarding presenting and teaching vvvv :)


Dragoljub

This isn’t as much about specific content as a simple suggestion. Put some really cool demos at the START of the presentation. I hosted a session at a barcamp event (http://barcamp.org/) recently and made the mistake of saving the best for last.

I tried to stumble my way through explaining the idea of the node based visual programming style starting from the basic IO boxes and operators, building into spreads, etc… Needless to say my small session got much smaller as I fiddled around with the really basic logic patches. Later in the session when I started using a webcam to do fiducial tracking and playing with the wii-mote, people started leaving other sessions to come check out vvvv. Give them something to work toward so they don’t think that vvvv is all about pushing little boxes around (even though it really is, mwhahahahahahah!!!).

That’s just my $0.02

I think that dujoducom has a good point. I never gave a workshop (altough I wrote some tutorials in Dutch) but when I show and explain VVVV to friends they always want to see the DetectObjects, fudicials tracking and such things.

I think those kind of nodes are also a nice place to start explaining VVVV since freeframe nodes return pretty basic variables that people understand. You can have a simple demo running in no time that people feel proud about.

Hello drago

I Have been giving some workshops by now, not with vvvv as the central theme, but mostly as the main tool to achieve the goal.

I think it is really important for you to have a theme for the workshop other than just vvvv. to people not using vvvv it is just a strange looking patching tool that looks complicated.
You need to attract the intrest by choosing a theme that people find interesting, I think something like: “real time audio reactive visuals” or something similar would work for the people attending your festival.
You can then use vvvv as the main tool to achieve the goal.

Be aware that 1-3h each day is not a lot of time, although it should be enough to give people a glimpse of vvvv as a powerful tool and they should also be able to patch very basic “box scales to sound” things themselves during that time, depending on how much they work outside your hours.
So make it clear to yourself what you want to achieve during the workshop.

And one thing is very clear! Your enthusiasm is very important for the enthusiasm of the students, I always end ud spending a lot of time and energy, but I always find it being very rewarding, both in enthusiasm from the students but also in the quality of the results. I find it worth it to put a lot of efford into it.

Some general info on how I usually make the workshop:

Usually the students are in the field of architecture 4th semester and up, have a strong understanding for 3D and are very skilled in all the “regular” 3D software. If they have been using grasshopper for Rhino beforehand they have a real bennefit of understanding nodebased patching already. So my experience is based on this group of students and the context is thus mostly mediated architecture of some sort. and my obeservations might not fit cmopletely on other groups of students.

Usually I have from 3 whole days to 4 weeks for a workshop, where the use of vvvv range from the central tool to a secondary tool needed for just a part of the workshop. The amount of time for a workshop depend mainly on economy.

I generally use around 4 hours to cover the very basics, this includes a very basic thing with quads with images on, where I first show how to make aquad and how to transform it, change the colour and add a picture as texture.
Then I give an assignment designed to show how clever spreads are, eg. make 5 evenly distributed quads in a circle, each with a different filetexture on it… the fast ones quickly makes that and I ask them to change it from five to seven and still have it ecually distributed.
then I show them an example of how this can be achieved using spreads and the next little assignment is to make a matrix of quads that qhange colours and each quad is scaled so all the quads excactly cover the whole renderer.

from here on, how I progress depends on what the end goal is, 3D, sensors, light control etc. this basic approach is pretty simple and can be taken into many directions from here (And by now I have doen it enough times so that I dont need to prepare for this part)

tips:

If the workshop is a bit longer and the students have little idea about the tools being used and their capabilities it is a good idea to have them begin the process of conceptualizing before they get affected of the possibilities and limitations of the tools. This way you often get results that are not what you usually expect, that is also why I hessitate to show too many examples beforeforehand, although I agree that showing the examples just before the technical parts begin is a good idea to spark interest and enthusiasm before the often not too advanced basic examples designed to teach the basics, often the link from flat 2D thinking to more complex 3D is not really easily visible.

I usually don’t make a lot of files people can download. I begin from scratch making very simple patches at the beginning, where the students have their own laptops running and do their own “examples” by following me. I also share the folder for the workshop with the students using dropbox.

It is also my experience that even though most people are good enough to install vvvv and get it running, including the addonpack, there is always some problems getting it running, mainly evolving around macs, vista and graphic drivers.
usually out of twenty, around 3 have provblems.

advice that should go out with the workshop invite is:
install lates graphics drivers.
for people using parallels, install a recent version (I think it is version 5 that works but someone please confirm this)
and in vista run at least once as administrator.
Other than this give the download page as instructions.

when there are people with a problem, I give a quick glimpse at it and give instructions if I can otherwise I ask them to look at the side persons machine untill a break where more time can be addressed to the problem.

I hope this info is at least somewhat usefull

-sunep

Hi everyone,

THANKS a million for your answers! I made a mistake thinking I was subscribed for notifications on this thread. So I didn’t even read these. (I’ll read them later, first I want to let you know how it all went).

At the end of July we had an audio-visual workshop, but since it was mostly local in character, mostly friends attended, and mostly everyone just played around with whatever they wanted. Mostly music. One friend played a bit with modul8. I played a lot with vvvv, even managed to show an example of mapping animations to real geometry (see flickr.com/bogiwoye).

I wanted to have a plan, and better organize everything, but there really wasn’t much interest shown from the official organizers of the workshop.

It was lots of fun, some random people (aka visitors of the workshop) even asked me to briefly explain to them how vvvv works. Even though it wasn’t a true workshop like I’ve seen on pictures of node08, I really enjoyed it. My vacation this year was well spent!

Since some friends and I are still planning to organize a serious vvvv workshop, this information you provided will be of great help! I really appreciate you took the time to do this!

And now to read your replies…

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