lip-sync tutorial assumes stuff that hasn't been explained

In Step 3 of Lesson 3, Lip-Syncing, it says to draw Deb Ant’s mouth in the D position. This confused me at first, because none of the mouth shapes I see in the program’s Sound Element Editor match their letters. Seeing that the only letters are A through G, plus X, I realize that these are apparently sequential letters, and do not represent sounds. I can infer from this that there are seven basic shapes, plus some extra shape represented by X. (Huh – you think they’d have gone with numbers, so as to avoid confusion. Whatever.)

I understand that I may be wrong with some of this, but I can only work with what I have in front of me. These are my best guesses as to what the programmers intended.

Continuing: Having no way of knowing what a D shape is, I noticed that the tutorial says, “This is how Deb Ant’s lips look in the D position we drew.” I looked at the disembodied mouth and said, "Okay, I’ll draw one of those, and somewhere down the line they’ll explain what they mean."

This was the Beginning of Grief. You see, somehow they created a shape that is wide open, yet has a drawn line of some sort to contain the fill. How on earth did they do that; what tools or techniques? Then I tried the Polyline tool – and thought I’d lost it. I’ve used Beziers before, but this one is just insane. At least, without documentation it is. I searched Help for “polyline” but not one hit explained how to get handles to show up on a point. Even crusty old AppleWorks 6 has better Beziers than this.

On top of my concerns about the lip-sync tutorial, the material I’ve read so far (starting from the beginning) is generously sprinkled with errors of spelling and grammar. In the tutorial’s Painting lesson, Step 6 is missing altogether.

This morning I was ready to fork out 400+ bucks for TBS, but if this is what owning and using the program is like, it’s just too much frustration. In the meantime, is anyone familiar enough with the lip-sync tutorial to help me through the above-mentioned issues?

Save the tutorial for last. Read the other stuff first.

Maybe you thought my previous post was whiney. I agree, but I stand by most of what I said and feel that even the tone makes sense in context: I’m giving feedback as a person just stepping into the text. In this case, a person with some reading on animation under his belt but no practical experience, describing his impressions of the material.

Even though the Tutorial section of the manual is presented as a lead-in to the manual (which fortunately does NOT assume one has an animation background), the lip-sync tutorial includes no cross-references to the relevant how-to pages, and uses technical terms without explanation. Despite the suggestion in another thread in this forum that one simply Google “animation phonemes,” I found no real explanation of the A-through-D-plus-X nomenclature on the Web, either.

Likewise, the tools for drawing a colored zone without a separate enclosing shape are not obvious, though necessary for Step 3, Draw Deb Ant’s Lips. Fortunately I found them described later in the manual (the tools, not her lips). I still find the Polyline virtually unusable, but at least TBS provides other tools that are adequate. As for the writing in the rest of the manual, it contains even more typos, grammatical errors, and poorly-constructed sentences than the tutorial section – not a sign of clear thought processes on the writer’s part!

Don’t feel bad if you don’t have the printed manual; while paper IS easier on the eyes, this one is just a hard copy of the PDF, minus the color images and working hyperlinks.

If nothing else, my advice to new users is this: Read the manual before trying to use the program – it’ll get you most of the way there – but save the tutorial for last.

Hi fuper,If you do find any typo errors in the user guide or think the tutorials are unclear or should be done after reading a certain part of the book please let us know by sending an e-mail to:techsupport@toonboomstudio.comI’ll make sure any errors will be corrected by the documentation team so we can deliver a better and easier to use product.Best regardsUgo

Thanks, Ugo. Sorry for complaining so much. Until I got through the manual I was just in a bad mood. It’s organized and uncluttered, and just has a few things that could use improvement. I’ll direct my suggestions via e-mail.