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Thread: A plea to content creators

  1. #1
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    Default A plea to content creators

    Before I get to my plea, I want to thank all of that you that have taken the time, effort, and skill to create such content, especially if you offer it for free.

    My plea is to ask you to do one thing, and that is for those that do route building, 3D content and repaints not to use the same thumbnail for all of your offerings.

    It is frustrating to look for an asset and find that a creator has used the same thumbnail, sometimes not even showing the base product, for each of their assets. You may have exactly what I am, and probably others, are looking for, but I'm not going to download it on blind faith unless it is described in great detail of what it is. If you say it's a movable bridge I probably won't download it, but if it's described as "Cape May Canal Movable Bridge" (there is such a bridge) I would download it in a heartbeat, even without a thumbnail. However, be warned I have intimate knowledge of that bridge, I used to operate and maintain it, and I will let you know if you got it wrong or right.

    I do understand there is a limit of what you can put in the description, but a lack of a proper thumbnail makes it harder for one to decide if it's what they are looking for.

    So, for everyone's sanity, please include an individual thumbnail of what you're offering and not the same one for everything.

    Thank you.
    "When it's a tie at a grade crossing, YOU lose." - Operation Lifesaver PSA

  2. #2
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    One thing I find on the DSS is a bunch of repeat assets with same thumbnail. But always the one furthest on the right is the one with the description.

    Thanks

    Sean

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    If you say it's a movable bridge I probably won't download it, but if it's described as "Cape May Canal Movable Bridge" (there is such a bridge) I would download it in a heartbeat, even without a thumbnail. However, be warned I have intimate knowledge of that bridge, I used to operate and maintain it, and I will let you know if you got it wrong or right.
    Sorry while this is GFisher's old Cape May County route the bridges over the canal aren't modeled after the real ones. Bendorsey's "Swing Bridge 36" is actually modeled after one down in Florida. I have no idea what Austin Hockey based his arch cable bridge on. I sailed thru the canal some years back on a trip from Buffalo, NY to Greenwich, NJ. Anchored off the Coast Guard Station in the harbor in Cape May and went thru the canal the next morning. Passed the A J Meerwald that was tied up on the left just before the canal entrance. Not sure what she was doing there but was nice to see her. I was bringing a 27' schooner home. A much smaller version of the Meerwald. 8-)

    I'd second the request for better descriptions. It can only help those searching thru 1000's of items for just the right one to use.

    A Pennsy G5 and coaches approach the canal southbound. I don't have much PRSL equipment from the steam era - 1 old Atlantic IIRC is all.


    Bridge master is right on top of things and has the swing bridge aligned for the train.


    Bob Pearson
    Last edited by RPearson; August 10th, 2020 at 11:58 AM.
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    That's a very reasonable request. It takes a while to make content and not long to do a proper screenshot. Not much fun downloading something different than what you were wanting. If it's the same object, just different sizes , a one size fits all screen shot works, but if not, that's where a specific screenshot come in handy on the receiving end. It's tedious, but so is blindly downloading stuff that isn't what you're looking for.
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  5. #5
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    You mean I could use the same screenshot for many assets, what a time saver.

    Cheerio John

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by RPearson View Post
    Sorry while this is GFisher's old Cape May County route the bridges over the canal aren't modeled after the real ones. Bendorsey's "Swing Bridge 36" is actually modeled after one down in Florida. I have no idea what Austin Hockey based his arch cable bridge on. I sailed thru the canal some years back on a trip from Buffalo, NY to Greenwich, NJ. Anchored off the Coast Guard Station in the harbor in Cape May and went thru the canal the next morning. Passed the A J Meerwald that was tied up on the left just before the canal entrance. Not sure what she was doing there but was nice to see her. I was bringing a 27' schooner home. A much smaller version of the Meerwald. 8-)

    I'd second the request for better descriptions. It can only help those searching thru 1000's of items for just the right one to use.

    A Pennsy G5 and coaches approach the canal southbound. I don't have much PRSL equipment from the steam era - 1 old Atlantic IIRC is all.


    Bridge master is right on top of things and has the swing bridge aligned for the train.


    Bob Pearson

    Thank you for the interesting reply. If your trip was before 2005 or so I may have been the bridge operator at Canal. It was a surprise to see that you picked up on the one thing I thought many people may not have known about. :=3

    I've downloaded a swing bridge that is eerily close to Canal (Bendorsey's "Swing Bridge 1"), with the major exception being the center pier being made of wood and not concrete. There is a P-RSL RDC available and they were bought in 1950 and 1951, 6 years before steam disappeared in South(ern New) Jersey (1957).

    A photo of the actual Canal movable Bridge:


    (A description of the photo can be found at https://www.deviantart.com/lionkingc...idge-851601456 )

    I don't know why the route maker used a model of Hells Gate(?) for the Bayshore Road bridge when a concrete and steel bridge would've sufficed.
    I wonder if the route is still available. I need to check and see. :=3
    Update: It is not, at least on DLC. :={
    Last edited by LionkingCMSL; August 10th, 2020 at 03:13 PM. Reason: Added info and photo
    "When it's a tie at a grade crossing, YOU lose." - Operation Lifesaver PSA

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by LionkingCMSL View Post
    So, for everyone's sanity, please include an individual thumbnail of what you're offering and not the same one for everything.

    Thank you.
    Yesterday, I only did 2 things; root canal surgery at an endodontist’s, and later, trawled through a mesh library of billboard trees making what seemed like a hundred individual thumbnails. The root canal surgery was the less painful activity.

    In other words, I totally support your call for individual thumbnails. I see them as a mark of respect for users facing several hundred thousand assets on the DLS and a rather poor search engine. A picture can be especially valuable when titles and descriptions are not clear, not in a language you understand or effectively non-existent (titles like ?????.???????).

    As a creator, I have always made my thumbnails individual and in more recent years, included triangle- and texture material counts in the description for those concerned about technical performance.
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  8. #8
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    I echo the above comments. As a creator I make separate screenshots for each asset, it does not take a lot of time and effort. Worst of all are those thumbnails that just state "This is not a thumbnail" - that is shear laziness and tells us that the creator is not likely to care about her/his creation. I know that there are assets that have no visible presence (scripts, rules, commands, sounds, etc) but it takes little effort and creativity to produce a representative thumbnail. For those assets that have multiple versions with small differences (e.g. speed signs) a generic graphic with an additional element (e.g "30mph") is not beyond anyone's abilities.

    My thoughts, now looking forward to my next root canal.
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  9. #9
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    As somebody who has reskinned and uploaded thousands of items recently , I can assure you that creating thumbnails is a pain, they have to be done in game ,as the "generate auto thumbnail" looks terrible for many items.

    For instance , to generate a thumbnail for a cliff spline, one has to open the item in game, set it up, screenshot, and then name the screenshot . I usually do about ten at a time to avoid going back and forth in game. if the asset has a library , or is a spline, then the game usually has to be shut down or you can't submit changes .

    Now to make the thumbnail, open up the asset, find thumbnail jpg, open up photoshop, copy paste screenshot into the thumbnail file in one of the assets, reduce the size , save in asset, then copy paste the new thumbnail into each library item. Then submit the edits , check the thumbnail to see if it's ok. Then go through the uploading process to Dls and Go through the mind numbingly slow submission process.

    Do that about 100 times in a day, let alone thousand of times, it's no wonder a lot of people don't bother . It is very time consuming, it's only when you have done it that you see why others neglect the practice. Combined with file names like ....?????…………¥?????? , cryptic codes for trees etc , as well different languages and Cyrillic. It's enough to drive one bonkers.
    WARNING! The Surgeon General has determined that the use of the simulator Trainz is highly addictive,

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    I suspect that most of those who do not include thumbnails are not likely to be reading the forum as this comes up quite often and nothing changes.

    If it hasn't got one and there is no description I don't waste time downloading it.

    It amazes me that someone can spend hours creating an asset and the skip the easiest part which is the thumbnail, you can use Pev's Trainz Mesh viewer for IM's or use the create thumbnail option in manage content or what I'm doing is take a screen shot in asset preview paste into irfanview and crop and resize, takes me under a minute and the thumbnails are very much clearer than any other method.
    Malc


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by pware View Post
    I echo the above comments. As a creator I make separate screenshots for each asset, it does not take a lot of time and effort. Worst of all are those thumbnails that just state "This is not a thumbnail" - that is shear laziness and tells us that the creator is not likely to care about her/his creation. I know that there are assets that have no visible presence (scripts, rules, commands, sounds, etc) but it takes little effort and creativity to produce a representative thumbnail. For those assets that have multiple versions with small differences (e.g. speed signs) a generic graphic with an additional element (e.g "30mph") is not beyond anyone's abilities.

    My thoughts, now looking forward to my next root canal.
    Ben Dorsey did a lot of "this is not a thumbnail" , please don't accuse him of laziness or not caring, because it's just not true. When you are creating many hundreds of assets, it is a very very annoying and time consuming activity. Necessary I grant you, but it eats up time. I've just done about 6000 thumbnails and every time I go to make yet another, I really resent the time spent on making them and I've pretty much got the process down to being as swift and painless as possible.
    WARNING! The Surgeon General has determined that the use of the simulator Trainz is highly addictive,

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    If your trip was before 2005 or so I may have been the bridge operator at Canal.
    ...
    There is a P-RSL RDC available and they were bought in 1950 and 1951, 6 years before steam disappeared in South(ern New) Jersey (1957).
    No it was more like Aug 2014.

    I always thought steam went out on the PRSL before that but it makes some sense. Sometime in time early 50's my mother took my brother and me to visit a friend in Sea Isle City for a week or so and I remember watching steam locos on the tracks along the street out front. Probably 5 at the time so not much railfanning got done.

    BTW George's route was never on the DLS. It was on the old USLW site that went off to electron heaven some years back. But you've got a reply to the PM with some info on that.

    Bob Pearson
    Last edited by RPearson; August 10th, 2020 at 11:43 PM.
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  13. #13
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    Making thumbnails is my least favourite part of content creation, but as my grandmother used to say, 'Why spoil the ship for a ha'penth of tar'.
    At least for me with making goods wagon thumbnails it's a bit easier. Line all the new ones up along a siding and take a screenshot, then go and crop and resize the images in Paint,NET. While a model is a WIP I give it a placeholder image and set it up in the config file so when it comes to adding the proper thumbnail image it's an easy swap.

    In general my rule with downloading is if an asset lacks a description and a proper thumbnail I don't bother with it. If the asset's creator didn't care about what they made why should I.
    Narcolepsy is not napping.



  14. #14
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    Of course an in-game screenshot makes for the most informative thumbnail because it can give the asset some context, but yes, they do take a lot of time.

    However, as clam1952 said, if all you need is a picture of the object itself, open the mesh with PEV MeshViewer2, right-click, make thumbnail. Simple. It takes only seconds, is already correctly sized at 240x180, no need for cropping, and it’s in .jpg format. Sure, it only has a plain colour background, but any picture of the actual object is better than a generic one or none at all.

    You can set up PEV MeshViewer with a default filename, so once done, you don’t even need to waste time naming the thumbnail file. In fact, it’s better to have just one name for your thumbnails because your configs can all use the same thumbnails container.

    I believe there are no valid excuses for generic thumbnails on mesh-based assets.


    .

    .
    Last edited by Dinorius_Redundicus; August 10th, 2020 at 08:24 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dinorius_Redundicus View Post
    Of course an in-game screenshot makes for the most informative thumbnail because it can give the asset some context, but yes, they do take a lot of time.

    However, as clam1952 said, if all you need is a picture of the object itself, open the mesh with PEV MeshViewer2, right-click, make thumbnail. Simple. It takes only seconds, is already correctly sized at 240x180, no need for cropping, and it’s in .jpg format. You can set it up with a default filename, so once that is done, you don’t even need to waste time naming the file.

    There are no excuses for generic thumbnails of mesh-based assets.

    .

    The problem with that is, being on a mac, I'd have to either have boot camp installed or an emulator or transfer the asset to usb , and then use PEV on windows and then repeat the process.
    I've tried doing the automatic screenshot for pencils cliffs, you get an extreme angle shot which is unrecognisable as the asset. it works for some others but then I don't make my own assets , only mod others so that's not much help for me.
    WARNING! The Surgeon General has determined that the use of the simulator Trainz is highly addictive,

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