Sunday, 14 November 2021

"It Doesn't Work!" - How to Solve Tech Troubles

Why Doesn't It Work?
"It doesn't work"  is a problem frequently encountered by our students at BNU.

Remember that every technical problem, no matter how infuriating, has a solution. One of the key skills our students learn at BNU is how to solve problems - and find solutions, so that production work can continue. Digital artists face an endless stream of technical hiccups.

Google the Problem
Remember that you are very unlikely to be the first user to experience the problem.  Someone, somewhere on the web, will most likely have a solution. 

"It Doesn't Work"
The trick is to go beyond "It Doesn't Work". Ask yourself - what exactly is not working? What version of Maya are you running? What error message did you get? At what stage of the process did the problem occur? What renderer are you using? The more information you can include in the question, the better the answer is likely to be. 
What Precisely is not Working?
Ask the question as clearly as you can; try to be as specific as possible, and use keywords which are likely to pick up a solution. 

The more precisely you ask the question, the better the answer is likely to be. There are countless user forums for Maya and other software where users help one another find solutions to technical problems. 

Reboot the Software
Shut down the software application that is malfunctioning and start again.  All software is temperamental; sometimes you need to close it down and re-start it.

Re-Start your Machine
If the application still isn't working, re-start your computer. 50% of technical problems can be solved with a re-start.  If a re-start doesn't work, close your computer down (shutdown) and start it up again. Sometimes a shutdown works even where a re-start has failed.

Post your question at our FB Group
Ask Your Peers
Ask other students. Our online student classrooms offer a friendly forum to post problems and queries; don't be shy to ask for help.  Be as precise as you can when you ask the question; try to avoid saying simply "it doesn't work".  Always post a screengrab to show what is going on; include as much information as you can think of. What version of Maya are you running? What error message did you get? What renderer are you using?

Save your work - Maya  often crashes
15 Minute Rule
Maya is like any piece of sophisticated software - it can be unstable, and it crashes often. You should save your work every ten minutes as a precaution - this is good industry practice. If you are experiencing a lot of crashes, try re-booting your machine, or turning it off and then on again. Check the message boards - there are a lot of threads on this subject.

Remember the Fifteen Minute Rule
The Fifteen Minute Rule is something I encountered for the first time while working at Sony Pictures Animation, on Open Season. It's a simple rule, and a good way to keep production moving ahead.
The rule is this: if you get stuck on a problem, spend 15 minutes trying to figure out the solution. Google it, Read The Manual, check out online forums - whatever works. If you still can't figure it out - go for help. To read more about it, follow this link

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