Skillz! What have you mastered, and what are you working on?

I noticed in my last question the answers were all over the place - which I honestly did not expect. In creating watchfaces I thought many would have answers like some technical aspect or other… but nooooo… ya’ll surprised me!

SO!
When ya’ll started out doing this - maybe as a hobby with your own watch - and there was a face you had in mind… what was the one thing that you struggled to get right?
And now you have mastered or at the very least become pretty competent?
And what skill are you working on to perfect now?

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You are asking very good questions lately @alwaysbusy4family!

• For me, it started as a challenge because I couldn’t find any other watch faces that actually show all the data that I wanted to show on my watch. So I took it upon myself to create such a face, and now about 200 faces later it has turned into a fun hobby. I suppose some of the experts here may have turned it into some side cash, but that isn’t attainable unless you become a partner.

I often like to model astronomical things in some of my watch faces, so naturally some of my first struggles in watch face designing were all mathematical based:

• At first I struggled with orbital calculations, that is calculating the motion of a circle in the X-Y coordinate system. Then I had to learn to add a 3D perspective to it by altering the Y axis orbit and size of the object. Then I mastered that and found out I had to figure out how to do an orbital expression of something already in orbit. That is, say for example: the moon orbiting around the earth, orbitting around the sun. I found that later, even in simple time peices, this calculation has been used many times. I eventually mastered that. Then found I had to take it another level and look at shading of an orbital system in a 3D perspective along a rotating object. I don’t see many Facer designers who take it to such a level.
• Another track on which I struggled early on is I wanted to create graphs of weather data on the watch face. Some folks ahead of me came up with some concepts and ideas, which I expanded upon, and I was told and eventually found out on my own that the Tan(x) function only works on some watches, and not universally. Then somebody figured out a crazy long expression as an alternate to tan(x) and I for some reason went with it and developed a fairly solid and incredibly long expression to graph the weather data. As far as I can tell, nobody else does this here, despite publishing the methodology (see my instructions at bottom of this thread).
• Another track in which I struggled is I wanted to make some retro game inspired faces, so I had to figure out how to animate fonts (see my tutorial), create sliding layers, animations, motion triggers, seamless transitions, etc. all while not using the premium version…

At this time, I think I mastered much of the math, so now I am struggling with the artwork bahind the scenes. Custom hands, gears, bevelled edges, shadows, shading, etc. The creative artistic force within is something I don’t really have, so I really struggle on taking this next step…

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Took me forever to do the tourbillon. Got there thanks to the many communications with @russellcresser. I wouldn’t say I’m competent in coding now, but definitely find it a bit easier than it was then…

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And that is a pretty fine tourbillon! The attention to detail, the rotating cogs & gears, shadows, timing, is what puts is above others.

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What type of software helps you in the math? And the astronomy?
The shading, and artwork I assume you use something like rendering artwork software?

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Coding drives me batty. I started when I made a frankenmac (a mac running on a PC.) But as far as something as delicate as a watch… NOPE NOPE NOPE!!!
That is scary.
That watchface is very nice, by the way. That gear moving around every minute is mesmerizing…

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I cant say I mastered anything, meanwhile I just managed to use some graphic tools to make some half-decent shine effect.

I first used simple notepad to be able to see the whole formula, as the creator window is small.
With some more complicated things I switch to notepad++ to help me count the brackets.

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If I am having a tough time on an equation, I’ll graph it out just in MS Excel to see if it is going how I imagine. Here is an example thread where you can see how that went & how some input from the community, especially @ThaMattie, helped solve the problem.

For astronomy, I have callibrated some models at The Planets Today : A live view of the solar system & verified with Sun, Earth and Moon Position - 3D Simulator while testing as illustrated in this example thread. But in a general sense, most of my models incorporate basic knowledge such as orbital frequencies, seasonal tilt of the earth in the ecliptic plane, moon age, 24 hour earth rotation, tidal frequencies on moon location, etc. Then I just figure out what formula to applyl and how to apply it, then test. In the example above, a couple of guys were kind enough to take photos of the moon at certain times to verify accuracy of models.

For shading and artwork software, I don’t feel myself advanced enough to use some of the higher end stuff yet. At this time, I am using the free Paint.net from https://www.getpaint.net/ . Some of the other guys on here have also pointed me to some of the very usefull pluggins for this software from Plugins - Publishing ONLY! - paint.net Forum . They have some very usefull shading and bevels pluggins that I’m getting the hang of. The magic wand is really usefull as well. But i am certainly not the reference one should use for artwork software input, as some of these other guys are really skilled in that department, not me.

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I was stupid enough to read that example thread and - mind you, that is not the first time advanced algebraic equations killed my brain cells, but I do not do well with higher math. Physics… maybe. I was a truck driver for 20 years and understanding torque is easier.

You must have a lot of synapses… and especially @ThaMattie !! So impressive how he just works those formulas like they are so much easy bake pies! Boom done!

You guys must have a blast on Pi day!!

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This is turning into a Topic worh Bookmarking. With all Brad’s Tutorials flagged up.
The Matamatics for the Moon phases was my biggest struggle as there is no way I could have come up with them by myself. Learning how to maniplulatet them to do what I want is always a chalange but very pleasing when it works.
I promised myself this year to get into more polished Graphics. At the moment I work on Rhino4 and Autodesk Sketchbook. I have had a look at Gimp to do a couple of fade things like Radar sweeps but find it very Daunting, though there are plenty of Tutorials on the net for it.

@alwaysbusy4family are you going to have a go and Make something to go on your Apple Watch ?

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Only if I want a migraine.

I like Pegz work quite a bit and just sync her faces.

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