The Next Step

Written by Marty Runik.

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   In the last article we discussed the importance of knowing your vision and its limitations when it comes to learning and doing PDR.  Knowing these limitations and how to eliminate or compensate for them is absolutely necessary if we want to easily be able to see our tool tip even in the bottom of the deepest dents and creases. Any experienced tech knows there is nothing that will screw up a dent worse than not seeing your tip until its too late. If there are even a couple bad over pushes in your dent, especially in the sweet spot, ( impact point) the chances of a true 100% finish or even a fast repair are gone. But what if you know your eyesight is fine or is corrected to as good as its going to get, and you still can’t see your tip before making over pushes inside your deeper dents and creases? The next step is usually determining if you are using the right reflection type for your eyes and brain. This may get a bit technical but we’ll try and keep things as simple as possible.


     Believe it or not, the way your brain processes visual information has more to do with the type of reflection you need than you eyes do. Two people with identical vision in every way may still need two completely different reflection types. A good example of this is the old fight between techs that like a traditional fog board vs. those that use a line board. A line board tech may ONLY be able to use a line board because his brain will not process what are called analog visual signals, but he can easily process digital information. Such a tech can spend years trying to see things in a fog board that his brain will never allow him to see. I’ve found that about 2-3% of techs absolutely need a line board to get the best visual info for them. On the other hand, a person whose brain can not process digital info but only sees analog information will never see a thing in a line board no matter how much time he spends working with it. Such a tech will need some type of fog reflection or possibly a hybrid fog to see the visual info he needs. 


       Now most people can process both types of visual info, but will tend to be more analog visually. These people can use either reflection but will usually see best from some type of fog reflection. If this person is more over on the digital side of the scale though, he will do best with a combination board made of a wide hard line stripe with just a small fog on both edges of the line. 


So how do you know which type you are, or if you are a mixture of both types? Its fairly easy to find out.


#1 If looking at a properly adjusted standard fog reflection in a panel does not show you variations of shading from dark to light grey in and around the dent, and you don’t see these shades change as you move the board or your head slightly, then chances are you will need a line board or straight fluorescent reflection. Also, if you do not see a gradual fade in the fogged area of the reflection board itself, but instead see a fuzzy thick line or even a hard line, then a fog reflection probably will not work for you.  


If you fall into this category, a video on how to read a line board, or some personal instruction should very quickly make things click for you. You will probably feel a line board just makes perfect sense to you and you almost intuitively know what your looking at with just a little instruction.


#2 If looking at a line board any more than 5 minutes gives you a headache, makes you slightly dizzy,  or you feel something like a buzzing in your head, or in extreme cases makes you feel like throwing up, you are almost entirely an analog person. You will need some type of fog reflection, and will probably never be able to use a line board. One notable exception to this is in extreme cases such as heavy UV damage to the eye from too much arc welding or long term sun exposure. This type of tech, even though he would probably benefit from some type of standard fog may need a bright fluorescent light type of fog or even a straight fluorescent tube light with no fog at all. This would be a bright hard edge reflection. But even in this extreme case, the tech will not be able to use a line board successfully. 


#3 If looking at a line board for a while only confuses you, or you don’t know what your looking at, you are probably both analog and digital and just need to understand the line reflection better to use it. This is BY FAR the most common type of tech. In my opinion this tech will usually benefit most from some type of fog reflection. For these techs, a line reflection does have some uses which we will discuss in a future article.


      Again, in my opinion most techs can learn to use some type of fog. There are MANY different types out there now, and I think this reflection type will show the most detail and visual information to techs that can use it. But what about those techs who know their eyes are fine and who have been trained with every reflection out there and still don’t feel like they see things the way they should. Don’t give up until you find some one who knows the visual side of a technique called Brain Gym. You can find these specialists in almost every part of the country now as the techniques are gaining in popularity rapidly. If you bring the different types of reflections to these people they can test you and give you certain exercises that will help you determine which reflection works best for your brain and eyes together. 


      Of course sometimes no matter what any one does there are some people that despite all efforts, who seemingly should be good candidates for this trade, still can not learn PDR. Brain Gym is not 100% effective for some people. But with this technique, you will almost always know immediately if you have a problem that can be helped or not. If this sounds like you, you can save months of agony and wasted money by looking up one of these specialists first. 


       There are other possible causes of not being able to make sense of any reflection. Most of these are more obvious though. Learning or processing disabilities are by far the most common.. If you have been diagnosed with an input or output category type of learning problem, PDR will be extremely difficult or even impossible for you to learn. If you were diagnosed with problems in the integration or storage category you should still be able to learn PDR but at a slower pace. Other problems such as dyslexia, ADD, etc can be worked with to a point. Past head or eye trauma can also make PDR a bad fit for you. If you even suspect something like a disability is hindering your progress, you will of course want to get examined by a specialist before going any further. 


      In the next article we will be discussing various types of fog reflections and how to tell what works best for you.