I’ve wanted to make this Two-Look OLL tutorial for a while, and finally found the time. Although the video embedded below is comprehensive (read: long) and should stand alone, this post’s further background and table of algorithms should help with learning/practice.
What is OLL?
The third-step in 3×3 solving under the CFOP/Fridrich Method is OLL (Orient Last Layer). By the OLL stage, with the Cross and F2L complete, the bottom face and first two layers will be solved. The goal of OLL is to orient the up face stickers (generally yellow for white-on-bottom solvers so that all are facing up and none are facing “out.”
There are 57 possible cases/states at the OLL stage, too many for most cubers to learn/remember all solutions. (Two years in, and I know only about 30 of them....) Two-Look OLL is designed to lighten the burden by breaking OLL into two steps. The first step (or “look”) of Two-Look OLL is to orient the four edges, forming a yellow cross or plus-sign (ignoring the edges). The second “look” orients the four corners so that yellow faces up, completing the top face. The center cubie is, of course, fixed and can never be “un-oriented.” As the Speedsolving Wiki summarizes:
[Y]ou do not need to know all 57 OLLs to use 2-look OLL, rather the system is divided up. By first orienting the edges (3 cases), then orienting the corners (7 cases), orientation of all pieces on the last layer is completed.
I think we all can agree that 10 cases is better than 57!?! Here’s a video teaching and contextualizing them:
FIRST-LOOK: Orienting the Edges
There are three different main algorithms used to orient the edges, depending on the case. (Remember, that the first look ignores the edges, which are grayed-out in the diagrams.) Although the video and table should speak for themselves, here’s a quick break-down:
- BAR: Make it run horizontally. F, Sexy Move, F’. Easy. (This is the foundation for the Dot and Alt L cases)
- L: Place it in the upper-left. If in the lower-right, do the Bar algorithm with Fw and Fw’.
- DOT: Bar algorithm twice, with Fw and Fw’ the second time. When it’s time to get fancy, substitute an S move for the F’ Fw between the two Sexy Moves.
(flip opposite edges)
|F (R U R’ U) F’
(flip adjacent edges)
|F (R U’ R’ U’) (R U R’) F’
||Fw (R U R’ U’) Fw’
(flip all four edges)
|F (R U R’ U’) F’ Fw (R U R’ U’)Fw’
F (R U R’ U’) S (R U R’ U’) Fw’
SECOND-LOOK: Orienting the Corners
With the four U edges oriented after the first look, the second look targets the four U corners. There are seven possible cases. Although these algorithms are somewhat harder and longer than the three from the first look, with practice (while focussing on mechanics and finger tricks) these will become natural; muscle memory will replace memorization.
The video emphasizes certain of the tougher aspects of these algorithms. A couple quick reminders:
- SIDEWINDER: Pay attention to the mechanics on this one. Right index finger for the B’ and left ring finger for the ending B.
- HEADLIGHTS: D and D’ are opposite of U and U’. Use left hand ring finger for them.
|(R U) (R’ U R) (U2 R’)
|(R U2’ R’) U’ (R U’ R’)
|H / CROSS
|F (R U R’ U’) (R U R’ U’) (R U R’ U’) F’
||(R U R’ U) (R U’ R’) U (R U2 R’)
|(R U2′) (R2′ U’) (R2 U’) (R2′ U2′ R)
|SIDEWINDER / BOWTIE
|(R’ F) (R B’) (R’ F’) (R B)
|T / HAMMERHEAD
|(Lw’ U’) (L U) (R U’) (Rw’ F)
||(r U R’ U’) L’ (U R U’ x’)|
|(R2 D) (R’ U2) (R D’) (R’ U2 R’)
After taking an ENORMOUS amount of time to make this tutorial, I discovered that Paradox Cubing had already made a very good two-look tutorial himself. I’d be remiss if I didn’t suggest that you check out his tutorial and great channel, which is chock full of excellent tutorials.