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dx394b
08-07-2009, 07:33 AM
I have been wondering if anyone has had a similar experience to this.

I am not a 3d professional, but a 3d dabbler who would on occasion like to create a few "professional quality" pieces.

I've been interested in 3d since around 1999 or so - much longer, but at that time I thought it required a stack of kray computers and thus set the idea aside.

Now then, for all of my dabbling and practice I've never really created a full and complete work that is up to my standards. This is not without trying, I've spent 5, 6 weeks on a single object -aircraft especially and to this day have nothing complete to show for it.

Now then, I've come to realize that my problem might be that I had never really began with the "basics"

I'm talking about things like a simple cup or lamp - whatever. Create it fully texture it fully, render it nicely... rinse and repeat on something else...

From the start of my 3d experience I've plunged headlong into characters and cars, complex scenes... and even after years of this on and off again hobby it haven't gotten me very far.

Is this a similar pattern to anyone else who is teaching themselves 3d arts?

I just wonder if I am not the only one who has wasted all of this time, before stubbornly going back to the basics.

lwaddict
08-07-2009, 07:56 AM
Don't beat yourself up over it. You know the path now, so just follow it.

I've done it, sure. And I've seen people do the dive right in full on thing in other arenas as well.

guitar (how many people do you know that know a few songs but when asked to just jam haven't got a clue?), I know more than a few 3d artists who play but couldn't tell you what chord that was or why these two notes go together.

I work with scientists all day at my 9-5...
some of whom I've seen just attacking their computers
because they don't understand them and have never bothered
to learn the basics.

Just follow the dream and take whatever knowledge you gather along the way with you and you'll be fine... this doesn't work without a solid, albeit boring, foundation... no matter what you want to do.

Hang in there,
You can do it.

CC Rider
08-07-2009, 08:12 AM
Being "self taught" may sound glamorous but you inevitably pick up bad habits or fall into traps that you may not have if you had some guidance. Whether its guitar, CG or whatever...but its never too late to go back and learn the basics.
I was self taught on the guitar for 20 years before I took my first lesson.
Thought I was pretty good but was surprised at how much I didn't know.
After just a few lessons I was playing at a whole new level I never could have reached on my own.

Still waiting for that eye opening experience in 3D...hopefully soon!

Hang in there!

:D

adamredwoods
08-07-2009, 01:13 PM
I recommend participating in the speed modeling contests.
having a deadline will put pressure on your skills, thus making you better and better.

Also in the speed modeling, you will learn not to waste time on details-- this gets you to flesh out your idea first, then you can go back and fill in the details later.

shrox
08-07-2009, 01:46 PM
Being "self taught" may sound glamorous but you inevitably pick up bad habits or fall into traps that you may not have if you had some guidance. Whether its guitar, CG or whatever...but its never too late to go back and learn the basics.
I was self taught on the guitar for 20 years before I took my first lesson.
Thought I was pretty good but was surprised at how much I didn't know.
After just a few lessons I was playing at a whole new level I never could have reached on my own.

Still waiting for that eye opening experience in 3D...hopefully soon!

Hang in there!

:D

That is true. There are still things about Lightwave I have never tried.

toby
08-07-2009, 02:27 PM
you inevitably pick up bad habits or fall into traps that you may not have if you had some guidance. Whether its guitar, CG or whatever...but its never too late to go back and learn the basics.
I was self taught on the guitar for 20 years before I took my first lesson.
Thought I was pretty good but was surprised at how much I didn't know.
After just a few lessons I was playing at a whole new level I never could have reached on my own.

Absolutely!

But also, don't kid yourself about how easy it is to make "professional" quality stuff, just making a model at that level takes a ton of experience, so I'd focus on that first. And the best way to learn that is with tutorials.

Rayek
08-07-2009, 04:01 PM
CC Rider - Same experience, but with playing tennis. Two weeks ago I started taking some tennis lessons (last time I had some lessons was 20 years ago), and am amazed how much the basic approach has changed/evolved. After just three classes covering some of the basics I feel my playing has improved immensely. Mind, I had a tough time changing some of the bad habits I picked up along the way - but well worth it.

Same for 3d - get the basics right, and the more complex stuff benefits.

dx394b
08-07-2009, 10:09 PM
Thank You all for the replies, enouragement, and good advice!

This may sound odd, but in a way starting with the basics will make 3d more fun for me... I tend to give myself alot of pressure to complete some projects that tend to lead to too much frusteration. It's good and nessecary to push oneself if you want to get better, but nor is it any fun to keep failing (by failing I mean I am one of those perfectionsist that sees every slight wrinkle and seam) when creating larger projects.

I like the speed modelling ideas, I do tend to get gummed up in details :)

For now I think I will be focusing more on music composition, take a break from LW. I want to get some good theory down on the different violin positions so that I can write more conving parts.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not setting LW aside for ever. Its just that now that I'm starting over I feel more free to take it bit by bit, instead of getting bogged down and forcing myself into these large productions.

Maybe a good deal of music, then a serious, but small 3d study of something here and there. Who knows... :)

Well, Thank You again everyone. Best of luck in your projects. The community here is Rockin!

wacom
08-07-2009, 10:40 PM
Not to sound cheesy but-

You need to get even more basic- you need to understand your creative process and what works for you- what inspires you, what gets in your way- what you will do for money, and what you would do even if you had none.

That said, begin collecting things you like, any thing that draws your attention, and try and reflect on it often for inspiration and understanding. Film clips, photographs, designs, toys, leafs, rocks anything really that has a visual or audio meaning for you. Put them in a folder/box/on a thumb drive/ your ipod. This is good because it will eventually show you "who you are" and you'll also begin to see a thread between things that you might not have otherwise. When you're at a loss- look to these things to generate inspiration and ideas- to remind you of who you are and what you want to do.

Do something small each day. Personally I try to draw each day- hopefully at the same time(s). Make it a habit and don't let things get in the way. What ever it is, don't wait to be inspired to do it- force yourself to do it. Do you have to make time to pee? NO. This should be the same urge.

Case in point: When I draw- if I have a great idea, I'll go at it right away, but even when I'm drawing a blank, I have a set of things that are "raw skill builders" that I try to do. One of them is drawing hands. Another is posing characters drawn from simple primitives into various poses to emphasize action, weight etc. You can't go wrong drawing more hands, and you can't go wrong positioning primitives in make believe space, let alone trying to get them to do something!

If you can find something like drawing, painting, film making, playing music, photography etc. that you can do AWAY from the computer, but that builds your visual/creative skills over all so much the better. This is not your art- this is what builds you up to make your art. You can take a digital camera and a sketchpad just about anywhere- and it makes making excuses as to why you didn't do at least 10 photos or 15min of sketching that much harder (though you really should do a lot more than that).

From things like this you should start forming good habits, dedication, and inspiration. Let people close to you know when you need to do them- and they will begin to respect your time and eventually encourage you- it gives them something "real" to see you're committed. Take time each day as well, to learn something new in 3D. Maybe you'll try and model and texture something from your sketch book, or "inspiring collection". It need not be this complex though. Even just REALLY learning about some form of anti-aliasing and how it's done in different ways, or the different kinds of normal maps etc. is enough.

When you're really going, have good habits formed, and have a "cause" be it the hole in your wallet and the need for a new job, or an "artistic sense of duty" then you're ready to start thinking about your project. From here you can start trying to roll your daily practices into the equation. Scouting for good photos for an HDRI, sketching the scene from different angles, trying to create and design a new character from different angles etc.

Rinse repeat- and don't get too down on yourself unless you break the base line habits. Don't look back- make good on it now.

There is nothing wrong with being self taught BTW if you're open to reading a lot, paying for training via videos, and using online forums to get critique. The worst part about being self taught is to not have people "calling you on it" and letting things slide. Be hard on your work- but let others be brutal- and do it all over again because you love the craft, not just the glory.

OK- enough of my inspirational talk- I'll be holding a virtual seminar complete with drum circles, naked body paint, and "team building" in a week! <- that's a joke just in case you didn't get it...right?:thumbsup:

wacom
08-07-2009, 10:50 PM
I highly recommend this book (there are similar ones though):

http://www.amazon.com/Your-Own-Worst-Enemy-Underachievement/dp/006098872X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1249706866&sr=8-1

I'll be honest- I haven't read it- but I know several people who have, and put what they read to use and it's really turned things around for them.

My motivation comes from putting a post it note on my computer screen and other places that use to say "do you want to work a job like this the rest of your life" and now says "do you want to work a job like that again".

Bad jobs can be inspiring....

dx394b
08-07-2009, 10:54 PM
Thanks Watcom. I like the idea of collecting items, I'm looking foward to doing some studies of various things around the house, or things that I might find on walks... cars, jewelry, and the like :)

dx394b
08-07-2009, 11:03 PM
Heh, bad jobs... I spent the last couple years blasting paint on steel out in 110 degree weather with a full face mask and respirator next to a hot metal wall surrounded by equally hot steel tubes and beams. I guess the company thought a shade canopy was too expensive :)

Thankfully I did some self study in Autocad and am drafting structural steel in a nice air conditioned office, increasing my pay grade and my waist line. :) (with a different company...)

dx394b
08-07-2009, 11:21 PM
Thank You again everyone. I'm impressed and grateful for the encouragement and ideas.

Good luck in your future endeavours