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View Full Version : How do you avoid burnout as a 3d artist?



shrox
09-03-2010, 05:48 PM
Sometimes I just sit and look at the blank screen, not knowing what to do to get started. I haven't been able to follow through on a personal project in a while. I start, then just kind of lose interest. What do you do to stay in the game and focused?

tudor
09-03-2010, 05:56 PM
Well.. a thick skull helps.
I keep a bunch if inpirational images and animations at handy.
Sometimes though, just accept the slump..
In other cases, look at other peoples work, and don't just get impressed. Get pissed at what they do and do better!
You need not finish a project, just prove you can do the part they did!

If not, f**k it, just sit down and do someting. If you got no idea, her's a few:
A kick *** robot/cartoon hybrid. Complete with textures/morphs and rig.
1930's new york city flythrough. end with some illegal booze theme.
2100 new york theme. New 9/11 site at the prime!
Find voices at http://voiceacting.proboards.com/ .. do some cool animations..
Investigate the best occ-bake to AA render solution.
Look at multi-pass vs/and layer rendering/compositing.
Optimal GI/occ rendering without flickering.
Comp objects into moving footage.
Do a fake commercial.

My problem has always beem having the character and settings ready to go but no script. Don't be afraid to reach out and put some preassure on yourself by making sure other ppl rely on you to deliver! (got room in my new short I think... See my posts)

I spend months in 'hibernation', then I explode into action.. Right now I got 15 minutes of ready script to animate. 6-9 months of work if I can pull it off. If I got noone to push me it will never be done. I count on you guys to do the pushing.

Lightwolf
09-03-2010, 05:57 PM
I don't do personal projects ... at least nothing in the area that I work in (which is CG in the most general sense) ;)

I suppose one thing that might help is actually not wanting to. Do something else instead. If the desire comes back, good. If it doesn't then you've got something else.

Cheers,
Mike

Hopper
09-03-2010, 06:01 PM
You have to find a new interesting aspect of what you do and dig in.

I've been programming for over 25 years and have had burnout several times but simply pressed on. I too, have sat and stared at a blank screen trying to think of something to write only to find myself shuffling back and forth between meaningless tasks and getting nothing useful accomplished.

Many people will easily say "oh, you need to take a break... step back and relax.. " It sounds great, but in all reality, this does nothing but temporarily take your mind off of the fact that your professional creativity has been depleted for the time being. And most people don't have the luxury of simply "taking time off" or "pick your most interesting hobby and start to develop a career out of it".

Unfortunately, you simply have to press on. It will pass. Although you feel like you are at a dead end sometimes, you know that you love what you do or you would have never poured every ounce of guts you have into it. Just don't try to do it 24x7. When you're done with work, at least try to not bury yourself in it when you get home. You can research new and interesting things but don't eat, drink, and sleep it.

I used to think the directors that always pushed the "you need to manage your work/life balance" were full of crap, but there's quite a bit of truth in that statement. I just wish I would have listened earlier.

shrox
09-03-2010, 06:14 PM
You are all crazy! And right too. Stepping away from it isn't an option with a deadline, but once it passes, I might take a break. I have even been considering a "manual" job, like the end of the movie "Office Space".

It's just so hot here right now (110 F again today), and no air conditioning in my car makes just going outside or driving to work an unfun task. I'll be getting back into streetluge when it cools down though.

20 years ago 3D was all so new and fun, I want to recapture that I guess.

Thanks for your responses, it helps to know others get this way too.

Lightwolf
09-03-2010, 06:21 PM
You are all crazy! And right too. Stepping away from it isn't an option with a deadline, but once it passes, I might take a break.
Sorry, I thought you were talking about personal projects only:

I haven't been able to follow through on a personal project in a while.
If it's for a living (or even just for money)... then it's for that. As the others have said (paraphrasing): stop whining and get your job done ;)

Cheers,
Mike

Hopper
09-03-2010, 06:26 PM
Thanks for your responses, it helps to know others get this way too.
Yup .. and that's why I'm here. I can't always simply ignore my job when I get home, but if I'm going to have to sit here during the little down time I have, you can bet I'm going to be doing something different (i.e. LW). It's still sitting in front of this god forsaken monitor, but it's a different aspect of computers that's still new and interesting to me.

shrox
09-03-2010, 06:33 PM
Sorry, I thought you were talking about personal projects only:

If it's for a living (or even just for money)... then it's for that. As the others have said (paraphrasing): stop whining and get your job done ;)

Cheers,
Mike

Both personal and work projects, but at least at work one can get some direction, and some "feedback" for goofing off to much...

Will I ever finish Battle of the 1970's Supercars?

Greenlaw
09-03-2010, 06:33 PM
I always have several projects going and if I get stuck on one, I just move onto the next thing. Take my webcomics for example: if I get stuck working on Brudders, I do a Streams and vice versa.

But I never really get stuck for ideas. I try to write down or sketch my ideas in notebooks (good and bad) the minute they come to me, so I have years of material to draw from when I'm feeling uninspired. It's important for me to write in the moment, because if I don't write down an idea when it comes to me, in a short while it will disappear from my brain forever. I keep a small notepad and pencil in my pocket all the time for this.

If I get dragged down by a personal project it's because of lack of time or energy. If it's lack of time, then I need to take a step back, and plan and organize things better, or just put it off for another time. If it's energy, then I have to allow myself to rest every now and then.

Of course this is all in between 10 to 11 hours a day for work and commuting, and four to six hours devoted to family, dinner, and housework. But somehow, I manage to find a little time in there for my personal projects. :)

G.

shrox
09-04-2010, 06:30 PM
I hope this isn't heresy, but I started playing with my copy of Maya I got from a project last year, they gave it to me since they didn't use it. I would still probably do most modeling in Lightwave though.

Learning something new is a good way of shaking myself up a bit, and getting out of the doldrums. Once the weather cools down, it's streetluge time! Full body armored leathers with a full head helmet are a bit warm...but 60mph on the downhill is so fun!

grn
09-05-2010, 05:41 PM
Mindfulness meditation removes stress nicely and doesn't even take much time. Have to always keep distance to routine logics/theories so that creativity flows free. If I find myself repeating something over and over again, I break my habits intentionally. Have to always give chances for the "what if" stuff. I'm almost completely a 2D concept artist these days though - my creativity has to work almost every day.

UnCommonGrafx
09-05-2010, 07:07 PM
Tai Chi
Look back in my messages and you will notice that I just don't use such tools unless felt strongly. I feel very strongly about this, Tai Chi, as a remedy for your malaise.
Health, mind, spirit is attended to as a way of keeping it as the being that is you at the top of your game. Or closer than you state you are at the moment.
Bone and joint lubricator, strengthener and maintainer of the strength you make of it, Tai Chi has given this lethargic, overweight fella a new appreciation for what it is I have. Ha, I can put my left foot two feet in back of and 3 inches east (right) of the right foot and touch my left knee to the ground to the right of my right knee.
Pose it in LW if you need to. Try it. hahahahahhahaha

This is the burnout key: a passion other than 3D and the lethargic approach to it. Or, sharing the passion of 3D with other things not so lethargic.

Sometimes I just sit and look at the blank screen, not knowing what to do to get started. I haven't been able to follow through on a personal project in a while. I start, then just kind of lose interest. What do you do to stay in the game and focused?

Silkrooster
09-05-2010, 10:24 PM
Sometimes I just sit and look at the blank screen, not knowing what to do to get started. I haven't been able to follow through on a personal project in a while. I start, then just kind of lose interest. What do you do to stay in the game and focused?

Been there done that...

Since I am not making money at it, the drive isn't really there. Something as simple as tight neck muscles will pull me away.

Sometimes its just better to go do something else for awhile. But I also think having enough references on hand helps. Maybe the thing to do is just go outside and shoot some reference photo's.

Titus
09-06-2010, 02:45 PM
You are all crazy! And right too. Stepping away from it isn't an option with a deadline, but once it passes, I might take a break. I have even been considering a "manual" job, like the end of the movie "Office Space".

It's just so hot here right now (110 F again today), and no air conditioning in my car makes just going outside or driving to work an unfun task. I'll be getting back into streetluge when it cools down though.

20 years ago 3D was all so new and fun, I want to recapture that I guess.

Thanks for your responses, it helps to know others get this way too.

I understand what you're feeling. I try to keep myself constantly inspired, watching animated movies (good and bad), talking with friends and once a year travelling to SIGGRAPH. I used to travel also to the VES Festival, until it ceased to exist.

A few years ago the three winners at the Electronic Theater of SIGGRAPH were independent animators, working on projects in their free time. That year I've decided go back to work on my own projectcs again, after several years of working for others. Last friday I attended a projection of one of my shorts at a local movie festival, and last year went to Cannes festival.

All this require a double effort (financially and in time) but I'm sure you can find you own recipe.

shrox
09-06-2010, 04:11 PM
A change a scenery is kind of neat, I've been messing with Maya. Before I had only used it for importing and exporting, and some rudimentry animation. I did use Maya at Digital Anvil for a bit. I am still fond of our Modeler though.

COBRASoft
09-06-2010, 07:50 PM
Well, why don't you enter the modeling challenges? They are short in time cause of the time limits and you can show off your skills or tell other people how you did something.

I'm a developer 24x7 and these modeling challenges have saved me several times. When I was sick of writing code or got stuck somewhere, I launched my modeler. Tried several things (and failed most of the time :D). But I got inspiration with each new try.

In my opinion people who are burned out need inspiration and/or challenges, I know it's the case for me. What that challenge is, is different for every person, for me it is has to be something creative.

jasonwestmas
09-06-2010, 08:28 PM
I tend to write about things I find interesting and move me emotionally. Stories and other creative ideas, gives me stuff to think about when I go for a walk. I then like to get back to my drawing and painting roots which tends to be more natural than moving stuff around on computer terminals. In return doing the more technical mumbo jumbo is much easier for me.

*Pete*
09-06-2010, 09:25 PM
creativity is like ketchup...you try and try and get nothing out of it, and when it comes out it all comes at once...too much for one project, more than you need for five projects will pour out at the same time.


for me it is a big problem becouse i start stressing with one project to be done with it fast as possible so that i can begin on the next idea before i forget it...



solution?


make small, fast skecthes and drawings of the ideas....and store them.
when you run out of the creative juice, look at your drawings and see if one or two of them will kickstart your creativity and creative joy again.



it doesnt really work the way we would prefer, that you come up with an equally cool idea 10 minutes after done with project A...no, creativity might just go for a vacation and leave you uninspired for weeks just when you have the time to make your pictures.
so, store every idea you get.

akademus
09-06-2010, 11:42 PM
I don't work on weekends!

I finally can afford not to, so during the weekend I do all the other stuff, go out, home stuff, cooking, laundry. I stay away from both TV and computer as much as I can. Also, when I get back from work, I'm trying my best to stay away from computer. Although, it might seem contrary, that, actually, helps me much more productive, as I'm fully focused 8-10 hours a day.

Cheers

h2oStudios
09-07-2010, 12:33 AM
Malady of an artist... It's part of the curse, whether visual art, technical art, whatever. It happens. The staring at the monitor... The spinning around in the office chair... The almost incurable sense that you've just contracted the most severe case of A.D.D. Let's not mention the crankiness that we exhibit to those around us... Yes this is, for most of us, at times, a horrible reality... Then BOOM!... You're up for 7 days straight zipping through tasks like roadrunner with the precision of a geeked-out watchmaker...

I go through it more often than I care to mention... And yes, you just have to tough it out and let your creative juices strike back with their vengeance...

Someone once mentioned Yoga, and I said, "Yeah, so who's gonna be modeling while I'm doing the Yoga?"

Edit: Oh, and to answer the question of the thread topic... I don't avoid it... I marinate in it, get depressed, make a big pot of "I'm useless stew" and let that sh*t simmer until the burning smell reminds me that this is really the only thing that, at it's best of times, can bring me a bliss that's incomparable...

oobievision
09-07-2010, 08:29 AM
I personally have been stuck in a burnout as u say for like over a year I just cant seem to get the polys to fit in any uniform way. ive tried the usual, watching pink floyed the wall, watching sci-fy nothing works. starting to affect my bank account too lol

safetyman
09-07-2010, 09:15 AM
I've hit the wall here lately with personal projects, so I'm trying to look at some of my favorite artists for inspiration --> Adam Hughes, Cheeks, Ken Kelly, etc. I'm still having a hard time getting started; I just don't have enough time after my real job to get anything done. It's very depressing, but then I fire up Mass Effect 2 and I forget about it. :) <Jeez I'm pathetic>

BTW - I, too, have been playing with Maya, and it's not the evil villian I thought it was. But I still keep going back to LW -- it's just so much darn faster to get things done.

Captain Obvious
09-07-2010, 09:39 AM
I haven't done a non-paid job in... oh... four years maybe. I do photography as a hobby, though, and rather enjoy it. And I cycle a lot. Last Sunday, I cycled from east London to Windsor and then back again, a round trip of about 130 kilometers (80-something miles).

shrox
09-07-2010, 10:24 AM
Once the heat is over going outside during the day will become an option again. I have already decided to move before next summer. It's September and it's 110F at times!

It's not a lack of creativity, it's just getting repetitious, like your favorite ice cream for every meal. Figuring out Maya is interesting though, I've been using the FBX format allot to get stuff from Lightwave and into Maya.

Silkrooster
09-07-2010, 10:53 PM
If you guys are looking for something to do, we will be announcing the Halloween Challenge soon at spinquad. Keep an eye out for it you may even like the prize.

meshpig
09-08-2010, 03:18 AM
Lets just say stimulation instead of inspiration as "creativity" doesn't issue from some eternal source but from the realm of physical beings as does productivity.

- No, there isn't a way of avoiding the extreme slowness of such a major muscle cramp except to say the artistic instinct is to sort of do nothing first in a very active way:)

safetyman
09-08-2010, 10:39 AM
Ok -- I have no idea what you just said.

precedia
09-08-2010, 11:08 AM
...I haven't been able to follow through on a personal project in a while. I start, then just kind of lose interest....

Find an organization (non-profit or otherwise) that moves your heart, helps people, and do some volunteer work for them, applying your skills.

For example, over the last 4 years in my spare time I have created a series of 4 animations each about 5-6 minutes in length (Gala 2006, Gala 2007, Gala 2008, and Gala 2009) that tickle the hearts of the audience before the live auction.

Attached is a collage of the 4 posters (one for each year) I created using Lightwave to advertise the event and animation. The animations were done in Lightwave but any tool could have been used.

Hitting each year's October deadline sure kept me focused and motivated. No staring at a blank screen. More like fear and panic as the deadline approached. For better or worse I had full creative control, if that helps you keep motivated.

Getting involved in the next Open Movie project may help? Shameless plug: I am a Main Sponsor (http://daniel.lanovaz.org) for this year's Blender animation, Sintel (http://durian.blender.org/sponsors/).

I made no money off of this, but the goal was to stay focused, motivated, help a non-profit organization, and learn new skills, all the while struggling with Lightwave.

Daniel

bazsa73
09-08-2010, 01:27 PM
Hey Shrox! Just listen to your heart!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8axwcs7bi8

v1u1ant
09-08-2010, 02:00 PM
Lets just say stimulation instead of inspiration as "creativity" doesn't issue from some eternal source but from the realm of physical beings as does productivity.

- No, there isn't a way of avoiding the extreme slowness of such a major muscle cramp except to say the artistic instinct is to sort of do nothing first in a very active way:)

Its kinda Tai Chi, Taoist belief systems. the art of doing things by doing nothing.

robertoortiz
09-08-2010, 02:41 PM
Well, why don't you enter the modeling challenges? They are short in time cause of the time limits and you can show off your skills or tell other people how you did something.

I'm a developer 24x7 and these modeling challenges have saved me several times. When I was sick of writing code or got stuck somewhere, I launched my modeler. Tried several things (and failed most of the time :D). But I got inspiration with each new try.

In my opinion people who are burned out need inspiration and/or challenges, I know it's the case for me. What that challenge is, is different for every person, for me it is has to be something creative.

Agreed.
Also I want to invite LW artists to the mini challenges that I run at the CGSociety. Right now we have a 30 days, 3o models modeling challenge.
And tonight we are launching a Dambusters challenge.

Guys I am a hardcore LW guy, so I promise you all will be treated right.
-R