View Full Version : Complaining.....the never-ending cycle.

12-03-2014, 09:52 AM
It's been many years since I first picked up the mouse and started mucking about with 3D art. My first true foray was in GameSpace (dabbled in the full-fledged TrueSpace from time to time, though it was largely unneeded for game art at the time). That was back in 2004-ish. I also dabbled in 2D art at the same time (used to dabble in the colored-pencil medium back in the day...primarily drawing dragons, a passion I've since lost), using Paint Shop Pro 9. I, along with my brother and father, created a pair of free games (OGSweeper and Paradise Lost: A Minesweeper remake, and vertical scrolling shooter). I used nothing but a pair of Corel (then Jasc Software) products. I had motivation back then, it was fun.

A few years later, we came upon a product called FPSCreator. I learned I could quickly get anything I made in 3D into this very inexpensive game engine. This is where I met a few like-minded game artists, with similar drive. For this dialogue, I'm going to compare my wanderings in 3D to that of Johnathan Fletcher. We both started out at about the same skill level; but our paths significantly diverged from there. Although Jonathan partook in Forum life at TGC (The Game Creators), he stayed focused on his work. Whereas I, got into the "drama" and dialogue of Forum life (later taking on the mantle of Forum Mod, for my efforts....which I still do today). I soon started to slip from making media, to taking care of the daily quips of the membership. To illustrate where we both started out, skill-wise; here's a few links....the first being Jonathan's, than mine (GandB):

Fletcher's first Media Pack (http://forum.thegamecreators.com/xt/xt_apollo_pic.php?i=843574)

My first Media Pack (http://www.turbosquid.com/3d-models/3ds-media-crates-boxes/302888)

Note the date on my pack at TS: uploaded in 2006

I have not made anything of significance since then (made a few hundred off that pack).

Conversely; Jonathan has continued in his work. This is the level he was at just a few years ago: http://www.artpanda.co.uk/3dpages/morgan.htm

My point, is simply that I've spent YEARS of doing nothing but keeping up with Forum life, trends, and drama (often partaking in it myself). It has gained me nothing (other than being able to help the membership at TGC, when I can). For some reason, I had always fooled myself into thinking that participating in forum debates, and keeping up with what's "new" in the industry; was going to bear fruit at some point. I now fully realize that folly. It's taken me the better part of 7 years or so, to come to that conclusion. I should be MUCH further along by now.

As some of you know, I work as a State Corrections Officer (Prison Guard) full time...going on 7 years now. Other than that (prior to a couple year break for College) I've only ever worked in the Military (U.S. Army). I vaguely remember a time when I wasn't in a negative/stressful environment. I used to be a full-on creative type, full of ideas and drive. I guess what I'm saying; is that if I want to get out of prison work someday, and realize my dream of self-employment in a creative (and far less negative field), I need to drop the attitude and get re-focused. I need to stop participating in the Application Wars, and just get to work. That's the only way I'll personally find out what works and what doesn't. It's the only way I'll move forward.

Does that mean I'm done with Lightwave? No, it doesn't. It doesn't mean I'm buckling down to learn myriad workarounds for a game art pipeline either. I've taken the more recent step of signing up for a Blender Cookie account, and learning Blender for my new beginning. So far, it seems to suit my current skill-set and need. In the future, I can see expanding/adding-to it. There are a few around here who have always espoused the mantra of "using the best tool for the job". That doesn't mean that "one tool to rule them all" applies. I realize that now. I'm sure Lightwave will have it's place in my future, as I develop further. I have ideas not involved in game design, that I'd like to explore someday as well.

This doesn't mean I will no longer participate in healthy debates, here and elsewhere on the web. What it does mean, is that I'm going to try my best to transition from complaining.....into more constructive criticism, when needed.

There's a lot to ***** about where I work, as you can imagine. Ultimately, all it does is raise your blood pressure and ruin your health. I sat out on my Big Yard the other day; watching all the killers, rapists, etc. walking around, and thinking to myself: "Is this what my life will end up being? Is this what I truly want?" It's not. It never has been. So far I've been the problem. I need to become my own solution. Life's too short for bitterness.

I don't know why I decided to write this (I've made statements like this in the past, but never acted on them); maybe it's a "mid-life crisis", I don't know. I decided to post this on this forum, as it has been the place where I've been most vocal over the years. I'd also like to apologize to those that I've been most combative with. It isn't who I really am. Apparently going to War and living/working in an extremely negative environment have taken a bit of a toll on me. But I know there are others MUCH worse off than I.

Maybe there are others out there who are in a similar stage in life? At any rate; enough of my ramblings....as I started with, it's doing nothing productive. I do look forward to see what Rob and Crew come up with, whether I upgrade form 9.6 or not; they seem pretty focused on making LW better.

12-03-2014, 10:43 AM
Well I can say a bit about myself in relation to what you posted.

I worked retail for about 20 years in different fields. Bookstores, video rental stores, cafe baristas, Apple tech stores. Then I started throwing up every time I'd think about going to work. After that, I had two heart attacks. One while visiting my Mother while she was in the hospital and another on the bus on my way home from work. That was fun. Coming to with an EMT blotting blood from my mouth because I was biting my tongue so hard. Plus everybody on the bus just staring at me as they put me on a stretcher and brought me to the hospital AGAIN. The attacks were 4 months apart and I knew I had to change something, so now I just focus on doing one thing I love for at least a little bit every day.

The one thing that really was driven home to me is that humor is the only way to get through this.

12-03-2014, 11:25 AM
May be just complaining is bad, but being uncomfortable is actually a good thing IMO because that motivates you to take action. A famous quote by Bernard Shaw comes to mind:

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

12-03-2014, 11:30 AM
Last year (about this time); I noticed my heart would skip a beat now and then. Up until that time I thought it had something to do with my lungs, as it felt like I needed to take a deeper breath. I just happened to check my pulse for once, when it happened. That's when I realized it was my heart and not anything to do with deeper breathing. That set me off into panic mode. I went from never going to the doctor, to a hypochondriac....overnight. I had a heart monitor placed on me for two days, monitoring everything. In the end, everything came back fine. I was told (and read) that the skipping of the heartbeat happens to most people in their lifetime....to varying degrees. In fact, I remember having this issue even in my early Army years, when I was in much better shape. I noticed that the less I thought about the heart skipping a beat, and the calmer I was; it lessened and then went away completely. I attribute it directly to stress.

I now go to yearly physical appointments (now that I'm 40), and strive to eat better and try to de-stress when I can. Though it wasn't as bad a wake-up call as you've had (twice); it has served its purpose for me. Thanks for sharing. ;)

12-03-2014, 11:44 AM
GandB - good luck with your direction. You've hit the nail on the head. The hard part is being able to earn enough to live as you need, whilst doing what you enjoy - the secret to a happy life in my opinion. I learned ages ago that I am unemployable - if I see unjustice in the work place I inwardly get upset. I hate the way people pigeon-hole you in a large workplace, the drudgery of being creative in a 9-5 situation - forced creativity.

If you can find the work doing what you enjoy, even if you're not as rich cash-wise, you'll be far richer health and happiness-wise. I love my 3D work, and I've been lucky enough to be self-employed for 17 years, with a brief stint of three years in the middle trying the other side of the coin out, working for someone whilst I focussed my 3D skills. I still love it - I don't get bored of it, even the mundane projects, because I remember vividly working holidays as a student to earn money, in metal pressing factories, where each day was monotony in the extreme. I had so much respect for the guys working there - they kept it up, to keep their families fed, and I remember one older chap telling me to remember what it was like working there, to help spur me on with my studies so I wouldn't end up back there. So even if I get a bad client, or a project that doesn't quite hit the mark, I cast my mind back to the smell of lubricant on the brake presses and know how damn lucky I am.

12-03-2014, 08:26 PM
if I see unjustice in the work place I inwardly get upset

That's exactly how I've felt, most of my working life; both in the Army and at the Prison. I can't help it.

I've realized, after reading thread after thread and post after post (both here and elsewhere); that I don't know as much as I think I do about this industry. That goes doubly for the business side of things; which I will have to get a handle on (even in a rudimentary way) at some point. I tend to have overblown/grand ideas, without realizing what real time constraints and workflows are. Something else to work on.

12-03-2014, 10:04 PM
Three axioms that have pretty much shaped my life and career:

Do what you love, the Universe will support you. It will be difficult, but anything worth doing is worth fighting for.
Take a leap, in full conviction and supplication, and a net will appear and catch you.
Do what you love. It is the only thing that you will ever be really great at.

The best day in my Dad's life was the day that I was hired in Development Engineering at Eastman Kodak. He was an Instrument Maker in the Model Shop. They would build prototype machines out of raw stock, following the drawings that we made on the other side of a common wall between the two departments. Marvelous capability was exhibited from them time and time again.
The worst day in his life was the day I quit.

Struck out on my own, with little of a nest egg to fall back on. Just seemed right to do it somehow. Had no idea how I would make it, but I couldn't stand working in their environment. They didn't have an oddly enough shaped pigeon hole to jam me into. I am a creative. I create on no schedule. Things come to me. I can't control it. I get fired up at unpredictable hours. Trying to harness that into 08:00-17:00 every day just didn't work. This was way before flexible hours like at JPL were ever thought of. I pull all-nighters; sometimes staying up for days when I'm on a roll. Can't do that in a rigid corporate environment that doesn't recognize that people are different and that fostering those differences can reap major rewards. So, I left.

Best move I ever made. Got a job in a print shop making mechanicals. Always thought being an illustrator would be good, so began identifying myself as that and taught myself how to paint. Approached it from a scientific angle. Bought a ton of media and just went methodically through, trying them all out and noting my findings; what worked, what didn't, what might work for certain effects, etc. Began creating images of things that mattered to me. Eventually, I got good enough to be hired by the Strasenburgh Planetarium in a new position, during a hiring freeze, as Production Specialist; a position created for me. I could paint and I could build complex mechanisms. I would select difficult effects that had to be built and go back and forth between the art studio and the machine shop making it happen. A number of my special effects projectors have attained "Named Status" and are preserved and maintained to this day. An honor.

Performed as Art Director/Illustrator at the National Air and Space Museum, producing a planetarium show on the return of Comet Halley. I gotta take an aside, here, and tell ya that walking into that building in the early morning or late at night, when the crowds were absent, is seriously awesome. The atmosphere is as thick as honey with all of the connected individuals present. Has to be experienced to really understand. Humbling to be among them all.

Racing has always fired my existence. An opportunity presented itself and I took the leap. I was hired by Penske Racing, first as a Wheel Polisher, eventually advancing to Suspension Design and Special Systems Fabrication; with a few helmet paint jobs along the way. We scored our first Indianapolis 500 win and the Can-Am Championship in the same year -- with only 10 crew members going back and forth between the two campaigns. I have my specially commissioned & engraved Indy Ring sitting on my desk between my monitors above a model of our turbocharged Porsche 917-K.

I was tasked with interpreting naval architect's drawings in building a 50' ultralight racing trimaran constructed in cold molded wood. We developed a rotating wing mast for it. Using my experience in racing wings, I redesigned the daggerboard and rudder systems along the way. We won the Newport to Bermuda race on our second attempt. A few years later, the Australians were lauded for their keel design on an America's Cup entry. Kept under shrouds the whole time, I knew what was under them; because I did it before they did.

After a while, I returned to illustration, among other things, producing a cover for James A. Michener's novel, SPACE. My album cover for Public Enemy's Fear of a Black Planet was voted as one of the top 50 covers of all time. I have three paintings in the NASA/Smithsonian Collection, documenting the Space Shuttle Program. I've visited the Commander's and Pilot's seats of Shuttle Discovery powered up during a mission. A offhand utterance to the Shuttle Recovery Convoy Commanders one night over dinner of how we dealt with brake pad fusing on our race cars resulted in a major change in the recovery procedure sequence after the Shuttle came to wheel-stop. Total surprise to me the next day out on the convoy when the change was announced by the Commander. "What have I done!?!?!?!"

I learned how to blow glass. Have created 40' diameter blown glass and carbon fiber solar system mobiles for aerospace corporations. Our glass sculptures are in the homes of well known astronauts and scientists: Neil Armstrong, Dr. Buzz Aldrin, John W. Young, James A. Lovell, Dr. Hans Mark, James Cameron and Professor Stephen Hawking among them.

Recently, I was on a team commissioned by the NASA Office of the Chief Technologist to illustrate in 3D, some animated, the current state of science in the agency and what they are working on. Among them is the Mars Entry Sequence employed by the Curiosity mission and the LightCraft; a launch system propelling a ship by high energy lasers.

Had I stayed at Kodak and not taken the first leap, none of this would have happened.

My sincere advice to you: Go For It. Not to say that correction officers have little worth. They definitely do, but if it isn't for you, you need to be doing something, anything, else. You won't know what you are capable of until you test yourself. You just might be surprised... as I was.

12-03-2014, 11:19 PM
Really appreciate the post, Spherical. This is very interesting, and unexpected, having some of the members here lay out some of their life. It's always enlightening to see the real person behind the Avatar.

I am a creative. I create on no schedule. Things come to me. I can't control it. I get fired up at unpredictable hours.

That's exactly how I feel as well. I work the 2-10 shift (which isn't conducive to Family life....which is another reason I want to jettison this way of life, before the kids get too old); I find myself getting motivated at varying hours of the day. Sometimes it's after I get home from work (could be the relative calm about the house); sometimes it's just before I have to head out to work (I carry a small notebook with me at work, just in case I need to jot down some ideas), which is usually less than desirable.

It is hard to think of a life where you work mainly for yourself, and all that entails; when I've worked for someone else (mainly government work, it seems) nearly all of my adult life, thus far. Right now, I'm in that troubling lot in life where I'm unhappy with my work; but too comfortable with the lifestyle and security it gives (mainly for my Family, I don't spend much money on myself). It can be scary to think about going it alone; especially when you have responsibilities. My life has been a bit of a conundrum. I was always a bit reserved growing up, not really outgoing at all. Why I signed up to join the Army still isn't really clear; but that was the first step I took to "put myself out there"....out of my comfort zone. Way out. To add to it, I signed up to go to Airborne School as well (jumping out of a perfectly good airplane, while in flight); ending up in the 82nd Airborne Division. So going from being reclusive, to successfully joining one of the Premier Divisions in the U.S. Army (and having 22 jumps logged); was a 180 for me.

I guess what I'm getting at, is that I feel like I'm at a crossroads again in life. Except this time, I have passengers that are taking the journey with me.....and I need to keep them in mind as well. Like you, if I hadn't taken the step I did (joining the Military); I (most likely) wouldn't have met my wife, had our children, experienced going to places around the World while meeting different people, or many of the other things so far. It's ironic that I was a Paratrooper; because that's really what it feels like. Standing at the threshold of the door, with nothing but a few strands of silk to hold you up....once you take that plunge. All you can do, is take that first step and hope for the best.

Thank you again, for sharing.

12-04-2014, 01:27 AM
Being a pilot, I have a difficult time talking myself out of a perfectly good aircraft, too. We're trained to land the thing, no matter what, even if it is a bit uncontrolled.

Here is what I would suggest. Talk with your family and deeply share with them what you are feeling. Let them be part of your compass. If they're good with it, understanding the rough times that may or may not be ahead, then jump, and they'll be part of your journey.

BTW, I've always liked your sig. :) Seems that is something that Strax would say and I read it in his voice.

12-04-2014, 01:32 AM
No inspirational stories but: a 'bad' job, defined as a job that doesn't fit you, will kill you, and make everybody around you miserable too.

You may wind up poor, but at least you won't die miserable.

12-04-2014, 01:54 AM
Very true. There are many ways to be "rich". Enjoying waking up in the morning, anticipating what you will do that day, is one of them. Not all days are rosy, but the majority are.

12-04-2014, 02:46 AM
You only get to live so many hours, they aren't endless. You need to decide who and what matters. My grandfather was a prison guard and ended up running one. He said that some one needs to and that he was that some one and could make a difference. I'm not that person. My father made large amounts of money several times building businesses and lost it just as fast. I thought the proudest day in his life was when I went to work for him. Before he died he told me the proudest day was when I quit and told him I wanted to do my own stuff and build my own life. I make a reasonable living doing things I love and have people I love in my life. I don't know what money could buy that is better then that. Guess it would be a different balance if I couldn't if I couldn't support those I love and myself.

12-04-2014, 08:37 AM
I noticed that the less I thought about the heart skipping a beat, and the calmer I was; it lessened and then went away completely.
I attribute it directly to stress
same here...

12-04-2014, 12:20 PM
Another thing I've starting doing (to relax, better mine and my Family's health, save money, etc.) is to start cooking from scratch. I really enjoy it, and am surprised as to how easy some things are to make; especially when I thought it was just too difficult before. I'm currently looking into making all our breads (regular, buns, etc.) from scratch as well.

12-04-2014, 08:43 PM
Get a bread machine, a Pizza Stone and a Superstone Bread Dome. The former for prep (and sometimes baking--depending upon the concoction). The latter two for baking. The Pizza Stone does double duty. The Bread Dome creates the most wonderful Artisan Breads, as it surrounds the loaf and makes a crispy crust that is gorgeous. You'll love it. Bread baking aroma is comforting, in and of itself.

12-05-2014, 02:52 PM
The pizza stone is something I've been wanting to try, ever since I started making my own pizza dough at home. We have a bread machine, however, I want to try it the old fashioned way. I've never heard of a bread dome before; have to look it up. ;)

12-05-2014, 03:48 PM
Pizza stones are great. You can use them for a bunch of things pastry-like rolls, and obviously pizza crust. Just whatever you do, don't use soap in any form on them if you intend to clean it. I just use a hard plastic spatula to scrape it (don't use metal) and then let it sit in the oven for an hour or two at around 250 degrees and let it settle. No water, nothing.

12-05-2014, 04:34 PM
Thanks for the tip. I only use warm to hot water on my cast iron skillets....no soap at all. Sounds like I need to get a pair of stones.

12-05-2014, 06:48 PM
...Sounds like I need to get a pair of stones.

mate, don't say that about yourself.

12-05-2014, 09:49 PM
LOL! Touche'

12-06-2014, 12:15 AM
Well done.

12-06-2014, 01:08 AM
Our pizza stone has taken on a nice patina. It'll develop a pattern of dark areas where various substances have contacted and burned away; butter, pepperoni oil, cheese, etc. Just let it be that way. Leave it in the oven all the time. Best to just go ahead and get a big one. Many uses that way.

The bread dome is seriously cool... well, not when it's baking. :) It'll make loaves like these:
125875 125876 125877 125879
Takes on a patina of its own, too.

12-06-2014, 09:38 AM
I see, so it basically forces the bread to hold it's shape as it cooks; and helps it to cook evenly? Nice looking bread, by the way. We usually have cinnamon rolls, on Sunday morning. They're the old Pillsbury kind; but I'd like to learn to make my own as well, from scratch. Additionally; I'd like to try cutting the roll up ahead of time, placing them in the baking tray and cover them with saran wrap (to keep them from drying out)....then place them in the fridge. That way, my Wife can simply place them in the oven in the morning. Have to give it a shot. I'll look up a stone or two, as well as the bread dome, on Amazon later on.

12-07-2014, 03:58 AM
The dome is essentially a mini brick oven. It controls the environment surrounding the bread for a more even bake.

Just make sure she remembers to remove the cling wrap!