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paulmcg1
01-20-2006, 10:16 PM
I'm writing this to the successful 3d artists. I have been learning 3d for roughly two years now. Over that span of time, I've produced decent work (animation & stills). From the time I started 3d untill today, I've always had this invisible ''creative block'' that is blocking all ideas that are possible and satisfying to me.

I think part of the reason this so called ''block'' is there is because when I become inspired to do something in 3d, I always then think, 'how in the world can I pull off such a animation like that?' or, 'how in the world can I pull off such a still image like that?' And with the little inspiration I have, you might see that this can be frustrating for me.

So maybe my question is how do I become successful in 3d? To me being successful in 3d is being able to create work without frustration. Maybe this is why I am frustrated because maybe that isn't possible. Ah, now its becoming confusing! Well, maybe my first definition of being successful in 3d isn't true. However, then quite possibly being successful in 3d means creating work that you are 100% satisfied with. Creating work that when you view it, you smile and say 'I created that from nothing and I'm so happy I did'.

Maybe someone can respond with good advice and not just an oppinion. Im really in need of some help, I've been like this for two years and its getting tiresome.

Paul M.

AbnRanger
01-20-2006, 10:45 PM
It's easy to look at the impressive work others have done, and get discouraged....no matter what creative field it is. That comes with the territory sometimes. I find that my best stuff comes when I just dive in and get to work. Things I didn't initially plan, come DURING the process...and before you know it (usually with alot of tweaking) you've made something to be proud of.
However, there's no substitute for sketching out your ideas first (or using good reference materials), with thumbnails/storyboarding...if the major studios could bypass this process and just "wing it"...they would...but they can't and don't.
As far as animating...one tried method is to get a video camera and record yourself, friend or family member acting out (with somewhat exagerrated gestures and facial expressions) the scene you are animating...and use that footage for your reference material.
Plus, having another artist or two help you generate ideas, answer questions you may have, and critique your work, is better than going it alone.
Hope that helps.

prospector
01-20-2006, 11:41 PM
this is the most important thing you said;
Creating work that when you view it, you smile and say 'I created that from nothing and I'm so happy I did'.

I would never do a job I wasn't happy with because I know I wouldn't really putting my best into it.
so your next important statement would be;
'how in the world can I pull off such a animation like that?'

and I would say, take it in steps
start with a logo, say just start with your name

learn to texture it in different ways and start easy, 2 colors for the sides and front then try different colors untill you get a pleasing combo, then try to make it chromy in those colors, then like ice in those colors, then fly the logo in and out again, set your lighting so it looks good, and once you get your logo the way you like, then start adding things to fill out the screen, if you get a block, look at how the news shows do it, Fox always has some amazing logo work, and just keep going. Once you get it as best as it could possably get then you have your demo DVD title.
After that, go to the store and get a house book that has some floor layouts and pics to go along with it, start building it (won't cost as much as the magazine says it costs :) ) then texture it and try to match the pics of it, get your lighting down (plenty of tuts on this board), texture walls (look for websites that sell wallpaper and try to match it in photoshop and use as a texture, do a camera flythru and ya got your first anim for the demo DVD when your satisfied it's the best you can do.

Go onto an organic thingy (human, dog, dinosaur, bird) cuz once you do the first 2 things you'll know LW tools good enuf to do the organics if you take your time.do your lighting to get the mood you want,then goto the animation part. There's another part for your demo DVD.

then start to work with the FX part of LW.
before you know it you'll have a demo DVD to show the world.

you'll know I said 1 thing in each of the thoughts I gave ya.

Lighting lighting lighting...probably THE most important thing

most of all....have fun

the people here are friendly and will help in any way they can..as long as you check the manual first or you will get the big....RTFM :hey:

peteb
01-21-2006, 02:47 PM
I know where you're coming from. As so many other artist I come from a pencil and paint background and when I started learning 3D I hated it...I kind of still do. Because software is designed by programmers I think a lot of the time they don't see things how an artist would and so a lot of tools are very complicated and use words that to an ordinary person don't mean much. I find that these things really can stop you from being really creative as you're constantly having to think ahead on how you're going to create something.

I choose lightwave because for me it's the one package that's pretty fast at modelling, but you still have to think about things like tris and quads before you dive in and so it does still restrict you.
If you truely want to be creative and get something close to that creative flow you get with pen to paper or hands to clay I'd have to say look no further then Z-brush. If you love sculpting you'll love it. I find I can start with nothing and create some stuff straight out my head without the worry of things like are the polys too big and are causing tension or any other boring mathmatical problems. I find Lightwave goes hand in hand with Z-brush as I use Lightwave to create nice base meshes and then use Z-brush to add all the detail . Then back into Lightwave to use the renderer. Lightwave 9 is going to have good sub pixel displacement which means it will be even better with Z-brush.


Pete B

Stooch
01-21-2006, 03:27 PM
Those that view it as a means to make money or purely from a career standpoint, will never be as successful as those who love what they do.

Cageman
01-21-2006, 03:38 PM
Those that view it as a means to make money or purely from a career standpoint, will never be as successful as those who love what they do.

I wonder how long those individuals will last in a production, because there are times when you need to spend 24 hours straight to meet a deadline. If you lack the passion/love to do it, you will not do it. Insane hours are not fun, but they would be like h*ll if you don't like what you do.

Wonderpup
01-21-2006, 04:39 PM
In my experience the fate of those who love what they do is to be exploited by those who have contempt for it and understand that 'art' is just a product like any other.

I really think the worst mistake anyone in any creative field can make is to think of themselves as an 'artist'- the moment you start playing this game you are setting yourself up to be exploited. This is how it works-

As an 'artist' you require validation- and so you look to the potiential buyers of your product for this validation. This undercuts your ability to deal with them on a commercial basis- they percieve your need for artistic validation and use it to their advantage- they tell you that your work is not yet 'good enough' ( measured by some arbitary standard defined by themselves) so- of course- you can't expect them to pay much for it- but, they promise, as your work 'improves' they hold out the possibility that you may in time be paid a little more.

"But I spent weeks making this!" you wail, as they name some derisory sum.

They look at first shocked, then a pained look of disapproval appears on their face as they say- " As an artist you must be prepared to sacrifice for the thing you love."

You bow your head, nodding humbly as you mount your pushbike and ride away. As they drive past you in their luxury car, its wheels hit a puddle and splash you with stinking mud.

You peddle sadly home- but with a growing determination in your heart to win back their approval- next time they will be impressed, next time they will say you have 'improved' ,next time....SUCKER!!

Stooch
01-21-2006, 04:53 PM
In my experience the fate of those who love what they do is to be exploited by those who have contempt for it and understand that 'art' is just a product like any other.

I really think the worst mistake anyone in any creative field can make is to think of themselves as an 'artist'- the moment you start playing this game you are setting yourself up to be exploited. This is how it works-

As an 'artist' you require validation- and so you look to the potiential buyers of your product for this validation. This undercuts your ability to deal with them on a commercial basis- they percieve your need for artistic validation and use it to their advantage- they tell you that your work is not yet 'good enough' ( measured by some arbitary standard defined by themselves) so- of course- you can't expect them to pay much for it- but, they promise, as your work 'improves' they hold out the possibility that you may in time be paid a little more.

"But I spent weeks making this!" you wail, as they name some derisory sum.

They look at first shocked, then a pained look of disapproval appears on their face as they say- " As an artist you must be prepared to sacrifice for the thing you love."

You bow your head, nodding humbly as you mount your pushbike and ride away. As they drive past you in their luxury car, its wheels hit a puddle and splash you with stinking mud.

You peddle sadly home- but with a growing determination in your heart to win back their approval- next time they will be impressed, next time they will say you have 'improved' ,next time....SUCKER!!

i disagree, my passion for what i do has got me in a very good place while my peers in college who consider it a means to make money rather then a hobby have gotten nowhere. Sorry for your experience i guess...

As far as "validation" goes, i am my worst critic. I dont need the approval or validation of others and just because the client wants something done their way, i dont let that get in the way of my enjoyment. If i learn one new technique, one more trick, solve a nagging problem, i am a happy guy. It doesnt mean jack sheet to me if the client wants to do it differently, afterall, they are paying for it. I dont need to OWN the project since its not MY project. Anyway, the thing that i love about 3D art, is not only the artistry, but the challenge, the learning aspect and the discoveries i stumble upon in search of solutions. to sum it up, its not the finished product, its the process.

paulmcg1
01-21-2006, 05:17 PM
As far as "validation" goes, i am my worst critic.

That is the best quote ever! I think Im going to use it from now on as my signature. That is exactly what I am like, I am my own worst critic. I believe that if I produce work that is satisfiying to my own self, that other people too will enjoy it. That might not be fully true because of different peoples taste, but I am talking in the sense of quality here. If however I produce a image that just isn't looking right, then thats when I say, 'this :thumbsdow ' and that is when I become frustrated and sadden because I can't produce amazing work that I am happy with.

Just last night after talking with Prospector [he posted a few posts down] on Skype, something in me saw what I just wrote above. Why did I see this? Well I actually produced something I am happy with, I am still working on it. This is what I made while I was talking with him...http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v190/paulmcg1/wires200.jpg
I spent a solid 2 1/2 hours creating what you see in that image. Usually when I create something, I will spend 20 minutes to an hour roughly and if it dosn't look good, its saved into my documents, never to be opened again.

But see that image that I made, though simple (just cables), it still is satisfying to me 100% and I can be happy that I made something like that.

Paul M.

cresshead
01-21-2006, 07:41 PM
hey stooch

quote:Those that view it as a means to make money or purely from a career standpoint, will never be as successful as those who love what they do.

that i bit of a broad statement your making there!

i'm a big fan of 3d....and i also earn my living from doing it....so where's that put me?


one of the things doing it for cash/job is that you focus more on just how long you take to create stuff....endless twiddling make's it expensive.../non profitable..
of course when i'm not doing it for a job i do twiddle more on my own non paying models....get the fun back into it :thumbsup:

it's good to have deadlines and work for people doing someting you like...
my day job IS my hobby as well!............ :lwicon:

SplineGod
01-21-2006, 10:04 PM
Being successful can be a pretty nebulous term and means different things to different people. Much of the time it depends on the context. Performing a task successfully many times is based on the guy holding the paycheck. I may not like what he wants me to do but if I do in such a way that gets him to cut loose of the paycheck then I count myself successful. At the same time I, like many others, work on personal things that Im happy with and unhappy with. I also try not to take what I personaly produce too seriously sometimes because madness lies in that direction.
I feel like if I learn something new, solve a problems, improve something then I am successful. On another level if I can take care of more practical matters like rent, food, clothing etc then I am also successful.

My experience is that people need to see a measure of success on a regular basis or ones self esteem begins to drop. Once that happens our ability to learn, adapt and grow becomes impeded. Success isnt something that just happens but needs to be planned for under our control. We need to set goal, both long and short term and then evaluate our progress on a regular basis.

Part of progressing is feeling some level of frustration. If frustration isnt being felt on a regular basis at some level then probably not enough effort is being put into progressing. I find that many people who havent experienced frustration seem to be lacking something. I experience frustration all the time. Failure is an important part of the learning process. Many times learning how NOT to do something is as important as knowing how. It makes us more well rounded. I enjoy a good challenge and finding a solution is the icing on that cake.

I dont think I can recall anything Ive done that I was every 100% satisfied with. It is important to have realistic expectations, to never try to walk faster then you can run.
I focus on just doing that best that I can do within the constraints presented to me.
Its also very important to ENJOY what you do because youll be doing it alot. The worst feeling in the world is wearing what I call the golden handcuffs...having a job that pays very well but I hate doing. Id rather make less money but enjoy what I do.
I love doing 3D but even it has its bad days... but a bad day doing 3D beats a good day digging ditches anytime. :)

lesterfoster
01-21-2006, 10:26 PM
I donít think that any one could have sed it better, SplineGOD. :agree:

prospector
01-22-2006, 12:34 AM
I dont think I can recall anything Ive done that I was every 100% satisfied with.

WHUAAAAAAATTTTT?

A lot of people would be 100% satisfied if they could do what you do :thumbsup:

besides being good, you get all the bennys, like your probably already testing LW 10 :hey:

SplineGod
01-22-2006, 02:42 AM
Im never 100% satisfied with what I do ever. Mainly because most of what I do is for someone else. Im more satisfied when they cut loose of the paycheck. I take pride in what I do but Ive seen many clients get pissed if you try and override what they want. Ive learned to mix pride in what I do with a healthy dose of reality. If my clients happy, Im happy. Other then that I just enjoy what I do and experimenting. When I do my own thing I just have fun doing it whether I 'complete' something or not.
A big issue for me is problem solving. Ive never (yet) had someone willing to pay me to throw my hands up when a problem arises. They want me to solve the problem and theres a great deal of satisfaction in not only doing good work (usually defined by the paycheck guy again) but solving problems and finding solutions.

Whos still using LW10? :)

DoF
01-22-2006, 06:04 AM
"Art is never finished, only abandoned."
Leonardo da Vinci 1452-1519

Wonderpup
01-22-2006, 08:04 AM
As far as "validation" goes, i am my worst critic

I think this statement is true for most creative people. What I was trying to point out was how this self critical tendancy can be exploited in a commercial context. Precisely because we are never entirely satified with our work, it is easy to be persuaded that the work lacks merit and therefore should not command a fair commercial price.

This is a characteristic of creatives that those who trade in their skills and products can become very adept at exploiting.

Look at the games industry- here we have the spectacle of multinational corporates pulling in millions, yet in some cases their employees barely see the light of day, so long are the hours they work. How have the games companies achived this? How have they persuaded so many intelligent people to tolorate such long hours?

Mostly it is driven by new recruits, who, desperate to prove themselves as worthy will do whatever it takes. If these guys had the confidence in themselves and their abilitys to say no, to demand a basic level of respect for their work, they could not be exploited in this way.

The best way to control a creative is to tap into their own innate tendancy to be critical of their own performance. It's true this tendancy is what makes us good at what we do- but it can also make us weaker in a commercial context- where confidence in the product you sell is perhaps the most important thing.

So the next time some visual illiterate in a sharp suit tries to tell you that your work isn't worth much- dont stand there thinking " Yea, I knew that I could have done that better" ask yourself if maybe they could have a reason for saying this- maybe it's in thier interest to keep your self esteem low- maybe if they get you cheap it means more for them?

Stooch
01-22-2006, 12:04 PM
True and a very good point. :thumbsup:

IT is good to know where you stand, thats why it is important to know the market value of your work...

Axis3d
01-22-2006, 12:54 PM
For me, becoming successful (or I should say comfortable) has taken many years. As Splinegod has mentioned, I'm not completely proud of everything I do because most of it is for clients who may not want you to do your best - just do what they want. So, for those jobs, I've done the best that they will allow me to.

Personally, I tend to take on the projects that have the highest degree of failure attached to them. The kinds of projects that everyone else thinks is just out of our realm to do. That makes it kind of scary because while everyone else is pulling away from the project, I have to dive right in. This can make projects very uncertain to work on, but in the end, I'm more than pleased because I went out on a limb and tried something that I normally wouldn't. Years later, I have a demo which shows the fruits of all that hard work (all Lightwave too).

After years of working in 3d, you'll begin to find what you're really good at and what you are not. My inspiration for doing 3d work is seeing all the cool stuff that everyone else is creating and also at looking at life in general and wondering if I can create moments like that in my work.

Panikos
01-22-2006, 08:27 PM
I agree with Larry.
Working on my personal project for years, without deadline cannot be compared with other commercial things.

From the commercial things I did, I hate them all, except those that I had absolute freedrom to do whatever I like, it happened and they knew me well and they entrusted me.
:jam: