Saturday, August 13, 2011

Don't blame it on the boogie.

I tend to get a lot of work done

But not a lot of projects finished. I think this is a pretty common habitual mishap for young artists. The projects I have followed to total completion are usually a product of a few days of hammering away excitedly and having ideas pouring out my ears. I have created a few websites, a few paintings and a lot of models this way. It's a pretty effective workflow because the ideas are all fresh in my mind, the skills are polished up and the time taken is minimal. I can easily smash out a heap of small props, a couple of medium scale projects, or a few highrollers in the space of a few days.

But what about when I can't afford the hard and fast approach?

Sometimes the weekend comes to an end and my mega explodey starburst funtime model of awesomeness didn't quite make it to completion. I go to work and come back to an easel of half finished strokes and a muse that has taken off in her lightspeed warpdrive spaceship in a direction exactly opposite to mine.

What do I do now? This is often the make or break point for budding artists. I've lost the groove and subsequently blamed it on the boogie. I think this is the point that weeds out the successful modellers from the happy ragtime blendernewbies permanents (not that there is anything wrong with blendernewbies, but people should only really be there for two years at the MOST). It's around this stage that my mentality needs to change from fast and hard to slow and steady. I need to re-analyse my creation, externalise my internal criticism and objectify my actions. Yeah that's a lot of flashy catchwords but they're about as succinct as I can be.

Re-analysing my creation

When I started my happy go funbang model of solidified amazing I had ideas bubbling from my eyeballs. Now I'm all out. The ideas may still be there, but they aren't as awesome and achievable anymore. I don't really have a strong direction to work towards. I need to look at my art so far and decide what I want to do with it. Come up with an overall goal for the final product. Sometimes it's monumental. That's fine. I strongly urge everyone to set their goals beyond their skills. Arnie never got massive from lifting comfortable weights.

The point of this step is to create a specific end goal so that I will have a better idea of when my project is complete, as well as how I am progressing in my workflow.

Externalising my Internal Criticism

This is a pretty simple concept, but can be elusive to get right. I see internal criticism as when I notice a colour is too saturated, or a quads' diagonal midline is running the wrong way. External criticism is when I post my work on a forum and get advice and opinions from community members. I find that providing my own external criticism helps to develop a style, since I am re-inferring my own opinion onto my own work.

By looking at my work as if it had been posted on a forum and I am telling Old Matey McForum Member what I think of it, I find lots of potential improvements and catch some prominent mistakes. I like to do this after any significant change, or a significant amount of insignificant changes.

Objectifying my Actions

It's about this point where I realise that I have just committed myself to the equivalent of painting the roof of the sistine chapel with my armpit hairs while blindfolded, concussed and covered in sandflies. But that's ok! Alan Turing never created the computer by studying 10th grade maths! I'm a big fan of setting small achievable goals and that is exactly what I do at this point. I'll look at what my creation is now and what I want it to be, and I'll break it down into steps. Ok so I know I want him to have a wrinkly ass forehead and big dimples, so I need to move some loops around. I know I want that bit to be shiny so I need to make a nice specular map. I'll break it down and down until I have something that I can do right now, and will only take half an hour at the most. The hardest step of any journey is always the first, and it seems that once I have started work, my muse comes a-knockin'. All of a sudden I need to fix this and improve that, which makes this look out of place so I correct the other to fix that and that improves this. And so on.

The point is that if I have a nice easy job to do I'll be more inclined to do it, and once I am wrist deep in a whizpop whoopee smileface sunray batch of liquefied goddamn, it's much easier, and way more fun, to tackle the more complicated problems.

By this stage

It's about 2 in the morning and I have roughly 5 hours till I have to be at work but I don't want to go to bed because my muse is starting to play with her spaceship keys in her pocket and I don't know if she'll be back again. So I crunch and go to work trashed and come home with less inspiration than the night before, then run through these steps and do it all again till my eyes are poking out on stalks and I look like a junkie who has been pilling for weeks.

And that's how I rediscover my groove and apologise to the boogie.

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