I'm currently going through the process of refocusing my work with a view to getting more heavily involved in high end 3D visualisation. This will mean taking a bit of time out from my normal Design & 3D Visualisation work in Retail and Events. 3D has been my passion since I was first introduced to it at University in Bournemouth and has always formed a large part of my working day. Hopefully this new direction will lead to an improvement in the quality of my work and also increase the satisfaction I get from it.
I’m 35 next week. It’s over 10 years since I left University. I spend most of my days applying techniques I learnt many years ago; while I’m always making small incremental improvements, I think I’ve forgotten what it feels like to take the time to learn something completely new, from scratch. Not to mention how rubbish we become at learning new things as we get older. (Come to think of it maybe I wasn’t that good at it in the first place…) It can be really unnerving to put yourself in a position of vulnerability, it’s much easier to stay in your comfort zone and plod along. But ultimately feeling uncomfortable normally gives way to personal growth and that is what this process is all about.
Some great tips on learning new skills HERE
At the moment I’m not sure if I would like to focus on Product or Architectural Visualisation so I will be taking the time to undertake projects in both disciplines and seeing where that takes me while also taking the time to learn and refine the techniques and software I’ve always wanted to master but never had the time.
One thing I’ve come to realise is that I’ve developed a load of bad habits over the nearly 10 years I have been working in industry, and most of these can be traced back to having a lack of time and a heap of pressure. When I say lack of time I mean not just on projects when deadlines are tight but also a lack of time to be able to dedicate to training and refining techniques. You get some experience in what you do professionally, then you get busy and time becomes quite elusive. This in turn can lead to a lack of process and that is something I want to rectify over the next few years.
The Importance of Process
Without a properly defined process it’s easy to waste heaps of time on a project, perhaps because of panic or impatience you can jump prematurely between steps and end up multiplying the time it takes to get decent results. All this ends up doing is wasting time and diminishing the quality of the end result.
Someone who teaches process better than anyone else I have come across is Ciro Sannino from www.learnvray.com Ciro is all about the process and following his course has really made me think more about the way in which I work.
I recently undertook THIS project which involved the 3D visualisation of a bottle of Copper Dog Whiskey and accessories. This is the kind of shot that would form the solid foundation of a photographer’s portfolio and whilst simple, it’s tricky to get some of the details nailed. Check out Karl Taylors photography tutorials for details of the real world lighting setup I tried to replicate. I’m relatively happy with the end results ; I learnt loads from the project and tried out lots of new techniques BUT…
…What I’m not happy with is the PROCESS. I had the best intentions of planning the entire process and methodically following that plan step by step, but in reality I started the project without a proper plan. I started parts of the process before I was ready which meant I had to re-do them and I spent much longer on things than I should have because I hadn’t finished the previous steps properly. Ultimately I wasted time, and as a father of 2 kids time is something I don’t have much of. I’m confident that if I refine my process I can not only create work faster but also improve much quicker.
A few examples of where I wasted time are as follows:
I took the time to accurately measure the items I was visualising and I even created a CAD plan to base my models on, but I never double checked my measurements and of course a few of them were out which meant I ended up having to model and unwrap a few things twice. This is a silly mistake and one that is easily avoided by simply being strict about measuring everything twice. As the old saying goes Measure Twice/ Cut Once…
Maybe it’s a confidence thing but I always have this sense that the end results aren’t’ going to be good enough. This causes me to jump ahead in the process to try and preview how the end results will look. This inevitably means I start parts of the process before I’m ready to, when previous stages aren’t finished, then I go back finish the previous stage and have to start over again. It’s stupid, inefficient and leads to mid-project doldrums that inevitably sap my motivation. Sometimes when I’m working on a personal project this can mean a project won’t get finished at all, and this is definitely one area where I need to improve my discipline.
I think that having a quality process in place essentially comes down two 2 things:
If you don’t think about what you are going to do and plan how you are going to do it, how can you ever expect to work efficiently and achieve a quality end result?
This mainly comes down to experience but it also means taking the time to learn from your mistakes, reviewing your performance and revising your plan before going through the process again in a more refined way. Practice of course will also lead to greater confidence which will help me avoid the dreaded repetition which I mentioned previously.
With that in mind I am going to undertake another project similar to my last where I take the learnings from the Copper Dog project and use them to help improve my process and so I have some accountability I plan to publish a blog post for each stage of the process.
Watch this space…