Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Muscle Memory πŸ’ͺ

Onegai shimasu (γŠγ­γŒγ„ します)  πŸ™‡

It takes time and dedication to learn anything new. When you start anything that you've never done before it's frustrating. After a while you'll want to give up and not understand how other people do the same thing with such ease. Well, I'm sure they started with similar frustrations. The main difference between you and the expert is time. It takes about 10,000 hours to be good at something. As an industry pro you have to learn many tools in order to do your daily tasks. What we have to do now is way above what was available 10 years ago, let alone 20 years ago.

I remember starting with a really bad drawing that my mom framed and hung over her fireplace. Ugh. I hate looking at it now. New artists may only draw stick figures. Big deal. New coders may only be able to get the computer to write back "hello". And? Everyone starts somewhere. Do you remember learning to walk? What about learning to use a bike? Eventually these things can be done without thinking about doing it. Muscle memory is developed.

With enough time and dedication almost any skill can be achieved and you wont have to think about it. When I teach someone how to model the extent of their abilities at the beginning is a simple snowman where they have to think about every step on how to achieve a simple goal. A year later they can create very good models. Years later they can create elaborate CG scenes. You’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come in whatever you’re doing. It just takes time. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

The Hourglass Principal ⏳

Onegai shimasu (γŠγ­γŒγ„ します)  πŸ™‡

I’ve told this to my students from experience in myself  and colleagues. I call it “The Hourglass Principal”. When you start in whatever, the choices are endless. The goal appears to be across a massive gulf. Eventually, things get easier. Then, it gets really tough, even though you know how and what to navigate. Eventually, after the toughest part passes, things get easier. Then the options seem endless, and you begin to flounder because there are too many options. You may even overdo things. The same can be said in buisness

When I was in the game industry I did my best to not encounter this by testing the items I made and asking other people to look at my tests to make sure I stopped at some point. I rely on others to double check me in order to not work on something forever. I also watch others in their efforts getting through their hourglass. This will help develope knowing what is “good enough”.

It takes a great deal of time to develope the skills to know when to stop. It also takes patience as you will mess up.

And that’s ok, so long as you learn.


Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Respect is Earned πŸ˜‡

Onegai shimasu (γŠγ­γŒγ„ します)  πŸ™‡

Just because someone has been in the industry a long time does not mean they deserve respect. Respect must be eared (and given). Treating coworkers like garbage will only get you so far, and word travels fast.

I've known art/creative directors who think they are the top shit and expect to be revered. Even worshiped. I've seen people looking for their first jobs melting down into fanboys/fangirls when they meet the industry folks they revere. I’ve known junior artist, who happen to have good talent, expect to be respected and worshiped. Some of these folks (junior and senior) can't even do the simplest art tasks. Especially for what they are demanding from others.

It's wise, from the onset, to treat each other with grace and dignity. Don't get me wrong, Its alright to admire someone, especially if that person is your senior. So long as there is a mutual exchange of respect. Mutual respect goes a very long way.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Your First πŸ‘Ž

 Onegai shimasu (γŠγ­γŒγ„ します)  πŸ™‡

I encouraged my students to save images of the first item they modeled and not look at it for 6 months. Then look at it after. The reaction is always the same. Disbelief and shock that they made such a rotten model. This is important as it will demonstrate concretely how far one has come. and where one will be many years from now. I showed them a photo of the fist drawing I did in school and how much it sucked compared to my graduation images. Today, I can hold my own with pros (while I look at things I made a few years ago (and cringe).
It's not fair to yourself to compare your work (code, film, models, paintings, etc.) with high end pros. You won't be as good as them at the moment. And that's ok. It's good to favor them. To admire them. To emulate them. Learning their techniques will help develop your own. 
Remember: they all started just like you. DaVinci was not born with his skills. He had to start somewhere. He sucked when he started. It took years to develop his style.
You will develop your own style. Who knows. At some point someone will look at your work and be inspired by it 😊

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Be The Change πŸ‘️

Onegai shimasu (γŠγ­γŒγ„ します)  πŸ™‡

Let's face it. Ours is a unique industry. While you're in it you will meet a wide assortment of people who like different things and have different view points. I’ve met good and brilliant people. And I’ve worked with assholes.

First off, this is becoming a very open and welcoming industry more and more. It’s becoming less and less of a “good old boy network”. There are more women and LGBTQ+ entering the industry than when I started. It’s growing more every day on all fronts. And it's awesome 😁

75% of my VFX class were women. About 1/2 of the Game Art class were women. It was about 20% women in the Programming Class (and growing every year). Culturally, all these classes are very diverse, and were getting more so.
Diversity can't be escaped. Yet sometimes someone can cause a problems. They will attempt to take it out on you, no matter who you are. I had the misfortune to have to work with elitist types. All I could do is respect their work and keep going. I don’t know where they are now. And I don’t care. 

It is the things that you WILL and WILL NOT do that will always speak as to what kind of person that you are (what you will of won’t do will ALWAYS come back to you). Sometimes, all a person needs is a little help. 
Or, said person may need to complete the struggle on their own, and they just need room. Don't carry a burden for them. This can be very difficult to detect in yourself.

This industry is getting more unaccepting of bigotry. I know that there are still issues everywhere. Personally, I’d rather be a part of the solution. And I really believe in starting with yourself. No need to attempt to change the world (you’d go mad). Just your corner of it. You’d be very surprised at how far the effects will ripple.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Secret Sometimes 🀫

Onegai shimasu (γŠγ­γŒγ„ します)  πŸ™‡

You’re a creative person. You may have good ideas you want to share with the rest of the world. The company you’re at wants to know what the ideas are and want you to tell them.
This may or may not be good. This is where it’s important to read the contract before you sign and ask question to clarify. It may state that all ideas you have, and document in some form (whether at work or at home), belongs to the company. 
Or higher ed schools. Yes, schools.

This is a common practice because the company/school you’re at wants full commitment from you. Full and complete commitment.

While I was at a company, in my early career, I was told that the company was looking for new ideas and to submit them. I wrote it up and turned it in hoping that it becomes real. 
I found out a few things later: 
1- Only new-to-the-industry folks turned anything in. 
2- All the ideas were put into an archive file and never looked at. This was devastating. 

Fortunately, it was not my best idea. So, years later, I’m glad it was never made. 
This taught me a valuable lesson, though.

Now, the following is for your personal ideas. Not ideas that might help at your current job/class.
If you have original ideas, it may be prudent to not present them to anyone… yet. If it’s possible, in between jobs, to set up a Holding Company (where no $ is made) so the ideas can live in there. Fully protected and yours. A web site need not be made or anything.Later on, the ideas created at that point might still be with making, changed, or leave them. There may be a time you’ll need to disclose them at the next company you work at and state they are yours. I did that several times.

What’s ultimately important is to protect yourself and your ideas. No one else will do it for you.

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Compete πŸ₯‡

Onegai shimasu (γŠγ­γŒγ„ します)  πŸ™‡

It’s very important to know your rights as an individual. Sometimes this means having to read your very dry contract. We all hate reading this. It's full of legalese and sand be very dry. I've not read every contract I signed at the start of my career.
There are a few things that are noteworthy. Like most Non Compete Clauses are not enforceable.
I've been in the industry a very long time. And not once has this been an issue. I'm an artist. I love what I do. I've been able to work at several companies in the same industry and leveled up.
Do yourself a favor: KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
I recommend to read your contact before you sign. Ask questions. The company who wants you should give you time to review it. You don't need to know all legalese. The legal dept. is not your industry. It really helps to understand the basics, though. 
Below is a link to a vid-cast that I love. It's worth a watch.

https://youtu.be/XQBzhpeSYnQ