In my world of 3D content creation, there is a personality that sticks out more than it probably should. It doesn't necessarily represent the majority of 3D artists, but it does have its fangs in quite a few. Before retirement from full-time work, I ran into one almost every day.
The Serial Overcomplicator.
Now that you've read that we are already getting on the same page here. It's not hard to put your own definition to it. In fact, you may even be one and not know it or you may only occasionally be one and in both cases, just about everyone else that works with you knows it.
Generally, due to my strict adherence to the Economy of Motion theory, a.k.a., laziness, I tend to find the quickest and easiest way to accomplish most tasks. I'd love to say it is pure genius but it's really just 20-plus years of meeting deadlines that didn't allow for things to get complicated.
There is also one other factor in my ability to reduce steps or find shortcuts and it is perhaps my biggest talent/skill… not knowing any better.
That's right… pure ignorance… the type where you didn't know you weren't supposed to do it that way. I'm not stopped by the mere notion of what supposedly can and can't be done with a piece of software. It's all in how you use that software.
Let take for example, a simple spear. You can create several parts of the spear and put it all together or you can simply make the spear out of one cylinder with vertex manipulation and use textures to paint in the details. Going the first route piles up the polys and requires more steps in the process with end of pipeline decimation and all the cleanup that may come with that.
Or… you can use the second method which creates an incredibly small poly footprint with the texturing doing all the hard work thus eliminating all the other work.
Distill it all down to the basics such as what primitives are in the shape? What am I trying to accomplish? What will be poly and what will be paint? What softwares do certain things best?
Do NOT be a devotee to any certain piece of software. Be loyal… but don't be dumb. Use every tool you can get your hands on to get the job done. Leave out the fanboy/fangirl bullshit and build a solid toolbox of USABLE tools. Not because they are the hottest thing or trendy but because they get the job done.
Which reminds me of another one of my little rules: NO BULLSHIT!!!
Don't lie to yourself about your abilities. Don't force yourself into hard work because of your own bullshit.
I could go on and on about this one thing but if you haven't grasped it by now… chances are you are full of it.
Also, Bullshit = preconceived notions.
Chunk them. Bury them and as I've said before… bury the shovel you used to bury them with.
Bullshit is a huge factor in over-complicating things. Whether it's our own or someone else'… it's still bullshit, and its job is to confuse, obfuscate and delay the end result. Learn to recognize the amount of work you may be creating for yourself with any given technique.
Set aside time each day or at least each week to read up on industry news and techniques. It might be garbage in, garbage out for the most part but there is some career-changing information being passed around if you go look for it.
Set aside jealousy and envy (more bullshit). Figure out how they did it. Ask. You just improved your skillset instead of being petty and angry. Plus… you may have gained a colleague with knowledge and skills that complement and extend your own instead of a competitor to denigrate or be jealous of.
I can't tell you how to uncomplicate things. I can just remind you not to let bullshit get in the way in the first place. This way your vision is clearer and your path have fewer obstacles.
M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord, is an international award-winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director, and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years. Now retired, M.D. is currently working part-time on writing and select character development projects. You can learn more about MD on his website.