Going through an awkward stage… it’s all part of learning something new. From my own experience, it’s when you can make the house but not yet the windows and doors to go in it. Or you have a solid structure, but not the skills to pretty it up.
It’s when you’ve gone past the raw beginner stage when everything was new and exciting and hard, and you amazed yourself just by producing anything at all. At that stage we’re like children coming home with smeared paintings, proud to say “I did this!” Only later does the self-conscious, critical self creep in.
In short, the awkward stage grabs hold when you start to see the gulf between you and people who are much more experienced. It doesn’t pay to compare ourselves with others, we just need to improve by our own standards. But I’m pretty sure we all do it just the same, don’t we?
From the outside, when I stopped posting about it, it might seem like my enthusiasm for 3D had burned out. I’m happy to say it’s not the case, not even for a moment. I continue to work on renders and make models. It’s just that now I no longer have the excuse of being a total beginner, I’ve been less inclined to post my efforts for others to see.
I’m trying to change that by taking part in challenges and contests, simply to take part. No expectation of placing, or even of getting comments, though I leave them where I can. The beauty of participation is the push it gives you to keep on improving.
It’s all too easy to play a little here, dabble a little there, but for me that led to very little to show for my efforts. On the other hand, to participate in a challenge, you have to be motivated to see something through and then accept it for what it is. No pushing it aside as something to be perfected sometime-never. No tossing it away in frustration because your vision and your output just don’t match.
It’s about saying in public “This is where I am” and being OK with where you are, even while looking forward at ways you can improve.
Here’s a render I made for one of the challenges. While it looked better in my imagination (ever had that feeling?) I was fairly satisfied with this one. Just so long as you don’t ask me to list the flaws and point out those things I forgot to do. (It had a fair bit of postwork in GIMP so it would be a lot of re-work to put even small things right.)
I find I enjoy the crossover between rendering in software and enhancing that render by hand. Definitely not a purist about using only the render engine — a topic which however can be hotly debated!
On the modelling side of things, I am reaching a stage where I ought to be able to dress my characters more easily in outfits of my own imagining. There are a couple of sides to clothes creation for digital models, however. One is creating them, which involves one set of specialist skills. Then there is texturing them, which involves a different set of skills. Since I’ve put all my attention so far on the first side of that equation, I’m pretty much continuing to rely on The Fabricator and its add-on packages to apply tiling shaders to clothes.
The 1920s inspired dress below was made in Hexagon 2.5 and uses Totally Bazaar for The Fabricator for some beaded silk effect textures. Lately I’ve been experimenting with making my own tiling textures but am yet to branch out to making a custom texture on a UV map, which is how many of the clothes (and other models) you buy will have been created.
I’m also getting back into the swing of blogging after a short break. I hope to share more creative experiments with you soon.
Meanwhile, I’ll continue to get comfortable with being an improver and not a beginner. It’s an awkward stage, it’s true, but we can always celebrate the fact that we’re climbing that learning curve and know a good deal more than when we began.