So. My diorama is done.
The words ‘relieved’ and ‘thankfuckit’sover’ spring to mind.
I’m so, so proud of myself for holding on to a project that has run over the course of at least 4 months, sometimes between other projects and sometimes as my sole focus. I’ve demonstrated to myself that I do perhaps have the drive that it’ll take to be a game artist.
This project started out as a sort of self-indulgent ‘I hate Off The Map and look, I’ll prove it by doing something entirely different’, and became an awesome experience in which I learned countless new things for my future game-arting. I introduced myself to the Polycount community with a very positive response, and blew off some creative steam making something pretty for my portfolio without any restraints holding me back.
There’s a lot I’m not pleased with about this piece, though. I don’t look at it and feel like it’s the epitome of my artistic career for the next year. Oh no. There are aspects of my diorama that could be so much better, or I should have spent more time on, or I simply couldn’t work out how to use UE4 to make something look good (fabric OMG). PBR confuses me, and some stuff reflects that pretty obviously. I unwrapped some assets badly, baked out maps, and then realised what a hideous job I’d done but was too frustrated to go back and sort it. Creating high poly models in 3dsMax for things such as filigree on the balcony completely eludes me, or that would have been way more interesting. Sometimes hand-painting an asset is just too much effort in the middle of the night.
Would haves, could haves, should haves. And things I’ll have to be more careful about for next time. It’s all a learning curve, and I’m not going to cry over it just yet.
Though I’ve felt guilty the whole time for neglecting my painting work, now I feel like I’ve created a 3D project that can at least head my portfolio until FMP time. I always feel bad for neglecting aspects of my work; 3D when I’m painting, painting when I’m 3D-ing, but now I feel like I can focus more on painting without feeling neglectful of my 3D stills. Especially because my uni work next year will largely be 3D. So for the rest of my summer and the start of university, I’ll be focusing back on my painting work in a desperate bid to be ok at it.
I find it very hard to keep myself committed to painting. It’s oh so hard to stay positive that I could ever be anything more than a casual painter when I see the level of work being produced by others my age, and those in the industry (I compare myself to industry veterans because I like to cry inside). I find myself angry that I have to focus on my 3D work too, especially when I find it so much easier to be good at it. I feel like with 3D there’s some pretty simple right and wrong ways to do things. Not so much with 2D.
A lot of my frustration stems from my lack of direction. Yeah, I want to be an environment artist. But concept artist? Illustrator? Prop artist? Foliage? Hard surface? Organic? Realistic? Hand-painted? Stylised? What studio can I see myself working for? Freelance? What do I want?
So, I cling on to my painting and 3D art because yes, one greatly aids the other, but also because I have this unstoppable urge to be a professional level at both. The more I see other people’s amazing skills, the more I want it. Need it. Crave it. But also, the less I feel it is likely. I feel like I’ll never be satisfied with my work, and I could potentially end up in a job creating 3D assets that I hate… or a job creating concept art that I hate. I feel like I just want to spend the rest of my life doing everything. I want to concept, model, texture, rig, animate… I want to do the whole shebang! I’m scared of facing that limitation when it comes to employment. I’m scared of being suppressed.
But hey. I’ll keep going as I am. I’ll be a jack-of-all-trades for the rest of my life, it seems. I’ll do my best to be a talented jack-of-all-trades though! I just want to make cool stuff.
For now, I’m going away to Devon and France! I’m going to draw, sketch, and paint to my heart’s content. I’ll be back soon. 🙂