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The problem with problem solvers is that if they don’t have a good enough problem to solve, they’ll invent one.
If you’re a problem-solver, have you ever been proud of any solutions you created even though they didn’t get you closer to your real goal at the time?
If you manage problem-solvers, do you always structure tasks in a way that allows opportunity for the regular small wins that they crave, while keeping them on the path to the result you really want from them?
When the shit hits the fan and everyone panics about completing a particular task before the deadline, I’ve observed that assumptions tend to be made. Progress is deemed more important than certainty. It’s possible that these assumptions may be correct, but very often they turn out not to be and they lead people in the wrong direction, costing even more time and creating even more panic.
Think of it this way. If you’re lost in a forest, you don’t know exactly where you are or where you need to go, running may feel good because at least you’re doing something, but you’re probably running the wrong way. It’s better to stop and figure out the right direction first.
Always have a plan. The first part of coming up with a plan is to know exactly where you are and exactly where you need to get to. Without it you’ll probably end up getting even more lost.
When I start work on a new shot or any other type of project I often find myself noodling around the edges at first. Most of the time I don’t even realise I’m doing it until several days or even weeks have passed. Even small tasks can seem daunting and slow me down until I actually have some tangible progress to measure towards their completion.
What tips and tricks do you use to create momentum when you start a new task or pick up the pace on one that has stalled?
Patience is a virtue, but so is getting shit done!
Creativity is not an absence of rules. It does not mean that anything goes. That’s called anarchy, and anarchy has more to do with destruction than creation.
True creativity occurs in a space defined by rules, and it’s the artists job to decide which rules are applicable in every decision we make.
“Do not be a magician – be magic!” Leonard Cohen.
As 3D artists, it can so often feel like it’s other people who call all the shots. Hollywood execs, Ad agencies, managers, clients. But they come to us for our expertise, because we can create magic.
Art, whatever its form, can speak to the audience so much more powerfully if it’s not just assembled in a manufacturing plant production line, but created by passionate artists. Those who through their passion can add those subtle details that truly bring their art to life for the audience. Be that.
“The most creative people have this childlike facility to play.” John Cleese.
Kids learn at an amazing rate, mostly through playing and experimentation, because they’re not afraid of what anyone else thinks. If they screw up, no biggie. Tomorrow’s another day with a whole world of new things to learn and try.
It’s only when we become self aware and start wanting to “fit in” that we stop taking risks and consequently stop opening ourselves up to the opportunity to learn at such a high speed.
As artists we should never be afraid to take time to play.
Results are what really matters, but there can be so many unknown factors on the road to achieving results that we invent processes to take some of the unknowns out of the equation and improve efficiency.
Then we get tied in to the process and eventually how we do it becomes more important than why we’re doing it. The process has become more important than the result.
Keep questioning the process. If anyone tells you it can’t be changed that’s probably a good indication that it needs to.
By far the biggest challenge for me in creating and launching Dynamic Anatomy has been fear of judgement. I wholeheartedly believe that what I’m trying to do will be of huge value and will shape the future of our industry. However, I’m also very aware, perhaps too aware, that people don’t like change.
The closer I got to launch, the more I found myself procrastinating, delaying, binge watching Netflix. Anything to avoid putting my ideas out there where they could be criticized.
If you also suffer from fear of judgement, know that it is a good thing. It’s a defense mechanism which is there to protect you, and it keeps your standards high. It can also cripple you if you let it.
If you’re reading this then you know I pushed through that discomfort, and I know you can too.
There was a time that I wore the number of hours I worked as a badge of honour. I was especially proud of the time on one of the Harry Potter movies when I worked 36 hours straight, only leaving my desk for dailies and pee-breaks, just to meet an internal deadline. Stoopid. Working that way seriously impacted my health and happiness.
Please learn from my mistakes. Go home. Get some exercise. Get some sleep. However much you work, there will still be more deadlines next week.
… and if you’re in a lead, supervisor, or management position and have any respect for your team, it’s your responsibility to set the sustainable working conditions.
“Almost everything important is at first opposed by stakeholders in the status quo.” Steve Blank.
Human beings are tribal. We may have cars and iPhones, but evolutionarily we’re barely evolved from cavemen. We’re herd animals. We like to fit in and know our place, it gives us a feeling of security and safety.
We also have a strong sense of individuality. Especially for those with strong creative instincts. That creates quite an internal contradiction.
Doing things differently can appeal to our creativity but also trigger fear and insecurity. Innovation comes from leaving the herd, feeling that fear, and pushing ahead anyway. If you’re on your own, that’s individuality. If the herd likes what you’re doing and chooses to follow you, that’s leadership.
There will always be critics and trolls, who shout whenever they see any violation of accepted norms. Because they fear change, they fear being left behind if the herd moves on without them.
Dynamic Anatomy is here to be different. To challenge artificial boundaries that hold artists back from achieving their true potential, and to encourage those brave enough to do the same. That doesn’t happen by staying with the herd.
“I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.” John Cage.
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”. Seneca
Some people may seem lucky, but perhaps they are just more prepared. More prepared to create opportunities for themselves. More prepared to see opportunities that come along. More prepared to take advantage of the right opportunity.
Begrudging someone else for their luck may feel good, but doesn’t help you. It’s much better to put your energy into preparing for your own.
Shiva is a Hindu God associated with destruction and is represented as dancing so fast he creates a circle of flame around him that can destroy the world. He is one of the most widely revered and most powerful of all the Hindu gods.
Why worship destruction? Because it’s a natural part of the cycle of creation just as death is an inevitable part of life.
Sometimes destruction as part of the creative process is helpful. Sometimes it is entirely necessary. Sometimes it’s only by letting go of the things we’ve achieved in the past that we can achieve even more in the future.
To all our American friends, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!
To all of our artist friends all over the world, we give thanks for what you do. Keep being creative. Keep entertaining. Keep inspiring. Keep pushing boundaries. Keep building bridges between communities. Keep making the world a better, more interesting place. Most of all, just keep being awesome!
I hate the term “CGI”. Computer Generated Imagery. I believe it’s one of the reasons why the artistry in our industry is undervalued, because the hard work, vision, and years of skill development required to do what we do gets credited to mindless machines.
Nobody would call a Picasso piece a “Brush Generated Image”. It’s a painting. A brush may have been used but we don’t credit that brush with creating the art. Photography literally means “drawing with light”. That’s a subtle but important difference from calling it a “light generated drawing”. If we credit the light with making the creative and technical decisions involved, then who would value the photographer?
When we dehumanize an action or a person it becomes a commodity, and commodities by their nature are replaceable and can easily be dismissed or destroyed without consequence. Semantics are important. If the language we use doesn’t reflect the human work involved then it is unlikely that employers, clients and consumers will.
“The first draft of anything is shit.” Ernest Hemingway
Unfortunately that was true for our website. It just wasn’t up to the level that we think you deserve, which is why we delayed the launch… for many months. A complete re-think was needed on everything we were doing, but that’s just part of the process. If we hadn’t gone through the shit we would not have reached this point where we’re about to launch something we believe will be of huge value to animation and visual effects professionals around the world.
Stay tuned. It’s coming very soon…