Sunday, 21 December 2014

Lessons Learned

“It’s failure that gives you the proper perspective on success.” - Ellen DeGeneres
This last four weeks have not been my best, but there's allot to be learned here as well. This project certainly didn't leave me on the high note that my sentry turret or film room did, but the best thing to do at this point is salvage everything there is to be learned from it and  then try not to dwell. 
So let's see now; my finished model ended up something like this: 

Lesson1: The absolute most important lesson here is the importance of orthographies. I tried to model a stylized character from a real person. I believed that I'd be able to adjust it on the go and I was wildly wrong. If I had more time, maybe I could have pulled it off, but I didn't and I should have known this at the time I started modelling. If I had followed my design more closely, I would have been able to pull of a much more unique and stylized character like the ones from my designs. The hunch for example- I always told myself throughout the process that I would achieve posture through rigging, but being left with no time for such a glamorous stretch goals, my character lost instant personality though not being hunched over, with dangling, ungainly arms. 

Also the shapes! My design hinged fundamentally around being sharp, jagged and harsh. Where as this came out being rounded and friendly- again I put this down to not having proper orphographies that I could model too. The hood in particular stands out as a big thing that should have been very different.
 I mean, look at the difference in silhouette that should have been.

I really find it strange in retro respect some of the decisions I made, there are very simple design mistakes that could have vastly improved my character. I mean- fundamentally, I don't think the model was bad, it just not what I had designed. In fact, technically I feel it was quite adequate.

Lesson 2: Time management. I don't want to make excuses for myself, but it does have to be mentioned that I lost a huge amount of time designing and re designing in the early stages of the project because of how vast it was, and my own uncertainly on what I wanted or what was expected of me. But despite this, there are some weird things I got caught up doing while modelling. The hands for example, are laughably detailed compared to the rest of the model. Ironically I do really like them, it just wasn't an appropriate use of time. I also was left with tragically little time for texturing- which kind of ties into the next lesson.

Lesson 3: I needed way more texture planning.

After doing some colour studies and colour themes, there was a lot of colour work done premodelling- thing is, I knew I didn't like any of them in advance. I was just hoping as I textured something good would happen. But while the colour scheme was far from ideal, the bigger problem came with texture style. My original style plan left colours in a painterly, simplistic fashion.. The problem with that was, that wasn't my model anymore. Instead of the model I was supposed to have- I had a semi realistic that looked outright unfinished with the simple textures I had planned. So I kind of made it 'half realistic' texturing in an attempt to adapt to my new model but also stay loyal to my original plans. I didn't get the best of both, not my a long shot, I think I got the benefits of neither and it ended up looking like it really didn't know what it wanted to be. Which it didn't.

Lesson 4: Making sure you understand the brief. I can't stress enough how much simpler things would have been this project if I'd have just got the project more. Especially the dichotomy parts of it. I'm not happy with the design I went with and now that it's too late I can think of a million other awesome ideas for dichotomous characters, I have one particularly specific one about a sports bike rider- tall, edgy and fast in a full leather race suit, compared to short, round, half helmet cruiser or Harley rider- two stereotypical enemies in the motorbiking world. It would have been fun to play on those sterotypes.
In a strange way, now that I've written this post, it's like I've made peace this project and can just embrace the lessons learned and move on. It's almost pleasant.

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