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Anyone have advice on overcoming indecisiveness/analysis paralysis when starting projects?

Since graduating I've found it somewhat difficult to pick and commit to personal projects. It's not that I'm unmotivated, I'm constantly trying to work on new projects and learn new things. It's because I'm afraid that the project I've chosen won't do what I want it to do for me, it won't be 'enough' to get me the best chance at that job I want. So I abandon it and start again, getting nowhere. When I plan a personal project I look at a job I want and I try to come up with a plan for a project that will give me the best shot at getting that job or something similar. However, I always have a list of several ideas, each with their own pros and cons, and it becomes difficult to decide which is actually best. I get into analysis paralysis because each of the projects I'm debating between will potentially take me several weeks or even several months to complete and I struggle to commit. It's like I'm staring up at two different mountains. I don't know what's on the other side of each mountain but I can only choose one to climb. If what's on the other side isn't what I wanted I have to go back and climb the other and I've wasted tons of time. Another problem is if I'm having these feelings at the starting line, how am I going to keep my focus for several months working on a project? (I don't foresee this being as big of a problem in an actual job environment because I didn't have this problem in school as I was told what to work on and when to have it done by.) There are projects I want to do, but I'm afraid they won't be enough and will be a waste of time.

So I guess I'm trying to ask if I should be this worried about my choices. Does anyone have any advice to overcome analysis paralysis? Any advice on how should I be picking my projects? Any advice to help me keep my focus? I'm sorry, I'm sure I will figure it out but I just wanted to see if I could get even a tiny bit of advice on this. Thank you for reading.

Replies

  • kanga
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    kanga ngon master

    The fun of doing 3d graphics out weighs any strategic approach I reckon. There are as many approaches as there are artists so I think it would be arrogant to promote one and disregard the rest. How to post on the internet (just above your post) is one such thread with good advice on one aspect. You don't have to look too hard to find great strategies.

    There are loads of specialities and ideas would be suitable to each area. Without knowing what your aims are the 2 approaches would be: concentrate on what you are good at and market the hell out of it. My approach which is not wise is, do what you love as cleverly as you can. Using the last approach I'm pretty sure you won't have a problem with focus.

  • poopipe
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    poopipe godlike master sticky

    you're always going to get bored or distracted by the next shiny thing and not many of us possess the discipline to chew away at something until its finished.

    the secret is to arrange matters so you can make a choice about what you actually want to build as early as possible.


    eg. if you're planning to make an environment,

    take your pile of ideas, quickly block them all out in engine, run around a bit and scrap any idea that doesn't immediately speak to you

    work the remaining ideas up a bit with some color / basic lighting etc. run around a bit and scrap anything that doesn't speak to you

    you should be down to a couple of ideas that you like by this point so you can start breaking them down into modules etc. and develop a list of things you need to make - assess them for feasibility and abandon anything that's too large in scope

    block the modules out , rebuild your environments, muck around with lighting and color a bit and then pick your favourite.

    decision made - you have a list of things to make so you're being told what to do, you have a roughly blocked out version of the environment so you're not working from a blank slate and verything you replace will make you feel good cos you can see tangible progress.


    the initial time investment is worth it because you stand a much, much higher chance of actually finishing what you're making than if you just tear into it

  • Lukes3D
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    Lukes3D triangle

    Something I like to do is to work on projects that move towards multiple things at the same time.

    Say you want to make a 3D model for your portfolio. Maybe this could sell on Turbosquid? If not, choose something that could sell well on there.

    Or maybe your building an indie game. Maybe your 3d models could be used in there? And/or sell it in the Unity store/Unreal Marketplace.

    Maybe you can reuse this 3d model as part of another portfolio piece that your working on.

    Maybe this 3d model is part of a short film your working on, or working on with some others.

  • Benjammin
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    Benjammin polycounter lvl 5

    My suggestion is to shelve any portfolio idea that will take multiple months, especially in a 'get my first job' kind of portfolio; Considering that the output is likely just a series of images, it doesn't seem worth the time investment IMO. If an idea speaks to you, find a way to do it in a focused way that you can manage in a few weeks.

    Also, if you do abandon something, try to frame your thoughts around what you've learnt, rather than feeling bad because you 'failed'.

  • killnpc
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    killnpc interpolator

    i think of these things in the abstract, there are pressures that push you forward, backward, sideways, downward; ambition, stress, impatience, depression... to progress you move along with overwhelming forces or out from under them by directing your efforts in removing them in order to progress, create, at a natural pace without fighting against or being dragged beneath them.

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