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Motivation to work when you get home

polycounter lvl 13
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[HP] polycounter lvl 13
Hey guys.

Just curious, to all polycounters already working in the games industry, how's your motivation to work/practice when you get home after a day of work? Can you do it?

Fortunately or unfortunately in our line of work you should never stop learning and you need to keep practicing, otherwise you will stay behind. Working in the industry makes it easy(er) to keep track of shit, you talk with fellow artists about techniques, new app releases, you show your work, get feedback and give feedback, etc. But do you still find time / motivation to get home and practice?

Now, I think it's safe to say everyone here got his own side projects, some personal project we have laying around to practice and improve our workflow, tests, what have you, but how often do you have the willing to open it and carry on with the work.

Just bringing this up cos I'm curious to know how others bear with this problem in this industry where things such as crunch-time and girlfriends do not help! :poly121:

Cheers!

Replies

  • Nick Carver
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    Nick Carver polycounter lvl 10
    I've got back into the personal artwork groove in the past few months. I was freelancing for a while last year and I couldn't bear to be at my desk after I'd finished my hours for the day and as a result I completely stopped doing work for myself. It's taken me a long time to get back into the routine of doing work at home (buying a Cintiq was a big help!) but I'm really enjoying working on my own stuff again and I find I'm improving as a result.

    I tend to try and work in areas that I don't cover during my day job, so if I'm doing some industrial design at work then I will attempt some characters or environment thumbnails when I get home. I think this is a good way of keep things fresh and enjoyable. I also don't pressure myself when it comes to working at home. I always think to myself, 'I'll work for 10 minutes and if I'm enjoying it I'll keep going' and usually before I know it a couple of hours will have gone by and I will have done something worthwhile. Most pieces I work on are things I can finish in an evening or two as well. Even if I'm working on a larger project - like I am at the moment - I break it down into manageable tasks and that way I don't lose interest and I feel like I'm making decent progress.

    I think the bottom line is that personal development is really important but you should do it because you're excited about it and want to do it, not because you feel obligated to do it. Ideally, it should be a relaxing and rewarding diversion from your day job, rather than feeling like overtime at home.
  • katzeimsack
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    katzeimsack polycounter lvl 13
    Just do it™

    I's hard to start, but once you opened max/ps time flies..
  • Tumerboy
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    Tumerboy polycounter lvl 12
    I'm a lazy ass, so when I get home, I tend to play games, and watch TV until I go to sleep. Sometimes I'll find some inspiration to work on something, but I tend to work for a bit, and then abandon things. . . Probably not a good practice, but it's what I've done so far. . .
  • aesir
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    aesir polycounter lvl 13
    I can't apparently. I keep trying but i'm such a lazy sob once i'm off the clock.

    I'm trying to though... just trying and failing :/
  • Autocon
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    Autocon polycounter lvl 12
    I have also fell victim to the not being able to work much at home after work. I think mainly this is due to having worked a 40hour internship + 20hrs of college classes with working on my folio durring college really burned a lot out of me and any kind of social life for the last 9 months of college. All paided off nicley in the end and was worth it but when I got my job I wanted to enjoy it and have a life outside of 3D for a bit.

    I love going into work every day and generally would stay for 9 or 10hrs a day even on non crunch weeks and when crunch hit I was pushing 70+ hours a week with no problem as I loved doing it and found it more fun then working at home. But going home after that I struggled to actually start up a project and enjoy it to the end.

    Always kept up with reading new stuff on PC and other sites, watching tut dvds when ever I saw a new one and doing small practice peices here and there to test new things. Just never anything really worth finishing up to a nice polished stage. Might be the fact that I also tried to just jump into making huge projects/over complicated things and not breaking things up. That plus a few projects I just lost intrest in half way through, enjoyed the start of the project but finishing it up I was not happy and if your not happy with something personal there is no reason to keep working on it as it will end up worse then if you start over on something you do enjoy.

    Has been a nice break but I indeed need to get back into working a lot more at home. So thats what I am doing now. Main work on Halo is over so I feel like actually working again. Going to make sure I break things up more into small little milestones.
  • Frump
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    Frump polycounter lvl 11
    I dunno, I don't really have a problem with it. I guess I'm just really driven. I never have problems starting something new or following through with it eventually. I enjoy it just as much as playing games or doing other things, so it's easy for me. I suppose part of it is because I am not working as an artist right now. It's not hard to model all night after work when I haven't been modeling all day before that. Quite the opposite, I've been playing games all day at work so I don't want to when I get home.:)

    A lot of my friends who I went to school with haven't finished any new pieces in over a year, though. They do have issues with the motivation and getting things done. To help them get motivated we've started an "art club" where we are meeting up each week to give each other crits and hopefully get some work done, though, it usually ends up we just play Smash Bros after going through everyone's work. We're setting goals for where we want to be at for next week's meeting and trying to get stuff done everyday. We've only done it twice now but it's been mostly successful. If you have other local artists that you know it might be something to consider.
  • cholden
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    cholden polycounter lvl 13
    When I get home I like to doodle in game engines or art styles I'm not doing at work. Lately I've been on this Kismet kick in UDK. My problem isn't so much motivation, but remembering to stop and do some errands that I need to do.
  • Zack Fowler
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    Zack Fowler polycounter lvl 11
    +1 to what Nick Carver said. Wise words. Keep it fun.
  • Blaizer
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    Blaizer greentooth
    It's hard to keep it fun when your hobby became your job.

    For me all is 3D, and to be using the same apps to be doing the same thing, that is 3D, can be really annoying. At the end (for me), it does not matter if you model a scene, a prop or a character.

    By general, my friends and me, we totally disconect, and if we use the computer in our spare time, it's always for other different things than 3D (work).

    To disconnect for a good time is a good thing to recharge batteries. Our lack of motivation can be a product of mental fatigue.

    So take things easy! and don't do huge projects! just simple, easy and fast to do.
  • Kwramm
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    Kwramm interpolator
    I un(hobbied) my job. I still work in games, but my job is now mostly scripting, managing and troubleshooting. So actual modeling is again my hobby :)

    Also I totally agree on Nick's advice - just start the app with the goal to spend a few minutes in it. In most cases it'll turn into half an hour or longer and you'll get a little bit done :)
  • [HP]
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    [HP] polycounter lvl 13
    Interesting replies! :) THanks guys

    Oh and on a sidenote, for those who didn't see it yet, here's a vid on the topic of motivation. (Bit off topic since it's more about motivation inside work, not outside, still...)

    [ame]
  • Mark Dygert
    Having a wife that works most weekends and 3 yr old and a job that fulfills most of my creative aspirations, I average about 5-10 hrs of personal work a week. Which makes it hard to finish bigger more time intensive projects, which it doesn't help that I have three major ones I bounce between...

    I really don't have a problem getting motivated, I'm always itching to sit down and just lose myself in the groove for a few hours. I definitely need to adjust what I'm working on to match the reality I live in, 5-10hrs per week just isn't enough time to take on big projects. I need go back to props or smaller scenes, and stop doing full blown environments or maps.
  • DerDude
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    DerDude polycounter lvl 10
    motivation is coming and going, but having to to something, like animation mentor is motivating when the job is stressful for me
  • Corcscrew
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    Corcscrew polycounter lvl 10
    I am only a game design student but I will graduate soon. One thing that helps me is setting a date for people to critique my work and then it motivates me to impress.
  • jipe
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    jipe polycounter lvl 11
    I love animating on my own stuff -- there's nothing as motivating as the ideas and situations you come up with yourself -- but depending on workload, sometimes it's just not possible. If you're working 55-60 hours a week there's little time for much else.. things like grocery shopping and washing dishes tend to take priority. But when I have the time? Yeah, definitely. It helps that I have buddies who also work on personal stuff.. motivation can be super infectious, in a good way.
  • Millah
    I'm a very task oriented person so for me it's all about goals. My goal atm is to improve and to transition into doing characters full time instead of vehicles. So far this seems to be more than enough to motivate me to work on stuff in my free time. Before I had set that goal for myself and told others (who hold me accountable) I rarely worked on things in my free time.

    That said, I don't force myself to work every night. I'm married and I still try to have a social life outside of work/ artistic growth.

    If you want to work on something in your free time I'd recommend setting a goal and then telling your friends/ coworkers about it/ getting critique from them. I find that goals also help in the gf/wife department because it gives your art a justifiable purpose. (read: stability in paying for children, bills, etc.)

    As for crunch, yeah. I don't really have an answer for that one :/
  • Ruz
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    Ruz polycounter
    make the most of it. I find it hard to do any work at all right now as the baby keeps us sooo busy.
    I muzt say though its a bit daft working after you come home if you work in the industry. you can easily get burnt out if you don't take a breather now and then
  • whats_true
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    whats_true polycounter lvl 12
    My job is still my hobby hehe. The stuff I do is the stuff I want to do, so Im happy to be here late hours working on what I love. When I get home, I dont do much. I read a lot mostly. But Im happy, cause I had a fulfilling day of just modeling and enjoying it.
  • Saman
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    Saman polycounter lvl 9
    Variation is good too. I work with different small projects at home. I try to focus on one main project and whenever I fell I'm getting tired of it I just switch to another one. When I feel like working on the main project again I switch back. It works because I've put a lot of time on my free time projects and I haven't grown tired of them yet. Of course there is always a risk of not being able to finish any of the projects ;)
  • breakneck
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    breakneck polycounter lvl 12
    motivation, for me, is easy to gather when I do something I want to do and something i enjoy doing.
  • SimonT
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    SimonT interpolator
    GET THINGS DONE ;)

    [ame]
  • Neox
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    Neox ngon master
    I've got back into the personal artwork groove in the past few months.

    according to your blog, you lie! :poly124:
  • Sandro
  • bbob
    Procrastination is watching videos about procrastination, so you can rationalize that you are looking for a solution to your procrastination :P
  • eld
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    eld polycounter lvl 11
    bbob wrote: »
    Procrastination is watching videos about procrastination, so you can rationalize that you are looking for a solution to your procrastination :P

    hah, sad but true :D
  • [HP]
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    [HP] polycounter lvl 13
    Procrastination is browsing Polycount while you're supposed to get shit done! :P
  • Muzzoid
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    Muzzoid polycounter lvl 10
    Yep... I love to hate procrastination!
  • Nick Carver
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    Nick Carver polycounter lvl 10
    Neox wrote: »
    according to your blog, you lie! :poly124:

    Au contraire, mon ami! I'm working on developing an idea for a movie/world in my spare time. I've got about 3-4 months of work to put up, but I'm waiting until I have enough finished pieces before I show what I've been doing. I want to be able to explain it properly and I need more art to be able to do that effectively. Maybe I should bite the bullet soon, though...

    Sorry for thread hijack!
  • SimonT
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    SimonT interpolator
    I see that motivation-thing also as a big problem. I'm 8h+ in the office and do 3D stuff and after that i have a social life (also called "real life" for all the wow nerds ;) ) or stuff to do like cleaning the flat.

    When i have 1-2h time at the evening, mostly i'm not enthusiastic enough to learn more new stuff. Then i start steam and play "Plant vs. Zombies" or the good old Battlefield2-Demo (not Bad Company 2!). Imagine that: i'm too lazy to learn new game mechanics or re-read the complex story of a game i played a month before.

    The only thing which motivates me is when i see brilliant work from other artists OR enough pressure (job, boss, portfolio, jobsearch, challenge, ...).

    For me i made my hobby to a job and that's fine and i love it. BUT one question: does it feel right, when it is just a hobby and you have to force yourself to do it? I mean: we do funny things in the sparetime because we love it or we want to relax or have some fun. If i have to force myself to do a hobby...is it fun anymore?
  • DerDude
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    DerDude polycounter lvl 10
    the thing is, i can watch tutorials from everything to think that i am learning, but for me it´s a huge difference to watch tutorials or to create something. And yeah, after 8h+ sometimes i just want to play the new tf2 update. But i should not complain, because i don´t have kids or any other duties at the moment. + we are in a crunch at the moment
  • cman2k
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    cman2k polycounter lvl 12
    I've always had a lot of luck when working on side projects (big or small) with friends. For me, it's always a good motivator when others are waiting on me for something.

    Another thing I'll tend to do is save up problems I want to solve (whether technical, workflow, technique or whatever) in my every day work. I'll keep these noted somewhere (usually google notes) and every now and then, tackle solving some of those problems. This type of problem-solving usually leads to me doing more testing/experimenting/personal-work-type stuff based on my findings, and I find it very rewarding.
  • Sandro
    If you already have your job doing gameart/other creative stuff that keeps you busy/happy why would you want to force yourself to work additional 5 hours on top of 8 you've already worked?

    It's fun to do personal stuff, but when you actually have to seek motivation and force yourself it stops being fun, doesn't it? So, what's the point? Is it better job? Becoming the best artist in the known universe? :)
  • Neox
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    Neox ngon master
    Well here is another point: Do your own thing!
    Do you always want to work from other peoples ideas or do you want to work on your own? Not everyone in this industry is always doing what he likes best or what he thinks is cool and even if, some people in this biz destroy themselves for their employers, while they could better spend the unpaid extra hours for their own stuff...
    Also where would this community be if everyone in here would only either do work for their bosses or hobbyists?

    @nick: :poly122:
  • Sandro
    Neox, working on personal stuff for pleasure is not strange feeling to me. Doing stuff that you think is cool is more enjoyment than stress.

    My question was directed to people who are actually not having fun because they're not motivated/burned out/other reasons but are trying to force themselves to work anyways. I'd like to hear about their motives besides obvious ones.
  • maze
    Personally when I spent more than 8 hours working in front of a screen (and thats my usual mon-fri routine this times) I arrive home and try to do other stuff, play guitar...go out to the rock climb gym, snowboard...take a beer with friends, draw in paper or whatever..., it cleans my mind, and I feel even more motivated the next day. So when doing personal projects I try to not get "obsessed" with them, and maybe dedicate 2 or 3 days a week to advance them besides work, because I know I can easily sit down and spent hours in max/zb/ps.
    So yes, it is important for me to do my own projects besides work, because its fun, but at the same time I think there is a lot of things in life to do as well besides being in front of a screen.
  • Neox
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    Neox ngon master
    Sandro wrote: »
    Neox, working on personal stuff for pleasure is not strange feeling to me. Doing stuff that you think is cool is more enjoyment than stress.

    My question was directed to people who are actually not having fun because they're not motivated/burned out/other reasons but are trying to force themselves to work anyways. I'd like to hear about their motives besides obvious ones.

    believe me after 8+hrs of work on anything you have sometimes to force yourself to do your own stuff :)
  • Nick Carver
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    Nick Carver polycounter lvl 10
    I've thought about this some more and I think that personal development on your own time is the only way to genuinely improve and broaden your abilities. When I'm doing stuff in my day job I want to make the best piece of work in the most efficient manner I can so I tend to fall back on techniques/methods that I already know. Working without restrictions in my free time is the only way I can try new things out and pursue areas of artwork that I wouldn't get the chance to try at work.

    I totally understand why people want to do something completely different from work when they get home. Personally, I really enjoy cooking so generally I will do that for 30 minutes to an hour when I get home and it's a good way for me to unwind in a creative way with no pressure or stress attached. Art for me always has a sense of expectation and even doodling or experimenting has to satisfy me on some level, otherwise I just get frustrated. It's kind of bizarre - fundamentally art is a hobby that gives me a lot of pleasure, but I take it very seriously. I guess it's the same for a lot of artists.
  • catstyle
    totally agree with nick here

    it's definitely a pleasure to put some music on, make a coffee and get lost in your own world, but if you actually plan to make something that will be useful for your portfolio, there are bound to be a few dull moments along the way (cleaning up bakes etc)

    the times when I least enjoy personal work is when for some reason I feel rushed, then it's a real pain, cos your just creating unnecessary stress for yourself
  • Canadian Ink
    My boat has an engine...its as simple as that.
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