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Do you guys take breaks from modeling/drawing?

polycounter lvl 8
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Stirls polycounter lvl 8
If so, how long? "Fresh eyes" as it's called. I've created a fair amount of content recently, but I worry that the quality will diminish if I just keep creating "detailed" piece after piece. Thoughts? Should I give my brain a few days to breathe?

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  • Spoon
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    Spoon polycounter lvl 9
    I do that occassionally. Both on a daily basis and in the long term.
    For example am I queuing for a Dota2 right now, as I felt the past 20 mintes was very unproductive for me.

    As for long term, which I guess is what you are asking about, I just took a month of vacation with next to no 3D at all. I did read here every day, followed articles etc, but I didnt create anything myself, because I felt close to burning out, having worked a little too hard the last year.

    I dont feel in a position to give advice on this stuff, but at least, for myself, I would enjoy the "creating fair amount of content" for as long as it felt right, and then take a break when I lost the energy for it, simply.

    Are you afraid you will lose your "winning streak" if you dont stop? :)
  • Abidus
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    Abidus polycounter lvl 7
    I think it's very important to give your brain a break every now and then, so you don't end up burning out and begging to feel that what you do feels more like a chore than a passion or something you enjoy doing (which also affects the quality of your work).

    How long and how often you take your breaks is an arbitrary matter I think. Personally, as long as I am having fun with what I'm doing, I will keep doing it. But the moment I feel like I just want to rush through something just to get it done as opposed to doing it properly, I stop what I'm doing and I a take a couple of days to do something else (probably outdoors if I can help it).
  • inflict3d
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    inflict3d polycounter lvl 7
    I use this hint for my breaks and for time-managment in general:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomodoro_Technique
  • Torch
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    Torch interpolator
    Its good to take breaks and try other things, keeps the passion alive. Try different mediums, sketching, sculpting in clay, etc. so long as you're not spending your life in front of a computer screen - its important to get out and see other people as well, recharge your batteries.

    I'd even say try different styles if you feel things are getting too stale, e.g. when working on solely realistic characters, mix it up with an old school model only using a 512 diffuse, or even try some props :)
  • Joost
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    Joost Polycount Sponsor
    Something else I'd recommend is doing things that aren't modelling but can still help hone your skills. I.e. Drawing, sculpting, painting. (As Torch pointed out, which I only just read)

    For example I've been getting into making real props. It's basically 3d modelling but irl. I find that the skills translate quite well between different mediums. :)

    I do still try to do some actual 3d modelling at home, but it's quite hard to do the same thing you do at work for 40+ hours a week at home.
  • Stirls
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    Stirls polycounter lvl 8
    Spoon - Yeah, in a sense. I do feel like I will lose it if I stop. As if all of my current skills are temporary! Hah.

    Abidius - Fortunately I get out quite a lot. Definitely agree that as soon as it stops being passion, breaks must be had.

    Inflict3D - Time to get an egg timer! Not a bad hint at all!

    Torch - That's a fantastic idea. Currently I've been working on a lot of personal projects, as opposed to work stuff. I think as soon as work stuff is back in order, I'll have some more variation!

    Komaokc - Been trying my hand at drawing again. Definitely a great skill to have. Thanks.

    Thanks guys, you've all put my mind at ease! Might take a few days off to just recouperate, maybe try out some different art-forms.
  • Joost
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    Joost Polycount Sponsor
    I always have two or three personal projects on the burner at the same time so if I need to take a break from one project (subject fatigue, can't see the problems anymore, etc) I have something else I can work on and still be making forward momentum on something instead of not making art at all. If you take this approach though, just be sure to limit it to three consecutive projects, maximum. Any more and it's just too much to honestly feel invested in and you won't finish things.

    That's a great idea, I'm probably going to start doing that. Thanks! :)
  • Lion
    I think its really important to go outside away from your computer for a break, but not just go hang out with friends, go explore and take photos/draw! Its absolutely refreshing and it might inspire you and make you excited to hop back on your projects (or find something new to add to it). I love walking around museums and zoos to take photos or bring along a sketchbook. Heck I'm always snapping photos of something and squirreling it away for reference. I'm no photographer (I'm just armed with my phone) but there is a lot of cool interesting things out there you might not find on the internet.

    My new weird hobby is exploring abandoned places. I went off of a trail with a friend in LA to check out a abandoned nazi sympathizer compound that is now completely coated in graffiti a few weeks ago. We took a ton of photos and climbed all over it and had a snack break on the roof. Once the weather hopefully cools down I plan on going to other places to snap some more photos :)
  • Ruz
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    Ruz ngon master
    When I was younger I used to work on stuff nearly all the time, but now I tend to do nicer work if I work in smaller time chunks with breaks in between
    This gives me time to digest and look at the work with fresh eyes when i come back
    Also when I am not doing freelance work I rarely have the enthusiasm to do full projects , I just practice techniques instead.
  • SecretPro
    A lot depends on your situation. If you are starting out and follow the illusion that this is the best job ever and are running on the fuel of passion and motivation. Taking a break is maybe the last thing on your mind, since learning new aspects of the field will become extremely fun and rewarding.

    On the other hand, when you mature and realize this is just a career, and you do it to pay the bills. Other aspects become more important. When I started, I did not mind crunching on the job(I was a grinder). Fast forward and now outside of work, I don't bother doing 3d or anything related, also goes for playing games. Point being, dealing with family and other personal matters, you start to analyze there is more to life than creating art on a computer.

    In all if you want to break in and are devoted to this field, grind like a mad man, this industry is competitive, so you are in control of how long it takes you to break in. It can be 1-3 years or 5-9 years. One advice I got, "The more you do, the more mistakes you find"
  • skylebones
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    skylebones polycounter lvl 10
    The only break I take is the time it takes my eyelids to blink.

    Break are good for you, just make sure the break doesn't become the norm.
  • Add3r
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    Add3r polycounter lvl 8
    SecretPro wrote: »
    A lot depends on your situation.-snip-

    On the other hand, when you mature and realize this is just a career, and you do it to pay the bills. Other aspects become more important. When I started, I did not mind crunching on the job(I was a grinder). Fast forward and now outside of work, I don't bother doing 3d or anything related, also goes for playing games. Point being, dealing with family and other personal matters, you start to analyze there is more to life than creating art on a computer

    -snip-

    Like you said, it really depends on the situation. I know guys who have done the grind for year after year, sometimes for nearly two decades and still see it as the best life decision they have ever made and that this is truly the best job ever. Guess its person to person, as I do not see myself losing the passion any time soon and I have definitely been on a hardcore grind for nearly 4yrs straight, granted I am only 20yrs old though...

    As for breaks, I am a technical artist for that specific reason. One task, such as hard surface modeling becomes redundant for me. I need to change it up and always be learning to not burn out. As a tech artist, I can do everything from program, shaders, animation, rigging, modeling, texturing, etc. That, and mixing it up with sports and hobbies, and making sure I spend as much time off the computer with family as I can. Watching shows, exploring, food adventures, etc. Its important to also grasp the knowledge around you, especially as an artist for games. We need to be able to create believable worlds and if we aren't in touch with the world around us to begin with.... Then there is a serious disconnect during development (AKA spending 80hrs a week indoors).
  • Two Listen
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    Two Listen polycounter lvl 13
    I think it's important to take breaks of some manner. For me at least, it seems like a period of rest is important to effectively absorb as much as you can from your work. Constant work and study doesn't seem to be as efficient as hard work and study followed by well earned rest. Sort of like in older Elder Scrolls games, after you level up, "Rest and meditate on what you've learned." Sometimes that can be done overnight. Sometimes it means taking a week away from the desk.

    It has also happened often where I wind up working on something, get stuck, take a step away for a few days, and discover something in the real world that directly or indirectly gives me a solution to my problem. Breaks can also be nice to allow for those sorts of possibilities.
  • Stirls
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    Stirls polycounter lvl 8
    SecretPro wrote: »
    On the other hand, when you mature and realize this is just a career, and you do it to pay the bills. Other aspects become more important. When I started, I did not mind crunching on the job(I was a grinder). Fast forward and now outside of work, I don't bother doing 3d or anything related, also goes for playing games. Point being, dealing with family and other personal matters, you start to analyze there is more to life than creating art on a computer.

    In all if you want to break in and are devoted to this field, grind like a mad man, this industry is competitive, so you are in control of how long it takes you to break in. It can be 1-3 years or 5-9 years. One advice I got, "The more you do, the more mistakes you find"

    I agree with Add3r when he says it varies from person-to-person. I'm currently doing character art for (paid) work, then more 3D for class, and I don't feel like fusing out.I love this stuff. It's fantastic artistic release, if nothing else.
  • SecretPro
    Stirls wrote: »
    I agree with Add3r when he says it varies from person-to-person. I'm currently doing character art for (paid) work, then more 3D for class, and I don't feel like fusing out.I love this stuff. It's fantastic artistic release, if nothing else.

    Either way, when you make it your career, you still do it at work and need to stay up to date. My point being, thinking in the long term. Is worth doing other stuff in your 30s and 40s that does not involve sitting in front of the computer 16+ hours a day.
  • Stirls
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    Stirls polycounter lvl 8
    Oh, I absolutely agree. Good advice, thanks SecretPro. Couldn't think of anything more reclusive and uninteresting than sitting 24/7 in front of a computer for the rest of my life. I'm sure many others, including yourself, feel the same.
  • JordanN
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    JordanN interpolator
    I don't do "breaks" in the traditional sense of "stop working". Instead, I allocate new time to research and learn new things.
  • Suba
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    Suba polycounter lvl 5
    Like Dustin, I always work on 2 projects, so this way even if you are stuck or tired of a project, you can still have fun on the second one.
    You just have to not be the guy that just let down a project because it is in "Stand By".
  • Matt Fagan
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    Matt Fagan polycounter lvl 8
    Once every few months I'll take a full week break from all computer art related things. Try to forget all that I know of this little world I've surrounded myself in. Then jump back in and see how much new everything appears.

    Seems like most here like to occupy secondary projects or more to keep the art going. But I feel for myself, it's fun to have that stuff and I do. But it's definitely good to just unplug everything completely. Because starting out as a traditional artist. Art was something I did when I was bored. Never for money or for fame, the need to brag, show-off, etc. If I had to ever put my state of mind in a place like that. I think I would hate doing art and would never do it again in my life.
  • ExcessiveZero
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    ExcessiveZero polycounter lvl 6
    Not really weeks, I mean if I am on vacation sure, I think I took a few weeks off before when I was highly depressed though but I think not doing it depressed me more.

    its good to have hobbies outside of it, I like metal detecting atm but I have way too many hobbies to list and do them all at the same time, also do secondary projects on whims like others have said, its pretty fun that way, right now I am grinding through C++ tutorials and MIT computer science lectures on the side so I can be a better coder for unreal engine 4.

    Learning new stuff on the side keeps it fresh for me, there is no greater joy for me than the acquisition of skill.
  • Stirls
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    Stirls polycounter lvl 8
    Thanks for all of the discussion, guys.

    Matt, if people modeled solely for fame, I feel that most of the art around here would come off as... vapid? Probably the best way to put it.
  • GrevSev
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    GrevSev polycounter lvl 9
    I try to do things with friends on the weekend And practice during the week days

    Keeps me from going crazy
  • ArtisticTiger
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    ArtisticTiger polycounter lvl 5
    Yeah make sure not to work too hard man, i take my break away from working/practice every saturday,play some games ,watch a few movies and go swimming.
  • TAN
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    TAN polycounter lvl 6
    Well for daily routines I use Ultradian Rythm method.

    1,5 hours of uniterrupted work, 30 minutes of uninterrupted rest. Then repeat. Never work more than 8-9 hours. Take weekends of if you can. If you can't try to make some space for yourself.
  • SuperFranky
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    SuperFranky polycounter lvl 9
    Taking weekends off works well enough for me. Once monday comes I'm fully recharged for the whole week. And it gives me time to catch up on my gaming backlog.
  • Stirls
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    Stirls polycounter lvl 8
    Good advice. I might have a "break day". Probably the easiest thing to do!
  • Mask_Salesman
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    Mask_Salesman polycounter lvl 12
    Before I call a piece finished, I leave it for a day or so and focus on something in a different medium so my mindset changes. When I come back after being out of say 'sculpting' mode and now in 'painting' mode, then I truly do see it afresh when going back.
    It's like a final test, if I don't pick up anything then it passes. Altho the majority of the time there is always something so I run through this test a couple times.
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