Blog

A collection of articles and design explorations I’ve created since 2013. Visit the archive for the most popular articles.

In addition to my portfolio and gallery, I sometimes feel inspired to share the process of learning new software or techniques. Here you'll find a combination of tutorials, news and image/scene breakdowns. 

Daily Design Challenge

A month ago, I wrote an article about how time is your ultimate asset. I concluded it by acknowledging my desire to become a better 3D artist and what I would do to achieve that goal. This month, I took action, and on June 13, I committed to creating one 3D model from scratch, and rendering it in the same day. Each day. For an entire week. I'm not completely surprised by the results, but I am pleased with them! 

In late May, I began using a piece of software called Fusion 360, made by Autodesk. Fusion is free for anyone using it as a hobbyist, and has a very user-friendly interface with a gradual learning curve, so those also make it attractive. The best way to learn a piece of software is to use it a lot.

In addition to wanting to log hours in Fusion, I've been trying to push my rendering skills in KeyShot. Since I became a KeyShot Training Specialist, this has become critical. To kill two birds with one stone, I imposed a tight, daily deadline: Make a model in Fusion 360 and render the result in KeyShot and post it the next morning. Then, repeat this process daily for a whole week. And I did. In the design world, such projects are called 'Everydays', or 'Dailies'.

 
The Good

My motivations for committing to a week of dailies were simply to get better at the programs I was using. On days when I had lots of free time, I created more complex models and renderings. Some days, I had very little spare time and forced myself to keep things simple. The result of such a constraint is that each design decision carries much more weight. In some cases, this pushed me outside of my comfort zone even further and was a worthwhile exercise.

In addition to improving in both Fusion 360 and KeyShot, I had lots of fun sharing my dailies on Instagram. I was really surprised to see an increase of about 100 followers in that week alone along with lots of quality comments and questions. This of course, gave me a healthy boost of self-esteem and was quite motivating. And of course, I spent about 25 hours practicing in a single week. How quickly do you think your skills can improve if you work at them 25 hours every week?!

 
The Ugly

Now, I know what you're thinking. Boy, it must be nice to have so much free time! I hate to break it to you, but I've only got access to the same 24 hours each day that you do. Each of my Dailies cost me about 3 hours on average. I created 8 Dailies consecutively, which equals about 24 hours of practice. I work a full-time job, manage to exercise when I can and cook in my spare time. Weekends are mostly dedicated to spending time with my better half. I share that just to emphasize that there's lots of time in the week to do what's important if you prioritize.

To make matters even more challenging, I was traveling for work that week. I managed to create my models while flying on the airplane, on the train and did my renderings in my hotel room each night. I sacrificed sleep and admit that I skipped a few workouts. However, this project was viewed as a sprint. I knew once I was a few days in, that it wasn't sustainable for me for very long, unless I made some changes to my schedule. All I'm getting at here is that if this sounds challenging, it's because it is. For me at least.

 
The Point

"When you don't know what to do, just make good art."

This is a piece of advice I remember from Austin Kleon's book, Show Your Work! (Hopefully that's correct, as I'm going by memory here.) And I like it because I often am not quite sure of what I should be doing next. In this case, once I gained some momentum, I didn't want to stop. Each day, I was excited to create another model and rendering.

Doing a sprint like this where you commit to creating something daily is a great way to get in the habit of creating. The best artists are those who are prolific. Picasso is said to have produced around 50,000 pieces of artwork.


The Challenge

I challenge you to commit to a minimum of one week and create something daily.

Step 1: Choose a skill you'd like to improve and commit to doing it every day and document your progress. 
Step 2: Report back on the results. Just shoot me an email, or write about it, or make a video about it or Instagram it! Just do it!