Having learned 3D modeling and animation only through free Youtube tutorials during my spare time, I thought I was only lacking in the technical aspects in creating 3D art. However, through the AHAW workshop and advice given by the panelists, I’ve come to realize that I needed to take a refresher on the very fundamentals of visual arts. Sir Kenneth, Sir Aurthur, and Sir Karl have all emphasized the importance of expanding one’s visual library to better understand and execute a well-designed composition, regardless of medium. It wasn’t that I needed to master the software application, but rather understand what makes a composition cohesive — why do these visual elements work well together? Do these design choices strengthen the narrative I’m trying to tell?
One of the things that struck me the most about my mentor, Sir Kenneth, was that he dedicates time every single day to practice his craft in concept design by analyzing professional work and creating master studies. Since then, I’ve been trying to do the same. I have been studying form and shape language for character designs, setting the mood and tone for environments, as well as using three-point lighting in renderings so that I may sharpen my skills in visual language and integrate these techniques in the final pieces of my portfolio for the exhibition. I’ve done multiple test renders and iterations and have gone through software crashes mid-render during the past four months. It was quite challenging and overwhelming with the sheer amount of new information that I was trying to grasp and apply into my work. But I found the most joy with all the small victories that came my way as I continue to work, from learning the principles of body mechanics and making use of the graph editor in Autodesk Maya for character animation, hair grooming using the particle system for 3D characters, and creating environments using the landscape and foliage tools in Unreal Engine — these were all techniques and tools that I didn’t know how to use and execute prior to the workshop last November 2020, and now I can say that I can!
There’s definitely still a lot of room for improvement and technical knowledge that I have yet to learn but I’m really thankful to be one of the fellows of AHAW 11 as it allowed me to creatively express myself and pushed me to keep challenging myself in 3D modeling and animation.