I've seem to find myself in this transitional phase between intermediate and advanced, and to be honest it's getting the best of me. I have a serious passion and desire to become a professional CG modeler one day in all aspects (organic, hard-surface, environment, prop). I'm graduating in 3 weeks, and I have spent well over 1,000 hours studying, researching, and practicing modeling. I've worked so hard that I'm even referred to as the 'character modeling' wiz in the classroom. While I'm proud of my accomplishments, I feel like I'm just stuck in a rut, and cannot seem to get out of it.
To the professionals out there, have any of you ever experienced this? Have you ever felt like you could do the professional work you saw back when you were in school/training, but just couldn't find the thing that broke that barrier for you? How did you overcome this? What did you do to take yourself out of the intermediate level to advance yourself?
One of my problems is always doing "cartoony" models. I've been working on models in the style of the Bruce Timm "Justice League" series, and have been recently working on an Incredibles-inspired character. While I'm pleased with the outcome I can't help but to let out a sigh of disappointment because I want to take the next step. I visit these forums faithfully several times a day to look at the professional work and tell myself, "I know I can do that. But how do I escape this "fluff-and-puff" state of mind?"
Does anyone get what I'm saying?
Over the summer I have a few projects lined up. One of them is doing 100 ZBrush head bust sculpts: 50 male, 50 female; 5 realistic (child, teen, young, middle-age, old), 5 stylized (child, teen, young, middle-age, old), 5 creature, 5 animal, 5 celebrities, 10 additional stylized of choosing, 10 additional realistic of choosing, 1 self portrait, and 4 miscellaneous.
I also wanted to do realistic anatomical studies in groups, and then do one complete anatomical study for an entire figure.
Do these sound like decent projects to finally break the barrier? I'm personally tired of doing cartoony work. I would like to be a well-rounded, flexible modeler who can cover all aspects of the job, and I feel as though I won't get there unless I slave day and night with the projects listed above. I also wanted to learn game modeling, too. Would that be a step back or an additional bonus?
Lastly, where would I get started on hard surface/environmental/prop modeling? Are there forums (other then here) that have environment and prop concepts?
Any and all help would be greatly appreciated. Sorry if this was long winded, but I just love what I'm doing and want to expand on it. :)