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Old 09-05-2013, 02:30 AM   #1
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Unhappy A Conversation on Motivation

Good morning, good afternoon and good evening to where ever you might be.

To start I would like to mention I'm not very active at all on the CG Society forums despite knowing about this place for years. That does make me feel like I don't deserve free advice when I haven't helped the community as much, but I wanted to give it a shot regardless.

This is my question. What keeps you motivated to work?

I should probably give a brief summary of who I am and where I've been so you might have an idea of where I'm coming from.
I was always creative in school wherein I still draw to this day. Call it a love for cartoons and comics mostly, but it did make me think about a pipe dream of being an animator. After high school I didn't really have much of an idea of what to do for college and such. After a few years I quit my job and took a part time 3D animation course and met some good friends. I wasn't the top of my class though i.e. the people who found work soon after graduating.

I took up another job in a grocery store which lasted about 3 years. I quit because I was again fed up with my situation and took to try pursuing what I learned and even trying making comics with writers and other artists in hopes of finding something. It payed off when a big VFX studio hired me on as a PA. This was thrilling for me as my persistence finally had paid off.

Soon after I worked doing render wrangling and IO support and have worked with great people. But, I was let go a few months ago. It was about 2 and a half years of my life working OT and I'm sure other professionals have their own stories of the industry but I started out like anyone does and was pretty jaded at the end of it.

So! Long story short, I've been motivated a lot to find that job, you know, the job where you can be an artist and get paid to do it. I have to admit though that despite all the years mentioned the most animation I've done actually worked on were a few samples before I got my industry job, small exercises and even tried a CGSociety course while I worked, but for the most part I was trying to hard at what I was doing (Wrangling, IO support) so I never really produced anything demo reel quality, and I never finished the course, which was pretty crushing. I did all the right moves, talking to co workers and directors, but I could never work at home after those long days, but I'm not sure if I should have blamed the work or myself for not doing extra work (A co worker was an animator who took an animation mentor course while he was working, sounded like 5hrs of sleep for a while. )

The problem is, I don't know if that is a legitemate excuse or not. I think we all have gone thought times when we're not sure if we're doing the right thing, but the fact is if you love animation, modeling or lighting, then that's usually motivation enough if you do love this kind of work. It makes me question if I actually WANT to animate or if I figured it would somehow just happen for me when I got that first job.

Okay, sob story over. The fact is I'm not THAT insecure about what I want to do. I understand the golden mantra of simple 'Practice' is all you really need to do over an over. I can list numerous ideas to stay motivated too; surround yourself with the works of other and study, find the reference material you need, ask other for help, make deadlines. If anything the pressure of working in the industry has made me more organized and able to work under pressure, yet the pressure when unemployed isn't the same. Hell if I don't have a list though, some lessons planned for myself that I was following before work stopped and I plan to follow them. My other major trait is that when I start something I'm absorbed in the task at hand, but like cleaning I might avoid set task for as long as possible. But!! Animation shouldn't be in the same category as cleaning my room!! This is where I know I have a work ethic problem.

Looking at what I get done these days, I do have distractions with videos, surfing the net and sleeping in. I'm working on exercises and going to the gym to give me a reason to get up early and get lots done, but I think I need more ideas, like a timer to make sure I take breaks. That's one problem I had at working and it still tires me out. I gotta keep my watch timer on!

Has anyone else fell on unemployment days? What did you do when it lasted too long? Better yet, if you have some good habits I should try, I'm open to hear them. I don't know if I've lost total faith in the VFX industry to be specific, but I know I still want to know if I can animate and draw with the best of them. To that end, I don't want to stop anytime soon, but I have to kick it into the next gear soon.

Cheers.
 
Old 09-05-2013, 04:47 AM   #2
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Thinking about where it will all lead...... Getting drunk on that better vision of the future.

That's what keeps me going.
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Old 09-06-2013, 04:18 AM   #3
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That's a great outlook, thanks. I was asked think about my ideal future years ago and I'd say I've reached a few of those goals. Gotta dream up more!
 
Old 09-07-2013, 06:03 PM   #4
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Well since there aren't many replies yet I suppose I will throw in my 2 cents. I love talking about motivation and this type of stuff. First of all, consider posting your work on here? Your website was down when I checked it, but it's tough for people to gauge your skill level and offer advice if they can't see anything.

It sounds like you have a pretty well-developed perception of the industry. You have the right ideas about motivation and techniques like you mentioned, and your experience at that big studio definitely let you see the reality of a position in the field. What I'm saying is you aren't coming across as naive or someone who doesn't know what they are getting into, and that's good.

So it seems like you just hit a rough patch, and those happen. This stuff, while fun, can definitely become a "job" after a while, and with so many other fun things to do like games, hanging with friends, beaches, movies... who wants to come home and sit down and start working? (I should even be working now instead of writing this!) It is definitely work, especially if you are building a portfolio. So that means it takes focus and vision, and it seems like you are looking for ways to regain your focus.

The best thing to do might be to start with the basics. What is it you want to achieve professionally, or in life in general? If you want to be a professional animator, you have to assess your current skill level, observe the skill level needed to be a professional, and then study and practice until you get there and can demonstrate it. Common sense stuff of course, but it helps to make a plan. I found myself getting a lot more focused once I said "I want to be this, by this time" and really set a goal. Just doing random projects to "get better" isn't efficient, they need to be focused.

If you don't do this, you may lose motivation if you feel like you are working hard and nothing is happening, because even if you are moving forward, you may not be moving towards where you want to be. As CGIPadawan already posted, working towards a goal will also help you visualize the future. If you can see an end goal, it will be easier to keep at it.

Also worth bringing up, since you mentioned it, is excising and getting good sleep. Excising will keep you in better health, and give you confidence and energy. It is too easy to sit all day at a desk and drink red bull and order food, but in the long term this will set you back in lots of direct and indirect ways. And sleep... I am always surprised how much of a difference this makes. If I go many days in a row and get low on sleep, motivation just vanishes. I will start doubting myself, work but make no progress, get frustrated, and lose my vision. So get some good sleep, at least 8 hours a night if you can, and you will have the energy to chase your dreams.

You are at a good point in your life to decide if this is what you want to do. So really think about it, but also think about your other options. There are lots of fun industries to work in (and many better paying,) but each one can be difficult in it's own way. If you decide that this is the path for you, then set that goal and start working out how to get there.
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Old 09-08-2013, 01:48 AM   #5
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Thanks Decency, I think you've hit up all the right points too
I'm sorry if there is a dead link to my website, but I wasn't really seeing the use of it years ago so I took it down, as much fun as it was fun to play around with layout and website software, I guess I wasn't seeing any benefit to it. I don't have a lot of work online and I know I need that to get reviewed but I don't have many finished pieces from the past few years. Like I mentioned, render wrangling took over my life pretty much so what I have is mostly art from 4 years ago or earlier which is too old.

My goal has always been to make people smile. It's the kind of goal where even if I couldn't do it though animation or drawing, I could find other ways to be satisfied. BUT I think archiving that though the later would be the best. I feel like I could get some more opportunities to get back into what I was doing before as pay job in the near future, but I'm worried that working in a different department is going to distract me in the long run from my personal end goal. I was desperate to get into the industry but I would have to do either get an artist position or transition from a lower role all over again (this pertains to the VFX industry anyways)

Goals seem to be the current theme here for one to have but I seem to have a problem with them.
For example, in my planned animation I gave myself a 3 week goal starting in the first week in September after I got back from a trip and I have some friends who are going to review my work, but I did literally nothing this week. It's like I'm not afraid of my self imposed deadlines at all. I was more stressed when I was trying to take that CG Workshop but I got so stressed when I kept missing deadlines that I had to stop worrying, but then I never progressed in it.

I think part of it is the learning process. I've broken down what I have to animate pretty well, so even though I missed a week I can still adjust the deadline. Tasks seem to get easier when you break them down into smaller tasks and tackle them in stages.

I want to do the same with my art too.
I have to many unfinished drawings, and will have to take some time to just crank out a few over time to finally figure out what the complete process is like for me.

One advantage I have is that I do have access to digitaltutors.com and was watching their animation lessons a lot. I wasn't putting them into practice per say, but I should probably go back and make some notes on the matter. Either that, or actually using the lesson files to get some hands on practice which I'll probably remember more.

What I really want is to put a set amount of time each weekday to work on animation and art respectively. I think for next week I should really set the time aside as specific time I've allotted to what I'm currently working on, and I'll know to get chores, errands or down time around that time. Hopefully I can start out at a reasonable pace, and work my way up to more if the day is clear or just use my time more efficiently. I usually feel better when I've used time to at least some time to try and progress on a given goal.

As far as long term goals, I think with the time I have I could possibly get work at the company I worked at if I could produce some kick as animation. Another goal would be to personally become a better artist because I want to make kick ass comic art. I was REALLY motivated by a contest months ago to make a comic but I was worried about losing rights or something and let it pass. Again, still working at the time so I'm not sure I had the time to do that anyways.
 
Old 09-08-2013, 08:30 AM   #6
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Old 09-09-2013, 06:35 AM   #7
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It seems like you're focusing too much on what you'd like to become, rather than doing what you enjoy. If you enjoy the actual process of animating (or any other artistic endeavor for that matter), you will most likely improve no matter what. If you mostly enjoy the "idea of being an animator", then you will never have enough inspiration, resources, learning materials or time. I think the biggest reason why you feel like there are so many distractions is that you haven't actually yet had that moment where you feel like this is your true calling. I'm also sure the industry is full of people that started out having these similar ideas of what they'd like to become, only to realize that at the end of the day it's still a job with its ups and downs. Chances are that even if you got that job as a professional animator, it wouldn't necessarily be what you expected and you'd have to re-adjust your goals.. Maybe you'd want to work in games instead of VFX, or start running your own small business or who knows what.

When it comes to getting there though, I'd recommend trying to get any entry level job as soon as possible, as you'd probably learn so much faster when you're working in a disciplined environment instead of doing studies at home. I know those are hard to come by these days, but it seems like it's very difficult for most of us to have enough discipline to systematically do studies in a unstructured environment. Best of luck!
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Old 09-09-2013, 07:22 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jduguay
I did all the right moves, talking to co workers and directors, but I could never work at home after those long days, but I'm not sure if I should have blamed the work or myself for not doing extra work (A co worker was an animator who took an animation mentor course while he was working, sounded like 5hrs of sleep for a while. )


I think that right there is the heart of it - you're building connections before you have anything to show. Connections and knowing people are all good, but you can't expect it to lead you anywhere if you don't have the skill. Not to mention you can also make connections participating online courses too... not only you get to know like-minded class mates which is a great motivation in and on itself, you're also improving your skill which will serve you way better in the long run.

Extra work is everything when it comes to art. Nothing beats hard work.
 
Old 09-09-2013, 04:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikkoK
It seems like you're focusing too much on what you'd like to become, rather than doing what you enjoy. If you enjoy the actual process of animating (or any other artistic endeavor for that matter), you will most likely improve no matter what. If you mostly enjoy the "idea of being an animator", then you will never have enough inspiration, resources, learning materials or time. I think the biggest reason why you feel like there are so many distractions is that you haven't actually yet had that moment where you feel like this is your true calling. I'm also sure the industry is full of people that started out having these similar ideas of what they'd like to become, only to realize that at the end of the day it's still a job with its ups and downs. Chances are that even if you got that job as a professional animator, it wouldn't necessarily be what you expected and you'd have to re-adjust your goals.. Maybe you'd want to work in games instead of VFX, or start running your own small business or who knows what.

When it comes to getting there though, I'd recommend trying to get any entry level job as soon as possible, as you'd probably learn so much faster when you're working in a disciplined environment instead of doing studies at home. I know those are hard to come by these days, but it seems like it's very difficult for most of us to have enough discipline to systematically do studies in a unstructured environment. Best of luck!


I've had the fear that this might not be my calling, but out of everything I was learning in school animation was the most exciting to me, and I don't want to go back to school unless I it was to train in something I was super positive about. I can say I got way more excited to work when I was getting help from the training department. I wouldn't be surprised though if I'm better off in another industry, but I wouldn't know unless they hired me.

I will keep up the job hunt, though. I agree you learn fast in an actual work environment, but I'm working at home in the meantime. I need to be able to illustrate from home anyways so I have to discipline myself in that trade anyways.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Panupat
I think that right there is the heart of it - you're building connections before you have anything to show. Connections and knowing people are all good, but you can't expect it to lead you anywhere if you don't have the skill. Not to mention you can also make connections participating online courses too... not only you get to know like-minded class mates which is a great motivation in and on itself, you're also improving your skill which will serve you way better in the long run.

Extra work is everything when it comes to art. Nothing beats hard work.


You're right, I was doing that, but at the same time I was also asking directors what they actually wanted to see before working on something. Chances are the samples I would want to make might not be relevant to the film in production. That said, any examples are better than nothing and I do need to work harder to make some. I'll be keeping up with my exercise list this week and getting them done in about a month so I can move onto the next exercises. Perhaps I'll finally start posting them here too?
 
Old 09-09-2013, 04:52 PM   #10
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Oolong tea, DHA supplement, Vitamin D supplement, chinese red panax ginseng, e-cigarrette

Oh and I'm really good at brainwashing myself, and not afraid of going psychotic. These are really important I think. If you study into techniques of brain control and mental manipulation, and how to induce psychotic experiences, basically magick. Basically you can work yourself up into a state of self-induced psychosis of believing something like your artwork is of great paramount importance to the benefit of humanity, or some other thing. Then if you can sustain this you will end up doing alot of stuff. Of course though you might just go crazy in the process, alot of people do, which is why magick carries a weird reputation. Maybe I'll go crazy as well, but atleast it'll be more interesting than dying of old age.

Last edited by techmage : 09-09-2013 at 05:18 PM.
 
Old 09-09-2013, 06:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by techmage
Oolong tea, DHA supplement, Vitamin D supplement, chinese red panax ginseng, e-cigarrette

Oh and I'm really good at brainwashing myself, and not afraid of going psychotic. These are really important I think. If you study into techniques of brain control and mental manipulation, and how to induce psychotic experiences, basically magick. Basically you can work yourself up into a state of self-induced psychosis of believing something like your artwork is of great paramount importance to the benefit of humanity, or some other thing. Then if you can sustain this you will end up doing alot of stuff. Of course though you might just go crazy in the process, alot of people do, which is why magick carries a weird reputation. Maybe I'll go crazy as well, but atleast it'll be more interesting than dying of old age.

I see you're getting their...
 
Old 09-09-2013, 08:02 PM   #12
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Hahaha! I'm not sure about supplements, but I do enjoy a good tea.

So far my Monday has been good, I went to the gym and set some time aside to work on my animations and I did both! I need more time for sure, but that's what I'm learning, to set time aside and keep having quick breaks.
 
Old 09-09-2013, 09:57 PM   #13
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Find something worth saying and the motivation to say it (through art) will probably follow.
 
Old 09-11-2013, 06:33 PM   #14
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Thanks again everyone, I've been having a better turn around this week. It's actually ironic because it's been a year since the CG course I signed up for started and I begun to pick up where I left off. That goal is to get done the weekly assignments I missed before the notes are made unavailable. 1 year was the time limit so that's my art goal for now. It's not animation related but I want to get better at illustrating too so I'm going to do what I couldn't do while I had a job last year.

The animation goal is getting closer too, after I got though a few rig hiccups.
 
Old 09-12-2013, 08:53 PM   #15
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Get off the forums, and go work, damn it!

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