I’ve been a member of these forums for several years now and I regularly check out the 3d stills gallery for inspiration. I recently realised that a lot of artwork is suffering from some very basic mistakes that are stopping it from being excellent. So I decided to address these mistakes in article titled:
I’m sure I’m only scraping the surface here, so I thought I’d ask the community, what are the key problems you see time and time again in 3d art?
Here we go…
1. Theres no point It doesnt tell a story, its not advertising anything and its certainly not pretty. What exactly is the viewer getting from this? Nothing makes me close the window faster than a piece of art with no clear objective.
2. You use pre-made content Stock models are great for studios who want to save time and money by purchasing a pre-made model. But it has absolutely no place in your portfolio. Personally I find no pride in showing someone a render that I havent created entirely by myself, but thats just me. If you dont know how to model it, why not learn?
3. Youre copying something far more successful I love Wall-E as much as the next guy, but that doesnt mean I try to mimic what a professional studio has slaved over for years on end. Why? Because unless its an uncanny comparison (which it wont be) viewers will only spot its flaws.
4. You didnt plan it on paper first Its easy to tell when an artist failed to put their idea on paper first: its a confusing mess. They started with an idea, skipped the planning stage and jumped straight to their 3d program. Most artists cannot model/texture/render in 3d at the same speed as their imagination. The best thing you can do is put it on paper as soon as the idea strikes you, that way you have a reference in 2 weeks time when youre sitting at your computer and asking, what was I making again?.
5. Its cliche If I see another cave troll or big breasted warrior Im going to puke. Be original and create something that everyone hasnt already seen a thousand times.
6. Its a test render Hey cool, you just got your head around the new array modifier! Dont post it on the net. Test renders are exactly that. Tests. They are a learning experience that should remain on your hard drive.
7. Its poorly lit Let me say this once and for all: Dark is not moody. If you want to create a moody atmosphere there are plenty of ways of doing it, but making your scene dimly lit is not one of them. Pick up a copy of Jeremy Birns Digital Lighting and Rendering to learn how to light your scene like a pro.
8. You dont realise it sucks No one likes receiving bad feedback on their artwork, especially after youve spent weeks creating it, but to tell the hundreds of posters that they just dont understand it is like throwing salt on the wound. If you want to progress as an artist you need to be able to take critiques on-board and learn from your mistakes.
9. Its boring architecture Archiviz is great skill to have under your belt. Theres a lot of work available and it pays quite well, but that doesnt mean it has to be boring and emotionless. Read my post on 10 Architectural renders that break the mold or watch Alex Romans amazing short The Third and the Seventh and youll pick up dozens of ways to make still architecture interesting.
10. Its overly post-processed Theres nothing wrong with fixing the colour levels or altering the contrast in Photoshop, but when you start adding filters and chromatic aberration to hide your own incompetencies theres a problem.
Well that’s me finished, what are your pet peeves?
EDIT: Does this mean I think my renders are perfect? Absolutely not. My portfolio is riddled with flaws. In fact almost every single piece of my artwork violates at least one of these ‘rules’. This thread is about sharing what you’ve learnt in your journey as an artist.