Getting Over Creative Lows


Hey guys, I’m guessing as 3d artists we all every now and then experience a creative low. I’m talking about the times when you’ve finished your latest great 3d project and you go do something else for a while then when you embark on a new 3d project everything goes wrong and you start feeling that you couldnt model anything and you go of 3d because u believe that you will fail again. Or maybe just a lack of ideas so you get bored with 3d. In 2 years of 3d I’m going through my worst creative low ever. For a month now havent been able to create anything. Anyone have an ideas how to get over the creative low blues it would be greatly appreciated,
Hope to be smiling soon, Hypervoxels


I’ve been in one for the last 8 months… :frowning:


oww…well…hope you find salvation in this thread soon powerwave3d


I have been doing 3D stuff since I first went to school for it in 1998. And let me tell you I have never quit and started back up in a media so many times like this one. Drawing you always get blocks but man 3d can either be a blessing or a nightmare, when it comes with the flow of creative juices.


I know the feeling, I too am in a low.

I don’t exactly know how to get out of one. :-]

I dunno, maybe try doing something that you enjoy. Make a spaceship/ninja/etc and just try to have fun with it. Try to remember why you got into this field in the first place. Who are your mentors? Who do you look up to? Everyone gets slumps.

I have been reading farside and the potential in those comics is astounding.

Maybe set a schedual for yourself. ‘I will model x in 2 days or else no coffee’ or something. Doesn’t work for me, but, hey, might for you.


well…I was having a look through the galleries looking for something inspiring. Think I’ve found something . What an amazing piece of work. And then i lloked at the app use “LIGHTWAVE” :slight_smile: and I renembered the good ole day when I used to use LW 7. Maybe my woes are in using 3ds max. Maybe I need a change of scene. So I’ve been planning on my new big project using Lightwave creating a mech for the 3d-palace competition. I’ll start up a thread soon by maybe this is a way out of my flunk. i certainly feel a little better now that I’m making something. Just worried once I get to turning it into 3d it will all go terribly wrong :frowning: and I wont get past the 10 minutes of modeling without giving up and failing miseraibly


I remember reading an interview with the mighty Doug Chiang, and he was asked the same question (yep, even Doug Chiang gets a creative low every now and then) and his advice was just to work through it, and focus on the work even more (instead of avoiding it), perhaps even restart it from scratch.

I have to say in my experience, this works really well, because once you break through that “Drone Zone” you feel a great sense of achievement.




yeah, if I’m not feeling a piece 100% I’ll usually end up just scrapping the whole thing and starting over from scratch. It sucks to do it after working on it for half a day, but in the end it usually turns out a lot better than it would have had I kept working on the first one.


Well, I’ve found that IceCream and Chocolate have a cheering effect :slight_smile: so theyre helping me through the rough comcepting for my next project :slight_smile: also to mention it having an instrument at your side give you something to do when you need a bit of relief. I’ve got my piano and guitar and drumkit with me so I’ve found that helps. Also drumming to something heavy like system of a down or slipknot put you into endomorphin heaven which makes me work alot better


I dont think the software you use have something to do. What I reccomend to you was getting away from the computer, if you think you are not having enoough ideas thats because you need to expierence something. When I go out with my friends and so just casual things, thats when ideas come to me. Or when something starts going wrong in one of my projects I began to feel frustrated and I start to believe that I am not a good artist. But then I look into my previous work and I remember the what I felt when completing that particular piece, and it motivates me to go further.

Always have in mind what you are and have been capable of doing.


Hahaah! Salt and vinegar chips and white chocolate m&ms for me @ the mo.
Also I stretched and painted some canvases, like I used to before this computer became an extension of my body. I’ve been purposely in over my head in CG lately so as to better my skills, but as a result have not actually made anything ‘cool’. The simple act of stretching and painting was so therapeutic and gave me the simple sense of achievement I’d been lacking from my CG endeavours.
I’m ready to dive deep again into CG with a fresher mind and approach.
I recommend stepping back from the machine and doing something creative, just for its own sake.
Good Luck Hypervoxels and may the force return to you powerwave3d


I just got out of a lull! I did it by finding a project and setting a deadline, an insane deadline. Project: model monument valley, two days to complete. Day one was planning, google image searches and sketches, day two was 3D no looking back no second guessing get it done after work. It’s all low-poly with shitty textures but I got it done and now I am onto the next part to try to gear up for a bigger project.

I think deadlines are great, they help me get off my ass, stop worrying about the tiny details that drive most of us mad, and let me get something finished and out. When you draw you get the broad strokes down quick, they let you imagine how the work will look and then you work on the details. Sometimes in 3D we tend to work backwards from the tiny details to the big thing.

Give yourself a project, something you think you can handle and then set a deadline, make a bet to force yourself to finish it, talk to people about your project and what you need from it, tell them you will show it to them when you are done.

Suck it up maggots, fall in and get back to work, stop playing games! (This is what I had to say to myself, you might respond to a different stimulus)


hey good thread. Yeh I know the feeling.

If you have something that you should be doing then I recommend a stopwatch. Set your self an easy target for the next day. Even just one hour is enough. Do the one hour then relax. Next day do 2. Then 4 etc. By the end of the week you should be back up to what ever your target is.

Im in that mode right now.


I think creative lows are great. I use it to my own advantage. While I can’t actually practice art, I think of a great scene to make the whole time. Some of my lows go for half a year. But when it’s time to whip out the Wacom pen, I have a truely good idea of a project to do and accomplish it very well, which then gets me into a whole campaign where I finish 4 or 5 pieces.


yeh, I always find I get stuck in a low whenever I’ve been creating CG hardcore for a while, but haven’t been replacing that energy… usually end up stepping away from the PC utterly, just read heaps of comics, watch films and animation series - you know, try and soak up all that stuff that got me inspired in the first place. Eventually all that ferments into an idea…


yeah I believe that everyone has this especially in cg…one thing I find that helps me is getting out and away from the computer…I love to get out and mountain bike or even just take a ride in the car…just getting out from in front of the computer helps me so much and then I can come back later that day or even the next day and I’m so much more productive…


When I get creative lows I usually try to do something else creative or art related. Here are a few examples:

-play guitar
-listen to any kind of music
-watch a movie
-draw things you see
-take creative photographs
-do some 3d
-do some print stuff
-do some concept art
-write scenarios

(now that’s the fun part) Eventually if it doesn’t come back I usually find a party and meet ladies :wink: Then you’ll be all pumped up and happy if things work out and it usually gives me inspiration. If you drank really too much and got sick for a couple of days rest a while. Try again. Note that you don’t have to wait for a creative lack to try this :stuck_out_tongue:

If unsuccessfull try to start a project in a more technical way. Let’s say:
I wanna try a very low polygon model for a RTS, in X style. Usually works.

If you’re lacking inspiration at work never be afraid to go see your coworkers if it’s not something you do a lot. I often found great starting point for whatever I had to do.


I don’t so much suffer from creative lows as I do from creative highs. I have the issue of getting a creative high when I’m in the middle of drudge-work and don’t have the chance for an outlet. It’s extremely frustrating. You start to feel stifled and cagey.


thanks for all of your replys everyone :slight_smile: I’ve started concepting for my next big project, and its all going well. I like the deadline idea and I’m going to use it :slight_smile: something to keep me on my toes and something to aim for :smiley:
11 am - 3 pm concepting arm
3 pm - 4 pm Quick version of shoulder (any time left over use on mesh cleaning and detailing)
4pm 4.10 pm Lunch
4.10 pm - 4.30 pm exercise for endomorphin release (increases 3d performance)
4.30 - 5.20 pm Shoulder Detailing
5.20 - 7 pm somthing else
7 - 8 pm shoulder detailing

Hopefully this plan should get me some work done :slight_smile: Feeling like im out of this slump or getting out if it. Thanks guys for the response :slight_smile:


Those of us in the computer graphics industry know this is pure fantasy.