The WIP forums are the heart and soul of learning on CGTalk. This is where artists, both new and experienced, gather to share their work and get feedback from their peers around the planet.
It can also, however, be a frustrating place for both posters and responders to threads. So let’s consider a few pointers to make the WIP forums a more productive, enjoyable and constructive place to be.
For people posting work:
Communicate! Don’t just post an image and say “COMMENTS PLZ”. This tells us nothing about what your ideas are, what your intentions are, or what your overall vision for the image actually is. Forums are communication platforms, so utilise those channels to discuss your work. It’s also a good idea to mention what software you’re using, if it isn’t obvious. This can help people when it comes to posting advice related to specific tools in the software you’re using.
Post regular updates. Even if you’re not getting many or even any responses, keep updating. Not only does this motivate you to continue the work, but people are also more likely to click on threads that have numerous replies.
Respond graciously to critique. Nothing puts people off wanting to help more than someone who is acting like a dick in response to reasonable critique. If you disagree with a suggestion made by someone, then discuss is in a mature way instead of brushing it off or responding rudely to that person. Dealing with critique constructively is a key skill that every artist needs to develop if they are to improve their work. This is a fact.
If you’re not getting any replies, don’t be discouraged. If your thread isn’t getting any attention, don’t let it get you down. Keep up the updates regardless. If, even with updates, your thread is still not getting any attention, you may have to consider that perhaps the work you’re posting is not exciting enough to inspire people to reply. In a way, this can almost serve as an indirect critique. Don’t be shy to email or PM artists whose work you like or who seem to be active in other threads, asking them if they’d consider giving you some feedback in your own thread.
Acknowledge all the replies you receive. Don’t ignore some replies and respond only to others. People have taken the trouble to reply with their own ideas, so even if you disagree with them, acknowledge their contribution and discuss it.
It doesn’t hurt to say thanks. If people respond, it’s not hard to thank them for it. Many people feel discouraged from helping a person further if that person has not bothered to thank them for previous advice posted.
For people replying to threads:
Don’t post useless fanboy comments. If you want to post fluff like “AWESOME WORK LOL”, then please go to the Showcase Gallery. This is the WIP forum; it’s here for people to learn and there’s nothing helpful about a fanboy comment. If you honestly can’t see anything to critique, then rather discuss what it is that you like about the image. This actually helps the artist because it shows them what elements of the image they’re getting right.
Explain your critique. Don’t just say “the lighting is wrong”. If the lighting is wrong, then explain why, and suggest ways to improve it.
Don’t be a dick. There’s a difference between posting a harsh critique, and being a dick. Critique should be constructive and posted for the sole purpose of helping the artist, not belittling or discouraging them.
We’re all here to learn, and every WIP is a two way street. Artists posting work can learn from others responding, and vice versa. Bearing the above in mind will keep the forum constructive and create a rich learning environment for everyone.