I’m half-a-month behind on updating the site — I’ve been too busy running in circles.

Intentions are for assholes, and I’ve had more than my fair share of em these past weeks. The original plan was seriously optimistic, but the problem turns out that the volume of work wasn’t the issue, but the diversity of work. Skipping from one task to another each day stops me from concentrating on any one set of skills. And then there’s the skills that I didn’t know I needed.

So in building my first experimental scene, I realized how amazing I could make it. Building terrain, adding assets, configuring a camera, even special effects and atmospherics are easy to create and tons of fun to play with. Then I realized I needed to tell a bit of a story. It didn’t need to be complex, but it did need to be something to hang the work off of. Give me some direction on what assets to use, environment to set up, etc.

You Get What You Pay For

That’s when I realized that the free assets I had access to were not good enough. To tell a story means that I need the pieces to tell the story. To do that, I need to know how to build them.

Enter Maya. I’ve been taking classes in Maya on Pluralsight and Lynda, and believe it or not I’ve made some pretty good progress. Enough progress that I considered trading in my Educational software for the real thing. That’s when I saw the price tag. I have the money to drop on the software, but unfortunately I don’t have the ability to commit to the yearly license. Even Maya LT (which is the edition I was planning on purchasing) was pretty steep for a yearly drop.

But I’m Not Made of Money

So then I downloaded Blender. It’d been years since I’d seen it and it’s come so far that it’s completely usable. It’s still about as comfortable as wearing someone else’s underwear, but it works. So at this point, I set out to learn them both.

I’ve built and re-built the same building about 10 times in each application, learning skills and then applying them in each application. After a month of using them side-by-side, I’m going to stick with Maya for now. Yeah, it’s expensive, but it is superior in how I can control it and the controls for editing are easier to use. I’ll stick with my edu version until I have to shell-out for a full version.

In the end, I made progress, it just wasn’t the progress I wanted to make.

WTF Did You Do?

The next thing that’s weighing on me is whether I’m building things correctly. Pluralsight training seems to be in love with edge-loops, and they are easy to use and clear to understand, but I’m worried that they introduce geometry to my model that can’t be removed. What I need is a mentor. Someone willing to say “Hey, this model sucks, don’t use edge-loops for everything, do a inner-extrusions here to keep your mesh clean.”

What’s bad is that I have no idea how to find someone to help kick me in the right direction. It’s a problem that needs solved, but I think it’ll have to be a problem for another day.

For now, I’m just going to build it. Right or wrong I’m just going to get it done. If I’ve learned anything in 20-something years doing development, a finished but flawed thing is better than nothing at all.