Now that all the modelling is over (hooray), I’m going to have a quick look back and reflect on my time modelling and animating.
At the start of the I had no idea what journey lay head, I was just excited to learn how to model and have the chance to experience an area of games that I have had spent little to no time on.
The 3D journey started off a little shaky with me going back and forth between modelling programs as I was unsure which one would be best to use. Though once a made a decision with Maya I was back on the right tracks.
From there I felt I made a successful start, as I managed to create a high poly model with little issues. I used previous workshop notes that I had from last year and I found these incredibly handy, as it helped to refresh my memory of Maya – its menu screens and navigation, as well as the process of forming a human figure. I think without those notes I would have been lost from the start but having them helped ease me into the modelling and build up my confidence. I would advice others to go to all the workshops possible and keep all your notes for them, as you never know when they may come in handy.
However animating became a different story. I was bombarded with so many issues with animating and rigging that it became a stressful and emotional time. From models deforming unexpectedly to rigs just completely usable for days. it felt like every single part of the animating process there was always an issue, nothing was easy and nothing was simple.
All these issues set me back and I was constantly feeling behind on my work as I don’t think I hit my deadlines for about 3 weeks in a row. I think this is when I started to lose my enjoyment for the project and my motivation was quickly dropping.
I greatly under estimated how long it would take me to learn modelling and complete tasks. Maybe it was naivety or just over ambition but there was no way I could keep up with schedule I had planned out. There is a lot I have learnt from this journey, but I feel the key thing is that it takes far longer than you think to learn something new, especially when your teaching yourself. I will ensure in future projects that I leave the largest possible amount of time I can to learn something new. As i have learnt that I need a large amount of time set aside to explore the area, learn the basics and experiment with it without feeling pressured by deadlines, which causes me to panic and stress.
The whole modelling and animating experience has be punishing, I’m not quite sure how I found the strength to carry on with it but I’m glad I did. Though it has created some of the most frustrating and emotional times at university, I think I have learnt a huge amount about how to model in Maya, the processes, what different menus mean, what different tools do, how to create fabrics, how to texture, how to rig, how to animate and the list goes on. So I am very proud of myself of overcoming such struggles, by just keep pushing through, researching issues to find solution and using trial and error, all to help me gain the skills and knowledge I now have, which has all been self taught.
I wouldn’t recommend someone teaching themselves 3D modelling and animation from scratch within a month, as it simply isn’t the easiest skill to pick up in such a short space of time. I would’ve found a modelling tutor to be indispensable, as so many times I would come into a issue, for example trying to export an animated rig from one model to another or trying to workout when my rig stopped working, and I would have no idea how to solve them. I would research constantly and though I used the Lynda tutorials a lot, they would only give me specific information, I couldn’t use the resource to solve my issues only learn basic skills. So solving difficulties became a tedious and sometimes impossible task, as there are only so many forums or websites that can be of help. Part of the time I wasn’t even sure what the issue was to find a solution. But I think by having a tutor there to ask questions and get guidance from, would have definitely have helped make the journey smoother and more enjoyable. Being able to get a quick answer rather than searching online for 3 hours, it would have saved me so much time, effort and stress. And I think I would be a far more proficient and confident modeller and animator who better understands the specifics of how Maya works, rather than just the at a base level. So I think it would be beneficial for there to be a specialised modelling/ animating tutor at the University who is proficient with Maya, to be available for students to gain advice and guidance from. It will help others gain the right skills, in half the time and with half as much stress.
Overall my time with Maya has certainly taught me that I don’t want to be a modeller or animator in the future, all the challenges and ups and downs have definitely put me off the idea. I would need to have a tutor completely retrain me, building up my excitement and confidence for modelling again, before I would even consider going near the program again. However I am proud of what I have managed to achieve, as just under 2 months of self teaching I have created 4 fully modelled, weighted and animated models, that work within the game. I’m not quite sure how I achieved that!