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madmonk

Kickstart my creativity process

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Hi all,

 

 

I have no jobs at the moment and I'd really want (and need) to do some spec work/personal projects to get better and pump my reel. The fact is: my creativity seems to kick in only when it's time to solve some problems, otherwise I feel totally demotivated and stuck. Like blank canvas syndrome I would say.

I've been through this forever; I spend my days pumping up my software knowledge (tutorials, etc...) but when it's time to come up with something "mine" I'm stuck and frustrated. Some days I feel so lame and dull, geez...

 

[/EndOfWhining]

 

 

Any suggestions? Am I crazy talking? Is it common somehow? What's you way around it?

 

Thanks.

You could even give me some problems to solve to help me.

 

If you wish.

Thanks.

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I think all of us suffer from this in some form or another.

 

For me something that I have found that helps is to give strict parameters and try experimenting with new mediums. A project I finished recently was to create a simple animation that tells a story with simples shapes through one continuous tracking shot and no cuts. Or look into traditional animation and look into how you can make a hybrid project that combines some aspects of traditional animation with your software proficiencies. Look at work that is not so standard and how it was created and just experiment. Take risks and see what happens. Even if a project is a failure you will at the very least learn something that you can apply to future projects.

 

I know that is kind of vague but simplify the process have a goal and go for it.

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Thanks joedonaldson! I've got a little idea to experiment now, while I was thinking about your answer in the shower. One of the things I truly believe I need is staying away from the computer as much as I can! Does it make sense? I think I should be thinking about it just as a tool, like a brush or a guitar or something and not trying to doodling with it directly, but maybe I should doodle on some paper, get some ideas to get me started and then move to the computer. Possibly with the internet off...

 

I need a job more than anything else though... :(

Edited by madmonk

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Deadline is this Sunday: http://greyscalegorilla.com/blog/2012/01/five-second-project-pinball/

 

Nick sponsors these every month or so, a themed animation with some basic constraints might help you get kick started a little. That or seek inspiration outside of digital media, so maybe reinterpret a short story / song / poem / whatever in a mograph kinda way.

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I often have the same problems as you madmonk. A lot of times I find that I have no idea what to do next, when this happens I usually go for a long walk in the forest or like you say, try to stay away from the computer for a while. It can obviously also be very helpful to look at what other people are doing, I feel that print design is a very natural place to get inspiration for motion graphics.

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Deadline is this Sunday: http://greyscalegorilla.com/blog/2012/01/five-second-project-pinball/

 

Nick sponsors these every month or so, a themed animation with some basic constraints might help you get kick started a little. That or seek inspiration outside of digital media, so maybe reinterpret a short story / song / poem / whatever in a mograph kinda way.

 

agreed, the 5SP are great way to fuel some thinking and to get something done, and the 5 seconds limitation usually makes it a good reel piece.

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I'm trying to remember the link for a random prompt generator. I think it was for concept art use; nevertheless, I think It could be useful.

e.g. flaming penguins, bloodhound detectives, screaming amoebas, pop-locking priests,... you get the picture.

Also, I find that a word list is useful to expand a concept, in ways I may not have thought of otherwise. Then there a brute force matrix: setup some parameters, length, scale, #items, colors, organic, geometric,... mix, match, & compose.

Sometimes I find it easiest to start with whatever technique I recently been practicing, and quickly composing into some kind of scene, mixing in all the design basics color,image type, After that presto your ready to start animating things in/out & around. I find it's usually good to start small if I'm unsure where to go. The boost from finishing something halfway polished gets me going for the next project.

2cents

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yeah everyone has this problem from time to time.

 

GSG's 5 sec projects are a great idea, since you are working on something that many other people are working on. so you get a sense of competition too.

 

Otherwise as xllr8 said, just start with simple things. Pick a theme. (valentines day is coming up). And stick together something simple. Accomplishmnet gives you a boost. Just make a nice looking heart with words, then move on to bigger and better things.

 

being away from computer can also help. But that's a random thing, but hey try, its an easy thing to try :D

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Thanks all you guys for the answers and precious hints. You're awesome. Regarding Nick's 5 seconds projects, everytime I think: "yes, I'm gonna do this one", but I never did..I think I need more limitations..."pinball" and 5 sec are too generic for me, and not interesting at all; I can see the challenge of it, but still...not motivating.

 

Reading your anwers I can say that I'm not alone in that! But also that is something kinda subjective; personally I feel that staying away from the computer and have a walk is stimulating (@Datsun). I have this noteblock which I tend to keep always with me just in case I stumble around some cool ideas. I hope it'll help...

 

I remember few years ago I used to read a lot more books, and watch many more movies and even TV. It's like a dog chasing his tail sometimes: I finally have a reason to geek the crap outta my pc all day long, cause it's a job now, but still sometimes I forget to "get a non digital life" I believe...

 

Yeah, I really like motion graphics inspired by different media.

@joedonaldson thanks man! I didn't know about Ben Ducroz, so inspiring!

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Thinking of responses in the shower, long walks in the forest, making hearts with romantic words… sounds like a thread about coming out of the creative closet.

Open a dictionary at a random page, eyes closed and pick a random word. Then make a short mini animation based on your pick. Thats my suggestion.

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The problem with the GSG / VCP stuff is that it all tends to look the same. When you start looking at reels to fill a spot you can really call that stuff out, which is usually the fastest way of getting through the rubbish. Not what you want for your purposes.

 

Record some radio spots, and animate visuals to them. Guaranteed to be unique.

 

Should also note to be careful about going into spec territory. If you are going to use a brand to base your animation on, like a spec commercial, I would suggest using brands that don't already have a million "fan videos" out there - like Doritos or Nike. Instead, go with a toilet paper or something. Try to give it a new name / logo that isn't related to a real brand as well. Spec spots in your portfolio seem to sometimes bring down your value in the eyes of an employer / client, so its best to just to avoid having that question thrown on the table IMO.

Edited by AromaKat

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agreed on the GSG 5 second stuff having a tendency to look similar

 

i would add that something to maybe play around with is something that might contain a fun, playful motion. seems to me, in this world and in film festivals, humor is kind of a multiplier. it also motivates your techniques to not feel like pure flexing.

 

the other trick is the discipline to stick with one of your ideas for multiple days, the amount of time it takes any one individual to usually make good, detailed work. thats really a hard part because part of second guessing yourself is good, and part, at least for me, makes me want to start over every day or every few hours at work i have to dink around.

 

good luck - if you can get on a roll it will really recharge your game for sure

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I just had a look at the GSG 5-sec thing "Behind the Scenes" and rather refreshing it was to see drawn, stop-motion and generally non-C4D stuff up, and funny, creative approaches used. That's what Nick and Andrew Kramer and legion mographers were saying for years; stop copying the look of the tutorials. THE FOOL LOOKS AT THE FINGER THAT POINTS TO THE SKY. So how to do your own thing without getting bored?

 

If you look at my reel there's a black and white city on there. I was unemployed and oversexed and on drugs and spent this narcotic weekend making what I wanted to see at the time. Think about it; if you use you reel to promote your skills and prove what you're capable of, then the kind of works on your reel are going to be very similar to the projects that your reel lands you. Your personal work should reflect the kind of jobs you'd love to work on, so on my reel, I made sure there's loads of sexy cars and cityscapes, 'cos I'd happily not see my woman for a week if I got to do a cutscene for the new Project Gotham...

 

It is massively frustrating when you don't have enough good work for a good reel. It's also a little embarrassing when I have to explain that all the nice bits on my reel are rainy-day personal projects and tests for tutorials (that I never edited or uploaded). But I like the 5-second restriction. You could spend 5 years working on a minute-long animation so this time boundary is the most important one for me. Also, motion studios like their workers (particularly freelancers) to work fast, so it's great to be able to say that the sexy little thing on your reel was done in a day. Restrictions are entirely necessary where willpower is lacking.

 

Just think, what would be the best project you could work on? In my case, the films Vexille and Renaissance are the two major influences to my 3D graphics and I would rip the nipple ring off a giant to work with those guys (I can't draw or design for toffee, hence why I work in motion graphics and not at Pixar). But I took those two films with me into everything I do for myself, and every inspiration that hits me kind of collides with these principles of design, and what pops out afterwards is kinda just...me*.

 

*see the raging debate in the other thread about IP theft and plagiarism

Edited by iline

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