7 ways to speed up your workflow
The artists at Mondlicht Studios offer some advice for speeding up both your 2D and 3D workflows…
A good CG artist must not only create beautiful artworks but work with the feedback, deal with deadlines, and provide his client with a high-quality result in the best time-frame possible. Today we talk to Mondlicht Studios artists to find out what you can do to speed up the workflow.
Learn and use shortcuts
The best advice of all is simple: learn shortcuts. It could seem very challenging if you have just started to learn 3D or Photoshop and have to figure out so many things except the shortcuts. However, you will get accustomed to them in a couple of weeks – just print out the list and put it near your monitor. In a month you’ll be surprised how much your workflow speeds up.
“I just can’t imagine my workflow without shortcuts. It’s so simple and so effective to use them. Without this habit I would spend much more time on every artwork. If you are a freelancer, it’s crucial to work fast and efficient: the more projects you do, the more money you get. For a full-time employee it is not less important – if you fail your team because you are not able to keep the pace, you’ll become unwanted faster than you think.”
Think ahead and make a plan
It may sound unexpected, but the creation of an art piece involves a lot of strategic planning, and we are not talking about art direction here. If you are creating a masterpiece for yourself, you have all the time in the world to look for a solution to a specific problem or source of inspiration. When it comes to real projects, you have to deliver. At this moment, efficiency comes to the fore.
Careful planning allows you to understand how much time you’re going to spend on a project, predict major problems and challenges, and think about how to deal with them before you face them. This approach saves a lot of time.
Explore different applications
To create the most efficient and comfortable workflow, you have to be flexible and adjust your software and your knowledge to the needs of a project. Every day we get the news about the updates of traditional programs and releases of new ones. There is always a chance that one application can do something super-fast that another application can't do at all. Don’t spend all your time discovering new programs – you can’t become an expert in every one of them, but find some time to play with the most interesting ones to you.
“For me, a great illustration of this rule is my experience with Cinema 4D. For years I had been working primarily in 3ds Max, but last year I faced with the necessity to work in Cinema 4D – it was one of the demands of the client. During the project I found out that things, on which I wasted hours in 3ds Max, could be created in Cinema 4D in minutes. I haven’t switched to Cinema 4D totally, but I use this program more and more often”.
Find or create scripts
Sometimes shortcuts are not enough, especially if we talk about big projects which involve a lot of 3D. There are many useful scripts for every 3D application, that you may try and use in your workflow, so find some time to explore what the internet has to offer.
If you need a very specific script and all your attempts to find it just fail, you can always create what you need by yourself or get a skilled programmer do it for you. If you need it for a commercial project, do not be afraid to discuss this with your client, who can cover the cost of the script you need.
Create actions for repeated processes
Photoshop could be easily adjusted to your habits. Just spend an evening to create actions and assign hotkeys you need, and you will speed up your workflow incredibly. Also, you may Google for some often-used scripts and download them.
“If you are not using hotkeys, shortcuts and actions in Photoshop, you make your workflow ten times slower than it could be. If you have never used all of these, it’s time to begin. After some adaptation period, you’ll stop thinking of what button or command you need and discover how fast you can become”
If you are trying to work with a 3D application on the computer which is older than you are, there is no chance that you will be able to provide high-quality results in a short time. You don’t need to spend all your money or, what’s even worse, to take credit to buy the best computer ever. Probably, there is a possibility to improve your hardware step by step, without spending a huge amount of money at one time.
Try new ways to improve your workflow
There will always be room for improvement, and there will always be new, more efficient strategies to solve a problem. Which is why it’s so important not to sit in front of your monitor 24/7 buried under the work, but to find and invest some time in education and networking. Every new experience will give you new tips on how to improve your skills and become a better artist. Last, but not least. Never give up if you face a challenge. Look for a solution, ask for help, try different approaches, and you will succeed.