The 6 biggest mistakes that junior CG artists make
Any beginner in CG industry will face dozens of challenges. We talked to three famous digital artists and CEOs of Mondlicht Studios to prevent you from the most common mistakes junior CG artists make. Easy to follow tips won’t make you an excellent artist immediately, but will make your journey less stressful and more fulfilling.
Not choosing a path
The CG industry offers so many opportunities to develop, from matte painting and modeling to animation and composing. There's no wonder that beginners want to try every one of them. If you are concentrating your attention on various subjects, you won’t be able to develop the skills properly. As a result, you’ll become an all-round but shallow specialist. At the same time, to discover true passion, you need to touch all spheres to realize whether you are interested in developing in this direction or not. Try to find a balance – explore but try not to get scattered.
Trying to progress too quickly
Looking through portfolios of famous digital artists, we can forget that there are months and years of practice standing behind any masterpiece. Every successful artist has spent thousands of hours polishing his skills and still trying to find time for additional practice and more professional challenges. The CG industry rewards patience and persistence – if you are working hard enough sooner or later you will achieve your goal. Don’t let others' success suppress your intention to become an artist. Take their artworks as inspiration and challenge yourself to become better every day.
“Every person has his own pace, try not to rush yourself too much and don’t overestimate your strength. Be rational, calm and persistent – if you want to gain something and put enough effort into it, you’ll succeed. Sometimes you need to give yourself some change and recover. It is scientifically proven that your performance drops if you don't give yourself a minimum of rest”
- David Schäfer
Forgetting to use enough reference
The key to beautiful artwork, no matter what exactly you are going to create, is realism and believability. To achieve the effect, you have to understand how the objects you are creating look and act in real life. For that, you need to gather as many references as possible. If you are working on an image with a car, look for real photos – try to pay attention not only to forms, but also notice how the light reflects from different types of materials, what perspective professional photographers use, and so on. It could be pretty tricky to find enough references for imaginary creations, but don’t get upset. Use different sources of references, including computer games, art books, and movies.
Not asking questions
When a beginner gets his first job in a CG studio, he is trying his best to fit into a team of professionals. This intention could easily lead to the fear to ask a stupid question. The fact is that there are no silly questions. If you are trying to figure something out, you are improving and demonstrating your wish to learn. If you don’t, it’s much harder for you to develop the skills. When a beginner comes to a team, all its members realize that they will need to help and teach a newcomer. There is nothing terrible in not knowing something, so never hesitate if you need a piece of advice or a tip.
“When I began my CG studies, there were almost no tutorials to watch and no guides to follow. Now the internet is overloaded with information – you can literally find an answer to any question. If you’re sitting in front of your computer and have no idea how to do something, Google it, ask people on forums and SM. Trying to figure out everything by yourself is a waste of time, the most priceless resource you have”
- Maksym Khirnyy
Not getting involved in the community
It’s very fulfilling to see how much the community of CG artists have developed over the past years. To be a part of it is an unforgettable and very inspiring experience. But you shouldn’t think about the community only as a group of people who understand your jokes. The community will help you to grow; you may find friends, colleagues, mentors, jobs, or interesting projects to participate – everything depends only on what you are looking for. Don’t underestimate the power of it – so many people found their dream jobs because they were hanging out with people of the same interests and were involved in the community.
There’s more to life than CG and work
The CG industry requires a lot from us – we have already told you how much time, patience, and persistence you’ll need to succeed. However, don’t let your work steal your life. No matter how interested you are in what you do, there are much more exciting things in life. If you sacrifice your relationships, your hobbies and your health, you’ll get nothing but disappointment. So, be conscious and find a balance between your work and your life. It might take some time and experimentation, but after all, you will figure the way to live fulfilling, productive, and happy lives, full of interesting projects and happiness.
“If you are driving yourself to exhaustion and your life consists of your bed and your computer, it will inevitably lead to burnout and depression. It’s unbelievably hard to recover from such psychological and physical stress. It’s much easier to prevent it. Moreover, when you live the life filled not only with your work, you will become happier, and happy people are always better to work with”
- Dmitriy Glazyrin