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Get your ego out of my art

'Get your ego out of my art'; it should be an Art Director’s mantra, and not just because it improves overall quality, but because it increases efficiency, and makes all the other artists on the team happy.

Get your ego out of my art; it should be an Art Director’s mantra, and not just because it improves overall quality, but because it increases efficiency, and makes all the other artists on the team happy.

By being cognizant of a few common time sinks, and AD can improve his team’s performance; and also make their job easier.

One would hope that after some time, a seasoned artist would have dropped these habits, but being an outsource team that has to redo a lot of in-house work; I assure you this is not the case. Let’s apply this to two situations; high polygon model creation, and unseen art.

There’s an easy way to create high poly models and there’s a hard way. It just so happens that the easy way is the right way as well; that is if you give a damn about anyone else working with you. It should be obvious, but making an airtight mesh when doing the high poly model is almost masturbatory; OCD if you will.

Use interpenetrating meshes to get the effect you need. It saves massive amounts of time, and the mental headache of figuring out complex quad layouts.

This method lets you deconstruct exceedingly complex meshes that if handled in a “divide and conquer” fashion, are quickly understood and developed.

It may look better for you as an individual artist to show your ‘quad and cut’ prowess, but it’s orders of magnitude slower, and causes massive headaches if another artist ever has to modify your model.

In a team environment, we need to be aware of the other people we’re working with. As highly specialized as artists have become, it’s folly to imagine you’re the sole owner of a model; or the last person to touch the work.

And here’s the kicker, even if you are the sole owner, you’re doing yourself a disservice by making the model overly complex; you’ll kick yourself in the head if you ever need to go back and modify it.

Unseen art; the great time sink. I worked with an artist once; an amazing artist mind you, who did not know when to stop.

We had to re-uv, re-skin, and re-texture our main character, because this artist was personally insulted with the baked in shadow on the armpit. If you’re making an armpit simulator, buy all means fix it, but if you’re working on a game where the character never gets closer than 50 feet, MOVE ON!

These are two very basic things, that probably cost studios months of time over a given project. It doesn’t happen a lot, thankfully, and anyone doing it regularly needs to re-evaluate their desire to work in this industry. Greeble-lust at home, great quality art, delivered on time, at work. Get your ego out of my art; it’s making it salty.

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