Supercharge your skillset
Almost 10 years ago I went to see Yes Man at my local cinema. It's a film full of Jim Carrey rubber faces and silliness, but the overall message is something I personally found incredibly enlightening. It's beautifully simple, essentially to say 'YES' more often when opportunities put themselves in front of you. Applying this to everyday life has limitless benefits, but what I want to touch on however, is how this attitude to life can be particularly beneficial when applied to motion graphics (or any type of creative work for that matter). '
Whenever a brief lands on my desk that seems especially difficult, challenging or completely out of my skill set, the gut reaction would be to push back on the idea and suggest something more within my abilities. But that's the easy way out, and often the reason why many designers tend to coast at a skill level that sits well within their comfort zone.
So unless a client is specifically asking for Toy Story 4, I make sure to jump right on board with the idea, and get to work figuring out and overcoming all the challenges it poses, because it's in these moments of pressure where we learn the fastest, and improve the most. All of what I consider to be my 'best' projects, are the ones where I've had to learn new techniques in a very short period of time.
At Scorch Motion we often create things purely to push our boundaries and learn new skills. One of these projects in particular was made to celebrate the day Marty McFly arrived in 'Back to the Future' on Wednesday 21st October 2015. The first thing that came to mind was Marty's Hoverboard, so I developed an idea that depicted a fictional fully-automated factory where hoverboards might have been manufactured. It was an ambitious idea for myself at the time, as I hadn't done that much 3D animation. The idea itself posed many problems since I wanted it to perfectly loop, so in theory you could watch hoverboards being made from start to finish indefinitely, passing through all the various machines as they become assembled (above).
With the deadline looming, I knew I had to learn fast, I was forced to work in new ways and even figured out methods to cut down the rendering time without sacrificing quality. These are all things that happen naturally when you work under pressure, and are invaluable when applied to everyday work.
So my advice to anyone reading this, is to be a 'Yes Man' (or woman) and say 'yes' more often. Accept those difficult challenges, take the ambitious briefs head on, because unless you're completely happy with where your abilities currently lie, there are few better ways to improve yourself. Check out my post on 'The Mother of All Tutorials' if you're keen to further improve your skillset.
If you've not seen 'Yes Man' yet, I can't recommend it enough, and if you have seen it, watch it again anyway! I hope it has the same effect on you as it did me.