How Do You Develop Your Ideas?

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Every artist works differently. Some artists start with a form on their canvas, drawing board, or screen, and develop the image and its related parts as they progress. Others start with a concept and try to develop it. I do not necessarily mean a storyboard type of concept although that is one type. I mean one that is more amorphous — a concept that is a feeling or a message; that is one from the gut.

The latter is the way I work. Have I chosen to work that way? No! I have tried to sit down at a blank screen and just play with colors, or build a terrain, or just work with a few photographs. But all I usually do is frustrate myself. I cannot work without an inspiration, and unfortunately those come in spurts.

Sometimes a picture will look "pretty," but if it does not represent what I feel or I conceive the image to represent, I am not satisfied with it. How many times has this happened to you? How many times has someone wanted a picture of yours that you didn't think was "you" and you wanted to throw out? What did you do?

Putting aside making money from artwork, because that is a whole different issue … what is more important to you; pleasing yourself or others? In all honesty I can say that if I am satisfied, that to me is most important.

There has been controversy over the Renderosity Galleries, and Nick Sorbin [vclaszlo] wrote a great article about this a little while ago. He also had many interesting comments. I am not reopening this discussion. Let's assume most of us who put images in the various galleries want praise. That is human nature. But if you do not get it, does that really mean anything? Lots of people don't comment on the work in the galleries, or even when they mean to comment, often they put it off, and then never return to do it. I have been guilty of the latter

These are some of my thoughts. I'd like to hear yours. You do not have to restrict yourselves to discussing inspiration or how you visualize your 2D or 3D art; include music, writing, dance, etc., since these are all art forms. I know that Renderosity has a lot of gifted artists who have talents in more than one area, as well as interesting opinions and thoughts.

  • As always, I invite you to visit my personal website: Perpetual Visions

    Looking forward to your comments,
    Happy Holidays,
    Paula Sanders


  • The Paula Sander's Report
    is a regular Renderosity Front Page featured column,
    where Paula investigates and comments on
    graphic software, techniques, and other relevant material
    through her reviews, tutorials, and general articles.

  • December 12, 2005
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    Member Opinions:
    By: macelene on 12/12/05
    For me it really depends on what I'm trying to accomplish. If I'm doing promo work I have to focus on the item I'm promoting. I have to make it look good. Many times that just takes a lot of trial and error until something looks good or the lights go on above. Doesn't always work, as the last one backfired and people where more attracted by something else ;). Now if I'm making the image for me who knows where my inspiration will come from. Many times it's my muse hammering an image into my grey matter, other times it is just the influence of my music, my mood, or something I was watching.
    I do like recieving comments, I like to know I've made someone's day. But I also think it can be a double edge sword. We get too used to getting them and then when we don't we wonder if we are just waisting our time. I've thought many times about leaving the comments unticked, but many people want me to leave it ticked, so I do for them.

    Macey

    By: RodsArt on 12/12/05
    Thanks Paula, Great Subject.
    Typically my work flow comes from a visual inspiration, it may be from something I've created in the past or from something I've seen by another artist. There are so many triggers and influences out there it's difficult to pinpoint what actually gives me the initial kickstart. Once I'm in the "zone" I don't let go until I've finished or feel comfortable with the level of WIP (work in
    progress) that I've reached. Once at that point
    the piece takes on a life of it's own and I can come back to it, lets say in the next day or so, and experience that same work flow(zone). On occasion I can build a project with a specific result in mind, although these types of creations are usually more time consuming. Whether it's a quick inspiration or a well thought out creation, my ultimate goal is to always increase my capabilities/skills as an artist by learning from others and raising the bar next time out, even if it's improving one tiny aspect of creation I have not yet acheived.
    All in all, I've taken on multiple artistic genre that interest me and keep an open mind to learning something new. Each different aspect of creation I attempt gives me a more diverse tool box to work with. Drawing/painting, photography, 3D creation, all have their special attributes which compliment each other. If I can inspire anyone in any way.... "Try something New", even if you think "I can't do that". You sure can, "I do".
    Thanks again Paula.
    Rod

    By: eryt on 12/13/05
    It works both ways for me..an idea...and i start to work on it...and sometimes just a blank canvas or screen and i start to 'doodle'...and things start to happen! I also stay with a project until it is finished..or almost finished..once started I hate to leave it!
    I like the comments and views of others...but feel a bit insecure when one of my works doesnt get as many remarks or views...especially when I think it is one of my best! Then second guessing starts...hmmm..maybe this is not as good as I thought? I, as most artist I believe, am a bit insecure anyway when it comes to my work..never truly satisfied..always striving to get better..to improve..
    I also get satisfaction out of helping others who are new into 3d CGI...and I appreciate the help and tips I get from other artists.

    Thanks, Paula!

    By: clifftoppler on 12/13/05
    Paula,
    The word “develop” suggests the idea has already germinated in some form but your article goes beyond that. Most important, for me, is to find that initial inspiration and I’m old-fashioned enough to believe the richest source of ideas comes from the sub-conscious. Somehow it has to become involved, and I’ve had more than one teacher who also thought this important. For me doodles can be a good starting point, and it often better to save rather than destroy when dissatisfaction sets in. A fresh look (sometimes after weeks or months, even years) can show the way forward. This gestation period is often vital for otherwise something strikingly different will not become recognised for its invigorating originality.
    The involvement of/with the computer brings a host of new problems for ideally we seek a partnership. In this we have to rely on whatever software best suits our need for personal integrity. The computer artist lives in a world of flux, and a critical need is for the human mind, spirit, to recognise the possibilities: to enable we to develop, to grow and so remain the arbiter of judgement. Ultimately, we have to bring the general public along with us, but to otherwise find our own way. Know yourself within the peculiarities of your creative world and the praise or criticism of others is irrelevant. Yes, we want, need recognition, but it should not lessen the edginess of the perpetual challenge that is the next blank canvas, paper, or screen.
    I hope some of this makes sense?
    Cliff.

    By: nickcharles on 12/15/05
    Great thoughts, Paula, and thanks for the reference to my 'Comment' article :D

    For me, I always work best when I start with...something. If I start with a blank screen...I usually end up with a blank screen, lol!
    I have to have an inspiration to create. I have to be able to at least see it in my head, or have a strong feeling about something.

    I am never totally pleased with anything I have done...yet :D Often, I will re-visit what I started long ago.

    This is true with whatever I do, whether an image, writing, or even working with clay.

    By: mommavelvet9999 on 12/15/05
    Thank you for the wonderful insight on this topic. I'm a new starter to adding my "art" to Renderosity, and feel that the community here is awesome!!!!
    I start my "projects" by picturing in my mind what everyone else wants to see. But it also has to please Me. I try to look at the world and see what is beautiful. Look for something that is actually "real".
    But, just like many other artists, I myself am never happy with the end result. I usually have to make myself post them no matter what. I'm also limited with my equipment. No "extras" always means not having what I want. But in life, priorities need to come first. And if that involves my equipment being less then good, then so be it.
    I just hope that everyone is happy with what I've done- because I'm happy with it.

    By: David.J.Harmon on 12/15/05
    Well I use to shoot photography and when I was young I was watching a video of John Kelly. And he said he came up with his Ideal by laying back a day dreaming, sound funny at first. Well I started that and it works, plus I look at other and my own work and studing them. Something about binging a photographer you see things in a different way. I mean going down the road the see a building as a photo and a person the same way. But now I'm into 3D art I can use my ideal on screen, I still do it the same way, I day dream. It sound easy but it works...

    By: croxie on 12/16/05
    For me it depends entirely what I am doing. If I'm at the canvas or the drawing pad, I already have an idea what I keep working on until I'm happy about it...or it is a commission job that I have to finish ;)
    But at the screen, when using Poser or Bryce, it's more about feeling. I love to play with light settings and textures, which often ends in a render of some kind.
    I like to play with feelings in my renders more than anything, but I also believe that we affect others with our art if we listen to ourselves while we're in a creative mood.
    That's how you put yourself into what you do as well.

    By: Samanthie on 12/16/05
    Some ideas just come to me and other ideas can be inspired by books I've read or movies I've seen. I use art pencils to begin my work and make a rough sketch. Then I define it with another sketch until I'm ready to scan it and then the digital fun begins.
    It's great to be happy with something I've done and I hope it pleases others when they look at it as well. If an image isn't getting to the final result I've invisioned then I begin to work on something else and return to it, sometimes starting over.

    By: Deagol on 12/16/05
    Great topic.

    I do fractals and while we often see fractal in nature, most fractals are abstract. To me, the purpose of an abstract image is to trigger an emotion, so for a lot of my images that is my goal. I have found that creating an image with an emotional impact, at least one that is beyond whatever emotion that beauty triggers, is very hard to do. That's why have only done a few. I have only recently attempted to build "beyond beauty" images and I am still not sure if I have been successful.

    One thing is for sure, an abstract image must be named. The name provides a hint about whatever emotion that you are trying to express. If I don't name an image then it's just another pretty picture. Maybe some people believe that the viewer should be left to interpret the image so the name is not important. I don't know, but that seems like a cop out. However, I am pleasantly surprised what someone sees something different from what I see, and I learn from it.

    More often than not, I'll doodle and explore until I find something that triggers the feeling and then assign the name, if I can think of one. Once that discovery is made, I try to polish the image to bring out the feeling. Often the image evolves into something else, maybe better or worse, or with a different feeling from what I was shooting for. I'm OK with that. Thank goodnes for the "save as" button.

    Feedback is very important to me. I mean, how am I supposed to know if the image works if you don't tell me? I like to build images that feel right to me, but I need it to work for a viewer too. Otherwise it isn't nearly as much fun. With that, I guess I am inspired by what feels right to me and by what feels right to viewers.

    Later,
    Keith

    By: Paula Sanders on 12/16/05
    I want to thank everyone who shared their thoughts. I look forward each day to reading each opinion and expanding my own horizon.

    Thanks,
    Paula

    By: 3D_Explorer on 12/16/05
    I put a thousand monkeys with a thousand computers into a room and take credit for the best work ... LOL

    By: AtharianMedia on 12/17/05
    For my comic work, I tend to follow the basic steps below. But sometimes I just start playing in Poser or Bryce, using a new product or download, and a nice scene will just happen.

    If I don't already have a finished story, I start with a rough story idea and break it down to scenes, then do a rough script. After that I'll sketch thumbnail storyboards in a spiral notebook, and refine the dialogue.

    Next I'll start creating the scenes in Poser according to the storyboards, and adjust them as needed to fit the scenes or panels. Sometimes the character dialogue will change as I'm working in Poser, or the camera angle will change, but the basic scenes remain.

    Depending on how much detail I do on the storyboards will determine how much variation is done when it gets to the 3d stage. Finally, speech balloons, effects, etc. are added in Photoshop or Illustrator. and pages are assembled in Photoshop.

    I depend on feedback here in the Poser Community. Folks point out things i never thought of (since I'm not a trained artist, mainly I'm a writer), or just missed. Luckily I work in a way that allows re-do's to be done with a minimum of hassle.

    If all that fails I hire 3D Explorer's team of monkeys... ;)

    By: Nightwind on 12/17/05
    Mostly my art directs me. When I try to push it into a preconceived idea it ends up stale and trite.
    What I consider my best work doesn't always correlated with others' opinions. It doesn't mean I don't respect the opinions of others, just that I don't always agree with it. To me that's not a problem. Exchanging ideas and information is a way to learn and to grow.
    If someone doesn't like my work, I don't mind them saying so. If there is a technical problem, give me some pointers, you're helping me learn.
    Bottom line, I have to create. I always enjoy it when others like what I do, but if no one likes it does that mean I'll quit? No. Ultimately I do this because I can't imagine not doing it.

    By: Dall400 on 12/18/05
    Well, whether I am doing 2d or Poser/postwork images, it all starts as an idea! Basic or pretty detailed, its something that just pops into my head from whatever source! Sometimes I am even inspired by a short poem that I tried (and failed) to write! I do the sketch (or in the case of Poser postworking, a basic writing of notes and then work the poser image, render, and then sketch all necessary postwork!) After the sketch, the idea pretty much evolves, or devolves as the case may be, and the sketch has to be reworked! Enter in Photoshop, lots of Photoshop, and more Photoshop, and after getting halfway done with the image, it changes yet again, but instead of bothering with the sketch, I just do the change so I can continue on! Then a little bit later, I get hit with artists block, lack of interest, everyday life, or a lack of self-confidence! This is when the image gets put on the back burner for a while (a great while, usually) and then it will either be finished within the next year, hopefully, or it will prolly get erased, whether by accident or intentionally!

    If it makes it past this stage, then its a few small last minute changes, some cropping and color enhancement for further visual perspective, mebbe a border, my sig, and then post here at Rosity!

    At this stage I contemplate how the image could have been done better, this line of thought further aided by the comments of the community (thats why I post them here, for honest critique) and then it sits to slowly accumulate a small count of viewings! As much as I want to, I end up never going back to an image once it is completed and done, just chalk it up to experience and move on!

    "I cannot escape from myself,
    I am never alone!"
    Cheers, Jesse!


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