5 tips for finding inspiration

October 11th, 2018

As 3D artist, I have had trouble finding inspiration since the very beginning. Inspiration is not easy to find, at least from my point of view. I don't know how other 3D artists deal with finding inspiration, but I think it's time for me to share my ways of finding inspiration. This way, I hope I am able to help other beginning 3D artists find inspiration. I am not a professional, but I want to share my tips and tricks anyway.

5. Look around, and find out how things really look
When I ask you how to draw a stick figure, I am pretty sure you are able to do so. However, when I would ask you to draw (take for example:) a dog, I am pretty sure you'll have much more of a hard time drawing a dog, rather than a stick figure. Assuming you know how a dog looks like, it might sound easy to draw one, but still most people won't be able to draw one as easily as they think. That's all because of the way we usually look at things. When you think of a dog, you know its basic shape, and how it looks like, but we don't actually look into all details.
For that reason, putting it on paper is quite a bit harder. Making CGI works basically the same. It might even be a bit harder actually. In order to be able to create anything, you need to look at things critically. When you walk outside, try to look more into details of objects. Search for cool looking shapes, materials or textures. When I am outside and I see a perfect wall to make a texture from, I grab my phone and take a picture of it! This is what gives me inspiration sometimes! Just try it out!

4. Use social media and/or art websites
Another way you can find inspiration is a fairly simple one. Look at the work of other artists. This is where Instagram, Pinterest and especially Artstation come in handy! These websites are meant for people like you, who can't find inspiration. Instagram has a feature that lets you save posts in folders. You can name these folders. For example, I made a folder called "Inspiration", where I save tons of interesting stuff that I find interesting. When I have a dip in Inspiration, the first thing I do, is go to that folder and look around. Seriously, its very helpful!

3. Try to recreate something
Have you ever had the feeling that nothing looked interesting to make? Well, you are definitely not the only one! I have this problem on a weekly basis. Trying to recreate stuff that someone else made, can be pretty satisfying. I do have to say that completely stealing someone's idea and acting like you thought of it first, is very (VERY) weak. Just, don't do it. Or in case you actually publish a replicate of someone's work online, just admit that you didn't come up with the idea yourself, and credit the original artist. In my opinion, that's how everyone should do it.
Anyway, recreating someone's work can be very insightful and interesting. Very often, you get to learn a lot of new things! Learning new methods to create things really is one of the best ways to learn CGI and get inspiration!

2. Just leave it for a while
This tip might sound a bit boring, but if trying to get inspiration is driving you crazy, the best thing to do at that moment is to leave it for a while. Go for a walk, make some music, or do something else that makes you think of something not related to CGI. Sometimes leaving a project for a day will give you fresh inspiration, but it can easily take longer. Usually when I am not active with Blender, I am having a little break to pick up some inspiration. It easily takes a week for me to get my motivation and inspiration back to start working on a project again. I guess this takes a different amount of time for everyone.

1. Challenge yourself
This has probably been my biggest problem so far. I remember coming to a point where I realized I was constantly making the same things. OK, I mean, not the same, but every render I made had basically the same concept; A ridgidbody simulation where an object crashes into the ground. I thought it looked so cool, so I made like a million of them. Also, not gonna lie, it was fairly easy to make this kind of render. Eventually I realized I was making the same render every single time. This got me into some sort of dip which caused me to lose every single bit of inspiration. I even got to a point where I was seriously thinking about quitting Blender and learning a new skill. I eventually left Blender for a while, but I kinda felt like I had to continue, so I did. I started looking at work from other artists and I tried to challenge myself. I started with making a render for every letter in the alphabet, from X to A (backwards so it would show properly on my IG page). I worked on quite some renders for that, and that gave me some new inspiration. I managed to tell myself that some of my renders were not as bad as I thought they were (I am still not saying my renders are 'good', but I think they are improving). That's how I found out that challenging yourself can be pretty fun, and inspirational.

That basically sums it up for now. I really hope I helped someone with finding inspiration. Getting messages from people on social media about me inspiring them, always gives me a big smile! Thanks a lot for reading this long blog.

Daan (lol people on twitter call me BluePixel xD)

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