3 Tips to speed up your work flow for the 3d graphic artist.
The reality of time.
A lot of times people go to school and learn how to become a 3d artist. They will go through the motions to get a final portfolio piece. What they don't always teach you in school the reality of time. Every project you encounter will have a deadline. No matter how long or short the deadline you will always be running against the clock. I want to list a few ways to cut corners and save time in your pipeline. A lot of times we forget about the simple things that will help speed up our work flow.
Adjusting the drivers seat. Tip #1
When we get in a car we don't just keep the mirrors at the position someone else set them at do we? We adjust the mirrors and the seat, probably the stearing wheel if we need to too. Software is the same way! Adjust the software to suit your needs. Again think of it like driving a car. Software now days you can customize all the way down to the color of the buttons sometimes. If you find your using a button more often than other buttons make a way to create a hotkey for that button. Creating a button or a hotkey that takes only one click beats doing 5 clicks to do something. It may not seem like much at first but those extra clicks add up. So adjust your software to meet your needs. On top of that it might help you in the long run from getting carpal tunnel by taking away some extra movements. I do this with programs like 3d Studio Max, Photoshop, and Zbrush. In the end you will find that this will save you lots of time when the clock is ticking.
I have been saved! Tip #2
This next tip might seem a little obvious. But set up your autoback save settings. If your just starting out you will learn to do this eventually. I can not count how many times the software has locked up or gotten corrupted in getting an error. I recommend saving in increments. Yes you will feel you have more than one copy of the same type of file. But in the end it will save you from crossing your fingers hoping that the autoback worked. Photoshop has finally come out with a feature that saves in the background. But make sure you go to your settings to make sure it is set up correctly. In the end it could save you hours of work if you end up getting a corrupted file. This tip seems like common sense but you would be surprised how many people learn the hard way. Even get distracted by the work they forget the simple things.
A basic script can take you a long way. Tip #3
This next tip is kinda different for most people. Depending on the type of work and projects you take in. But I highly recomend learning a little about scripting or even find some already written scripts. I use to be the type of person that didn't want to rely on scripts. In fact for some reason I felt that it was like cheating. But after a while you learn that the deadlines get shorter and the time gets faster. And some scripts don't have to be that complicated. Sometimes it can be something as simple as a random rotate on a group of objects instead of you doing it one by one. You will find that this will speed up your work flow a lot. Actions that you use constantly I would look for a script for. Photoshop users you will want to look up something called action scripts.
I know the tips I listed here can seem very basic. But believe me I've been doing this a long time and these tips help. It will save you time and money in the end. Cause every second counts when your trying to make a deadline. After a while you will learn that this will become a habit for you. And you won't even give it a second thought to save often or use a hotkey you set up.