6 Months

I just want to stop by and talk about work. I just realized I don’t really talk about my job much because I don’t think it’s…polite? proper? I don’t know, when you’re putting stuff out there in the internet, there are specific things that you avoid talking about. Things that may affect your relationships, your career and even your future. Also, there isn’t really much to talk about because…I don’t talk about the lectures that I listened to when I was still at school. It’s the same like that.

But something really divine happened. Nope, it’s not a promotion or an increase or anything like that. I just finished a 3D-animated video that explains how a certain machine works. I can’t tell you the details involving it but there’s a lot of things I can tell you about how it was like working on it for more than half a year. Yep, it’s one of the longest project I’ve ever had in my career.

At first, I was genuinely excited. I’ve had 3D projects before and they’ve all been fun and fulfilling. So at the beginning of August 2017, I was happily making assets and trying out different lights for the scene. There were revisions regarding the placements and the models but it was okay. It was part of my job. Until halfway through the animation process and the revisions started to go on a different path. It turns out that I failed to really grasp what my client envisioned. The final output was starting to get blurry. And the deadline was getting further and further away from what we had all expected. What everyone had expected of me.

Christmas and New Year came and went, I was still fixing a lot of things. I welcomed 2018 with more frustrations. I wasn’t able to help in other projects because I was stuck with this one. It wasn’t even supposed to be difficult. When you look at it in an animator’s point of view, it’s really just a simple 1-minute clip. The characters were simple stick figures, the cameras were placed in just one angle and the simulations were minimal. It wasn’t supposed to take this long.

That was when I started doubting myself. Maybe I wasn’t really that good. I never dreamed of becoming the best. But I sure as hell never wanted to be the worst. But that’s what it felt like. It felt like I failed my client, my boss and myself. Even if they were nice and patient enough to point out the stuff that needed fixing, there were voices in my head that weighed me down. Why do I keep making mistakes? Why do I miss the important details? Why am I taking so slow? And I started to compare myself to everyone else as they finish one project after another. Sure, it’s really about the quality over quantity but holy shit every output they produce were so good that I cannot even look at my own work anymore. And I started to think about how we all started the same way and how much everyone else has achieved and learned. What did I learn from the past year? And I started to hate myself.

Every revision became an ordeal. Every comment, no matter how nicely delivered, gave reasons for the voices in my head to start whispering awful stuff. Everyday, I carry this weight as heavy as the machines this project was about. I lost the passion for it and the drive to help my client. I was making the revisions with the mindset of wanting to finish it. Not wanting to create a fulfilling output. As much as I hated to admit it, I stopped caring.

And that’s when I started to see a light at end of the tunnel. It was just a tiny speck but I can feel it was out there. You know how when you’ve been on a really long trip on a bus or a car and you suddenly feel that you’re almost at your destination? And there’s this excitement in the air and people start to sit up straight. And they crane their necks and they press their noses on the windows. It was as if the energy came back to the same level it was at the start of the journey.

It was on that penultimate moment that I started to pick myself up and the voices started to fade. The excitement I felt was back as if the whole revisions and frustrations never happened. I got focused on fixing it and I was even making extra effort in making it better. Of course there were still a few mishaps along the way, but it didn’t bother me anymore. because I knew where the project was going.

And I did it.

The moment my boss gave the thumbs-up for the final render, I LITERALLY dropped and rolled on the floor because the euphoric feeling was too much for me to contain. Of course, I didn’t actually do it in front of him, I still had to go back to my seat and stuff.

And that was it. It was a roller-coaster of emotions before I got here. And I am left with nothing but feeling of gratitude for the whole experience. And I’m looking forward to more projects. Even the dreadful emotions that come along with it.

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