Day 30: Thirty days of Dailies. What have I learned so far?

30 days ago I started my project “Dailies” in order to improve at digital art. A few days later, the focus broadened to allow creating a creative thing per day, from scratch, every day, in order to fight against perfectionism. Now, 30 days later, my intent is still to improve at art and to fight perfectionism, but also to have a way to express emotions and things that happen on a given day.

In short, I should rename the project to “Daily Freedom”, because I have the freedom to create and experiment with anything while having an actual “feeling of freedom” whilst in that creative time that I allocate every day.

I can confidently say that the Project Dailies has been a success so far because it’s helping me fight perfection and it’s helping me find my weaknesses and my strengths related to art.

Summary of the first 30 days

  • I successfully posted something new every day. I didn’t skip a single day.
  • Tools: Blender, Topaz Studio, Photoshop, ScreenToGif, Krita, Cinema 4D (1x), ProCreate (1x).
  • Dailies following a tutorial: 15
  • Dailies by myself: 15
  • Categories:
    • Art: 26
      • 3D: 25
        • Animation: 11
      • 2D: 1
    • Writing: 3
    • Video: 2
  • Average work time per daily: 1:30h.
  • Longest work time for a single daily: 8:30h.
  • Shortest work time for a single daily: 15 minutes.
  • Dailies premade due to unavailability of a computer: day 22 and 24 (I was traveling and made them a week before).
  • On most days, I got really annoyed with the final result, because I wanted to create something completely different, but I lacked the knowledge or ability to do so. But the next day, I would look back and enjoy what I created.
  • On some days I almost rage quitted and almost gave up the project entirely because I was trying to achieve perfection, focusing on the details of the piece being created.
  • Most days, I wish I could invest time to study and learn more instead of just rushing and trying to finish up a piece.
    • For example, on Day 16 I just wanted to put my reflection in a bowl and I managed to do it, but it turned out mediocre at best. Then I wanted to jump immediately to a shading course, but it was already late in the day and I still haven’t studied it.
  • For the first time ever in my life, I created a piece of art tied to emotion and to something that I wanted to express artistically, specifically the daily from Day 26.
  • Artistically, I learned a bit about composition and could put it into practice in some Dailies, technically, I finally learned something about Blender lights and cameras, and also kitbashing (as you can read below, I was already quite proficient with modeling and animation tools already). Other than that, I didn’t learn much.
  • Creatively, it’s clear that I don’t have a style, nothing is consistent, but it’s understandable due to jumping between tutorials and ideas. I also did some Motion Graphics animations and I really liked it! This is something I want to look more into.
  • To create the painterly effect on top of my 3D renders I’m using Topaz Studio. I think this may be a problem in the future because I’m not really painting or learning anything about painting, I’m just tweaking the filters from this software on top of my 3D renders. But, that’s probably not a problem, (1) my focus is on getting good at 3D and art in general, not 2D digital painting, and (2) Beeple himself uses Topaz Studio in all his Everydays, to make them look painted as well.
  • I’m more confused than ever about what should I focus on in terms of art. Concept art? Environments? Characters? Props? Realistic or non-realistic? Motion Graphics? Cute or Horror? And the list goes on.
  • Considering what I said: “I wanted to rage quit” or “got annoyed with the work because it wasn’t perfect and then on the next day I enjoyed it”, I can confidently say that the Project Dailies has been a success so far because it’s helping me fight perfection and it’s helping me find my weaknesses and my strengths (related to art, it has nothing to do with my main career as a programmer).
A render from day 29. A month ago I wouldn’t be able to create this, and I mean it!

What I want next

  • I considered pausing the project Dailies, in order to study key areas like composition and design, and also new technical things like Blender materials, shaders, geometry nodes, and compositing, as well Substance Designer.
    • But if I pause doing Dailies, I’ll be back to where I was before: studying and consuming educational content without a clear focus (check my Blender experience below) and then never producing anything on my own.
  • From now on, I should study something new every day related to art and related tools and create a daily related to what I studied.
    • That means there is a probability that the Dailies from now on will be even simpler and rushed, but as long as I learned something that day, it’s ok. The daily will be me putting into practice something that I learned.
    • On days that I REALLY want to convey an emotion or a fact of the day, it’s ok to skip studying that day. I really enjoy kitbashed compositions as I did on day 25 and day 13.
  • It’s ok if some dailies take a lot of time as it happened 3 times the first 30 days, as long as I’m learning something new and/or if I’m really enjoying the process. If the daily is taking a long time because I’m trying to make it perfect, then I should consider it done immediately.
    • As soon as I start getting stressed out, I should step back and re-consider the process or just consider it done, without further changes.

My Story with Blender

My first contact with Blender was in 2009, from a Cartoon Smart course. Basically, in the last 12 years, I had a routine of coming and going to and from Blender, studying random Blender and art tutorials without a clear focus, and then quitting for months until coming back again.

I ended up never producing anything meaningful because what I wanted was to just try to absorb as much information as I could of the tools and Blender’s technicalities.

Since 2009, I got quite proficient with Blender modeling, rigging, UV, sculpting and animations tools, Blender shortcuts, and terminology, but I rarely used that knowledge. Knowing the technical details of all of them doesn’t make me good at using them. For example, I’m currently a terrible digital sculptor, even although I understand Blender sculpting tools with my eyes closed.

Also, there are a lot of things things that I never care about learning in Blender: shaders and materials, compositing, particles, camera, and lighting. I have no idea how to use these Blender features because I mostly wanted to learn the tools that are important to making isolated models and exporting them to game engines.

Favorite Dailies from the First 30 Days