Self Promotion _(:3 」∠)_

Nowadays, having a social media presence is almost a requirement in order to get noticed and get a job. It makes sense; if you don't put your art out there, how will people know what you can do? In order to earn a living doing art, it's essential to market yourself.

How I Got Started

During my second and third year of University, I didn’t focus on concept art at all. My course didn’t demand it; I’d spend most of my time modelling in Maya or working in Unreal; drawing wasn’t part of the process. Entering my senior year, I made the switch to modelling characters - and simultaneously made the realisation that I simply wasn’t happy with my ability as an artist.

If I couldn’t draw characters, how would I be expected to model them in 3D?

I made the decision to change that. Not only would I become a better artist, I would also show to people that I had the patience and motivation required to do so. I set myself the task to create a drawing every single day before midnight, with the intent to develop the skills I’d left behind; digital painting, character design, and composition.

I began posting these to my Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook accounts each day. I hadn’t really used any social media up to this point, but I thought “if i’m going to be making art everyday I may as well put it in front of anyone that will look at it”. They were not pretty at first; very rough and ambitious. But as I continued I began finding my own style, and started to integrate my 3D into it as well.

If you're very curious, you can see all my daily doodles here: http://salmika.tumblr.com/archive

There’s way too much to cover if I go into the details; so I’ll go into my daily doodle project a bit more in depth in another post. Basically, this was the beginning of me marketing myself! There are a few big takeaways that I learned over that period that I'll go into now:

THREE BIG THINGS

1. Posting Consistently

The internet’s attention span is very short. People see something for an instant as they scroll past on their social feed, and then it's gone. That’s how long you have to capture their attention.

Posting consistently is probably one of the easiest ways to start getting attention from people and say “I'M HERE! LOOK AT WHAT I DO!”. This doesn't exclusively mean posting art content; people want to get to know the person behind that, too, so don’t be afraid to show your personality.

Setting myself a goal of one drawing a day ultimately forced me into posting something every day - even if it wasn’t what I deemed “finished”, I found that people were just as interested in the work in progress as they were the final piece.

In my experience, daily doodles made me both post consistently and made me just generally spend more time on social media. It's easier to see the trends of things that are popular right now, and be engaged in what is happening with others in the art sphere. I got to see what other people were posting and how often, which helped influence what I could be doing on my own account.

Sample from my daily doodles in September 2015

Sample from my daily doodles in September 2015

2. Engaging with Others

As I started posting on Twitter and all the other channels, I started to follow a lot of other artists. I got very familiar with their names, art styles, where they worked and what they were doing. A lot of them already worked in the entertainment industry; a place where I ultimately saw myself, and so I looked up to many of them.

Contrary to popular belief, they aren't a part of some exclusive club you can't get into, in fact; it's the opposite. I started commenting on artists’ work I liked, and asking them questions. I was almost always met with kind responses and answers. That said, don’t be discouraged if you don’t receive a reply, though; it’s important to realise that they are just people too, busy with their own lives!

I’ve noticed that most of the opportunities I’ve been given so far have been from getting to know the people in the industry, and having conversations with them. For almost all of my freelance jobs that I got after University, it was from someone I had already spoken to online. Having good art certainly helps having people recommend you, but you'd be surprised how many people prefer having someone they feel they can work with easily over someone talented, but difficult to chat with.

Literally some of my comments of encouragement from today as I'm writing this, just be friendly to others!!

Literally some of my comments of encouragement from today as I'm writing this, just be friendly to others!!

3. Know your Audience

To help understand what kind of content to produce, you need to ask yourself the question; Who are you trying to get to look at your work? This can be a big question to ask, but it is important to figure out what kind of content you want to make and who you think it is for. In order for your posting consistently to really get going, you have to think about who your target market is.

After I asked myself that question, I realised that the people I wanted to see my work were people within the indie dev and video game scene, and that I wanted to be known by them as a stylised 3D character artist. This helped me curate my work to the types of jobs I wanted to be getting, while still occasionally keeping in the self indulgent doodles.

If you go to Twitter's Analytics you can check out the Audience tab to get a feel at who is seeing your stuff!

If you go to Twitter's Analytics you can check out the Audience tab to get a feel at who is seeing your stuff!

In Conclusion

I understand that marketing yourself can feel like a burden, but the earlier you jump on the train the easier it is to keep up.

However you choose to market yourself, remember that your social media should reflect you as both an artist and as a person. Over a lot of time, hard work, luck, and persistence, I managed to get my first full time industry job at Ustwo Games just after graduating University. I didn’t know anyone at the company before hand, but several of them had seen my work on Twitter before. Of course, I can’t guarantee that doing these things will get you a job, but it’s about focusing on the things you can fix rather than the outside forces you can’t.

There’s no perfect way of doing things; but I really believe that if you post consistently, engage with other people, and are conscious of the work you’re putting out, you’ll have a much better chance at getting your work seen by others.


I wish you good luck in your social media endeavours! ヾ( ̄ー ̄(≧ω≦*)ゝ

Maya: Getting Started (๑˃ᴗ˂)ﻭ

***Please take all of this with a grain of salt as I am writing this up as a solo project on the side to then go into further detail with my process.***

OVERVIEW

Basics:

UI & Hotkeys

  • Hold Alt & Left Click to tumble camera

  • Tool shelf on left hand side shows different options

  • Select tool is Q but you can also use move tool

  • Move Tool or W

  •  Rotate Tool or E

  • Scale Tool or R

  • Double Clicking any of these allows you see the options such as snap settings, axis orientation and soft selection.

Getting Started

Different shelf set ups/panel layouts

  • Normal all one screen

  • 4 view panels to view all sides/top down

  • Outliner (very important!!!)

Grid size! Display - grid options

  • Set at 1000, 100, 1 For scale each box is approximately 1 meter per grid line

  • important to set scale before you begin

Heads up display - poly count

  • Important to keep track of what you’re doing & makes it easier to check for multiple verts in one place

Different tabs & options

  • Upper left has options for Maya’s different modes

- MODELING

- RIGGING

- ANIMATION

- FX

- RENDERING

These tabs change the top UI tabs to be tailored per subject.

MORE TABS

  • The options for the actual categories are also available in the tabs/types you can see near the top

HOT TIP: Maya is mostly 3 different ways to show you all the same things.

  • The tabs at the top show the tools you can use

  • The tabs close to the top show you the same tools in UI

  • Hot keys (shift  & right click or control & right click)


The most important tools are under MESH, MESH TOOLS & MESH DISPLAY

On the right side there are two very important tabs that give you info on whatever you are selecting. It also gives you options to edit.

  • CHANNEL BOX
  • ATTRIBUTE EDITOR

THE CHANNEL BOX

  • This shows you information on the selected mesh such as transforms & rotation as well as the history of the mesh

THE ATTRIBUTE EDITOR

  • I mostly use this to figure out what material is on the selected mesh

 

MODELING

So you want to make 3D things

( ˙꒳˙ )

  • There are a few different ways to get started

  • Make sure you are in the POLYGON tab in the upper left

  • There are several different primitives in the UI menu shelf

- You can use these to create a 3D primitive of your choice

  • Whenever you create a mesh, it appears in the outliner
  • Be sure to name your meshes as you go!

  • In the channel box you can do some base edits to your mesh such as changing the subdivisions, transforms, or radius.

  • Use QWER to then edit your mesh in different ways

 

EDIT MODES

  • When selecting a mesh, there are several different modes you can edit your mesh in

  • Hold Right click and drag to select an edit mode

  • The main modes you’ll be using are Edge, Object Mode, Face and Vertex.

These modes are exactly what they sound like

  • Edge mode allows you to select & edit edges

  • Face mode allows you to do the same to specific faces

  • Vertex mode allows you to edit vertices

  • Object mode allows you to go back to normal selecting an object/multiple objects.

- If you Left Click & Drag you can select multiple meshes, though if you want to multi - select in edit mode you’ll need to turn on SELECT BY COMPONENT or combine your mesh:

(F8) Modeling Toolkit  

- When you create a mesh, the mesh “remembers” what you’ve done to it/ what tools you’ve used. You can see this history inside the channel box as you’re working.

 

Healthy tips for modelling:

  • As you’re editing a mesh it will also track the translate, rotation and scale as you go.

  • In order to “reset” or clear this information you must do a few steps:

DELETE HISTORY

  • Edit

  • Delete by Type

  • Delete History or Command + Shift + D

- Doing this will "reset" the mesh

 

FREEZE TRANSFORMS

  • Modify

  • Freeze transforms

- Doing this will reset the translation, rotation & scale of the mesh.

 

DO THESE OFTEN!

You want to make sure the history doesn’t mess with any of the tools you’re trying to use on the mesh.

 

PIVOTS

When you select a mesh, the pivot automatically places itself at the centre of your mesh when you create it.

  • It can change as you build out your mesh

  • In order to change/ specify where your pivot is select an object in object mode and hold D

  • Holding D enables “edit pivot” mode, the move controller should change to show rotation as well.

  • If you want to snap the pivot to a verticy, hold down D & V (for vertex) and middle mouse over where you want the pivot.

 

SNAPPING

  • There are a few different options to snap meshes including:

  • Snap to grid (X)

  • Snap to curve (C)

  • Snap to Vertex (V)

- Holding one of these buttons down allows you to snap a selected mesh to one of these options

- You can always reset your pivot by double clicking the rotations tool/tool options and hitting reset pivot.

- You can also type in the rotation values and toggle on/off edit pivot mode here.


SOFT SELECTION

  • Soft selection is a selection option in which Maya will attempt to select multiple vertices/faces to varying degrees that you can specify.
  • You can tick on soft selection mode in the tool options, or by hitting B
  • You can edit the fall-off radius of your soft select in tool settings, or by holding middle mouse & B and moving your mouse left/right

 

MODELLING TOOLS

  • When modelling I mostly use the Polygons UI tool shelf which keeps all the primitives & most used tools/UV tools in one place
  • You can add tools you want to the shelf with Shift + Control Click from the top menu

  • You can also set up hot keys or shift/right click & drag to see a mini menu


 

I’d like to go over several of my most used tools:

INSERT EDGE LOOP

  • This allows you to add an entire loop around your selected object
  • In the tool settings you can set up:

- Equal distance from edge

- Relative distance from edge

- Multiple edge loops (can add how many)


APPEND TO POLYGON

  • When you delete a face on your mesh and need to re-append (close the gap) you can use this tool to draw a face in

MULTI - CUT

This allows you to cut in your own edge loops by hand

- Make sure you don't have 5 sided faces, triangles are ok!

EXTRUDE

  • One of THE most powerful tools, this tool allows you to take one face, multiple faces or even an entire mesh and “grow” it

- You can use this tool to make A LOT