Saturday, April 9, 2011

On Failure

Today, my training session was for Maximum Effort (i.e., 1-rep max) bench press. I felt good going into it, but I failed on my last attempt. What's worse is the weight of the last attempt wasn't even my PR (personal record/best)- I've done better and I know I CAN do better. It was just one of those days where it didn't happen.

The same thing happens for me with my animation. I'll plan a move, think it's going to work great, and then when I start working on it, I just can't get any traction with it. Sometimes, I'll get a move done, get it in game, and realize that it just doesn't work for the art direction we have. Other times, I think I've nailed it, and I'll get feedback that it just doesn't work and needs to change.

All of these things are "failures," just like my last attempt was today. Failing sucks, big time, but that doesn't mean it's a bad thing- in fact, it's just the opposite. Without failing, you can't learn why something doesn't work. Without breaking down and learning why something doesn't work, and identifying what needs to change, you are bound to repeat the same mistakes over and over.

It's important to not get discouraged by failure. When you can't quite figure out how to animate something, approach it a different way. Use mirrors, video capture yourself doing the move, animate it backwards, walk away from it for a bit or just talk to someone about it- I've found that verbalizing a problem usually makes my brain kick in and find a possible solution.

In the case of my bench press, I have video capture of the attempt that I can break down. I can identify what I did wrong, and I will correct it the next time I train my bench press. The same goes for my animation- as long as I can break down the motion and determine why it doesn't work - from a planning, execution or design aspect- I can start again and be successful on my next attempt.

Failing sucks, but there's no better feeling then coming back and kicking its ass.

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