It’s been some time since I’ve done a challenge, earlier in the year I thought I’d make them into a regular thing, but I bounce from subject to subject so often that I never want to make something “official” and dedicate myself solely to it for an extended amount of time. I think we’re all biased toward thinking that the “new” thing that we’ve just found is “the” thing that we need to be doing, we prioritize and de-prioritize so much that we end up not doing any work at all, but have been incredibly busy figuring out what we should be doing. Sort of like a fly banging its head on a window over and over and over again… I’ve been in fly mode recently, trying to take on too many things at once and not spending enough time on any one thing.
So I’ve decided to go back to fundamentals. Always a good bet. Scott Robertson’s recently released How to Render book reads somewhat like a textbook, Scott is an awesome teacher, I’ve seen probably every single thing he’s put out, with the exception of his Schoolism class, which is pretty much contained in the pages of this book. He does make the material fun, his education and mastery at solving complex problems are incredibly inspiring to see in action, to realize that if you dedicate yourself, you could be doing what he shows you, but it is still a text book. I’m not saying this as a bad thing. Not at all. I’m just trying to prepare you for what is to come. It’s laborious, full of constructions, diagrams, problems to ponder and things to experiment with. Those are all awesome things… we’re just conditioned to be automatically repulsed by them… No one wants to spend days pondering a stick and how it casts a shadow when stood over a box. That’s the feeling that you get when you think about it – right? You want to be doing more important and impressive things with your time. Well, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been looking at sticks for days and frankly – I can’t really imagine what’s more fun than struggling with a problem and all of a sudden realizing the solution after multiple failures. Being able to build layers of complexity over a matter of days. These constructions are incredibly important to understand, doing them will not only help your rendering skills, it will polish your logical thinking, help you become a better problem solver and also sharpen your perspective, which at least on my part – needs so much more work over the coming year. And just as a side-note, the book comes with hours and hours of video instruction, so the material is explained over and over again, with tons of examples, pretty much ensuring that there is no way that you can’t learn this stuff, if you spend the time needed on it.
So, the challenge is – Over the next 13 days, complete all sections of the book and have an exercise to show for it. I’m not expecting to master the content in 13 days or do every single thing, that would be impossible, rather what it is is a way to give myself a track to run on, make myself accountable and also figure out how to tackle a complex problem – which would be the organization of the book, what are the major lessons, the big principles and the essential constructions. I’ll be making a separate post to update daily with what I’ve learned on that day and also give you the key problems I’ve been working on… Why 13 days? That’s how many days are left until the end of this year… Time to get started.
The finished post for the challenge, along with a huge tutorial is here: Lessons Learned from How to Render