I have had pleasure of teaching Unreal Engine and Substance in several seminars for now, and I have met many great people both young and old. One of the delights of doing this work professionally are the human interactions which is for me the most valuable thing. My favorite Japanese actor Ken Takakura once said “once you meet really good person, you get kind of invisible gift”. Yes, indeed, and value of meeting really good people is worth more than any amount of gold sand.

One of the questions that I get from my students often, is how can we improve the quality of our art. Literally, how to get better at what we do?

Let me tell you a bit of my personal recent history. My father died few months ago. He was the closest person I have ever lost. Even though due to his age and circumstance it did not come as a total surprise it was still a shock. The uniqueness of this fragile life, and the limit that is imposed to all of us – time.. It was like being woken up from sleep, like god splashed ice water to my face. It put me into a creative supermode. For a week or so I absolutely did my very best at everything, made sure nothing I did was half baked. Like invisible safety net had disappeared; I’ve got to manage on my own now.

My father was a farmer and he pretty much built his business from scratch. Farming is insanely hard and requires a lot of knowledge and patience. You don’t just skip work when it rains, and there is a lot of things that will go wrong. You have to pick up the pieces and start again, oh my god how many times! Flood, heavy rain and such regularly ruined the crops. Like watching tiny seeds fall from between your fingers, but yet try again next spring.

Farming doesn’t give you instant pleasure and the real results only come after certain time has passed. Much like starting a CG career. But there is nothing like the joy of harvest, after finishing a work that is not just good – it’s great.

So here is the advice, give it a real try. Whether it’s a concept art, a character, a rig or environment, make sure you do it 100%. Think of it as the only piece of your portfolio.

I don’t mean you should overwork yourself, sleep afterall is really important. And do eat vegetables and take a break and exercise too. What I mean is when you work, focus like John Wick, give it all you got like your life depends on it. We all make a lot of mistakes and bad art, but that’s fine, it will lead us to a better thing.

We only have a limited time, so why not give it all we got?  If you do this, no matter the result, I am willing to bet you won’t have regrets afterwards.