Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Big Switch - I

Have you met people who seem to thrive on change?!? You know the type that quotes stuff like, “The only thing constant in life is Change,” and all that at you. People who seem to switch jobs and career paths; even lifestyles as easily as changing a pair of shoes. Well, I’m not one of those people. When I pick something, I’m pretty much signing on for life. I’m not saying I’m rigid, I mean I shuffle what I have for breakfast now and again, but I kind of like being in my comfort zone.

So the story that follows didn’t start out as a happy one. I’d been a 3D artist for a bit now, mainly working in Maya (3D software), sometimes in 3DS Max (also a 3D software) dabbling in Zbrush (a different type of 3D software) now and again. But Maya was where my heart was. Sure we had our tiffs, Maya can be quite stubborn sometimes but mainly we got along. Work was good and as an unsuspecting soul, I was on my merry way to understanding all I could about said software.

I want to say we had a long and prosperous life and Maya and I sailed into the sunset happily every after. Unfortunately, life is hardly ever a Disney movie and the storm clouds (as I saw them then) were gathering.

One day I came to work and there was this buzz going around about this new software (when I saw new, I mean new to me).  Blender they called it. I scoffed it off and got to work. But a few days in, I realized this buzz was pretty persistent.  There were talks about us changing our software pipeline from Maya to Blender. What started out as denial for me slowly led into panic and finally into fully blown out hysteria. I couldn’t believe that we were going to have to leave Maya and switch to something else. I mean come on I spent so much time mastering one thing and you’re telling me I had to walk away from all that and pick up the reins of a new software? 
Management said its still CG, the work you do is still basically the same. But as an artist I felt like I was betraying Maya. Also, I could do things in Maya with my eyes closed, I knew all the hotkeys, almost had reflex actions when it came to doing several functions. Imagine unlearning all that. I felt like a superhero being asked to put down my cape and be human again. I know, I know, I can be very melodramatic. But it was nothing short of trauma at that time.

Now since we’ve already established that this is not a Disney movie you know that instant happiness was not on the horizon. I didn’t make the switch smoothly. But the important thing is… I did make it.

(I have a word limit so I’m going to pull the plug here.. but come back next week to find out the whole deal on the BIG SWITCH.. My journey from Maya to Blender).