Wednesday, May 7, 2014

When the Project becomes the Mountain #IWSG #b3d

Since today is the first Wednesday of the month, it's IWSG Day. Time to post about our writing insecurities or encourage others. Normally I go the encouragement route, but for today, I thought I'd visit the scary side: an insecurity I'm currently harbouring. Eek.

It's about my Mystery Project, the one I've called my non-writing project, only it does include writing. A different kind of writing. And a bunch of other stuff that's sending me slightly insane.

So what's this Mystery Project all about? Well, I can say there are no ducks involved, or any mysterious elixirs brewed under a full moon. I'm not ready to say exactly what it is, but it does involve 3D art and animation.

As some of you know, I was a 3D animator and graphic designer in another life. My program of choice for the art was 3ds Max. It's one of the industry standards for professional work. However, it costs around six grand. That was fine when a company provided the program. Alas, I no longer have access to it. That means learning a whole new 3D program. Double eek!

I'd heard good things about Blender. It's a free 3D package which can be used for commercial work. Anyone can download it and have a play. While it lacks some of the nifty time-saving features of 3ds Max, it still does everything I need. And the images I can generate from this package have the potential to be spectacular.

So I set myself up with Blender, just one of the new programs I'm going to have to learn for my Mystery Project.

A screen shot of me fumbling around in Blender. All this for a pipe!
Insert insecurities: It's been a few years since I'd dabbled in 3D so I soon realised how rusty I'd become. Turns out the keyboard shortcuts in Blender are completely different to 3ds Max. But I still remember the Max shortcuts (three deadpan cheers for muscle memory), which means I'm moving meshes when I want to pan the scene, or doing who-knows-what when I want to change the view, among other things. I feel like a noob all over again, taking hours to create objects rather than mere minutes.

Am I taking on more than I can handle? This is a question I'm asking myself on a daily basis. I'm still excited about the project. Ultimately it will even help my writing. So that's a major plus. Over time I'll get the hang of it—already, I've started to speed up—but in the meanwhile, I need to remember to take baby steps and celebrate the little victories.

What daunting tasks have you taken on? How did you find the reserves to complete those tasks?

#IWSG #b3d

155 comments:

  1. Thats cool! I have a lot going at work lately so I have tried to keep myself out of the daunting tasks business.

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  2. Right now my ghostwriting gig is the most daunting. I took on a second one where for the first time instead of an outline I'm transforming a script into a novel and it turned out to be even harder than I thought it would be hard. Still going but I can't wait for it to be over and no more plays! But I accept that I took it on and at least I'm getting paid.

    3D Animation?! You go Lynda! No matter how daunting if you really want to do it, go for it.

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    1. Good luck with your ghostwriting. Sounds like it's a challenge.

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  3. 3D Studio Max is not cheap, but it's a powerful program. Never tried Blender.
    It will come back to you!
    Ever played around with ZBrush?

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    1. I'd work in Max if I could afford it. There are just some features that make a world of difference.

      I've never played in ZBrush, but Blender has a cute feature where you can paint directly onto the mesh for textures or modelling, just like ZBrush. I've glossed over it briefly so far, but plan to check it out some more.

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  4. Be ready for a bit of oranges and apples here - I used to do a bit of coding. A fell out of it for a few years. I might as well have never learned. It was like I never went to college to be a programmer when I sat down next to my son a few years later. He was speaking a totally different language. Literally. I was so lost. But, parts of it did come back. I'm confident I could have learned. Just like I'm sure it will come back for you, Lynda :)

    Elsie
    co-host IWSG


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    1. That's what my hubby is currently doing. He took a break from programming and has come back to it to find the languages have changed. At least the principles are more or less still there.

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  5. I'm sure you'll get the hang of it. I'm trying to get proficient in Excel and learn Powerpoint. Going to get back to it after this weekend.

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    1. I used to eat those for breakfast, having to use them for multimillion dollar proposals in a corporate environment. Fun, fun. (shudder). Now I just use Excel for tracking my submissions.

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  6. Hi, Lynda! Your "Mystery Project" sounds exciting. If that helps you with writing, I agree, that's a major plus! Hang in there!

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  7. Good for you working out a new 3D program. Eek alright! I'm sure you'll master it oh clever one. My biggest challenge is keeping up with all the projects.

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    1. hehe, thanks for your confidence.
      And yes, keeping up with multiple projects is a challenge in itself.

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  8. I'll have to ask my husband if he's ever heard about Blender. he's very proficient with 3D Studio Max though. Keep working with it. Proficiency will return.

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    1. I think I'd have less trouble if I didn't know what 3ds Max could do. I pine for the Max way of modelling or materials.

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  9. This project sounds so exciting! I don't know anything about these programs but I have no doubt you'll master them and end up with great work. Good luck!

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  10. This project sounds super exciting, Lynda. You are a smart girl, not only will you get the hang of it, you will also master it.

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  11. Is you making a 3D mini me?

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    1. lol, Blue, you naughty thing.

      Dezzy, maybe I'll model up a little Dezzy bobble-head and put him in a scene... if you are good. ;)

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    2. me is always good..... except when me is not.... which is only when me is awake..... /gigglesinnocently/

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    3. lol, you made me chuckle loud enough to make the cat look up and glare at me.

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    4. Well, at least you're chickling I mean chuckling. (Stupid flat Galaxy keyboard.) I, for one, am not amused when I'm reminded of how much I hate him for making me like him so much. Now, if he were a duck, it would be different...

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    5. what's with these ducks you keep mentioning, Blue? Lost your bathtub duck and now nostalgia is killing you? :)

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    6. I don't remember. Something Lynda said a while ago. So what you're saying is I'm not making any sense....

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    7. Blue suggested my project had something to do with ducks and though I told him no, he hasn't been able to let the ducks go. (especially since ducks are so easy to grow attached to)

      Maybe instead of a Dezzy bobblehead, I should have a white and green striped duck. Two ducks sitting side-by-side. So cute.

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    8. we once had ducks at our old farm... my late dad slaughtered them all one day and then ate them :((( I used to set piggies free too when the day of slaughter would come... which is why they kept me locked in the house after few of such occasions....

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    9. Dezzy Duck.... It's got a ring to it.

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    10. Wow, seems I'm still learning a lot about you, my Dezzy, the farm boy.

      Dezzy Duck...giggle... I like it!

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    11. 'tis true... although me is a world renowned glamour icon and trend setter, lil' Dezzy did grow up on a farm with countless cats, dogs, chicken, ducks, piggies, an occasional sheep and even a horse...... me was afraid from the last one....

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    12. That's super cool. I'd love to see a pic of Dezzy on the farm.

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    13. You've never sat on a horse, Dezz? Dezzy is entitled to his own ranch, Lynda. We need to put him on a stallion...

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    14. I can almost picture him with a broad-brimmed cowboy hat along with cowboy boots (no spurs).

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  12. Definitely celebrate those small victories! The fact that you didn't let your unfamiliarity with this new program stop you from continuing your project is huge. How many people would've shrugged their shoulders and walked away? Not you! :)

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption

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    1. Ha, I hadn't thought of it that way. Thanks so much for the encouragement.

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  13. Okay, that screen shot is officially daunting to me! Learning a new program is always daunting, but that one looks even more so than most. Good luck--I know whatever you're working on will be awesome!!

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    1. Believe me, it was daunting to me in the beginnning too.

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  14. Lynda, I am so excited for you! This post makes me feel like you're all super cool. ;P No, seriously, I don't know how to explain it but, even though you're on a learning curve, you feel totally cutting edge to me! I loved reading this post.

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    1. Never in my life have I been described as super cool. I've been called a geek, dweeb, and loser (in a fun way--yes, it's possible), but never super cool, except perhaps in the Snowy Mountains. ;) Thanks so much for the warm fuzzy :)

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  15. I'm a stubborn sob, so the daunting ones I've done, I just keep at it until they are done. I tried that program before, went right over my head haha

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    1. Initially I thought it was going to go right over my head too, but the Blender community is HUGE and really helpful. I think having worked in 3D before also helped.

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  16. I've dabbled with Blender before, but the learning curve for 3D was high enough for me to move onto other things. So many things to try, so little time. Perhaps I'll try again one day, but it will probably be after I retire. :)

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    1. Yep, it certainly takes some time and that curve is mighty steep.

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  17. I'm SO not artistically inclined. I'm a freelance writer by trade and one of my clients recently decided to go to this graphic design-heavy format for our articles. He kept criticizing the screenshots I put with my posts. He said the quality wasn't good. I told him I was using Paint. THAT should have been a red flag in itself! He made me download Gimp and I've been using that, but I finally realized the job wasn't for me and gave my 30-day notice. I have so many clients that want me to just write--the pay wasn't worth it. As to your question--when you think "bite off more than you can chew," always replace it with the words "challenging yourself." If you aren't feeling like you're biting off more than you can chew, you likely aren't challenging yourself...and therefore you'll never move to the next level.

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    1. Fantastic advice, Stephanie. I'm going to use that as a mini mantra, because I certainly want to move up a level from where I am now.

      And yes, Gimp is a big step up from Paint, especially if you aren't that way inclined.

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  18. I'm so intrigued about your mystery project. I can't wait to find out what it is! :)

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  19. It's good that you've already made some progress with the new program, and as we all know plenty of practice goes a long way. Keep persevering and you'll see the benefits soon enough I'm sure.

    I haven't taken on a new project lately, I'm waiting to have a baby and move house first. Once those things have settled down I have a novel I'd like to get started on. My first big project so I'm a bit daunted!

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    1. Wow, you have some big things coming up. Best wishes for the baby, the house move, and the novel.

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  20. I'm sure you will get the hang of it again. It's exciting to be involved in other creative projects beside writing, it helps keep our little brains ticking over. Look forward to hearing more about your project!

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    1. yep, we need to keep our brains firing, and this project is definitely doing that.

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  21. I think my middle name has to do with daunting. I know nothing about 3D animation, so I'll leave that you. Enjoy.

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    1. lol, I think our middle names are the same!! We have the strangest middle names! ;)

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  22. I've always been fascinated by 3D graphics but never really had the patience to learn it. I'm sure you'll get used to it pretty soon and produce great stuff in no time. Good luck!

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  23. Oh! Your project sounds so exciting! I love dabbling in image-making and little gifs. (Not the same, I know.) I'm wishing you giant gobs of good luck, and I can't wait to hear more about it! :)

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    1. They may not be exactly the same, but they do all come from the same creative need to express.

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  24. What a cool project! I think it's great you're taking on the challenge to learn something new. Sure, you'll probably mess up once in a while and get frustrated, but that's how you'll grow.

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    1. hehe, yep, I've got messing up licked. ;)

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  25. My current daunting task is cleaning up and cleaning out after being in my edit cave for so long. I'm making progress, but I still have too many items on my to-do list.

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    1. One step at a time. That's all any of us can do.

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  26. I'm currently having to learn Illustrator and a new programming language for my job, so I feel your pain!! But the output from Blender will be so visually rewarding - it should give you encouragement along the way hopefully...

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    1. Illustrator is frustrating in the learning phase, but I ended up falling in love with it. I haven't used illustrator for a while now, though.

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  27. I bet it will only be a short while before you've got this new program under your belt. It's like everything. All it takes is practice. Good luck.

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    1. practice, practice, practice.
      Thanks for the luck! I need it!

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  28. Impressive, Lynda. I know nothing of 3D either. Except I can't watch because I get a violent headache. The programmer I used to do books for said I'm not alone. Lots of folks do. It's from listening to loud rock music from the 70s. Haha. No, he really said that! Good luck, eh. You'll master it ; I know you will!

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    1. I have a theory. People who get headaches watching 3D are people who get travel sick. That, or the frame rate of whatever you're watching is slightly out. Not sure about listening to loud 70s rock music though...lol.

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  29. How exciting! Scary, but exciting nonetheless! Glad you're learning the new program. As daunting as it is, I'm sure you'll be show Blender who is boss soon enough. You got this! :D

    S.K.Anthony: IWSG

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    1. Let's hope so!! I'm looking forward to bossing Blender around.

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  30. Oh my goodness, that's awesome! I know what you mean. As a composer, I face the same issues with software. I've got 4 different composition programs, and they're all out of date. If I ever get SUPER serious about composition again, I'm going to have to get up to speed with the latest and greatest, and probably learn an entirely new system. Goes with the territory. I'm wishing you incredible learning dexterity. You can do this!

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    1. Thanks so much, Crystal. A composer, you say? Hmmm, I may be in need of a composer later down the track... or maybe I'll give myself yet another challenge and delve into the world of music. Eek! Best not to think about that just yet.

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    2. LOL. If you'd like some help/thoughts/to discuss your direction once you get there, I'm more than happy to give you pointers/assistance.

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  31. What... still no ducks involved? Does that mean eventually you will throw a duck in the mix or should I let go of that dream? 6,000 bucks... EEK! plus one.

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    1. I'll tell you what... I'll model up a blue duck and put it in a scene just for you. Then you'll know. You know?

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    2. I'll put it next to the Dezzy bobble-head

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    3. You know I'd feel so honored :) A blue duck... Game on!

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    4. will the duck lay an egg?

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    5. I've already modelled the duck and placed it in one of the scenes.

      There will be no laying of eggs, I'm afraid.

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    6. So now I really need to know what the secret project is about.

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    7. Well, it's not about ducks, but there will be two ducks in it ;)

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    8. Two ducks... Dezzy, do you reckon we need to be worried?

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  32. Celebrate the small victories, that's the way to keep going. Learning a new program is hard and frustrating. Good luck with the transition. It sounds like the new project will be worth the effort, despite the lack of ducks. :)

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    1. My engineer husband likes a CAD program that's 10K. Not going to happen.

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    2. Yeah, some of the prices of these programs are crazy.

      I opened a bottle of champagne because I learned how to create a particular light. Sigh...

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  33. You definitely are in a different Universe from me! My computer and I have a tempestuous relationship. My daunting task is downsizing, now that I'm retired. I'm not planning on moving ~ just lightening the load! Good luck with your Mystery Project!

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    1. Downsizing can be exhilarating and wonderfully freeing. I need to do some more of that.

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  34. Best of luck with the project. I decided to check out Blender after reading your post. I think I will try it. Great information.

    Juneta at Writer's Gambit

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    1. Oh fantastic!! Please let me know how you go with it.

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  35. On the plus side, learning new things is good for the brain. :D

    And how cool that you know how to do 3D animation! Never knew that.

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    1. Yeah, I've been somewhat quiet about who the real me is. I hope to come out of my shell and change that.

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  36. So cool! I can't imagine how hard that is! Good for you for pushing yourself, Lynda. :)

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  37. Learning curves are tough, but if you keep at it...

    You saw what kind of tasks I've been tackling.
    Lists. My answer is lots and lots of lists. xD

    IWSG #224 until Alex culls the list again.

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  38. Hello Lynda! Congratulations on taking the bull by the horns and getting things done! Lately, I have taken on the challenging and sometimes daunting task of managing what started out as one blog, and has now become 2 blogs. Who knew that the call to produce consistently interesting and intriguing content, would be so hard. Please understand, I am loving it and I am very serious about it. So I am treating it as such which means constant contemplation concerning what I will be posting on each blog. I must say that I had really become quite lax in writing on a regular basis, but this blogging phenomenon has completely changed that. For that, I am thrilled! Continued success to you!

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    1. Maintaining two blogs is a challenge! Good luck to you.

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  39. The problem with a learning curve isn't the learning, that part's fun. It's that pesky time factor you mention. I'm using web software that was discontinued by Apple several years ago because I don't want to take the time to learn a new program. *hangs head in shame*

    Best of luck with your mystery project. Sounds fascinating!

    VR Barkowski

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    1. lol, don't worry. I've done exactly the same thing. My husband is an IT professional but I won't let him touch my computer even though a lot of programs I use are less than new. Why change something when it still works?

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  40. Yes, this mystery project seems very interesting!

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  41. What on earth is this mystery project, Lynda?
    I'm totally lost...
    When I looked at that illustration, and saw the pipe, I thought you were involved in drawing up plans for plumbing services?

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    1. hehe, nope, no plumbing services.
      I'm teasing everyone with the Mystery Project. I'm not yet ready to say exactly what it is, but soon all will be revealed. I will say it's an artistic endeavour, though.

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  42. Oh, man... I think ANY project where you have to become expert in something new explodes on us and becomes MUCH more huge than we ever anticipated... but maybe look at it this way--you are going to have a whole new groovy skill to work with! And once you know the program, you know it... next time will be MUCH easier.

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    1. Absolutely right, Hart!
      With this Mystery Project, I'll be picking up quite a few new skills. Eek!

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  43. Any large projects I've successfully completed were broken down into manageable parts. I put them in order of what needed to be done first, second, etc and started at the top. I did each segment until it was done to my high standard and moved on to step two not looking back.

    The trick with huge projects is they can overwhelm. Breaking it into smaller pieces (which can also be broken into smaller pieces) is a way to focus and prioritize.

    Hope this helped :-)

    Look at me doing the IWSG :-)

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

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    1. You are so right, Anna. Breaking it down into manageable pieces definitely makes any project doable.

      And welcome to the IWSG!!!

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  44. Hi, Lynda,
    I think we all experience doubts when we take on something new or step out in a different direction. It gets easier once we hit our stride.

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    1. Yep, it's slowly getting easier. There's still a mountain of work that needs to get done though and that's almost as daunting as learning how to do all that work. ;)

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  45. I heard of Blender once but I know nothing of 3D. I'm still working on figuring out the basics of a program similar to photoshop. Feel like a dinosaur sometimes. Well dragons have something in common with them. Anyway, good luck with your project! I feel mine is so above me, but I still keep trying. Pride drives me.

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    1. Pride is a good driver, especially for dragons :)

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  46. That looks fun and fascinating. Lots of work just for a pipe, huh? Best of luck and talent to ya. :)

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    1. I ended up with a gazillion pipes. I'm kinda sick of pipes now ;)

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  47. That looks like fun. I know it's a lot of hard work though, because I've dabbled in animation and photo software. Good luck with your project.

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  48. That's a daunting task indeed! All the best to you :)

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  49. Hi Lynda - good luck learning Blender - sounds amazing .. clever lady! Cheers Hilary

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    1. Not feeling so clever, but thanks heaps, Hilary

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  50. We never stop learning or re-learning in your case. Kudos to you for being so brave and jumping in! Learning to use Blogger was a new experience for me way back when. And going back farther? How about when I was 16 and had to pass my first semi truck on a 2 lane road? Oh, you probably want writing related stories here, but I compare all my attempts at something new with passing that semi truck. It gave me the confidence to keep driving forward! Best wishes.

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    1. That's a great example. I think everyone who drives remembers the first time they passed a semi (mine was on a bend too! In the rain! eek!)

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  51. I used 3dS too and loved it but it was also provided by the company so I no longer use it. I have heard of Blender and actually downloaded it but have yet to try it.

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    1. Oh and yeah on a new, exciting project. It will be awesome, I'm sure.

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    2. Oh you should give Blender a go. I'm learning to truly love it.

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  52. Ah, that's cool! I've heard of that program and thought about playing around with it, but I don't have aaany 3D background so I steered clear for now. Sounds like a fun new project for you!

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    1. Yep, there is a huge and steep learning curve, but it's worth it.

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  53. Sounds fascinating, all the best!

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  54. Sounds like fun and a worthy challenge! I've often wondered whether I should take up animation myself, because sending the script of my show to third parties to do the animation results in slower progress than I would like, and no one, of course, can be as personally invested in my show as I am.

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    1. It's slow work, but if you can master it, then wow that would be an amazing achievement and great for your scripts.

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  55. Best of luck with blender! :) I can't even fathom six grand for a program. That's faint-worthy!

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    1. Just shows how great the program is... I guess it also shows how truly awesome Blender is since it's free but it's so very powerful.

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  56. Sounds like a pretty huge learning curve even though you know all the basics. I'm thinking it might pay off with a heap of awesome cover art at some point in the future.

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    1. If I wanted to go down the self-publishing route, that would be great, but I'm not in a hurry to work on any cover art. I don't think I could ever make it good enough ;)

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    2. Fair enough. I was actually thinking of a potential side income, but self-publishing would work too if you chose that path.

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    3. If I were to do a side income, I'd go editing before cover art. There's a deep satisfaction that comes from editing other people's work. I don't get that same satisfaction from doing art for other people.

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  57. Like you said Lynda, baby steps and then you'll be running. Good Luck!

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    1. Definitely not running at the moment. It's more like a staggering hop-step-stumble ;)

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  58. All the best with the new project and the Blender!

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  59. Learning new keyboard shortcuts for anything is a headache. I don't even like switching between my computers at work and school for that very reason.

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    1. I did an intense session yesterday and I actually think I'm getting the hang of it! Gasp!

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  60. All I can say is that all my tasks seem daunting as of late, but I've simply had to either let some things go or planned to attend to them later. I didn't make these choices easily, but in order keep my sanity and health in the safe zone, measures had to be taken.
    I admire what you are doing. I used to code and had tried to pick it back up a few years ago. It wasn't the time. Maybe one day.
    I wish you all the best and can't wait to see what you accomplish.

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    1. Yes, sometimes measures do need to be taken for the sake of sanity. I hope things have calmed down for you.

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  61. I try to take things little bits at a time. Everything feels easier if I work according to manageable chunks.

    Best of luck!

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  62. Firstly, you had me at 3D art and animation. Sounds awesome! And I did not know you were an animator in a former life. Double awesome!

    Hmm....To handle a daunting project, I guess the first thing I do is make sure it's THAT important to me. That serves as my fuel. Then I keep mementos - past successes, little successes, whatev - near me to remind me of that importance. I also break everything into chunks. Makes it easier to feel like I'm actually accomplishing something. Best of luck!

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    1. Yep, I worked in animation for about seven years and graphic design for longer.

      Sounds like you've dealt with daunting before and came out smiling.

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  63. Your pipe beats everything I've ever made in blender. You're very talented. I'll be glad to follow you and the mystery's progress.

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    1. You are very kind for saying so. I'm not sure it's talent, but bull-headedness ;)
      Thanks for the follow

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I'd love to hear your opinion. Thanks for leaving a comment.