Something that I often like doing is going back to my old work and remaking it with new skills that I may have picked up since the time of its original creation.
Like this, in fact.
I haven’t really done that in a while – but plan to soon. Instead, since it’s the start of a new year – I’ve decided to take a look back at my progress in a certain medium. I’m looking at my progress in 3D.
Before I start, I want it clear: I am by no means a professional 3D modeler. This is not a career choice for me – instead, I like to make abstract works in 3D sometimes, like Swept Away and a few other abstracts that I’ve done over the years.
When I started almost 18 years ago, though – I definitely tried to do some modeling. Some very, very basic modeling.
My first ever 3D modeling attempt. A very simple pen made following a tutorial that likely doesn’t exist anymore.
It’s been 17-18 years, after all.
This was done in Cinema 4D Release 10. There were no nodes – even “Reflectance” didn’t exist yet.
I knew nothing about lighting or texturing at this time. Just look at the wood for the “table” – it’s super blurry.
I also knew nothing about positioning a model. The pen seems to be floating on one end.
It’s not bad for someone’s first attempt, but it could certainly be better.
So. About 7 years pass. I stick with C4D, but lean more into creating abstract pieces and “effect” C4D pieces – abstract renders that are used to create effects for things like forum signatures. Like what you would find here.
It was around this span of time that I would start to lean more into fractal art as well, and moving away, slowly, from forum signatures.
Never leaving 3D behind fully, though. I enjoyed messing around with it too much – even if my computer at the time hated it.
2013 rolls around – I’ve learned a lot over the last 6-7 years. I decide to do what I’ve done a few times before – revisit an old project and apply those new skills to it.
At this point, I’ve been using Cinema 4D for about 6, maybe even 7 years. This was made in July of that year, so it would have been R14.
Still no nodes. Still no Reflectance.
The improvements here, aside from overall renderer improvements in the software, are mostly from my own skill increasing.
My lighting was better. My texture work improved. Even the positioning of the model.
All very small things that make a very big difference.
Another 8 years pass now. I’ve all but stopped making forum signatures and dedicated myself to abstract work entirely.
I might do a diorama model or something here and there, but most of my work isn’t based in reality.
This is also around the time when I start feeling burnout. My computer just can’t keep up with the demands of rendering fractals and 3D is just difficult to do. Nothing works very well.
I pretty much just start to focus on ReviewHaven a bit more – recording commentary-free longplays to the best of my limited abilities. I even try commentary-free streaming for a bit – but the computer problems extend to that too.
It’s not fun. There are many times when I’m honestly on the verge of just quitting.
Eventually, though – in 2019 – I’m able to upgrade my PC. It’s not the most top of the line thing – but it’s far better than anything I’ve ever had. 32 GB of RAM, an 8GB RX 570 and an 8-core Ryzen 7 3700x.
It’s handling just about anything I throw at it without much fuss (Much is a keyword, there. I’m not sure why, but the GPU crashes a little more than I like – but replacing it with something else is almost impossible now).
At this point, I start getting back into my art more. I was still creating beforehand – but nothing at any large scale, except for the AMP Series. I post more work to my shops and decide to start focusing on one store at a time – something I feel was one of the biggest contributors to the burnout I was feeling.
The last 3D piece I made in 2021.
I’ve since taken up Blender – and this was made in 2.93 (I can use 3.0, but my GPU isn’t supported at the moment and I like using GPU rendering.)
I’ve fallen in love with Blender, honestly – it’s so much simpler to use and the Cycles engine just looks so much better than anything that comes out of the Physical renderer in C4D, with much less effort.
It’s also much faster while supporting GPU rendering.
You’ll also notice that this isn’t a remake of the pen. Like I said – my focus has pretty much exclusively turned to abstract work.
Instead, this is an abstract piece made following a Ducky3D tutorial to work on learning Blender.
I might revisit the pen once I’m better acclimated to Blenders modeling tools, though.
Part of the reason I enjoy doing stuff like this is because it gives a real look at just how far you’ve come. Sometimes it can feel like your skill is stagnating. You see your own work all of the time, y’know?
It becomes easy for your brain to flat out ignore any progress that may have happened. Always remember to take a moment every once in a while to look back at your earliest stuff, or revisit an old personal project after a few years.
You might shock yourself with how far you’ve come in that time.