Why do events happen, and what are their impacts?
Large and impactful events in history, positive or negative, were never inevitable. Many could have been avoided with just a simple decision, and they just wouldn’t have happened. At all. Think of it as the future; if you are feeling like eating a chocolate bar, it’s not inevitable that you will stand up and eat a chocolate bar, you can easily just resist the temptation and go eat a healthy apple instead. In the same way, many big events in history could’ve been prevented, although not as easily as reaching for an apple. If you want a real life example, the 2007 Minneapolis Bridge Collapse that killed thirteen people and injured at least one-hundred and forty-five is a great example. For the past two decades leading up to the disaster, officials at multiple government levels knew the bridge was “structurally deficient”. Did they do anything about it? Nope. This is one disaster that could have been prevented had the government taken the steps to strengthen the bridge, and it for sure wasn’t inevitable.
Another example farther back in time is the 1838 Pastry War. The war was caused because a French pastry artist in Mexico had his shop pillaged of goods, along with many other complaints from French nationalists. Due to this, France demanded a massive payment from Mexico, and when the payment wasn’t carried out France put a trade blockade on all Mexican ports, leading to a conflict that led to over 230 deaths. This war could have easily been prevented, had one thing happened differently. For example, if the shop hadn’t been looted in the first place, the entire war never would have happened. Even if the two countries had decided to have a nice conversation together and came to an agreement, the war would have been prevented. Think of it as a massive BEDMAS equation- if one of the numbers were to be switched, the outcome would be totally different. These examples and analogies prove how historical events were never inevitable, just like the future. There are thousands of possibilities that could have happened, and the one that did happen could have just as easily not happened.
So far in in-depth, a big problem I encountered for my last blog post was the fact that my mentor was busy and unable to meet, so I couldn’t talk about them for the post. Well… my mentor is still busy with work; they have a huge workload at the moment. This was definitely a problem, so I knew I had to do something about it. Before I found my mentor, I had a potential option in mind, which was my uncle. He has had experience with 3D modeling in the past, and knows how it works very well. Since Greg is busy (my original mentor that works at SONY), for the moment I am going to have my uncle as my mentor; his name is Devarshi. So far my progress is great, and I am currently learning more and more about Blender with every day that goes by, especially with Devarshi’s help and guidance.
Q: What went particularly well during your mentoring sessions?
What went well during our mentoring sessions is how we were able to open up and talk with each other without any problem, and Devarshi was able to provide me with constructive criticism. This is because we know each other well, which enables effective communication skills between us. Devarshi showed me how some of my work would look nicer, and tips on how to improve my work. This consisted of even the slightest stuff, like just a little bit of colour correction to bigger things like adding or completely removing an object from a scene.
Q: What relationship challenges did you face?
The relationship challenges that we faced was how we weren’t used to this type of environment. What I mean by this is that we aren’t used to the teacher-student environment, where he is trying to teach me something, but it definitely wasn’t that big of a problem, for sure not getting in the way of my learning. We were for sure communicating with each other effectively, and once in a while we even made a joke; this helped make everything seem a lot friendlier and comforting in general, adding to the positivity of the experience. We were very open in our communication, because we knew one another well and were used to talking with each other.
Many times we checked assumptions with each other, for example when I made sure that the H.264 default codec would work and result in a playable video, even though I assumed it would work fine. It turns out that yes, the H.264 codec was the correct one, but still better safe than sorry! Another example was while working on nodes, I checked with Devarshi to see if all the gloss node did was make the material shiny or not, rather than going with my assumption that yes, it did just go shiny. Although the answer was yes, I learned that the gloss node is mostly just used when replicating metallic material, and in other materials the gloss is mixed in with other shaders. We were actually listening to each other, because I followed all the tips I was provided with and edited my scenes according to my mentor. I also asked questions when I was given a suggestion, so I would know why I was being provided the suggestion in the first place. In other words, I checked out assumptions, just like the other question was asking.
Q: What learning challenges emerged?
So far everything has been going very smoothly, but the only challenge I have faced is how long rendering time takes for an animation. In my planet collision animation (posted below), the render time was well over an hour, and the animation was only 8 seconds long, so a short film-type animation may take the whole night. This is probably because I am working on a laptop (MacBook), but it’s not like I have a powerful PC to use, I’ll just have to make-do. Besides, the program runs really smooth! To hold myself accountable for my learning, I show my mentor my latest work and don’t withhold information, because that will just harm me. To hold himself accountable for the learning, Devarshi gives me lots of advice and doesn’t hold back what he has to say, so the learning is all the more.
As I mentioned above in the third question, here is my project of the post, and this is also my biggest project yet! Well it’s only 8 seconds but still… I’m really proud of it!
Well, that’s it for now! Happy Blending!
As I mentioned in my previous in-depth post, I am doing 3D modeling and animation for my project this year. So far, I have had lots of fun following beginner tutorials and learning how to do simple things in Blender. To be more specific, so far I have created a doughnut with neon glowing icing dripping over the edge, a simple simulation-animation of a golden ball destroying a plank building (which took 30 minutes to render despite only being 5 seconds long), and learnt how to texture a cube with an image texture!
Here are the pictures (and animation) in respective order:
The Building Collapse! Click Me!
At this point, I am happy to announce that I have successfully found a mentor for in-depth! My mentors name is Greg Berridge and he works at SONY Pictures Imageworks, here in Vancouver; he has contributed to the creation of very popular movies such as Spiderman: Homecoming and Kingsmen: The Golden Circle with visual effects! At the moment Greg is busy with work, so we haven’t met in person yet, but we plan to schedule a meeting sometime soon. Although we have not met in person yet, we have communicated via email and kept in touch. We plan to arrange a meeting soon, when Greg is not as busy. Since we haven’t had a meeting yet, I am unable to provide much information regarding how my mentor gained their current knowledge on 3D modeling and animation, what the experience was like, and the wisdom they gained.
Instead, I am going to talk about my experiences to date with Blender. First and foremost, when using Blender always keep in mind the Pareto principle (more commonly known as the 80/20 rule). What this means is that for 80% of the results, only 20% of the tools are used. This is important because you don’t need to know what every single button does, since 80% of the results just come from 20% of the tools- so just have a solid understanding on the basics and slowly broaden to the outer reaches of the software, and you will be fine! The reason I am telling you this is because when I first opened the program, I panicked when I saw the complicated user interface and all the buttons there were. After spending lots of time fiddling around and pressing everything, I still didn’t know how to insert or delete a simple cube. Or sphere. Or cylinder. Or any other shape for that matter. When I first stumbled upon this 80/20 rule, I realized how accurate and true it was based on my creations to date with Blender. You would be surprised how simple it is to create the models and animation in the picture above. When you see a complicated interface, just remain calm as 80% of the buttons will be practically useless for 80% of the creations you can make.
In the near future, I imagine that my meetings with my mentor will help me become a more effective mentor because I will be able to use the teaching techniques my mentor used on me. By incorporating them into my future teachings and tweaking as necessary, I will be able to facilitate my mentor skills and be more effective and efficient in passing these skills to the mentee. I am excited for my first meeting with my mentor, and look forward to learning from them.