Happy New Year / by Jeremy Ernst

No development updates, as I've been on vacation, but I wanted to write a post regardless. I'll warn you though, it's a bit long, and a bit of a ramble.

A couple of years ago, I got to this point in my career where I realized I knew very little when it comes to this field of rigging/tech art/tools development. I would see videos online of crazy rigs and crazy tools, and it was easy to just feel like I wasn't very good. And when I'd go to learn new things, I would realize just how much more there was to learn. I've seen the phrase: "the more I know, the less I understand", and I feel like that rings very true.


I mean, sure, I know enough to be competent at my job, but when you look at the depth of knowledge in this career path, and all the things you could potentially learn, it's overwhelming. Rigging, deformation, anatomy, python, C++, API, math. It's like trying to climb a mountain that keeps growing as you climb it.

I don't know how I come off online, but I'm actually pretty insecure about my work. Me releasing tools to the public was not an act of confidence. I imagine there are incredibly talented people out there that have probably looked at the tools and thought that the code was sloppy, or it was amateur, or any number of things. And they're probably right. Each time I write something, it's a learning experience. The next thing I write is better, and then I want to go back and rewrite all the previous things, but that is a slippery slope that leads to nothing new getting done. 

Whenever I post something online, it isn't because I think it's the best thing ever, it's because I'm proud of it (at the time) and it's the best thing I've ever done. There was once a time I was proud of ARTv1! Ha! At the time though, it was an achievement for me. Now, it's embarrassing. All I can see is the lack of any coding standard, the sloppiness of the code, how disorganized it is, etc. But I wouldn't have learned anything if I hadn't tried to do it in the first place, and I think that's the important thing.

As I get older, the question of how to use my time becomes more important. I want to be the best at what I do, but that is an unreasonable goal. It's also hard to quantify and measure. Do I spend my free time constantly learning more and more, building and maintaining relationships, or working towards other goals? (or getting through Stormblood content in FFXIV)

I think it's good to know there is always more to learn, and that you will never be the best at all the things, and that's okay. There's a reason why MMORPG parties usually consist of a tank, healer, and some DPS. It creates a well-rounded, balanced team, as no one class is the best at all of those things. (can you tell I want to get back to playing some FFXIV?)


Unfortunately, real life isn't as clear and the lines in tech art aren't so nicely drawn. Most companies throw all sorts of types under the tech art umbrella, which can make it confusing on where to focus. 

I'm not very good at writing, and I don't have some tidy ending to this. So I'll end this by saying, don't bother comparing yourself to others. Congratulate their successes and use their work as inspiration or motivation. It's easier said than done, for certain. (This is more a note to myself than anything.) 

Oh, and Happy New Year :)