I might have cracked the procrastination nut.
One of the things that's plagued me for years is that a heavy, intense period of doing lots of good stuff is frequently followed by a crash.
The crash partially negates the gains from having a good period. If you put in an excellent, intense four days of creative work, that's good. But if you can't look at your work and projects for half a week afterwards, you negate some of that progress as compared to just slowly, steadily putting in time.
What's worse is that, for me, the crashes tended to be full-on, nothing-valuable-happening. I don't mean not working. I mean nothing valuable. When I'd crash, I'd usually not be reading good books, spending time in nature on the beach, or whatever. It'd be more like getting into high stimulation distraction, where it sucks your time without giving you anything back. Without even recharging you, even.
So, I started looking at how crashes come on.
On Gorilla Tactics
The whippings will continue until morale improves!
Ok, not quite what I'm talking about. The question this article will address is "How to I ensure a consistent level of quality across all work on the project?" The answer is, as some of you smart readers may have figured out, is to set an example of the quality level you demand. This is similar to what I said in a previous article about telling people what a good job looks like, except in this case you are showing them.
Ok, you're on board, you're riding the gravy train with me, but how do you make it happen? Let's use asset creation on the Kung Fu Kingdom project as a case study because it is easy to understand.
Kung Fu Kingdom Animations
The Kung Fu Kingdom project has some fantastic models done by Andrew Gardner. These models are rigged by Joe McCormick and then are animated before being cel-shaded and rendered by John Corbett. The problem is, animation is a huge bottleneck for us.
Animation is one of those disciplines where it is extremely difficult to attain even basic competency in organic animation; in a humanoid animation, if even the slightest thing is wrong our subconscious will pick up on it and we will say "That looks strange" or "Something just isn't right." Because of this it is extremely difficult to find highly skilled and experienced volunteer animators. Our project has a couple of university trained animators, but none of them have much, if any, professional experience. The raw talent is there, but it has not been refined. This means the number of iterations of making changes, submitted those changes for feedback, and then making the additional requested changes will be extremely high. Each of these iterations takes time because they will not only be redoing animations they have already worked on, but the communication of this feedback itself takes time. If we can cut down on the amount of communication necessary in order to achieve a desirable result, the amount of time required to complete these animations would be reduced significantly. We do that by providing an example that the animators can measure their work by without having to communicate with other people.