Bang for the Buck


As Digital artists we have a plethora of amazing tools at our disposal.  One of the biggest perks of using this “digital medium” is that the possibilities are endless.  I have not told one client that something is impossible.  However, that is usually followed by, “….so what is the budget?”

It is up to us as the creators to think outside the box to come up with excellent solutions that match budgets.  Throughout years of experience I have learned that there is a time and a place for creating perfect systems that maximize the number-crunching ability of a computer.  However systems, simulations, heavy geometry can be delicate, finicky, and often soak up hours fast.  I see many artists get caught up in creating a perfect system, a flawless 3D model, or an intricate simulation for something that is briefly on screen and out of focus.

I have learned that early in the concept phase, if you are able to identify certain visual assets that may as well be created in a 2D application such as After Effects or Photoshop without loss in quality, do it.  It’s a no brainer.  For instance, Element 3D, a plug-in created by the team over at Video Copilot turns out to be a great tool to handle anything 3D and simple that is again, in the background or out of focus.  This will free up some of your own time and assets to devote to the “hero”.  What I mean by the hero, is the main visual, what the viewer’s eye is drawn to.  This is where one should spend the bulk of their “budget” when creating.

The value in this is that you are able to provide you’re client with much more for their budget.  For example, rather than allocating a large percentage of the budget towards doing fluid simulations for bubbles obscured by glass off in the corner of a scene, find a way to composite that asset in.  Do this for as many of those assets as possible, so that you are able to focus on the alien tentacles growing in the foreground.

The value here is that you are able to provide your client with more for their money, exceed expectations, and continue to push the envelope on what is possible.