Visualization: Loving the Journey – A Path to Mastery

Paul TiceMultimedia, Rendering, Animation

To My Dearest Collective Human Consciousness:

At the writing of this, for the past several weeks, we’ve been working a ton of hours – There were tough deadlines and several unexpected glitches with conversion software. I’ve come to accept this phenomenon as part of the visualization trade. Whether it is waiting for a rendering only to discover the lighting was wrong (or just wrong enough to go back and start over) or simply keeping up with certain portions of the workflow during a time of year when folks are on vacation enjoying a much-deserved break. (My day is coming.)

So, for me, this process…this career has been a give and take. But mostly give. True, like many of you artists out there who bring new meaning to OCD, I believe in giving a great product even if sleep is part of the price. And, I continue to find a good reason to do so. Surely, I’ve longed to be out and about camping and so forth over this summer, but I have ‘cafe’s abundant’ in my work neighborhood which keeps me fueled and socialized. So as with any job, there are perks and wanes – as it were.

What is important to note; what I’ve come to love about this career path despite the sometimes insane hours is that, in my own experience, I’ve been able to turn traditional drafting into something creative and artistic. Certainly, the data must be accurate and the engineering or architectural drawings must be solid to convey information that can be used for construction. (For some, this is a bit of a grind – and with tight deadlines, I would sometimes agree that it can seem that way.) But the software and tools at our disposal for these projects in the AEC world can be quite marvelous with very cool features. For example, I use a 3D mouse by 3Dconnexion, a welcome suggestion I received at a workshop by Bentley visualization guru, Jerry Flynn. This tool locks in the CAD virtual camera so instead of using a rollerball to zoom and holding shift to pan around your scene, users can navigate with one hand and use a traditional mouse in the other, simultaneously. It took my brain about 5 minutes to get the hang of this but once I did, it felt like the software interface was an extension of my body, in some respects. This simple, relatively inexpensive tool changed the way I interacted with the software and eliminated the need for camera tools such as the dolly, pan, zoom, etc. Ultraleap is taking this further –

The tools are fun. The software is interesting (when it works as I would expect it to). The discovery of software combinations to complete untested workflows is engaging. Project completion is rewarding. And not just for the sake of another feather under my cap – it’s the process that has me playing the martyr, tethered to my machine throughout the night. There is something sort of intriguing surrounding the idea of fluidity in the process. Who doesn’t like watching a dancer efficiently moving about in perfected mastery, or the techie flying across a keyboard or augmented reality touch screen as in ‘Minority Report’. Seeing someone accomplish a task with grace and fluidity has always been fascinating to me… So, in part, I could say I seek mastery. Perhaps some would think that a bold statement and somewhat narcissistic. I say that each and every one of us could benefit from that path – whatever that looks like to each individual.

Some believe that only a certain type of life is accessible to them. Sure, they would love to travel, meet interesting people, experience new things, and so on. But, for many reasons – often simply fear, we all have a tendency to settle with a “6 or 7” when we really can (present tense) have a perfect “10” once we put the intention into whatever sort of life we wish to create. It is a guarantee that we are creating our lives daily (for better or worse) by the choices we make. What if it were true that we could have the life we always wanted, the relationship we always longed for… That’s what I’m signing up for. The really great news about that is 1) It’s legal, 2) We ALL deserve every bit of it, and 3) Contrary to some beliefs, creating a “10” lifestyle actually contributes in a selfless way by the excellence we would demonstrate in the sharing of the best of ourselves.

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”
― Nelson Mandela

At the writing of this, I am attending a tech convention. This, for me, is like an artist going to Burning Man, except they’ve recommended we hold off on the “spiritual trips” and refrain from the opiates… whatever –

Undoubtedly, I will connect with other lovingly identifiable geeks to trade thoughts on what’s hot, what’s new, and what to look forward to over the next few months. For the life I’m choosing, this is one facet of abundant living. Coming from a background of working in the trade, it’s a refreshing change to be in this world of gizmos and innovation.

I went through a spell where “doing what I really want to do” seemed nice, but not feasible…”for me…”

I tenderly call those years:

“The Years of Scarcity.”

Yeah, that was useful…

In 2005, I decided to be an artist because I enjoyed drawing and creating. I simply made a decision. I did not know how to draw, play guitar, work with wood, or create even the simplest of animations. But, I decided and as a result, I learned all of those things – and continue to do so at my pace. I’ve had countless teachers along the way from a multitude of disciplines. I’ve traveled, met interesting people and even spoken publicly about my work.

To my dear friends whom I refer to as “The Beauty-Makers” I am forever grateful for showing me by example, another path. A path of abundance.

I leave you today with a vision of the future.

I hope you’ll come along and have a little fun while you’re at it.

Burning Man-night Oils

ToPa 3D~