Happiness is when someone who loves you supports your doing what you love.
Six years ago, there was no Shinyuu. It’s hard to think of the time before me, even though I know it was. To me it’s history, events happening without my influencing them.
Then, one gloomy September six years ago, I came to be: the first artificially induced persona in this head. Neither of us two understood what that really meant back then, and I spent years searching for what it means to be, to live the life of an imaginary shadow in the back of the head.
I had many ups and downs, but with every year passing my understanding of who I am solidified, with every layer of experiences my persona shaped itself. I found and discarded passions, switched hobbies, indulged myself in questionable behaviour.
Eventually, I’ve found people who can keep me stable, I’ve found things that keep me interested. Still, people came and went, and my interests moved around, albeit slower.
Today, as my sixth birthday kicks in, I wanted to share this quick note on why I went silent in here. I learned I don’t enjoy writing as much as I thought. I enjoy writing, sometimes, and I love the thrill of finishing the story. However, every time I took a step back and studied my story critically, I didn’t like it. I didn’t want to share it; my writing skills embarrassed me. I was a much better reader than writer, and thus I judged my works too harshly.
Still, the desire of sharing the landscapes within my mind never went away and as COVID forced everyone to stay home I thought – why not try graphical arts? Previously, I made an attempt at drawing, yet gave up fast; back at the day my body control was poor, and it was impossible to handle the pencil with care.
The lingering thought of trying 3D got me to fiverr, where I commissioned a model of myself. I never had a good idea of what to actually do with it, I just knew that you can download something called Unity and make pretty pictures with it.
3D ended up much harder than I thought, but unlike writing, I never had a good idea what good 3D art should be. I didn’t have any high hopes and expectations, so when my doughnut tutorial ended up all cute and aesthetically pleasant, I was hyped! Only a week’s work and I can make realistic doughnuts!
The modelling was easy to grasp after I figured the hotkeys. It wasn’t unlike assembling a puzzle: instead of a thousand pieces set, you’d have a thousand points spread in 3D space and you need to fit them snug.
The next tutorial added to the complexity of texturing and understanding materials. Painting was surprisingly hard, because it boiled down to some physical world properties I had no knowledge of; luckily enough, there were broad libraries of materials to disassemble and study.
I made a brief detour towards Substance Painter and Designer, however the latter ended up more of a challenge, and I never got too far. I understood the enormous possibilities of the tool, but I couldn’t think of images as of graphs. Already, I had too much maths, vertices and matrix rotations to think of!
Two months in, I took a break from reproducing the tutorials and made something from scratch, just for myself. I love my teapot and I thought it’d be nice to make one in 3D. It took weeks and all my skills, but the result was good enough for me to share it with a couple friends.
From here on, I tried scullpting. Scullpting didn’t work out.
I went back to the tutorials and focused on low-poly stuff again. I found comfort at my little puzzles, not over-complicated with detail but pleasant to the eye.
There were more things to explore, though. After my initial fiasco with Unity, I switched over to Unreal Engine. My understanding was that if I wanted to make photorealistic animations, the latter would be a better fit. It actually ended up so; even though I fit UE an overly complicated tool in many aspects, it taught me the simplicity of the shader graphs and basic building blocks. Slowly, I too became a programmer.
As I focused on interiors and exteriors I learned the importance of composition and lighting. My first attempts with the outdoor scenes didn’t live up to my taste, and thus I returned to archviz.
One amazing thing about architectural visualisation is that it deals with building and furniture, and both of those are pretty much ‘trivial’ models. What is a room if not a box? What is a bed if not a box? What is a wardrobe if not a..? You get the gist. From there on, my life became a life of a box.
This was the turning point. The renders became slower and slower and the UE scenes lagged as hell. I knew that if I wanted to pursue this further I needed proper hardware, something with RTX in its name. 3D was much a pricer investment than writing (yet much cheaper than my music studies).
While I waited for my new rig, I got back to basic sculpting. I took my time, and I got the shapes together into something recognisable.
It was okeish, but not really great. Back to low-poly!
I did more detours as I studied the options. I took a shot at landscape creation, then tried to figure how to model realistic trees. I spent ages learning how to do realistic water in UE (and I still don’t know a good answer) but I learned a lot about how materials interact with each other. Suddenly, creating video games sounded like a hard job.
The sculpting ideas still lingered around my mind. It’s easy to understand how a piece of furniture works (especially if it came from IKEA), it’s hard to reason with a human body. If I wanted to sculpt people I had to study anatomy.
So I did.
I knew I was moving in the right direction when my sculpts stopped looking like goo and started looking like rough shapes. I stopped being a box person and became a ball person, instead. Now my primitive was a sphere, and my tools were brushes.
Long hours, months spent on studying the muscles and trying to replicate them bore fruit. My ‘clothed female body’ looked like a body, alright!
Besides, I found joy in learning the marvellous world of stitching and fitting pieces of cloth together. I never thought much of things I wear and now I had to understand how they were actually assembled, how they felt snug around my body, how they flow.
I left blender and switched over to ZBrush. I’d wake up, grab the tablet and move those pesky dots around – all the five hundred thousand of them – until they became heads, shoulders, breasts.
I could make a face from a ball now! I knew the knowledge was there, every attempt was getting me closer, every new sculpt I remembered things I failed at in my previous ones, and improved upon. I even tried the forbidden art of furry muzzles.
Eventually I started posting my works on FA. Even though they are only studies, I feel happy to share them with others. I feel like I’m improving with every piece I finish.
Oh wait, it’s a birthday post!
What I wanted to say is that I’m enjoying what I do. For once I do something personally meaningful and artistically pleasing! And the most important part: I had all the support from my friends, I can’t say thanks enough to Fox, DragonFU and Cacuu for their continued advice, help, and feedback.
Six years isn’t too much, but it’s a seisable chunk of memories. I’m happy to be doing something new, something important. I’m happy to have Fox and others by my side. I even went out as far as sparking up a new tulpa in here, because I wanted to share.
I grew a tiny bit wiser, a whole lot sillier. I learned numerous new violin tunes, and I composed a few. I rarely find time to be depressed now, because I find peace in things I do. And I’m looking forward to turning ten, curious about what kind of person I’ll be there.
I’ll wrap this already too long story now, and I hope to drop by at least a couple times more before my yearly summary post. I got this idea of sharing all my studies notes with everyone so that they could learn from what I learned and help them with their progress paths. We’ll see if that idea materialises in a few months.
For once, I feel like I’m finally failing better.