How useless projects can become the most useful thing you have ever created
23/05/2019 at 14:42 #5944
If you have a few minutes I want to share something with you.
Before you continue reading please keep in mind that this story is not only restricted to software developing but can be taken on board by artists as well as other professions.
For a while, I have wanted to let people know about my journey as a software developer and how it has changed my life.
In the 90’s when 3D computer graphics was changing the landscape for games I became fascinated by the technology. I wanted to know how you could develop 3D graphics yourself. Keep in mind this was way before you could get your hands on games engines. I spent a lot of time learning programming and how to render graphics to the screen. Before I knew how the maths for 3D graphics worked I had manged to develop a little software that could render animated characters in 3D. I remember it was a big moment for me to be able to deform a 3D character on screen using my own algorithms. It was these kind of personal victories that made me carry on and made me want to achieve more.
I decided to get a degree in software developing but I also knew it had to be graphics related, otherwise I would be concerned that I would lose interest along the way. The only educations that offered these requirements were universities abroad, so I applied and against all odds I got accepted. I went to England and I finally learned how the maths worked in the software I had developed and I also learned new programming languages and a lot about good coding practice.
After I graduated and had landed myself a job in the games industry I realised that my passion for creating my own projects had not faded away. So I decided to create something that has always fascinated me, a proper 3D modelling, animation and rendering software. When I told my work colleagues they laughed and said it was pointless as there is much better software on the market that I could ever develop. That did not stop me because I would not develop this software for other people to use, I would develop it for me to use.
Years later I had managed to have developed something that worked. It was not groundbreaking by any means nor better than other software on the market but it worked the way it was supposed to. So far I have used it for modeling and texturing 3D objects and characters for small projects and I have also used it for rendering out some product images for a company and I got paid for it as well. However more importantly, I learned that when I presented this software at job interviews it became a game changer, the interviewers would stop asking me what I could bring to the table and would instead ask me when I could start working for them.
That was something I had never thought would come with it when I started working on the project. I had no idea of how much my ‘useless’ software could impress other people and open doors for job positions that never would have been offered to me otherwise. I have had people cheering out loud when I demonstrated the software. One place I was asked to demonstrate the software in groups until everybody in the company had seen it. I have had company owners asking if they could buy parts of the project or the entire project.
All this will give you confidence and you will start to appreciate your own craft.
At the moment I am working for an animation technology company with major clients from the games and film industry. I am still working on my project in my spare time as I still have new ideas of how to improve it and who knows maybe some day it will take on and be used in the industry but the success of the project has already been reached. I often get confronted by people who usually favour another 3D software and will often point out that I am wasting my time developing my own software, well little do they know.
The moral of the story is that if you make something that can impress other people, it doesn’t matter if it is groundbreaking or not. People will look at you differently once you have finished and completed a project on your own. Sometimes all you need to do is to finish a project to impress people. All these ‘useless’ projects you have started and never finished, imagine if you actually had finished them and could show them to others, those projects would be worth more than gold for you as you will be surprised how much it can help you succeed in life.
Never give up!
In case you are interested to know more about my hobby project please read more at www.Pixie3D.com
Soren Klit Lambaek
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