Let’s talk about ways of speeding up your workflow. In this post, we’ll go over 12 tips for a fast and efficient way of working.
1. Be lazy
sometimes being lazy and taking the easy path is the right way to go. if you try to create everything by yourself you’ll waste a tremendous amount of time money and most likely your deadline too. instead, try to download high-quality models and textures online as much as you can. If you have no choice but to model it by yourself, then make sure to charge your client for any special modeling if they ask for it. check out my most used models and texture sites.
2. Create templates
If you already made several projects you probably noticed that there are tasks that repeat themselves each time, such as setting sun & sky, adding exterior elements like windows, roads, pavements, and so on. instead of bringing them in, one by one all over again, just save them in one file and use it as a basic template for exterior or interior scenes.
3. Use state set (3ds max)
state sets are excellent for recording different scenarios in one scene, such as day and night shots. with state set, you can record actions like turning layers on and off, changing the environment map, turning lights on or off, hiding objects, and so on with a click of a button.
4. Create material libraries
create your one material libraries for your custom made materials or any material that you use. it is best to make a library for each category such as concrete, stone, wood, exterior, interior, etc. this way you can bring them quickly into your scene
5. Use scattering & parametric plugins
these tools can save a tones amount of time! if you’re doing scenes with vegetation, repetitive patterns like framework, windows, and rails these are the tools for you. I like to use Forest pack and rail clone both made by Itoo software. they are not cheap but they are the best there is!
6. Clean up your CAD file
too often I see people importing a full cad file from the client straight into 3d software. this is not the way to go! you get tones of unnecessary information that clutter your viewport, the scene becomes heavy on the graphics card, and all kinds of weird stuff you want to avoid… just don’t do it. Instead, create a new layer inside the cad file and move only what you need to this layer. make sure all lines are nice and flat and only then bring it into your 3d program.
7. Use modifiers often
in 3ds max modifiers are KING. use them as much as you can. Always make changes on the base layer of the object as possible: if your modeling a wall, edit it as a flat pane and then give it thickness by adding a shell modifier on top. If your modeling an organic object, start with a low poly shape and add turbosmooth to it for greater details. if you need to soften hard edges, use the chamfer modifier instead of modeling it. try to keep everything as parametric as you can. you can also create a costume shortlist, for your most-used modifiers, so you don’t waste precious time searching them each time
8. Model only what the camera sees
decide on camera angle first after basic modeling is done. get the client’s approval, and only then start to fill the scene with all the little details. don’t waste time on things that no one is going to see anyway.
9. Use references all the time
either for creating specific materials, modeling a piece of furniture, or getting the right light balance. always look for examples in real-life, analyze them and try to recreate them in 3D.
10. Organize your projects on a big board
Yes, real white big board on your wall. it’s good to have everything laid out in front of you in a clear and planned out way. mark the urgent ones write basic info like start date, client and project name, budget, been paid or not. you can color code, area code whatever is right for you. If you’re the digital-only type you can use a project management app such as ASANA to manage all your work and tasks. By looking at the whole picture in one go it is easier to get focus on what’s matter right now and what can be delayed for later.
11. Stay up-to-date with the latest software & tools
in our industry everything is moving ahead at light speed, every month there is a new update or tool that can make our life much easier and our work much faster. visit all the big forums, subscribe to newsletters, and do whatever it takes to stay ahead, to learn new stuff, and grow.
12. Good hardware
look there is no way around that, you need good hardware to get things done fast. if you still working on your old laptop or the family PC, then it’s time to upgrade! Im not some hardware guru and you shouldn’t be either. just make sure to focus on these 4 important elements:
- CPU – for fast CPU rendering – Intel I7-I9 series or AMD threadripper series.
- High-end Graphics card – for smooth viewport performance and GPU rendering.
- Fast RAM – to carry large scenes and heavy software. how much RAM? the more the better. I use at least 64 GB on each machine.
- Storage -forget about the old HHD! SSD is a must for faster read and writing speeds.
My recommended hardware for 2020: