How important is creative skills development?

It can be very easy to play it safe and focus on techniques that you’re confident with when you’re busy with deadlines and need to deliver. It could be a particular animation style or some “go to” render settings that you’ve built up a wealth of knowledge and experience with over the years. Whilst you’re confident that the end result will be great, spending time developing your skills and ideas every now and then will allow you to explore a multitude of different avenues in order to achieve the best possible outcome for your client.

At Splinter, we had the opportunity to work on a project for a well-known high street brand that specialises in trainers. The initial brief was open ended – “how can we bring our trainers to life using 3D?” This gave us the perfect setting for our designers to think outside the box and do what they do best… be creative!

We initially modelled a few pairs of trainers and explored material settings, both stylistically and realistically. In terms of animation, we focused on two distinct techniques: rigid body dynamics and the integration of motion capture to a rigged trainer. The rigid body simulations allowed us to create an environment filled with geometry that the trainers could interact with, which gave them depth and character. We were also able to apply motion capture data to the trainers to simulate movement, running and dancing, allowing for realistic motion without having to manually keyframe. Light trails were added in post to help reinforce movement and the fluidity and weightlessness of the trainers.

Developing our skills during this process meant we could deliver a more rounded project and helped to inspire our client.

So how important is developing your skills and putting yourself outside of your creative comfort zone? Do we really need to answer that one…?