Leveling Up: the Journey with CG Cookie’s Collab Project

May 21, 2024

I'm always on the hunt for projects that push my skills and help me grow. Recently, I got super lucky and joined a collaboration project organized by Kent Trammell from CG Cookie.If you don't know, CG Cookie is this awesome learning platform for Blender3D that I've been using since I started with Blender three years ago. The goal of the project: build a huge robot in even more enormous hangar. This collab was a game-changer and taught me three important things: how to be accidentally efficient, the magic of kitbashing, and handling constraints like a pro.

Image Credits: Kent Trammell & the CgCookie Collab team

The Magic of Kitbashing

Our team was asked to start working on a kitbash set that would be used to build the endoskeleton. Kitbashing involves creating random pieces that follow a consistent style, then assembling them like Lego bricks to form your final object. It’s super efficient because you’re not wasting time creating every little detail from scratch. Plus, it sparks creativity and often results in unique, eye-catching designs. It’s a fast way to build complex models and scenes. It’s incredibly fun!

Accidental Efficiency

Let’s talk about being accidentally efficient. Sounds weird, right? But it’s amazing. Basically, it means embracing those happy accidents that happen during the creative process. That was exactly what happened in the second phase of the collaboration: we had to build each part of the robot with the kitbash pieces produced earlier by our team. No cheating allowed; it had to be those pieces... and that was a bit scary! I learned to go with the flow and let spontaneous ideas shape my work. Embracing this taught me that happy accidents do happen and can create some really cool results that you can see below (this is the torso part I was tasked to assemble, still non-textured).

Dealing with Constraints

Another huge lesson was to create work that would not break the whole pipeline. We were 50 people creating assets for a huge scene, which meant the sum of all parts had to be manageable for a computer to handle. This meant learning to generate forms with the lowest possible amount of geometry. It forces you to think about the shape and figure out the most resource-friendly way to model it.

Working in a Professional Pipeline

Being part of a pipeline that mimicked a professional one was another huge takeaway from this collab. Integrating my work with others, sticking to standardized processes, and keeping communication clear were all key. It’s fun to see how the 3D pipeline and project management hold a lot of similarities with traditional project management, yet also have very specific differences.

The Result

Joining Kent Trammell’s project through CG Cookie was a turning point for me. I picked up new techniques, learned to work efficiently under constraints, and gained insights into professional collaboration. As I keep seeking out new opportunities, I know these lessons will help me reach the next level in my career.

Are you still there? Not yet UBER curious about what this project has become? Have a look here at the short and try to spot my work here ( go to 18 minutes 15 seconds if the video doesn't start on the short) :)

I also strongly encourage you to see the full presentation by Kent Trammell about this collab and previous collabs:

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