I have finished the second rapid ideation session and I will now assess how successful I was in producing my creative artefact and also meeting the goal of this project. While I did reach a dead end towards the end of the project and I still did not complete my creative artefact within the 2 week period, I did learn a lot from this and it has to be said that this second rapid ideation session was way more successful than the first.
How far did I meet my goal?
I am going to assess my creative artefact against the goal I set for myself during this project. The goal that I set myself was as follows:
To rejuvenate my skills and knowledge within 3D graphics and to become more proficient in Blender by designing, modelling and rigging a character for a game within two weeks.
I came up with this goal according to the SMART criteria to ensure that it was concise but also specific, measurable, achieveable and timebound. I assessed the goal according to these and I found that it met all of this criteria. This goal was very efficient and I did not need to refine it or change it in any way during the course of this project.
As for how much progress I made during this goal; much like the first rapid ideation session, I experienced a mixture of success and failure.
The first component of my goal was to rejuvenate my skills and knowledge within 3D graphics and to become more proficient in Blender. I certainly managed to do this and I have quickly developed skills such as modelling, UV mapping and texturing. Each of these parts of the project went very smoothly and I have the confidence to carry these out for future projects. I also feel confident navigating around the Blender interface.
Having said this, I realise there is still room for improvement and that I will need to explore other areas within 3D graphics further including animation, particles, lighting, camera set-up and rendering. From carrying out this project, I realise some of my knowledge was outdated and based on expectations I had from when I used to use Maya during my undergraduate degree, but I have been able to update my knowledge and gain more of an understanding with Blender.
The second component of my goal tied directly in with the first and it was to design, model and rig a character within two weeks. I was successful in designing the Curupira character as this was an area where I felt the most confident and I was able to draw this character so that I could use it as a reference to model. Unlike the first rapid ideation session where I spent a large chunk of time researching and brainstorming, with this session I decided straight away to model the Curupira character as part of a ficticious game to educate young people about the environment and, in particular, deforestation.
The modelling stage of the Curupira went reasonably well, but there are a few things which I probably should have done differently. For example, I should not have modelled the leaf belt separately, but instead extruded it from the Curupira model. Additionally, I should have also extruded the leaves from the belt as opposed to modelling separately, because I think this caused problems with the topology of the vertices later down the line. Furthermore, instead of using a particle system to create the hair which caused the size of the whole Blender file to increase significantly and also slowed down the model when I tried to move it, I should have modelled his hair. However, I opted for the particle system as I was running short on time.
While there are aspects of the model which did not quite work out, the model itself is well made and I would be confident modelling a similar sort of model at a later date, which means that I learnt a lot about modelling from undertaking this project.
The rigging stage is where the project ground to a halt. I became reasonably confident with rigging during my undergraduate degree but I had not done this in many years so I needed to revisit it. Blender has an excellent tool called Rigify which cuts out a large amount of donkey work involved with rigging, which I got the hang of quickly. Howver, because of some of the issues with the model mentioned above, I was unable to bind the rig to the model and therefore, this is where the creation of my artefact and indeed, the rapid ideation session, ground to an abrupt halt.
This rapid ideation session was largely a success as I have managed to rejuvenate some of my skills, but I recognise this is an ongoing process. Even if my creative artefact is not yet ready for my portfolio, I can continue to work on it. While the rapid ideation session is over, I do intend to use an earlier version of the project that was stored in my repository to correct some of the issues I mentioned above, such as his hair and leaf belt. As I will be less time pressure, there will be less inclination to rush any part of this process from this point onwards.
As part of this review, I have decided to revisit the reflective domains and to work out to what extent I am covering all of the five reflective domains.
I have gone through each of the reflective domain tags that I created and I have counted them in total.
Procedural is still very far ahead with 53 posts, which is to be expected as most of my blog is about recording what I am doing. Interpersonal is still creeping by on 4 posts, which is primarily because I have not worked with others on projects yet.
This is the third time I have tried to look at which of the reflective domains I most focus on. If I compare the actual share of posts that each reflective domain holds on this count, compared with the previous two counts, we can see clearly how my focus has changed.
While procedural and cognitive have remained dominant and will continue to remain dominant when reflecting on my practice, I have started to focus increasingly more on the affective and dispositional domains. While I continue to describe what I am doing and what I am learning when I am doing it, I have started to write more about what I feel about it and also what external and internal circumstances have on the way I work. It is interesting how the balance between the domains has changed in the space of one month.
I will likely revisit the reflective domains towards the end of this unit to see if it changes further.
Scrum vs. Kanban
For this rapid ideation session, I decided to break from Scrum framework and use a different Agile framework called Kanban. I have decided that in this section, I will compare the two to decide which was most effective for solo project management during a rapid ideation session.
During this rapid ideation session, I chose to use the Kanban framework to manage my project. The main principles of this framework were visualising the the progress made on the project by organising each of the assets and tasks on cards that are allocated to a set of lists according to their progress and status. Kanban is also focused on ensuring that there are never too many tasks in progress in one given time.
I found Kanban incredibly efficient for managing my project. I create a kanban board using the software Trello and I found it very easy to track my progress, but also to visualise it by organising the tasks into lists. I had set myself an upper limit of no more than three tasks in progress at a given time but I found this easy as I generally did not work on more than one task at a time anyway. I could easily remove or break up tasks as I saw fit, which made the process a lot more flexible than when I used Scrum in the first rapid ideation session.
The Kanban framework is lightweight enough that someone working on their own can use it to manage their project. The Kanban workflow worked very well for my project and if it was not for that fact that this project is only two weeks long and I am only doing this degree part time, it would have continued to work well.
When I used the Scrum framework during the first rapid ideation session, I found it very intense as I was writing ‘Stand-up’ posts every day to mimic the Stand-up meetings I would be having if I was in a team adhering to the Scrum framework and to reflect on the previous day and coming day, which actually intensified the pressure I was under. I did not feel this as much when using the Kanban framework, as it was a lot less rigid.
For solo project management, I can safely say that Kanban is a clear winner. It is robust enough that you change the priorities of tasks according to changes in the project. Scrum is firmly for working in smaller teams as it is dependent on daily meetings and there are very specific roles that need to be assigned in order for it to work. I would certainly consider Scrum or possibly a combination of Scrum and Kanban principles if I am working in a team in the near future.
Furthermore, Scrum is designed for projects that are longer than two weeks and will therefore need to be broken down further; whereas Kanban can be used for shorter projects as it treats the work as one continuous flow.
My next step is to take a break over the next two weeks and use that time to revisit unfinished art projects. I will then start teachning myself Blender and Unity, but I will be doing in a more paced and less intensive manner so that I can really absorb what I am trying to learn.