Delete it and START OVER

Dec 13th 2013

"Delete it and start over", has become one of the most valuable lessons I've learned in my career.

Recently on a project, I was modeling a Playstation controller. At first glance, you may think this is a pretty straightforward model, yet I found it to be extremely challenging. All of the plastic molding insets and odd swooping angles were proving to be frustrating. I was spending hours and hours massaging the topology, but still never getting the form or edge flow correct. I had forgotten to take my own advice. Enduring a 3am crunch modeling session and battling a frustrating mesh which was a culmination of 10+ hours of work, I had a dose of my own medicine. I sort of smirked, moved the mouse cursor to the top left of the screen and hit file > new...a second later, all of my work was gone. And I started over from scratch. My brain was cursing at me. "You just threw away 10+ hours of work!" It was affirming I was crazy and that I was destined to never sleep again.

However, a funny thing happens when you choose to delete and start over.

On the second go, you model differently than you did on your first pass. With the foundation of lessons learned from your previous attempt, you get faster and more efficient. You level up as an artist, exploring different ways which may work and avoiding the ways it didn't work previously.
Deleting the model goes against logical thinking... but it works!
With my Playstation controller project, I ended up deleting and starting over 2 more times. By the end of the project, my modeling times were 70-80% faster than my first attempt and the topology was much cleaner. Of the hundreds or thousands of things you will model, draw or sculpt in your career, some will come quickly and others will be a challenge. If you're up for it, next time your work comes together quickly, delete that perfect first piece and re-do it from scratch. Your brain will thank you for it.. eventually... ;) Wes Burke
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