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One-A-Day 87 Comments


Happy New Year! Now, I’m not big on huge, sweeping resolutions when January rolls around, but just maybe this is the year to try a daily project to get better bit by bit. Here are a few reasons why:

Removing Fear

Short projects remove the fear of posting your work for others to see. It can be hard to show your work to your peers, especially early on. But with a new project everyday, you have the freedom to post and move on. That giant six month project can be fun, but not when it comes to learning fast and trying out new techniques. Especially for a beginner, aim for small projects that give you the freedom to fail often and learn fast.

Deadlines

Daily projects get you accustomed to deadlines. Deadlines are what force you to finish work. They keep you on schedule and give you a hard deadline to deliver your work to the world. With a long project, work can flounder and it’s easy to wait until the last minute to make big decisions. Instead, make every day the last minute. It won’t always be a work of art (it can’t), but delivering small projects every day will build a HABIT of creativity. Deadlines are a part of every project that matters. Might as well get used to delivering work now.

Fast Feedback

Learn faster by asking for feedback often. Honest feedback from your peers can be hard to get. Most people want to be nice and tell you, “It’s good”. That is death for creative work. Make one thing every few months and it’s, “That’s nice” from everyone. Make one thing a day and suddenly people are more willing to give you their honest opinion, and that’s more helpful to you. How is that? Well, It’s much more useful to receive feedback on short projects because you can use the critique right away on the next piece. Also, it’s easier for your viewers to give you feedback because this isn’t your life’s work. You have more work coming tomorrow, and people giving feedback know they can be honest without killing your baby. “I don’t like the color choices,” or “The lighting is to dark,” is much easier to hear when you only spent a day on it, and when you have something to apply that knowledge to tomorrow. Side note: Don’t let your friends say only nice things about your work. A “nice” comment doesn’t help anybody. Cultivate or even demand constructive criticism, and don’t defend yourself when you get a rough critique. Say thanks, write it down, and get better next time.

Experimentation

Daily projects allow you to try something different every day. Building your taste and your style takes a lot of experimentation. With daily projects, you get to hone your style and interests bit by bit instead of burning out one technique on one huge project. This is HUGE early on or if you have a job that isn’t as creative as you would like. If you want to try a new piece of software or plugin, download the demo and make your daily project with it. Same goes for new techniques, and design ideas. Your interests don’t have to wait if you have a daily way to try them.

Better Work

You will end up with a TON of new work to choose from to show off in your portfolio. They won’t all be masterpieces, but you will be surprised on how much great work you will have 365 pieces later. The bonus? You will see your work getting better. This was HUGE for me. I posted a photo a day for over three years and became WAY better at photography than when I started. Daily practice is recommended with anything. Even if it’s a little bit. Work every day at what you want to get better, and you will see results.

Here are some other daily and weekly projects to check out to get some ideas.

It’s easy to get started. Make a tumblr blog or start a page on facebook. Then, post your work every day and ask for feedback. Don’t miss a day. Here are some good rules for a one-a-day photo project, but the ideas will work with any daily project. Post your page in the comments and ASK for feedback. Tutorials and learning is always a good idea, but only by making your own work (and your own mistakes) will you actually learn how you really work, and find your true style.

Signal
City Kit

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87 Comments

  1. alex

    well… my new years resolution was to learn a ton of stuff :p

    Reply
  2. Aung Ko

    Thanks Nick! I’m from Myanmar country (asia). I become a c4d lover bec of u.(big thanks) Daily project (u suggest one) ideas is my new year present which I get from u. My two favorite guys are u and Andrew Kramer. Yo and Andrew’s tutorials are very useful, very detail workflow and Attraction is absolutely. Happy New Year NICK!

    Reply
  3. Thank you for making this post! I am going to try it out :)

    Reply
  4. wow. this is weird. I decided a few days a go to start one of these after seeing your amazing presentation. This is a really great project and already pushing me to get off my ass and make stuff rather than procrastinating as per usual.

    I’ve only got one post, and it’s not a particularly good one but hopefully in a few days/weeks/months I’ll have an array of cool stuff
    http://msced.wordpress.com/

    Reply
  5. curious beast

    Hi Nick!
    I always wondered, how often do you change your stylus nibs?

    Reply
  6. Oliver

    Another good guy who is uploading a daily piece of C4D work is PATRICK R. GSCHWIND aka “EVERYDAYSWISS”. After his regular job and his family life he is working everyday on a new project. Definitively check it out and follow him if you like it: http://tmv.proto.jp/#!/everydayswiss

    Reply
      • Wow! He’s creating amazing images every day after work and kids?? Each one of those images look like they took a full day or three to design.

        Reply
        • heya! mr. swiss here :)

          first of all thanks – and yes last year I did an everyday for 365 days – this year I’m gonna change it into a weekly animation. After a year I felt like I’m going back into a comfort zone – an everyday comfort zone I should say ;) and doing an animation / week is a new challenge for me as I’m pretty bad in animation inside C4D at the moment.

          all the everydays from last year are done in an average of 2h, I always started with them around 10 or 11PM as I have to kids, wife and fulltime job

          so the animations you will see (and they will be pretty bad in the beginning) are done in ~ 14h

          I can only recommend it! Doing stuff everyday helps you A LOT!

          - Patrick

          Reply
  7. The thing that holds me back most is usually scope – I get a few hours after work to mess around with C4D and having a realistic sense of scope is very important.

    Reply
  8. C4D Dude

    Hey Nick I’m starting to do a job or task for myself to post different designs and works every day.I will continue to do so for 1 week in a row, and then see if I will be ready to go on and on.Very thank you for this post and for various lectures that you have done so far for us all.Thanks Nick <3.

    Reply
  9. Happy New Year! That was EXACTLY my problem the last couple of days. I started watching to many tutorials, and in the end of the day, i dont know shit about cinema and canĀ“t even remember what the content of a tutorial was. So i need to just freaking DO something!! Thanks Nick! ;-)

    Reply
  10. Andre

    Thank you a lot for mentioning me!
    (Kokolores here)

    I can speak out of experience that it’s totally worth it if you pass the first sucky weeks.
    Once the getting used to is over and you’re getting faster trough routine as well, things become rewarding really.

    For me it was the only way to force myself learning 3D seriously.
    People serious about it should definitely try it.

    Reply
  11. Thanks for the push Nick! I had decided to do a project a week for fast of not being able to do one everyday. But I think I will do an everyday this year ! I’ll start with two and post them on my blog or Instagram/Twitter

    Blog.minormakeswork.com

    Instagram: seanminor
    Twitter: @Minormakeswork

    Reply
  12. Syntheticmachine

    Got this idea halfway through last year and I’m excited to start it this year! Sounds like a great way to learn other programs, like doing something small to strengthen my Vray and Realflow skills. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply
  13. Dave

    BEEPLE Rules! He posts all his project files and I have been learning a ton about project structure and planning (The most important skill for 3D and MG in my opinion) from picking apart his stuff. I highly recommend checking out his site.

    Reply
  14. Richie Williamson

    I love you Gorilla. You are the most encouraging master of “Do It Now” that I have ever seen. I watched all your hand waving talks and you have a great message. No wonder all the fledglings hang on your words and advice. There is no better way than to get yourself up and go with what you’ve got – to learn and grow baby grow! I am no fledgling but I take to heart all that you say.

    Reply
  15. Great goal. I don’t know if I can find the time to do something everyday, but my New Years res it to start the monthly 5 sec animations. We’ll see what happens from there!

    Reply
  16. Totally agree.
    Last year I tried to keep up but I could only get half of the year.
    Enjoy a lot doing this exercise which allowed me to grow in many ways.
    This year I hope to go further.
    Thank you very much for everything Nick.

    Reply
  17. slaughts

    awesome idea! Good luck with it man! You’ll do it easy!

    Reply
  18. Thanks Nick!! Being on that list makes me want to start 2013 with more focus on a true 365 project, and a better use of time management. Those guys are all my heroes, and owe much of 2012 to them for the inspiration. Also credit where credit is due:
    Steve Teeple – http://www.steveteeps.com
    This dude has introduced me to a ton of great artists I now get to call my peers! 2012 was a big year for him, and his 365s this year will blow your mind, I promise.

    I suggest everyone set aside a bit of their day/night, and sketch.
    Sketching in Photoshop, a quick sculpt in ZBrush, Processing code sketches, or low-Poly modeling for a bit. If you spend an hour “sketching” in 3+ different softwares, you’ll be surprised at how fast your pipeline workflow will go.
    With Adobe Bridge, Maxon’s Bodypaint compatibility, and ZBrush’s GoZ plugin and ZAppLink, you can switch on the fly! Definitely a huge timesaver, and worth spending time learning about. The future of 3d is going to rely even more heavily on efficient workflow, so time management is key. 365 or Weekly animation projects are a perfect for building that skill set.

    Reply
  19. Miles Smith

    Great job, and for my first one a day I am trying to figure out how you managed to pull the post banner off. I just wanted to know if I was headed in the right direction using an atom array?

    Reply
  20. Inspiring as ever! I always try to at least learn one thing a day, even if it’s not C4D related. And as a long-term freelancer with a shedload of completed work and a list of returning, happy customers, I have to say the one thing that’s needed as much as anything is discipline. Get the work done, to spec, on time, on budget. And that needs discipline to accomplish, so a project a day is a great way to get into the habit!
    And yes, sketch – with a ballpoint pen and paper, not a pencil. Then you won’t be tempted to rub out errors. Make the errors, live with them, learn from them, incorporate them. Do the next one – better! And observe the world around you, and how things really look.

    Reply
  21. Oh – can I just add that GSG is the most inspirational and helpful C4D site I’ve found – I’ve struggled with it for years, but watching and following the tutorials, well, it was like finding the light switch in a darkened room! Enormous thanks and kudos!

    Reply
  22. wtf_cakes

    I tried this last year but it just wasn’t practical with a newborn son. Sometimes you have to just have to realize that your career isn’t the most important thing in life and get other shit done.

    Reply
  23. I think the One-A-Day concept is a great way to improve our skill, even if I’d be more for the one-week project, sometimes it’s good to get some rest totally.

    I was currently following severals blogs of this kind and I was wondering how do they promote their projects, I mean, if i’d start something in this direction, the facebook share is probably efficient but I think most of my contact list don’t care about daily graphics as they are not especially part of the design community..

    Anyway I love this kind of article for the enthousiasm it broadcast among designers!

    Reply
    • DonartSelimi

      I thinks some of them promote their project by sharing their project in different pages & groups or some of them are popular . This is what I think .

      Reply
  24. I’d love to work with you all, but I seriously don’t have the time everyday to create something.
    And allthough I know it can be as easy or hard as I want myself… I think I’ll skip one day once.. unfortunately.

    Anyway: I’ve made a kitchen render (and shopped it) after Nick and Chris made the tutorial about the bedroom. I’ll try to add one tomorrow again and post it to FB too!
    http://www.energizedesigns.nl/wp-content/uploads/landelijke_keuken.png

    Gr. Rens

    Reply
    • btw, this one is from today, but I mentioned the tutorial from Nick and Chris, because without that one, I wouldn’t yet be able to create something like this (I know, it need some tweaks etc).

      Thanks anyway :D

      Reply
  25. Just started this, but only posting every few days do to my schedule. Feel free to check it out, I really appreciate any feedback!

    erikjefferis.wordpress.com

    Reply
  26. Also starting an everyday practice. Here’s my personal ruleset:

    Each week, consume one piece of media: short story, song, article, or presentation or etc… Create seven images (one a day) based on that concept. Repeat 52x.

    This week’s media is “The Sentinal” by Sir Arthur C. Clarke, the (very) short story on which 2001: A space odyssey is based. Read it if you like: http://econtent.typepad.com/TheSentinel.pdf

    posting on my FB page: http://www.facebook.com/movecraftSF

    Let’s see how far I can make it. I also have a full time job, kid and etc… so encouragement is welcome!

    Reply
  27. Nice post Nick!

    I love the idea of the one a day project and some of the work I’ve seen is amazing. Beeple’s stuff was really inspiring each time I saw them. I started mine on the first, I’m doing a doodle or illustration daily. They aren’t anything special but it’s something just to have fun with and hopefully improve my illustration style. Also trying to write a blog post everyday, which I hope will improve my writing and spelling. http://digitalhitchhiker.tumblr.com

    Keep up the killer work. Are you doing your own?

    Reply
    • Thanks, Brad.

      I’ve been posting a render a day so far over on the facebook page. I don’t think it will be every day, but I hope to do more renders this year and specifically learn more about the Physical Renderer.

      Reply
  28. This post convinced me to do it.
    Thanks for the tips.
    Now I’m going to create my own page in tumblr!

    Reply
  29. pezza10

    Happy New Year to everyone….it’s my first comment here and have to say that this blog is one of the greatest – Thank You very,very much Nick and everybody!!!
    First I apologize if I put my question in wrong section but I don’t how to find the right one(in case it is one). I wanted to ask if I can request a tutorial?
    I have a picture with some 3d balls but I don’t know if I can post it somewhere and I was thinking if Nick or someone can make a tutorial on how to create these 3d balls, I ask on forums and I receive some suggestions but I didn’t succeed in recreating them exactly so if someone could help me with this it would be great.
    Thank You

    Reply
  30. Hey Nick!

    I started a project a few months back, being inspired by your 5 second projects. Unfortunately, I happened to quit my job around the same time and so starting up my own company proved to take up all my time. Now that I see that you inspire people to do something similar, I thought I’d share my project with everyone here at Greyscalegorilla.

    Since I never knew what my once-a-day-project would be about, I decided to get a little help from one of the biggest sources of information on the Internet. Hence, my project is called The Wikipedia Random Article Project – The WRAP. You can find it on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/thewraproject and to find out how to do it yourself – https://vimeo.com/user4784359

    So now you’ll never have to bang your head against the wall, trying to figure out what your once-a-day-project should be about. Just ask Wikipedia!

    Check it out!

    Thanks,
    Sebastian

    Reply
  31. Why is everyone promoting there work they’ve done before and not doing a one-a-day. Only 3 or 4 who commented here are actually working on something everyday…

    Reply
  32. I’m gonna do one myself this year. Will probably have to do a mix of Cinema 4D, After Effects, Photography and just Photoshop. Wont always have time to do the long renders, but I guess thats the beauty of limiting yourself to one day as well.

    Anyway, the first 7 is up on my blog, and the next one will be up tomorrow :)
    http://agoberg.tv/oneaday.php

    Reply
    • Taylor

      looks like your link might be broken? couldn’t get it up on my computer

      Reply
  33. Cole Wilhelmi

    This is such a good idea. I had a daily blog going a while back and i was such a good way to keep myself motivated. I just started a new one after reading this. GSG is such a huge inspiration with great advice. Thanks Nick. Here’s my at least one a day.

    http://ctw-one.tumblr.com/

    Reply
  34. Taylor

    I started a blog inspired by this post, and would really love to put it out there and get some followers! The concept is to post short animations once a week. Advice and criticism would be really great as I finish up my last semester of college! Here’s the link: http://tschompanimation.tumblr.com/

    Thanks everyone, and thanks for the great advice as always, Nick!

    Reply
  35. Hi guys!

    Great to see so many people getting on the everyday vibe!
    I am on day 13 of doing C4D renders.
    All in good practice for my dissertation film where I hope to transfer some techniques for the final piece.
    Check it out – facebook.com/chromasy
    Thanks!

    Reply
  36. I’ve been doing this for well over a year now started with an idea and it exploded to one a days using my facebook profile cover as my canvas. I’m glad this was mentioned. some are here behance.net/meccamotion.

    Reply
  37. ive been keeping at it since 1.1.13 and just posting on facebook. thanks for this idea!

    Reply
  38. Thank you for this article. It gives me fuel to keep on going.
    I found it helpful to post in a place where others will see, because it gives more consciousness to my work. Have also been taking Ryan Kingslien’s advice of going back every 5 days to do a critique by comparing the work against each other to find specific things to work on. The video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WQpBFR3_j4
    I started my one-a-day on Feb. 05, one ZBrush life sculpt a day on G+ (for a month, but I don’t know, maybe more): https://plus.google.com/u/0/115157585028423120728

    Reply
  39. EKENE

    I always feel very honored with the kind of tips i see here. these posts and tutorials have really help me understand so more concepts, beyond the basics. it has equally help me in my 3D animation deliveries. to my small clients. thanks a lot

    Reply
    • Chad Ponticas

      Just checked out your page, and followed it with ours.
      Have a good 2014!
      Chad from ThoughtCloud

      Reply
  40. Thanks for the tip! I’m a beginner with cinema 4d and also After Effect and its overwhelming what I need to learn. But this tip helps alot! Thanks!

    Reply
  41. Michael Willfort

    Thanks a lot Nick for this teaching of creative lifestyle! Your story is inspiring and your suggestions are really helpful.

    Reply
  42. Pascal Greuter

    I have been playing around with C4D for many years but I always thought that it’s too complex and because most of my deadlines were very short I did most of my work in AE where I felt more comfortable.

    But 1st of January 2014, I found this blog post and told myself: Let’s try it! So I started my own everyday project and I have to say, it is soo much fun and it changed my life in a very good way.

    For sure, sometimes it’s very hard, doing this stuff every day especially when you should do other work for your customers or when you have been out for a beer or two with your friends. But to know, that you can make something better the next day takes away the fear to fail. And there is always a way to make something very simple yet not too bad looking in a short amount of time.

    I’m not sure, if I can do it for a whole year or even longer but for the moment, I enjoy every minute working with C4D and learning new stuff.

    You can check out my work here: http://shotup77.tumblr.com

    Reply

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Comment Rules

This is a friendly community. Please treat everyone with respect. We don't all have to agree, but we do have to be nice. Criticism is fine, but rude comments and name calling will be deleted. Use your real name and don't be spammy. Thanks for adding to the conversation.