The Third & The Seventh

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The other day, a man who I respect tremendously told me that there is a significant difference between “good enough” and “good-perfect”. There are deadlines to meet and with a limited amount of time before our “show” starts, we often find that we need to eliminate the cool factor for more content. This path seems to be all the more common with every industry. Make it “good enough”, lower costs, and get it up.

Though I feel this is an interesting model and a great way to make a million dollars one penny at a time, it doesn’t have staying power. I think if there is a solid deadline, then yes, of course you make the deadline. But if it’s imaginary, might as well take the time to make your content perfect rather than rushed. Sure, it doesn’t get out as quickly as you had hoped, but I’ve been on the opposite end so many times where I produce something quickly, then three days later, I see something I absolutely hate in my product and I want to rush back to revise, but alas, it’s too late. My name’s attached to it forever.

Alex Roman created The Third & The Seventh and in a recent interview with motionographer, he decided to go away from the client-based demands of architecture and pursue his own personal interpretation of super-photorealistic 3D rendering. It took, with some breaks in between, a year and a half to complete. Let me repeat that again, it took 18 months to complete this project. He also completed another project, which is significantly smaller called Silestone in only 2 1/2 months, longer than what most clients envision.

What interests me about this is topic and what I hope you can fill in is the idea of lifespan. “Good enough” lasts a day, several days, maybe a week. But the things Alex Roman created will have legs that will carry it for years. In fact, when we ask when did CG of the highest quality become obtainable to the individual motion designer, we will remember Alex Roman and his super-high quality designs. We still talk about the 1984 Apple commercials because they were expensive, elaborate and something never seen before. That’s a commercial that maintains it’s stickness for almost 30 years.

So the debate begins. How should creative content deadlines be viewed and for what goals? Deadlines of 1 day, 3 days, 1 week good enough to have something with legs, or do we aim to create work that will be applicable a year from now even though it takes a month to create. What about 6 months? Or 18? I’d love to hear your opinions, but as you think about it, watch that video one more time and realize that this will still be awesome in 20 years.

2 Comments

  1. David Sumner
    08 March 13, 1:20pm

    Unbelievable video and great website. Thanks for sharing. I’m ashamed to say I hadn’t seen Alex Roman’s work. Unbelievable! Your questions are all good ones regarding deadlines and lasting value. Diamonds exist, but if picking them up was easy, they wouldn’t be nearly as valuable. The correct question: What are you really looking for? From the sound of it: diamonds lying at your feet. 🙂

    Thanks again.

  2. 31 May 11, 7:00am

    I think you are absolutely right , and it touches on a subject I’ve been struggling with lately . I’m giving myself more time . Specially in personal non commercial projects I do for me . So what if it takes me a whole week to model one object and another to texture and light .
    I work at a tv station and no matter what our head say we will always be in a rush and we will always not have time to experiment and perfect our work . We will always have tight deadlines and good enough but not perfect projects . I used to carry this to my personal projects but I’m trying to stay away from that mentality .
    The example you posted is an inspiring example for motion graphics artist but the reason I started giving myself time is when I saw Scott weaver took 35 years to build a 10000 toothpick abstract detailed model of San Fransisco . If you think 2 and a half years is too much . what about 3 and a half decades . Thanks for the read

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