Closing a (3D) Chapter of My Life AKA a Curation Exercise.

My active involvement in 3D animation production began in my second year at university: via a 2-month industrial attachment at an innovative yet unfortunately short-lived small local game company. This was way back in 1993. The software I was introduced to was 3D Studio running on DOS, and my first animation project was an architectural flythrough for a condominium launch. After spending a few years creating 3D content for clients at various companies (including a year at my own start-up), I secured a job teaching 3D animation at Singapore Polytechnic (SP) in 2001. There I was regularly having access to the latest software (it was 3DS Max and then Maya) and kept myself up to date on the industry, including being part of some unforgettable SIGGRAPH Asia conferences. This was even after transitioning from teaching 3D to drawing and visual storytelling, circa 2014. It was because I had an added gig as adjunct lecturer, teaching a 3D production course at Nanyang Technological University since 2010. And I was also a somewhat active committee member of the Singapore ACM SIGGRAPH Chapter computer graphics interest group.

My decision to transfer permanently to SP EDU department to focus on pedagogy, educational research and staff training in 2019 meant I would no longer have the opportunity to teach 3D full-time. Recently, I had decided not to renew my Chapter membership and so am no longer part of their committee. And having reluctantly turned down an offer last week to continue teaching part-time at NTU, I have finally left behind something that had played such a big part in my professional life. I will likely continue to keep tabs on the graphics and animation industry; I still have a keen interest in drawing and illustration after all. And I doubt I will lose my appreciation for 3D computer graphics any time soon. Of course it is entirely possible that I may need to create some assets or renders in Maya (or some other 3D software) as part of a project in the future. However, I just don’t see it as something I will actively pursue or set aside much time for. It appears my last chapter on 3D has ended and the book is closed. While bittersweet, I honestly feel a sense of great relief as well. 🙂

To pile on the metaphor, I recall the clever suggestion from Gail Golden’s book of viewing my life as an exhibition in a museum and my commitments as various displays. In order to be productive I need to curate my life better: decide what and how to showcase, and what to put away. I guess this is one of those things I am setting aside to make way for other things. “My adventures in 3D computer graphics” would be that painting that had been hanging on the wall for so long, looking a bit worn out from the handling and exposure, that I have now taken down and carefully keep in storage; fully appreciated and wrapped up nicely in swathes of soft sweet memories.

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