BlenderArtists: Art-Based or Art-Biased?

Let me start off this post by saying that I’m not trying to rant here or anything. I’m simply trying to figure this out, as it doesn’t make any sense at all.

I can’t help but notice that since CG Cookie took over BlenderArtists, things have been a little different. That’s to be expected, naturally, and many of these changes have been for the better (at least, in my personal opinion). But one of the biggest changes I’ve noticed has been in the Forum Gallery.

It started with one image that didn’t quite seem to amount to the quality of previous submissions. Then another. And another. Before I knew it, it seemed as though most of the newer submissions just weren’t as good as their predecessors. Now, obviously, I’m not going to give any specific examples (to avoid offending any artists and getting kicked off the forum), but I’m sure that at least some of you have a basic understanding of what I’m talking about.

I loved the higher standards of the older gallery. Well, okay, I admit that sometimes I hated it. I would work really hard on an image, expecting it to be added to the gallery upon completion (for some bizarre reason; of course, the image wasn’t even close to gallery quality. I assume this is the case for many artists when they first start out, but maybe I was exceptionally naive :stuck_out_tongue: ). Then I would get frustrated when no one commented on it. I would think to myself, “What a terrible system! They just don’t recognize art when they see it!”

So why, some might ask, do I think that was a good system? Because it taught me to work harder at my renders. Still, to this day, my primary goal is to someday get an image into the forum gallery. When one of my images didn’t get much response, after some frustration to a certain level, I would calm my thoughts and think, “Well, it’s just not good enough. I have to try harder next time.”

I can almost guarantee that if I had an image accepted into the gallery now, I would slow down. I wouldn’t spend as much time trying to improve my skills; I would feel accomplished. Not just a little accomplished, but like I had completed my final goal, and had no more room to improve. If this sounds totally arrogant and stupid, well… you’re right. It would be. Of course, no artist ever stops learning, or improving. They are always learning new things, no matter how good they are. But the gallery being more of a challenge can help prevent that.

The higher standards of the older gallery allowed blooming artists to realize this. They would learn that they had to reach a certain standard of quality, and would shoot for that target, hoping to one day realize their dreams. Now it seems as though anyone can make it into the gallery.

If some of you have been following my threads, you will know that, no, none of my images have been accepted into the gallery. I am still trying to get there, and I hope that I am improving with every new render I post on this forum. However, I’m going to be honest here; if my image were accepted into the gallery right now, I wouldn’t be as amazed. It feels like the finish line is closer; not because I’ve run the distance, but because the race was shortened.

Victory just isn’t as sweet when the challenge isn’t as bitter.

Anyway, I applaud you if you’ve read this post all the way through. Again, I’m not trying to attack CG Cookie or how they run the site; I’m just wondering why it seems as though the standards for the gallery have been lowered. And maybe they haven’t been! I could just be overly cynical, which is entirely possible.

Comments are welcome, obviously; even if all you have to say is, “You’re crazy! The gallery’s fine. What a terrible post; I want 5 minutes of my life back!” I still value your opinion anyway :stuck_out_tongue:

Think of it this way, at least its not the opposite like CGTalk, their standards to get an image into their normal finished works forum is so high in some cases now it’s almost like you need to be working for ILM or have a master’s degree in CG art to get a piece in.

But as for raising the bar for gallery submissions, I do think all of the work going into the gallery now may be in part due to the Cycles engine making high quality images (in the lighting department at least), being a bit easier to achieve compared to BI.

Come to think of it, maybe they should make it so a Cycles piece has to be truly exceptional to get it into the forum gallery, so as to make for a better playing field between those who meticulously place and tweak a light rig in BI compared to those defining their main light sources and letting it go in Cycles.

Or have two separate galleries, one for Cycles, one for BI. Two playing fields for two types of players. :slight_smile:

I cordially do not share your opinion that the “quality of” the present images in The Gallery is in any way “reduced,” nor that any of them are any less deserving of the very-considerable honor of being there.

There are those for whom “the tool” is the primary focus: how did they do that, and is the way that they did that more or less technically difficult. There are others for whom the objective is simply a pretty thing to look at, and that it was somehow made with Blender.

Some people like to drive their cars down the highway. Others like to sit in parking lots and admire the engines. Who’s “right?” Neither one. (Both of 'em managed to pick up the girls.)

So, I don’t subscribe either to “art based” or “art biased.” I haven’t seen a Gallery posting since “January 2004” which I felt didn’t “deserve” to be there.

I tend to agree with @sundialsvc4, I happen to think that there are more being added to the gallery as the nature of the tools and learning resources have evolved immensely in the past 4 years. As a result, learning and advancing has become less rugged (note, I didn’t say easy because the best of the best still have a deep understanding of many facets).

Personally, I like that the gallery has “diversified”. It’s not just still art going in but other things that muster attention (the themes for example). I think things such as addons, game art, games, scripts, etc. still take a similar keen eye, effort and knowledge and are equally deserving of recognition when they excel.

… and remember, art is subjective. Some may look at a piece with eyes that judge it undeserving but art (and really good art) goes layers deep below that “knee jerk reaction”. There might be a feeling, intent or idea for example that makes it truly noteworthy.

As for loosing “gas” once you achieve the gallery… well, I for example compete with myself. My goal is simply to do better than what I had done before. With that philosophy, achieving the gallery would never be a concession that I can’t do better, though it can also become disappointing knowing that I can always do better.

Gallery shouldn’t be the goal, making something you are proud of is.

I’ve seen one piece recently that I wondered what was exceptional about it; otherwise I’d disagree.

The idea is to produce a piece one is happy with, regardless of software used. The bar should be the same level no matter what was used.

Dear customer,

I used Blender Internal, for this render and as I still suck with that, is it okay to give you this? Alternatively, I manage to do better with cycles render, and produce something much better. Oh and the cycles renders cost you more than what we agreed 'cause it’s so much better.

I’m sure you don’t mind.

In effect, we are all customers (very critical ones) when it comes to reviewing our own, and others render posts. I’m happy to give someone cudos when they produce something in BI that they could have achieved more easily in Cycles, but lower the bar?

No.

Let’s stick with one gallery.

+1

Thanks for the reason to peruse the gallery once again. :slight_smile:

My hat is off to each and every artist represented there.

I definitely agree that we should stick with one gallery; I wasn’t trying to convince the developers to split it into two, or anything.

But it also doesn’t seem right to me to be able to get an image into the gallery, not because it looks that great compared to other images, but strictly because it was a technological achievement. It seems like the gallery should be more end-result oriented, so that the process it took to get the final image doesn’t really matter so much.

I do think that it’s easier to create good-looking renders with Cycles (in some cases, at least) due to the new lighting and shader features, but at the same time, when people who use BI create a beautiful final result, it was often accepted into the gallery not just because it was a technical achievement, but because it was actually pleasing to look at as well.

This is one of the primary reasons I feel like the quality of the images accepted into the gallery isn’t as high. I can think of a few sculpting examples, for instance, where the image is little more than a sculpt. While that sculpt may be incredible, it doesn’t seem to me to be gallery-worthy simply because that’s all it is. A sculpt. Where are the other scene elements? The materials? The surrounding environment? When I don’t see other parts of a final image, it always looks like more of a test to me than a final image.

Quandtum, yes, I agree that creating something that I’m proud of should be my goal, and I always try to outdo myself with my next render, as I believe every artist should. In the end, though, I’m sure that people who have had images accepted into the gallery feel very accomplished (then they could handle that feeling the right way by continuing to improve and build their skill set, or the wrong way by assuming they had nothing left to improve about their art). So while some could change their goal so that it wasn’t to get an image into the gallery, it would still be pretty exhilarating for them to finally make it in.

I also agree that art is definitely subjective. It’s obvious that it is when I don’t care for an image much, but it was still accepted into the gallery and people love it :stuck_out_tongue: Again, I’m probably being overly-cynical, as usual.

Thank you, everyone, for your responses!