Fan Art: Should I feel bad?

Discussion in 'Creative General Discussion' started by Treadshot A1, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. Treadshot A1

    Treadshot A1 Or just 'A1' for short...

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    Argh. I just don't know on this anymore. I like to think I'm a relatively approachable guy, and as a designer that's generally a good thing, but...well, I think I'm getting too approachable. Thing is, I spend a lot of time working on my Shapeways designs, and now... I just don't know what to do with the PMs I get.

    My problem is that I try to be helpful to people who ask me about my customs work, and my designs. I make no secret of the fact I have my years of experience in Sketchup, and I know some people have picked up on that and started experimenting. But now I feel like I'm becoming a... help desk of sorts. People are bombarding me with questions, like "how do you design your robots" and "how do you make x part". I don't know whether or not to answer anymore. I do want to be helpful, but at the same time, I don't want to give away my secrets either, and recently I've run out of polite ways to say no. I've just been ignoring PMs from people now, if they want help with design. I jumped through a lot of hoops to get to where I am now, and I guess I would feel sorta cheated if i gave that info away for free.

    I only post about this now because it used to be close friends on the boards, many of which I'd happily do small designs for just as a friend. But now everyone and their mother is asking for help, and I just don't know how much is fair, to help the community while maintaining my trade secrets. The worst part is, I get people asking me for specific parts. As anyone who followed the Dark Fremble Minions knows (see sig), I had to work out a whole new system of joints in Sketchup to make them work, and I pulled an all nighter just to get a draft of that joint, spending days after to perfect it. Now, people are asking me to send parts to them, ball joints seemingly popular. I like to keep on my computer, a set of what I call 'Origin' files, parts that I can use in any project. Sockets, useful connectors, ball joints, inset wheels, all the stuff that's most valuable to me as a designer as that's what makes all the designs work, and it's taken me ages to build up that collection. Ive had to draw all those parts from scratch, often having to test those parts multiple times through Shapeways to make sure they worked, so its cost me a small fortune in time and money to establish that collection. Now everyone seems to want me to send those origin files around like...well, for free, basically.

    So, what's the right thing to do? I make no secret of the fact I use Sketchup. But that's all I'm saying from now on, unless someone can convince me otherwise. I want to help people, but at the same time I have a Shapeways Shop to run, a designing reputation to keep, and I do take commissions for parts. I like to think I charge a fair rate for my design work, and if people really needed a part real bad they can just commission me. That seems fair, I get something, I give you something. I just can't afford to be giving away my files for free anymore, not that I ever did to anybody anyways. Is there any reason why I should start responding to people again? I still respond to close friends on the boards, but that aside, I feel like I have no choice in all practicality, but to ignore the people that come to me for help. I had to go through a lot of work and a lot of hoops to learn 3D design, and I just don't know how much I should be telling for free. Ultimately, now, I realise why, whenever I PM'd some of the so-called big names in kit bashing or designing, I never seemed to get a response; there's a fine line between being helpful to a few and the public seeing you as a free help desk. I don't want to cross that line. But I don't want to be unhelpful either.

    For now, I draw the line at "I use Sketchup" as my only piece of advice, unless I happen to have known you for a long time for the right reasons. Anyone want to tell me where I should be drawing the line?

    EDIT: I guess it doesn't help that today's the 15th, and hence the idea of giving away stuff for free is even less appealing. Sadly, at this point, I'm giving out so little advice I'm not even going to btoher to explain why the 15th is an important date. Either you know why, or you don't. I've just resided to not advising peope for the time being. I can't believe i actually need to start ignoring people... :( 

    EDIT 2: thanks JavaJim. It's just not practical for me to do tutorials, though, given that so many a available through a quick Google Search (like everything else, nowadays, you can find it with your favourite search engine). That, and there is now way to do a tutorial, given that the way I tackle a project varies from design the design. I have trouble explaining to family and friends how I do this, and a lot of it is based on my ability to visualise things that aren't there before I draw anything. It would be impossible for people to follow since I have a habit of drawing things out of sketches I made in my mind rather than on paper. And yes, nothing stays a secret forever. But by the time peoe figure out what I'm doing now, I'll have moved on to other stuff. The sad fact is, I need to stay competitive. :( 

    In terms of providing a service to the community, I made the decision a while back to simply offer a one-week period where I would donate my time as a designer. I did a lot of projects during my holidays, lots of weapons and small parts, and I tried to help out as many people as I could. I guess that's where I found the balancing point. I don't give out free files and advice anymore, but I try to make small parts designing cheap enough for people to afford. But since then, people just expect me to do HUGE things for free, even voyager class conversions. Surely that's not fair on me, I'd have to charge on something that complex.
     
  2. JavaJim

    JavaJim Agilisticobot

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    Used to play competitive computer games (strategy) and people used to think they had secrets others could never figure out. They kept them close, guarded, and would not share. Well, needless to say, they don't stay secrets for long. Very little is original, or can't be figured out by others. Personally never understood the desire to keep knowledge from others, however, I can definitely sympathize with your plight of having too many messages to answer. I've had jobs where I'd have 300 to 600 emails per day from developers, product managers, project managers, Directors, VPs, you name it. There was NO way I could answer all of them. I had to setup filtering rules to filter out most of the items, put high priority items in another folder (with a quick glance to see if any really were 'high priority', and then leave the ones that were really important in my inbox for me to answer. No idea how you can do that with PMs here... maybe restrict sending of PMs to friends only? And limit your # of friends?

    Instead of answering questions, why not create tutorials for the guys. Odds are you've put more than enough information in the replies you have made to comprise a tutorial or two. That way you still answer some PMs, make new friends, and provide a valuable service to the community.
     
  3. encline

    encline customizer of love TFW2005 Supporter

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    I am in no way trying to be a douche here, but just being real.


    Here is the thing I have discovered. Everyone wants the fastest way to do something. The problem is, many things can not be learned in a pm...people have to work to get to where they need to be. Advice is one thing, heck, helping others learn basics is too, but there is only so much people should expect from you. If you choose not to share secrets, then by all means, people need to respect that. The ones that do not respect it, well, in the long run, do they really effect you in any way.

    All of us share useful tips and tricks. But how many of us have time to spend an hour or two responding to one thing. If you choose, do a tutorial, give direction. If you choose not to or do not have time, then that is that.

    In reality, the only ones you "owe" something to are the clients who have and or will put food on your table for the work you do. So don't feel bad.




    and for some good words of advice:


    If you're good at something, never do it for free! - YouTube
     
  4. Treadshot A1

    Treadshot A1 Or just 'A1' for short...

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    Thanks E! Great vid btw.

    I think the first sentence got it dead on. I'm not trying to be a douche, but being real often gets mixed up with that on the Internet (because the Internet is such a great place for conveying tone, lol).

    And I never ever do anything for free unless I happen to know someone on these boards for other reasons. Maybe I've worked with them before, we're close friends from random other ongoing threads and whatnot. Otherwise, well, I'm a kid, and what kid doesn't want extra pocket money? I don't think I can ever be spoilt enough. ;) 
     
  5. Megatron31

    Megatron31 I Belong to Nobody! TFW2005 Supporter

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    The short of it is no and nothing is for free

    And some great advice has been givin above, you can't be expected to give away all that you have worked hard to learn, and I'm sure the big names here will say the same thing.

    Yu help where you can, but ultimately they are your designs and from what I hear a nice additional income. So don't sweat it man people always want the fast easy way to things.

    The truth is people need to learn on their own
     
  6. Venksta

    Venksta Render Project Creations TFW2005 Supporter

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    My advice, make a simple tutorial(s), to help people get started in Sketchup. I think that is the hardest part, for anyone trying to model, is learning the basics. You seem to be the most knowledgeable with Sketchup over here, so you would be the best person to make the tutorial.

    Once people are familiar with the tools, and learn the basic editing, they can go on their own from there. So with a tutorial done, you can just reply back with the link, and let them know if they are still serious about learning to model parts, the rest will be learned by themselves, from experimenting and trying out on their own. Holding their hand while they try to make specific parts will not help them at all.

    For people who want you to model parts, reply back with a rate. People who are fans of your work should not have an issue with paying for your service. Those who don't want to pay, are just trying to use you.

    I get a lot of people asking me to make parts as well, and I just tell them I don't take commissions anymore. With my rate, plus playing shapeways for the part, its not even worth doing for either of us.
     
  7. TGping

    TGping Well-Known Member

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    Well, the things you've figured out are trade secrets to yourself, so if someone asks for it charge them for using a liscence of it for a set amount of time. And price accordingly :D 

    If I do concept artwork of totally original characters you can bet your ass I've included in the price what it takes to buy that idea off of me if they want to be sole owners of the idea. If they forgo buying the rights from me, then they need my permission to use said characters ever again. And yes, this is in any contract I write for myself.

    Eventually, you gotta start looking out for your self, cuz no one else will. If someone asks for advice give it to em, tell them to study the basics of 3D modeling until they can hack it themselves.

    Sure I can draw a super awesome sketch of soundwave in 15 minutes... but there's a reason I charge 25$ for it, It took me 20+ years of practice and investment to get there. And THAT's what people are paying for.
     
  8. OMEGAPRIME1983

    OMEGAPRIME1983 Well-Known Member

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    This is the best of advise there is. seriously, if people want advise, thats one thing, but when they start making you build the thing for them, it should start costing money. I'd say for every bit you've created, make a small amount for the design, just a buck, maybe 2, and if they don't like it, tough nuts. They can go figure it out themselves then.
     
  9. Master Blaster

    Master Blaster Banned

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    All the above is great advice, but I only have one thing to add.


    I find it incredibly rude when someone doesn't reply to a PM from me, no matter what they say. There's been far too much of that lately in radicons and it's not appealing for those of us just joining in.
    Keep your secrets to yourself if you feel inclined, but there's no need to ignore everyone that tries to talk to you.


    EDIT: On the sketchup note, there's a series out there called Sketchup for dummies that's a series of videos on getting started and common problems users encounter. I highly recommend linking people to those, I know I found them incredibly useful.


    In fact, could we get a sticky containing links to all the videos, and perhaps to some of our favourite plugins? I know there's a few plugins I have that've really saved me time by cutting out some of the footwork. I don't mind doing that.
     
  10. Superquad7

    Superquad7 We're only human. Super Mod

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    I think this is the best advice here (which isn't to say I disagree with others' sentiments already posted). Mainly, by doing this, you can answer questions very quickly with just a link.

    Also, not every pm warrants a pm back. I often use our visitor messaging system for things that aren't "private". I do think that replying to someone no matter what in some fashion is polite, though.

    I also think that there's a difference between peers talking about stuff verses someone "giving advice". With this, I mainly refer to project threads. When I access a project thread, I want the artist to tell me as much as they can ALONG WITH photos. If I just want to look at at photo gallery, I'll go to the Customs gallery.
     
  11. Treadshot A1

    Treadshot A1 Or just 'A1' for short...

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    I do want to reply to everything, and you can be sure one every other matter i reply to 99% of what i get, the other 1% i'm asleep and reply the next morning or so. But there's only so many excuses and polite ways to say no, and once you start using them too often, people get suspicious and...well, the crowd just doesn't seem to stop. It's like...like...like a mild version of the paparazzi. Mild, but still annoying.

    I'm gonna have to say thanks but no thanks on the last section. If i posted plugins i use, well, a) it'd be too long a list, b) half of them crash more often than not (seriously some of those scripts feel like a Prius sometimes; only a few turn out to be Megane's) and c) most of the plugins turn out incredibly...novelty. They're cool to click and watch the rainbow of images on the screen, but practical uses only exist for a very small few of them. To be fair, i guess that's ultimately why the selfish part of me says no: i spent ages trawling through the piles of them to find the ones that work. :lol  Maybe i'll set up a tutorial one day, but it'd be so basic, i think i'd just link to the Sketchup for Dummies thing you mentioned. That would be so much more useful, since the book would have been written by someone with much more time than me to spend on the subject. Thanks for alerting me to those videos, though. Finally have something of substance to link to, without giving too much away. That's going to help a lot, thanks bro. :) 

    Thanks for the response Allen. In terms of the difference between peers and advice, i've often told people if they can come back to me with a model (or a screenshot), then i'll start talking. At least then i know they're serious and that i'm talking to people who will be/are my peers, and not just random people off the street if you know what i mean. Those people, i might give some advice to.

    I do worry about giving out too much advice, though. As some people have found out here, i have my own way of talking/typing, very colloquial and almost tongue-in-cheek chatty, and in one recent case, i gave the guy links to plugins which i'd rarely tell anyone about (he'd been working on another design which i won't mention in detail here), along with instructions on what to do with them, and the guy comes back ad tells me he'll never use them and then swears at me (i won't name names, but suffice to say i'll never leave my email address lying around so easily again; apparently i'm condescending according to him). I guess i'm just not sure i'm the type of guy to write a tutorial or to even respond to some of these things. Some people just seem to react adversely to me. I'm running out of polite ways to say no. I mean, i can type "i'm afraid currently i can't help with that right now" only so many times before people ask "why?". Then i have to make stuff up, and it seems people get quite...agitated. Even if i give them information, it just never seems to be enough. :( 

    That said, i always try to help out if someone asks, and like i said above, i respond to almost every PM i get, generally within a day or so unless real life says no. I guess i'll make more of an effort to respond to the PM's in one way or another, but i highly doubt it'll be the response people want. :(  :lol  :eek: 
     
  12. Satomiblood

    Satomiblood Prototype Black

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    This is probably the best advice and a tutorial is more or less what I was going to advise.
     
  13. deliciouspeter

    deliciouspeter Back in Black TFW2005 Supporter

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    Sorry for the headaches on this...I've had a similar issue in a non-TF part of my life, so I made a form letter response that I cut and paste to any email. It was a polite explanation of what I did, my FAQ and next steps if they wished to contact me further. It seemed to filter out a lot of the nonsense.
     
  14. Rodentus prime

    Rodentus prime Well-Known Member

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    For advice on using Sketchup I always point people toward Sketchucation Forums which has a bunch of helpful Tutorials and a graphical list of some of the most useful Plugins.

    As you say though the best advice to anybody is to play around with the package and try things out - It's often the second or third time you try something before you work out how to do it best.

    Perhaps I should have a go at making a tutorial as I've been using it on and off for longer than Treadshot A1.
     
  15. Superquad7

    Superquad7 We're only human. Super Mod

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    I think the very fact that you've created this thread is really you showing us here that you're wanting to go about things in the best ways.

    I would like to point out that if someone is harassing any member via pms, those pms need to be forwarded to a moderator and/or administrator. The board rules apply to every area of the forum.

    You've generally been a nice guy here :)  If people come to you and ask for advice, but don't want to deal with a personality of any sort, that's just totally their problem, man.

    Go for it, man. I'd love to resource some Sketchup things here.
     
  16. Treadshot A1

    Treadshot A1 Or just 'A1' for short...

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    Well, it's not harassment from one guy. I mean, people usually give up after one or two, which is fair. But when everyone and their mother is sending one or two, that's a lot. :lol  If it ever gets out of hand i know where to go. :) 

    I'm going to let Rodentus Prime do the Sketchup tutorial, if only because i think he's used it longer than me. Also, i know he models his stuff far different to mine (mine is modeled to work with Shapeways, so it's done in a much different process), so it'd be nice to see another person's viewpoint on it.
     
  17. shinobi77

    shinobi77 Fatbastard

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    I know I don't talk to a whole lot of different people here on the boards, but, one of them, SQ7, I've known for years and years. We've heckled, cajoled, and otherwise been trading for just as long. Whether it be a custom, or other trades. Heck, I've got two commissions from him. First one being an alt subaru Prowl. The other being Autobot spike.
    I always gave him quite a bit of grief over these things, and I've come to feel a bit of regret that I didn't give as good as he did.

    Another thing, I'm currently beginning my second year of machining school. I'll be learning Solidworks, Mastercam, and AutoCAD. We will also be building our own mill. The plans I have for when I'm done, I'll be scratch building some parts, bots, etc. I'll be more than happy to let others have them, and here's the catch, for a price. I want to share what I will learn, and what I can do, but at the same time, make some cash so I can further my experience, and get new materials.

    Having said that,and in a hobby such as ours, I totally believe its your choice to do what you want with your skills. If you want to share what you know, by all means, but at the same time, you shouldn't feel obligated to do it for free. Good friends are one thing, and I know, that when the day comes for me, I'll be able to get SQ7 back for all he's done for me, but, I'm one of a kind, just ask him....

    Anyways, short story long, I've seen you do some pretty cool things, and I'd expect, that if I wanted those things, to pay for them in some way or another. So don't feel ashamed, or regret, or whatever, you worked hard for your stuff, its only fair that you get something in return for giving it out.
     
  18. Superquad7

    Superquad7 We're only human. Super Mod

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    Yep, you're one of a kind. :wink: 

    This is the sort of thing I was talking about earlier, though. Peers talking. I remember one of the first times I talked to clay, this is what he said he really likes about Radicons (and I have to agree). I would like to note that clay and I have been friends pre-2007 (as 'nobi and I have as well).

    'nobi here has two of my pieces custom made for him, and that's the most any one person has of my work on any type of "commission" basis. plowking has some pieces of mine as well. The main reason is that they are really good friends of mine that I care deeply about. They've both treated me well, also. I also have customs from others (plowking, clay, sodawilly, TheDevastator, Rumble02, tabtiurf, Dormamu, vector, REDLINE, Sculpt-bot, Viagra Prme . . . you get the point) and it's the same sort of scenario.

    Anyways, the point I'm making with all of this, TA1, is you share with others whatever your comfort level and your reasons are. Others will respond how they respond. I'm just really thrilled that you're really trying to be this considerate to others while also being fair to yourself.
     
  19. JavaJim

    JavaJim Agilisticobot

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    What the... I SO told my mom to stay OFF the forums and leave you alone! ;) 

    <offtopic>
    Ordered your v4 fellows frumble last week along with some seeker rays (3 pak) after you posted this thread off shapeways and got a message this morning they are being made. Got each in different plastics as I wasn't sure what the differences were and wanted to get one in hand of each to see. v4 really impressed me that it could fit in the chest. Very nice job.
    </offtopic>
     

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