This is wisdom about how to break out a rut when you’re banging your head against the wall and making zero progress. I wish I’d had more appreciation for this when I was maybe 25.
My first for-real CityEngine project is not an urban landscape, but a public sports complex. Few buildings, lots of emphasis on terrain, access roads, and both natural and impervious surfaces, a big variety of textures that must all work together. My typical approach is attention to the minuscule and so I carefully crafted each component, with the expectation they would all fit together nicely when the time came.
I was trying for a seamless look, I came out with a hodge-podge mess. I should have known better, but sometimes that’s the path you must travel.
Over the years I’ve been a musician, a broadcast journalist, a writer, web developer and code head. All of these are mastered through a day-to-day grind, a life of repetition. With enough practice, you will (should) get better. But the real learning comes when you are able to step back from your work, to see the bigger picture and apply what you observe to changing your daily approach. That’s why athletes watch videotape, why artists watch and listen to themselves as a member of the audience. Then they make adjustments.
So this is not an installment about what I did technically, but what I did mentally to solve this problem. I took a wrecking ball to my approach for a couple of days, worked the problem from a completely different angle and got the results I was after. If you are a young creator, learn how and when to do this!