Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What goes into making a designer?

Ok Im going to rant a little about something I see all to often thrown around that I find extremely irritating. I normally make it a policy to not to do this but I feel that on behalf of myself and many other designers something needs to be said. Today I saw an all to frequent comment on a blog "After all, couture and fashion cost naught but thought and time in Second Life plus maybe a $10L upload fee. " I am sorry but this quite frankly is a very uniformed statement and is most likely true of someone who may just beginning to toy with the idea of designing. Before you get out the pitchforks to start the fires burning let me explain all that really goes on behind creating a good quality designer.

First thing you need is software while there maybe other software thats free in my opinion in the long run your going to need Adobe photoshop currently priced at $999 or $349 for an upgrade. Next thing youll need is a wacom drawing tablet, the smallest wacom intuos 4 by 6 is $229.00. You will also need a reasonably good high quality monitor, I state this because while some will say well I have a monitor already it may not be suitable. The reason is color monitors are fairly cheap these days but the cheaper ones tend to give you poor color values. Next you will need some training, there are many ways to obtain training, theres a ton of tutorials on the net or you will need to pay for training. Again these are my opinions but I think your best bet is go to your community college and sign up for a class and supplement with tutorials you find. Cost for a class will vary here your talking about a $100 plus materials and parking.

Ok these to me are the basics for a beginning designer who has looked at it a bit and decided they really want to do this. Now lets take a look at what goes on beyond the basics. I'm basing this on myself and some designers I know who are pursuing design somewhat seriously. While community college classes and tutorials are a great start to go beyond that your going to have to get advanced training, that comes at a cost. Typically classes run anywere from$800 to several thousand dollars depending on the intensivity of the course or workshop you are taking. Add to that books and magazines you will need for reference. Next you will need a high quality digital camera, a good camera of the quality you need is going to run you about $700, you also need a tripod and lighting, you can get a reasonable tripod for $80 lighting is quite expensive a beginning lighting kit will run $300 to get the bare minimum.

Some of these things you will not need in the beginning of your designing career but as you improve you will need to add them. Ok you say did all that done right? Well that depends on your desire to improve and the quality you desire to reach. For me and professional artists I speak to training and learning is a process that never stops unless you wish to become stagnant and not grow. In addition to taking classes in photoshop I recommend taking classes in drawing, painting and color in design using real medium not the computer. Why you might ask? this gives you a basic fundamental ground to work from so you will understand why things work.

This doesnt even touch the costs and training 3d modeling which is starting to become one of the tools that designers are needing.

One last thing before I get off my soap box, the phrase "its free all it is is your time" well many of you have or have had a job in real life where you collect a hourly or weekly paycheck. I highly doubt if you went to work tomorrow and your boss said oh we have decided were not going to pay you today after all its just your time yould be very happy.

I recently saw a tv show the name escapes me but it was based on the cost of your time on normal mundane activities such as doing laundry, dog walking, taking your pet to the vet to loading your ipod they calculated the time these things took and how much time you were losing to them each week and it amazed me when you started totaling it all up how much time we lose just running errands. The focus of the show was the many services out there that you can hire to perform these tasks, who knew you could hire someone to load your ipod and set up play lists? My point is your time has value and it doesnt really come free as its at a cost of something else, it takes time to take classes, it takes time to seach the net for tutorials, it takes time to make dinner and do laundry.

So perhaps before someone says its just your time it costs you nothing maybe think twice....


Rose Farina said...

Actually I wish I could afford all those fun programs! :) Someday though I will then watch out! :)

Alienbear Gupte said...

Alienbear raise up her hand & leg to agree Sparkle conversation. Yes we really spent a lot in creating or designing anything in SL but not just $10L for each uploading cost. I bet the TOP & QUALITY clothing designer must spent much more than me as a Jewelry designer. But well did it cost me nothing? I can say NO.

As I am premium member of SL, so I need to pay $72 every year. Then I need to rent a place or buy a place of my shop. Now I own my 512sq.m that cost me like $37. Then I rent a half sim & few mini spot in SL for promoting, that cost me around $190 EVERY MONTHS. I am suck in photoshop, so all texture I paint on my designs are bought from SL texture shops that the cost is much more than uploading one by one in $10L each. Yes I am perfectionist, so I spent one month to seek & bought them before I started my shop. I can't calculate how much I spent as that is real lot. Okies than I start designing & creating my jewelries. Well I spend a week & more to design each jewelry & Then spend one day to two week to craft out each by prims. Please noted that I spend like 16 hours in SL per day. Okies even if you think that TIME = NOTHING, each uploading cost of my ads = $10L, let said if one of my design have 15 colours, that cost me $150Lfor just uploading the ads of one small design. For making the pictures more attractive, I need to have a photoshop & learn how to use. This software = money! Since I think my skill not really good so now I apply a course in studying Multi media Graphic design to enrich my knowledge in Advertising. That is MONEY also! Then as I set the texture on my jewelry = need money too. For my design, one jewelry may use over 5 texture just on the metal. count how much it will cost for my high prim & detailed jewelries? okies, to make all look good, GOOD & FAST COMPUTER IS A MUST! That is money! Because of this game, I upgrade my ram & CPU & graphic card. What are they? they = money!

The conclusion is even you count my time as nothing, I still need to spent huge money for me to creating & design items to sell in SL. To be honest, after counting all these, the price I set now just make me earn nothing from this game but still losing.

The conclusion I can make is ...
it really depends on you make "JUNK" or really make "Quality items". The terms "Quality" really so personal, but I think that if you deduct the design itself, just consider the prim work, the texture make, the flexi setting, the script you write, they = MONEY also. If you count the design also, it = much much money!

So I think if you think design & craft items for selling in SL = nothing cost you? You can try once & see if that is the truth. but sure not including "Junk". If you can make items like Sparkle Skye Or Nicky Ree, but cost you nothing, Please tell me, I really need to learn from you.

SadieRose said...

I, for one appreciate the time and talent involved in the design to manufacture process.SL is not a game but a venue, therefore viable to all protocols and standards of any life.Quality counts:in RL I do not have the option of speaking to a designer;that Sl designers are there from conception to inception, including their customers in Groups,notices and events, tell me that behind all that creativity is a person who genuinely cares and that is priceless beyond compare!
Well Done!

Whimsy Winx said...

Anyone who made that comment is obviously a third rate designer, or has no clue. Honestly to stand out and make a name for yourself you have to put a great deal into your designs. I won't shop at a place were it's obvious they didn't put the effort in. Admittedly some people just have a gift, and can work at a level where they may be able to turn out a design in a short amount of time, but these people may have mastered a skill to the point of it being second nature to do something a certain way. There are others that can turn out a piece in the same amount of time with little effort involved and it can show. Crap textures, crap seams, all around sloppiness. Some people just don't want to put in the extra effort. I shop where I can find someone who has put some time in. My lindens may just be pennies on the dollar, but dammit inworld, I make them count. It's wearable virtual art, and it deserves to be approached from that perspective.