PPJ #13 – Cali Chesterman

I’m done faking it. You’re more than welcome to dock more points for a lack of a professional tone, but this is the reality of what’s going on right now in the state of the team and the project.

We are disgustingly behind on everything. I am going to take a huge part of this blame. While planning out this project, I didn’t factor in how much faculty feedback would be derailing us. We felt confident about everything until week 4 of Fall term, and since then the fun had been sucked out of our project. I also didn’t factor in the outright nonchalance of our team members, which has included not completing work on time, coming to meetings late or not at all, and not asking for help when it was needed, making us redo things over and over and over again. At this point, our advisor is pissed off at us, the team is irritated at each other over habitual working patterns, and everyone is constantly stressed out because we haven’t been outputting work that makes us happy.

I’ve been reaching out to mentors on how to get the ball rolling again, how to get people caring again, and how to be a better project manager. The advice has more or less been just push through it and remember why you all fell in love with the project and hold onto that. That does not cure laziness, apathy, or time, and it hasn’t been helpful advice. It feels very hopeless right now, even our grades are slinking every week. We have a lot of anxiety about the presentation for the end of the term. I want us to look really good and show off nice character animation, but the members of the team that haven’t been pulling their weight — it feels like that isn’t going to change, and nothing I say or do has been able to fix that.

We all put a lot of hours into the poster this week and we realized a lot of problems in our pipeline, organization, and surfacing. Aviva and Will, who were in charge of replacing the Renderman 20 → 21 environment textures, did not do so in the referenced files, but rather in the scene that was actively being worked on, in addition to it being the wrong/old texture type. The proper texture type was brought up in a previous meeting, but it seems some people were not paying attention so now we’re going to have to go back in and change all of this work. Again. I thought people were familiar enough with how referencing files works, that I wouldn’t have to explain these things. I hate micromanaging and want to trust team members to know what they’re doing, but I should have known better. What can I do better?

I worked on textures for the dog and man this week. Both of these tasks needed to be done last term. Even after I finished the textures, my team members are not happy with them because they’re too detailed and don’t match up perfectly with the concept art. It’s frustrating.

I have 20 shots to animate. It sucks. It’s a huge workload. I really appreciate Will volunteering to take on the textures because he has a shorter scene, but that wasn’t smooth.In addition to texture work, I also set up all the text and did the layout for the poster, to pass the Photoshop file to Aviva to work on in post.

The Good: The poster is done. It looks really cute. I want our animation to reach that quality.

The Bad: Senior project. Bad vibes. Some of my teammates have stopped caring. We’re all stressed out.

Nice Things to Say: Aviva is really good at post and 2D visualization. Aidan is really good at wrangling individual team members and speaking her mind. Anna is really good at everything, especially time management. Will is really good at cute game textures (that doesn’t help us here). I’m really good at painting and textures, but I think my work is too detailed for what we’re trying to accomplish. I love my teammates as people, but all 5 of us — we don’t work well together. I hope we don’t hold grudges against each other after we graduate.

What can I do better? Please send help.