Tabico once told me not to let ‘perfect be the enemy of good.’ Which is another way of saying that its important to know when you’ve taken something far enough and that expending any more energy at that point may not pay off with additional quality in proportion to the time spent. Since she’s quite intelligent, I tend to listen when she talks, but this piece of advice is difficult sometimes because its in my nature to be a perfectionist.
With my current secret project being so complex, I find myself constantly triaging my work; there’s so much to do I can’t get hung up on the little details the way I might if this were a single manip. So, I find myself in a constant struggle to know when I’ve done enough and that its time to move onto the next thing.
Last night, I had one of those ‘forest for the trees’ moments and realized that one of my characters didn’t match across all her images. I had the same model, on the same set, but the images weren’t from the same photo series. The lighting was different and, more to the point, her clothing was different.
Disaster. Calamity. Despair.
I considered my options. The effort required to fix things of that magnitude would be enormous. The only alternative would be to replace the images and totally start from scratch with this character. It seemed an impossible choice. I had spent so long finding this series of images; how could I just let them go now and find new ones? It made more sense to work with my existing images; however long it took.
Somewhere over my shoulder, I heard Tabico whispering sage advice.
In a true moment of inspiration (as in the thought lept into my mind fully formed), it occurred to me that I had a set of pics I’d been saving for a rainy day that might work with just a little photoshoppery. I did a few quick tests…there was a heartbeat here! I got to work and here a few short hours later…well I’m back where I started. But it was a necessary detour and really the only choices were scrap the whole project, spend another week just fixing my mis-matched images, or take an evening to retrace my steps a little (but only a little).
In the end, I’m happy with the outcome and happy with myself for not letting my perfectionism throw a wrench in the whole affair. For a person like me, that’s a profound thing. I’ve quit more things in my life than I’ve finished; all because I felt some shame that it didn’t represent my best effort. I’m really happy to have not let that happen here.
The compromise I made will have consequences; the new model is such a stark departure from how I had intended the character to look, I’m going to have to write my way around her appearance. But, and this just occurred to me this moment, that’s just opens up another opportunity to be creative; why would I cheat myself out of that?