I feel that I'm lucky that I got to work on something really personal already (Dysmorphia) because it built me up to being able to work on this sort of project. I think one of the main things I struggled with was trying to detach myself from some of the personal aspects of the film, such as the room and whispers. I found the sound editing one of the more emotionally draining parts of the project, but I am happy that I worked through it and I think the whispers really enhance the impact of the film.
I'm also very happy that I've collaborated with Bruce Reid, it was a pleasure working with him and has further taught me to have trust and faith in others. I admit I was very anxious forfeiting some control over my project, but I am glad that I did because the final product would not have been as emotional if Bruce didn't create the soundtrack. I hope I get the opportunity to work with Bruce again in the future.
I was very nervous overall about the Maya aspect of the project starting off with due to the shift from using Mental Ray to Arnold. I knew I wanted to achieve realism but I wasn't sure how I'd be able to do this even with a renderer I was more familiar with...let alone having to re-learn a lot of it. This project helped me recognise how much I really do enjoy texturing and lighting, which is something I want to continue to learn and develop in the future.
I am relieved I was able to achieve the aesthetic that I have, because I honestly didn't feel confident in my abilities at first. I have a bad habit of saying that it was 'luck' that I pushed the right buttons to achieve what I wanted, but I'm trying to allow myself to recognise that it had a lot to do with my ability to sit down and play around with settings and research till I was happy with it.
Overall I think I could have done better managing my stress and emotions in relation to the project, but I feel it is still an improvement from where I have been on past projects. I had moments where this project eclipsed other parts of my life and I was probably more obsessive over it than I should have been. But again, I think I have improved on this especially considering how personal this project was.
I also wish I had researched a bit more into the rendering process as I'm not sure if I accidentally caused the render times to be higher than they really needed to be. That said, I am pleased with how I managed my time and organised myself to ensure I had all the footage I wanted fully rendered as consistently as possible. I usually struggle with making compromises, but I was able to decide that sometimes I had to decrease the quality of my renders to ensure everything was done in time and that I could at least improve on those scenes in After Effects
In addition to enjoying the lighting and texturing part of my film, I did also really enjoy working on the VFX in After Effects as well as simulations in Maya. I wish that I could have experimented more with other visual effects/compositing software, such as Nuke or Houdini but I knew I had to limit how many new things I was trying (Substance Painter/Designer, InDesign) to ensure I created a final product. It was a struggle to get things like nParticles and nCloth to work the way that I want them to, but I'm glad I pushed myself through it to show that I can do it.
It was honestly amazing and so much fun to focus on one film for a whole year. It is incredibly satisfying to see the final product and how months of work coalesced into something complete and polished. Overall I hope that it creates some sort of impact - whether it makes someone feel less alone or if it encourages someone think of mental illness in a way they have not before. While I am somewhat sad about being done now and I'm nervous about the future, I am also looking forward to it.