What are hobbies? Many of us may remember them as the way we got into this industry. Drawing, painting, sculpting, photography, all these things started out as activities we did in our leisure time solely for the pleasure. Then we found out our hobbies could become our careers, but many people then forgot to get new hobbies. Hobbies are important, and they help give back to your career through inspiration and experience.
Company Encouraged Hobby
I was interviewing for my second job in the 3D Industry when I was asked, what I thought was, an unexpected question.
“Besides 3D animation and Modeling, what other interests and activities do you have or participate in? Do you have any hobbies you would care to share?”
I was caught off guard but answered honestly that,
“Yes I enjoy playing soccer and guitar, and have recently become a fan of trying all different kinds of craft brewery beers.”
My future employers were happy to hear that I engaged in extracurricular activities, because to them it meant I had more interests and more background from which to draw inspiration from for my work. The company itself would also arrange for people within the company who had certain skill sets to give workshops and teach the rest of us those skills. We learned some watercolor techniques, as well as an introduction to welding, which both those experiences then fed back into work created later. The best companies know that providing employees ample personal time for their own projects and hobbies is beneficial to the company itself.
What kinds of Hobbies?
A hobby by definition should be something you enjoy doing. Though that doesn’t mean that you cannot try to pickup hobbies that you think will also lend advantages to your career. I have talked before about animators taking acting classes, but as a hobby an animator may join a local theater group. Those experiences on stage will only help the animator in portraying a performance of a character on the screen.
There are many people who enjoy working on old cars and fixing them up or maybe just taking apart transmissions and putting them back together again is something you are interested in. Working on mechanical repairs is great hands on experience for 3D modelers, especially hard surface modelers. There are also things like woodworking which work well as a hobby for a 3D modeler. Some woodworkers even use 3D software to plan their builds and cutlists.
Some hobbies may seem harder to get into, but there are always websites and classes that can be looked at and taken in order to help you get started. For instance, perhaps you want a hobby as well as a fairly low maintenance pet? If so then maybe starting an aquarium is something you would be interested in. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few more Pixar artists got aquariums while working on Finding Nemo.
While it is beneficial to have hobbies that can be related in some fashion, to your career, I believe it is most important to make sure it involves a different environment. If you spend most of your work day behind a computer screen then a hobby that is also behind a computer screen is not as beneficial. Try to find something that perhaps gets you outside or working face to face with people as opposed to through the computer. Hobbies can be a great way to relax and inspire future creations as well as offering stress release.