Watching the Pot

“A watched pot never boils.” That’s what they say, isn’t it? Well it’s the same for a watched UPS shipment, I guess. I’m trying to restrain myself, but today I couldn’t help but look online to track the shipment of my new computer parts. It was a bad idea … now I know that although one piece is in Indiana at the moment, the main part I’m really waiting for still has yet to reach the distributor. That means I probably won’t be able to realistically expect it until next Tuesday, at the earliest!

The sad thing, though, is that every day I know I won’t be able to stop myself from checking.

This same thing happens when I’m doing 3D animation, texturing, lighting, and rendering. When a scene is calculating, there is an option in Lightwave to leave the rendering window open and watch the render as it develops. Most of the time, it is pretty quick, so leaving it open makes no difference. But on high-polygon, HD resolution, detailed renders, watching the render slowly creep from the top to the bottom of the screen is like watching a Polaroid develop while it sits in your hand. Seconds seem to stretch on into eternity as you wait for that next 10 pixel line to appear. The way I constantly worry about whether or not the total image is going to come out OK only exacerbates the situation.

That’s why I close the render preview window, every time. Don’t get me wrong, the render preview may have some advantages, like giving you the ability to see if something’s wrong when the image is at 50% rather than having to wait until it is all the way done. More often than not, though, just having that open makes the render time run a good deal slower than it would if it were closed. So not only does it prevent me from “watching the pot,” it also speeds the overall render time in animations. Anyway, I’m usually rendering these things to separate images in their own folder, so I can go in there and check all my still frames side by side, even as the animation is continuing to render. So would that be more like “swimming in the pot?”  I don’t know, but what I do know is that it seems to finish a lot faster if I try my hardest not to sit there and watch it!