Capacity to Handle Frustration in the Design Process – David Torres-Prats MA.


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Capacity to Handle Frustration in the Design Process. By David Torres MA Pro. Alias Modeler.

Article No. 1 of 8.

As a transport and product designer, my role nowadays in the Audi Konzept design studio is to support and help the concept design team, as a member of the CAD modeling department within the studio. This means that we form work-teams including a designer-Alias modeler for each project. Sometimes depending on the project there can be more than one modeler/designer working on the project. The projects I have been involved in start from the very initial point of the design of the vehicle concept (first volumes, proportions and concept) to more restrictive projects, such as production models or show cars with Strak parts.
I have been thinking for a long time about writing this, what to say and the way to approach it.
In colleges we can learn the theory and tools for the work we will try to do in the near future. In this case, Alias modeling. This is important, of course, in fact is vital, the more you know the tools the more you can concentrate on many other aspects that are also very important to achieve the success and excellence demanded in a studio work environment !
You undertake years of hard study and preparation, then, one day, suddenly it happens. You have a job in the real world! With this article and those that will follow in the series, my intention is to explain some important things that usually you cannot learn on a Design or Modeling courses (mostly because they don’t teach this in my experience) and you probably will discover with the experience. Some of these things are difficult to teach to a student, without the right environment, but at least, I hope this will give you the basic tools, which will enable you to be prepared.
I will start with The “Capacity to Deal with Frustration.
I must say that I’m not an expert in psychology but I use this term as the capacity to overcome situations where the events, results, etc.. are not going as one would expect or the project is not going as well as you desire.
As in many other jobs, you have been dedicating a lot of effort, time and expectations modeling a design.
When you are modeling, I think that the Frustration can come from various different angles:

Quantic Design .
Mistake surprise .


Be prepared to make change, even when you are completely convinced that this is the best model you have ever made! I’m not saying that change is always good, but it’s part of the creative process and in the automotive design it’s really alive. You will find constant changes (and with constant I mean, every day or even more frequently), from the beginning, when you are just modeling big volumes and shapes, up until the point where you are just finishing the model full of detail and pieces!

The first ones are probably the ones that you would expect, these are usually better tolerated than the later ones. In the beginning you will be mentalized to explore and this implies change but when the model/product starts to be really closed and done or the deadline date to deliver the design is rapidly nearing, if you are not used to it, it may be frustrating to change. Sometimes these changes can be little movements of curves (maybe 1 or 2 mm) or they can be bigger than this. In this moment, even these “small” changes many times implies undoing a lot of work around the change, and then doing it again. In this case you could feel frustration. Train your capacity to overcome this, look for the positive side and try to learn as much as you can from each change and the origin of it!

Quantic Design!

I like to use this words when I start modeling a sketch that may seem to be impossible to do or understand. Sometimes, your experience can play a good or bad role in this situations. In the good ones it will help you to see in advance problems, ways to solve them or understand better the concept of the designer but in the bad ones, it can just block you in a position of negativity around it as your brain uses your experience to build an answer before things happen. In this case you can also


experiment with the Frustration. When you find a “Quantic Design” moment, try to use only your “good” experience and just do it, try it and then explain the situation to the designer and just get on and model something, maybe this gives a positive result, or a negative result so the designer can then explore new things or this can give a complete new unexpected design that could also be good for the project. I any case you should never feel that doing “Quantic Design” is a waste of time. It’s just another way for everybody to explore and learn!

Mistake Surprise!

Put in this situation, you have finished a task, maybe a complete body side and you feel happy with it and confident of the quality. Then you show this to the designer absolutely sure that he/she will just say “Wow” and after just 5 seconds of revision, he finds a silly beginner’s mistake that you are always looking not to do and you can’t believe that it is there, but it is! At this point, you can also feel Frustration, mainly because you had created some expectations about the work that are just instantly wiped-out before your eyes, after the discovery of the mistake.
It can be a thousand things but usually this kind of mistakes happens when you try to jump steps in the modeling process. Of course, you should have some flexibility in the process and modeling but there are some steps/rules that would be better to follow. Some of them are the ones that you have learned in the studies and others you will have learned through your experience within the studio. Usually everybody has their own methodological steps that work for them, try to learn as much as you can, listen and make your “rules and steps” in order to avoid basic mistakes and save time. Following this, will give confidence to you and also the designer will understand better your way of working.
I hope that this short article may help you. Remember to stay positive, have tons of high expectations and dreams, listen, learn, be patient and explain your point of view if the situation requires it. Analyze the feeling of Frustration and the situation that caused it and try to turn it in your favour not against you!

If you found this interesting, It will be an honour to see you again in my next article where I will try to reflect my point of view on Team Work.!





David Torres-Prats

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167 Euros (225 USD equivalent Nov.2013) per month. You get your .wire reviewed by me every 15 days and you will receive : feedback, instruction, tips and advice from me personally. Access to all videos including my ” Private Student Training Videos”. You will build at least 3 complete automotive exteriors. The course also includes an intensive Reverse Engineering section, which required by most employers.

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Fast Track Full Pro. “One to One” Course with weekly reviews and coaching 250 Euros (USD. 338 approx. Nov. 2013) per month. One to One Private tuition. You will receive specific geometry and meshes and modeling from me personally where required, to help you to complete your exteriors quickly to an Industry entry level standard. This means a bigger investment, but once in an Alias modeling job you will get back what you invested many times over and be able to work anywhere in the world

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Graham Bullock B.Ed.(CNAA)Des.Tech.