I think that by the end of this, I will just focus my art on low-poly 3D models and hand-painted textures. I have been putting a lot of thought into which form of game art I should specialize in because I have been learning both 2D and 3D art for several years but feel that it is taking me a long time to master any given area. I realize that it's probably best to focus on one and master it first before I attempt to find jobs that focus on something else, and the main reason why is because of rates. If I am really good at a niche, then I can ask for more when I do get a job that demands it. People tend to know others by their main trade, the thing that they do best that characterizes them. This is why in RPGs, there is such thing as a "class", because in order to have a well-rounded team, you need the best team members that fulfill a certain role. And it so happens that you need to spend most of your time on certain areas in life to be that good at them.
However, if I remain a jack-of-trades, master-of-none, then I don't feel that I can really ask for very much whenever an opportunity arises. Sometimes, clients that do approach me will usually have a limited budget and can't afford to pay that much anyways. But an important issue is that having to switch gears occasionally means that I will inevitably forget certain techniques and will always need to refresh them again, whereas if I specialize, I will always be practicing skills that are more closely related. I suppose actually that specializing means that unused, unrelated techniques will be neglected to the point of eventually forgetting them. However, even if you were to retain some knowledge of a skill, if you aren't keeping up to date with the latest trends and techniques, then you won't be able to compete very well should you try to pick it up again. There is already enough on the plate in just one area of art really. For example, I have knowledge of creating pixel art due to my experience in creating many forms of digital art and through years of observation, but because I don't specialize in it, I don't have really complicated masterpieces to show that define the epitome of pixel art. All of the really technical skills needed in creating really detailed graphics and smooth animations for an entire game in pixel art to a truly excellent quality requires a lifetime to achieve. And it is only achieved when one commits 100% to pixel art and nothing else.
The reality is that you can't be good at everything, and to be able to be competitive and stand out you need to be the best at something. You only have 24 hours in a day, and must make the best of it each day. It's tough because I believe that life has an infinite number of things to learn and explore and we should try to investigate different perspectives to better understand the world in which we live in. Even though we have strengths and weaknesses and we feel that it is easier to pursue opportunities that work to our strengths, there's nothing stopping us from building up our weak points and overcoming them. I find it challenging to say the least. Sometimes I tend to see the grass being greener on the other side, the outcome of decisions not taken. I wonder what life would be like had I decided to do this instead of that.
But I digress. If I recall, I started this path of varying my art styles because I was genuinely interested in different forms of digital art and wanted to experiment. However, as time went by, I realized that I should just start trying to find a way to be compensated for my time and work. I broadened my art techniques in hopes that I would have more work opportunities, but after all this time I realized that I might have received more attention had I simply specialized and mastered one form of art from the beginning, like most artists.
It's been a dilemma of mine that has lasted for more than a decade. As a kid, I taught myself how to draw things with pencil on paper from my imagination, and actually aspired to be a concept artist by popular games and films at the time and saw that concept artist was actually a job. Then I got introduced to Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator which meant that graphic design stuff was an option. Then I got to learn Autodesk Maya which meant that 3D modeling, rigging and animation were options. Then I learned a bit of Mudbox which meant that high-poly sculpting was an option. Then I saw that pixel art was trending because of the nostalgia from retro games that we missed when growing up, and that indie game devs adopted it because it was supposedly easier to do graphics in. I was on a mad quest to excel at them all. After all, I went to university for some of that, why should I forget what I learned back then after paying lots of money?
Perhaps I still can master multiple art areas. But it will simply take even more of my time. Nowadays I ask myself, "Do I want to keep doing this or that for a living?" I am getting tired and losing interest in working behind my computer and sitting at my desk. Maybe I will change careers and enter the world of fitness.