With this being my first post I figured that I’d talk a little about what I do and how I’ve gotten where I am, an extended introduction I guess. I’m relatively new to the industry, fresh out of university and straight into work as a contract animator at Rare, making me one of the (very) lucky ones from my graduating year. Having said that I probably wouldn’t find myself here right now without the work placement that started this adventure back in 2009.
Almost exactly two years ago I got my first taste of what it would be like to work in games, something I had wanted to do for as long as I could remember, it took a while for me to find the right discipline but during art college I stumble across animation and since then I’ve been hooked. This became my chosen subject at degree level and at the end of my second year after a brief introduction to maya I found myself taking a year out from studying to do an animation internship at Lionhead Studios.
Lionhead was a huge learning curve for me in terms of animation and the speed at which each shot was turned around, it would also serve as an introduction to motion capture, which is something all animation jobs I’ve applied for has requested knowledge in but still isn’t taught at university. Over the course of that year I would get the chance to learn everything from calibrating mo cap systems, marker placement and setting up and running shoots to actually cleaning the data and getting it ready for the game as well as having the opportunity to work on some more ‘traditional’ handkeyed animations. Besides the animation work being there gave me the chance to really learn and get a look at what goes into making a game and the vast amount of disciplines/team members involved across production. After the placement was over I knew that games was where I wanted to be and returned to complete my final year at uni with my heart set on getting back into the industry.
Returning to uni was always going to be tricky given that I’d spent a year out and had a chance to learn how things were done and having become accustomed to the ways things were done at work compared with how the course structured work the initial few months felt like an uphill struggle. The overriding question being should I make my film to please the uni and tick all of their boxes to ensure a good grade or should I go with what I’d learnt on my internship and make a film that allowed me to demonstrate the skills I needed to show to get a job after graduating. Being so work focused I went with the latter, frustrating some of the tutors along the way I spend most of this year holed up in the animation studio’s in Newport to make the best film I could in the time that I had.
The film is about a young boy coming to terms with the loss of his father and losing his most cherished possession. He must go on a journey of discovery to find it,which will eventually allow him to move on. I think i had about 7 months in total to make this from initial idea to final hand in, I’d previously only animated in maya and over the 7 months had to teach myself how to model, rig and texture, fortunately I had a lot of good advice from various people I’d met in the industry and help from friends. There’s a few shots I still want to work up and have been doing so in down time at work so hopefully in the coming months/weeks I can post a final cut! Coming back to handkeyed animation after a year or so dealing with motion capture was very tricky indeed but that is another post in itself…
Within about a month of completion and a lot of job applications I’ve found myself working at Rare for the next couple of months, back on the motion capture clean up and most importantly back in games.