Thinking about moving into Animation

Thinking about moving into Animation

Post by Everett Hicke » Wed, 11 Jun 2003 02:33:08



I'm currently a programmer, at least professionally.  I code in roughly 6
languages at "master level" (industry term, though I haven't considered
myself a master of anything since Pascal), for multiple OS's, and have been
the primary person responsible for much of my employer's innovation (some
heavy duty automation and large scale control for the biggest webhoster in
the US... hehe).  I've proven myself in my current field, and have proven
that I can do practically any damn thing that comes my way...  a plus on a
resume for any job, I'd assume.

However, while I enjoy programming, I enjoy modeling and animation even
more.  I've been toying with 3d Studio since version 3 for dos (on my old
386 w/ an added math coprocessor specifically for 3ds), and have done a
little contract work.  I'm not sure how I compare to many experts, but I've
already seen that I can surpass quite a few professionals (if you don't
count movie studios, I'd say I'm pretty damned good).  I'm working on a
portfolio (cdrom and dvd versions), as well as some animation projects of my
own to show what I'm capable of.  No education on the matter, but quite a
bit of experience (a little over a decade now, I think).  I've also got a
few plugins of my own that handle things like gravity, landscaping,
character animation, and a few industrial motion simulators.

Here's my question.  As someone with no real credentials, but (what I hope
is) an impressive demonstration on-demand, where would I go to find
companies looking to hire?  I  can find coding jobs in seconds after
looking, but I've only seen one or two animation or even modeling jobs, and
both were for * programs I'd never even heard of.  3d Studio is the
most commonly used app I hear, so where do the companies that use it go to
find people?  And more importantly, if you can visually demonstrate that you
know what you're doing and have been doing it for years, how much will that
help in light of no formal training?  (in programming that would be worth
solid gold compared to any degree, but what about in animation?)

And for that matter, honestly, what capabilities should I be able to show
before I've earned the right to even say I'm good enough to go pro?  Other
than just plain artistic talent and a good eye, what sort of benchmark is
there to seperate the men from the boys?  For instance, I'm a little
inexperienced with nurbs, but I can cook up a wicked MaxScript to do just
about anything I want.

And please, no flames... I know the job market sucks like a hoover right
now, and I know there's a lot of competition in this market.  I'm willing to
move (Houston is not the best place for this sort of thing), and I'm willing
to take a less than standard pay rate (I make about 32k right now, far under
market value for what I do, but I can afford to go a little lower if need
be).  I'd love to move onto a track that would lead to special effects or
even better, but I'll do industrial animation or even corporate logos if
that's where I'd have to start.

--
"With the basest of companions have I walked the streets of Houston."
St Augustine...  sorta.

 
 
 

Thinking about moving into Animation

Post by Brizo » Wed, 11 Jun 2003 06:21:02


| I'm currently a programmer, at least professionally.  I code in
| roughly 6 languages at "master level" (industry term, though I
| haven't considered myself a master of anything since Pascal), for
| multiple OS's, and have been the primary person responsible for much
| of my employer's innovation (some heavy duty automation and large
| scale control for the biggest webhoster in the US... hehe).  I've
| proven myself in my current field, and have proven that I can do
| practically any damn thing that comes my way...  a plus on a resume
| for any job, I'd assume.
|
| However, while I enjoy programming, I enjoy modeling and animation
| even more.  I've been toying with 3d Studio since version 3 for dos
| (on my old 386 w/ an added math coprocessor specifically for 3ds),
| and have done a little contract work.  I'm not sure how I compare to
| many experts, but I've already seen that I can surpass quite a few
| professionals (if you don't count movie studios, I'd say I'm pretty
| damned good).  I'm working on a portfolio (cdrom and dvd versions),
| as well as some animation projects of my own to show what I'm capable
| of.  No education on the matter, but quite a bit of experience (a
| little over a decade now, I think).  I've also got a few plugins of
| my own that handle things like gravity, landscaping, character
| animation, and a few industrial motion simulators.
|
| Here's my question.  As someone with no real credentials, but (what I
| hope is) an impressive demonstration on-demand, where would I go to
| find companies looking to hire?  I  can find coding jobs in seconds
| after looking, but I've only seen one or two animation or even
| modeling jobs, and both were for * programs I'd never even heard
| of.  3d Studio is the most commonly used app I hear, so where do the
| companies that use it go to find people?  And more importantly, if
| you can visually demonstrate that you know what you're doing and have
| been doing it for years, how much will that help in light of no
| formal training?  (in programming that would be worth solid gold
| compared to any degree, but what about in animation?)
|
| And for that matter, honestly, what capabilities should I be able to
| show before I've earned the right to even say I'm good enough to go
| pro?  Other than just plain artistic talent and a good eye, what sort
| of benchmark is there to seperate the men from the boys?  For
| instance, I'm a little inexperienced with nurbs, but I can cook up a
| wicked MaxScript to do just about anything I want.
|
| And please, no flames... I know the job market sucks like a hoover
| right now, and I know there's a lot of competition in this market.
| I'm willing to move (Houston is not the best place for this sort of
| thing), and I'm willing to take a less than standard pay rate (I make
| about 32k right now, far under market value for what I do, but I can
| afford to go a little lower if need be).  I'd love to move onto a
| track that would lead to special effects or even better, but I'll do
| industrial animation or even corporate logos if that's where I'd have
| to start.

    Well judging from your claims that your better than some pro's yet
basically you've only toyed with 3D. I'd say myself and likely every
employer and artists be they newbie or pro out there who read that are gonna
want to see you prove it, do you have images you can post somewhere to
backup your claims? Something we can look at _now_ since you say your
previous work is that good, you should still have it around to prove it, no
proof, no credibility, without those its unlikely anyone will give you the
time of day, you should atleast be able to prove it before anyone will be
willing to test you for a week or so in some work experience position

From a professional & personal point of view.. your heading for a fall with
an attitude like that, might have worked in the typing pool with the other
coders, but artist will rip you to shreads and pick at your work until you
run away screaming.. and no I ain't pulling your leg :)

But good luck all the same heh

 
 
 

Thinking about moving into Animation

Post by napp » Wed, 11 Jun 2003 06:44:33




> From a professional & personal point of view.. your heading for a fall
with
> an attitude like that, might have worked in the typing pool with the other
> coders, but artist will rip you to shreads and pick at your work until you
> run away screaming.. and no I ain't pulling your leg :)

um... excuse me but programmers don't work in a *ing typing pool and if
you think the bar is high for artists(yeah right) try programming my
friend.NOt a programmer are ya?  Ain't no friggin typing pool . And I ain't
pullin' your leg.
 
 
 

Thinking about moving into Animation

Post by gruh » Wed, 11 Jun 2003 06:50:18


Quote:> Ain't no friggin typing pool . And I ain't pullin' your leg.

You mayn't be pulling his leg, and you aren't technically incorrect. But
there's a lot of departments out there that have six month projects with
staff meetings and four guys trying to work out how to write Hello World in
VB.
 
 
 

Thinking about moving into Animation

Post by Brizo » Wed, 11 Jun 2003 07:55:32



|
|| From a professional & personal point of view.. your heading for a
|| fall with an attitude like that, might have worked in the typing
|| pool with the other coders, but artist will rip you to shreads and
|| pick at your work until you run away screaming.. and no I ain't
|| pulling your leg :)
|
|
| um... excuse me but programmers don't work in a *ing typing pool
| and if you think the bar is high for artists(yeah right) try
| programming my friend.NOt a programmer are ya?  Ain't no friggin
| typing pool . And I ain't pullin' your leg.

oh you poor humourless sod LOL!!

 
 
 

Thinking about moving into Animation

Post by Arkla » Wed, 11 Jun 2003 08:13:34


i'm gonna agree here... you know why i do 3d art? cause its *ing easy
compared to coding. one *ign semi colon... sheesh.

anyway, as far as i, who have not been employed as an artist mind you, am
awar,e a kickass demo reel is, similar to programming, far better then any
degree. brizon does have a point though... got any work we can see? you have
a website i would guess working where ya do. lets see some eh? :)

--
Arklan
"The Cutting Edge is nothing. Give me the Unexplored void that is Ultimate
Knowledge."
3D Gallery: http://www.veryComputer.com/





> > From a professional & personal point of view.. your heading for a fall
> with
> > an attitude like that, might have worked in the typing pool with the
other
> > coders, but artist will rip you to shreads and pick at your work until
you
> > run away screaming.. and no I ain't pulling your leg :)

> um... excuse me but programmers don't work in a *ing typing pool and if
> you think the bar is high for artists(yeah right) try programming my
> friend.NOt a programmer are ya?  Ain't no friggin typing pool . And I
ain't
> pullin' your leg.

 
 
 

Thinking about moving into Animation

Post by gruh » Wed, 11 Jun 2003 08:36:45


Quote:> compared to coding. one *ign semi colon... sheesh.

And you know, it isn't the semi-colons that are the hard part.
 
 
 

Thinking about moving into Animation

Post by Arkla » Wed, 11 Jun 2003 10:36:48


no damn kidding... *shudder at memories*

--
Arklan
"The Cutting Edge is nothing. Give me the Unexplored void that is Ultimate
Knowledge."
3D Gallery: http://www.veryComputer.com/


Quote:> > compared to coding. one *ign semi colon... sheesh.

> And you know, it isn't the semi-colons that are the hard part.

 
 
 

Thinking about moving into Animation

Post by napp » Wed, 11 Jun 2003 22:45:56


yeah and there are tons of rooms full of artists trying to come up with the
next irritatingly boorish animation for some cheezy flash website...

Quote:> > Ain't no friggin typing pool . And I ain't pullin' your leg.

> You mayn't be pulling his leg, and you aren't technically incorrect. But
> there's a lot of departments out there that have six month projects with
> staff meetings and four guys trying to work out how to write Hello World
in
> VB.

 
 
 

Thinking about moving into Animation

Post by Everett Hicke » Wed, 11 Jun 2003 22:52:44



Quote:>     Well judging from your claims that your better than some pro's yet
> basically you've only toyed with 3D. I'd say myself and likely every
> employer and artists be they newbie or pro out there who read that are
gonna
> want to see you prove it, do you have images you can post somewhere to
> backup your claims? Something we can look at _now_ since you say your
> previous work is that good, you should still have it around to prove it,
no
> proof, no credibility, without those its unlikely anyone will give you the
> time of day, you should atleast be able to prove it before anyone will be
> willing to test you for a week or so in some work experience position

> From a professional & personal point of view.. your heading for a fall
with
> an attitude like that, might have worked in the typing pool with the other
> coders, but artist will rip you to shreads and pick at your work until you
> run away screaming.. and no I ain't pulling your leg :)

> But good luck all the same heh

No complaints... hehe.  I've said much the same thing about programming (I
don't want to see someone's resume or even examples, I want to see them make
something right there in my office as I watch before I decide if they're
good).  But just like programming, animation and even just simple modeling
is not an industry full of bad-asses.  You have some damned good graphics
professionals that I couldn't even stand in the same room with, just as
there are some all-star coders I'd kneel before (not many, though... hehe...
In industrial terms I've made some of the more groundbreaking automation out
there).  But there's also I'd say at least a quarter of "programmers" out
there who I could easily replace with a high school kid who considers it a
hobby.  And I've seen a number of animators (simulations, court room, and
even on friggin tv documentaries) who remind me of where I was years ago
(and I'm generally held back by my computer's firepower more than anything
else).  I'm not saying that a hobby of animation is enough to make me a pro
(though I've gotten paid a number of times over the years and have a
contract with a hospital right now), but I am saying that there's a number
of people who are "professionals" in the field who couldn't compete with
many "amatures".  Such as people who do work for some of the lower budget
documentaries out there (some of what's on the Discovery Channel isn't
exactly hard to duplicate)

Now here's one question...  I have one primary weakness in 3d studio...
people.  I can do complex machines, buildings, environments and landscapes,
bones and organs, planets, atoms, spacecraft in full dogfights, etc...  some
of them better than what I see in many lower-budget movies.  I know for many
jobs that's an absolute requirement, but I also know quite a bit of the work
out there doesn't require people at all.  About how much will that hurt?
(and I'm starting to seriously work with making my own plugins, so that may
not be an issue much longer since I have my own character controller
developing).

Only thing I have up right now are a few test shots (and I mean test shots -
not meant to be viewed, just me doing some rough sketches of what I was
going to work on) from a project from two years ago.  No real atmospherics,
low res landscapes and textures, simple movement, etc.  Their... progeny...
will be part of the demo tape.

btw: what do people like to see on a demo tape?  Do they want full animation
sequences (I usually stick to about 15 mins) or everything kept shorter,
just enough for them to see what's there?

 
 
 

Thinking about moving into Animation

Post by Everett Hicke » Wed, 11 Jun 2003 23:20:28


Ever notice how the bigger a production team is, the longer it takes for the
work to get done?  On one hand you could say that it's due to the size of
the project that a team would be assigned to, but look at other endeavors
that are just as great but had small 3-5 man teams...  hell, games are a
good example (graphics and programming, as well as other tasks).  The more
people you assign to a project like that, the longer it seems to take due to
all the coordination, and the more... generic... it starts to look.


> yeah and there are tons of rooms full of artists trying to come up with
the
> next irritatingly boorish animation for some cheezy flash website...


> > > Ain't no friggin typing pool . And I ain't pullin' your leg.

> > You mayn't be pulling his leg, and you aren't technically incorrect. But
> > there's a lot of departments out there that have six month projects with
> > staff meetings and four guys trying to work out how to write Hello World
> in
> > VB.

 
 
 

Thinking about moving into Animation

Post by Henry Chinansk » Wed, 11 Jun 2003 23:36:06


Quote:> btw: what do people like to see on a demo tape?  Do they want full
animation
> sequences (I usually stick to about 15 mins) or everything kept shorter,
> just enough for them to see what's there?

Choose the area you're best at. ie. Modeling, Lighting, Animator. Dump all
the rest. You are applying to that job only. And that's what they are
looking for. They aren't looking for mr/mrs "Know it all". They are looking
for the best person to will one spot ( animator, texture artist, etc.).

Keep it short and put in only the very best material you have. Max length
would be 5 min. Preferably under 3 minutes. Put your very best material in
the begining of the tape.

Best regards,
Hank

 
 
 

Thinking about moving into Animation

Post by Martin Rowle » Thu, 12 Jun 2003 00:05:29


To the Op - go to Google and select the "Groups" tag at the top
- enter Demo Reels and hit enter. There have been several
discussion on what makes up a good demo reel on many of the
different graphics newsgroups. A few of the responses have come
from people in the industry who's job is to look at such things.

Just a suggestion.

Martin


> > btw: what do people like to see on a demo tape?  Do they want full
> animation
> > sequences (I usually stick to about 15 mins) or everything kept shorter,
> > just enough for them to see what's there?

> Choose the area you're best at. ie. Modeling, Lighting, Animator. Dump all
> the rest. You are applying to that job only. And that's what they are
> looking for. They aren't looking for mr/mrs "Know it all". They are looking
> for the best person to will one spot ( animator, texture artist, etc.).

> Keep it short and put in only the very best material you have. Max length
> would be 5 min. Preferably under 3 minutes. Put your very best material in
> the begining of the tape.

> Best regards,
> Hank

 
 
 

Thinking about moving into Animation

Post by napp » Thu, 12 Jun 2003 00:23:20


that is so true. I am working with a team now on a win32/OSX app and I am
not in charge this time so it is a bit frustrating to see ... It is always a
real test to make sure the team is just the right size and not too large.
The bigger the clumsier. That's why large projects like OSX and Windows will
NEVER really work right.


> Ever notice how the bigger a production team is, the longer it takes for
the
> work to get done?  On one hand you could say that it's due to the size of
> the project that a team would be assigned to, but look at other endeavors
> that are just as great but had small 3-5 man teams...  hell, games are a
> good example (graphics and programming, as well as other tasks).  The more
> people you assign to a project like that, the longer it seems to take due
to
> all the coordination, and the more... generic... it starts to look.



> > yeah and there are tons of rooms full of artists trying to come up with
> the
> > next irritatingly boorish animation for some cheezy flash website...


> > > > Ain't no friggin typing pool . And I ain't pullin' your leg.

> > > You mayn't be pulling his leg, and you aren't technically incorrect.
But
> > > there's a lot of departments out there that have six month projects
with
> > > staff meetings and four guys trying to work out how to write Hello
World
> > in
> > > VB.

 
 
 

Thinking about moving into Animation

Post by Everett Hicke » Thu, 12 Jun 2003 00:51:55


One reason I prefer to go it alone on most projects, big or small, or if
it's too big I'll try to stick to dominating one particular aspect.  It's
good to have communications between team members, but you also want one
person maintaining authority over one aspect.

Windows doesn't work right mostly because it does everything and has to
maintain compatability with it's older versions.  If MS decided to come up
with something from scratch and concentrated on a few types of jobs and
ignored everything that came before, they might make the ultimate OS (for
today)...  but I probably wouldn't use it since it would be a new product
that didn't do a good job with what I've already got.  Ditto Unix.  If
Redhat came up with a new Unix-like OS that blew existing ones out of the
water, but didn't run any of my old apps or daemons, I probably wouldn't
even consider it for a good long while.

--

> that is so true. I am working with a team now on a win32/OSX app and I am
> not in charge this time so it is a bit frustrating to see ... It is always
a
> real test to make sure the team is just the right size and not too large.
> The bigger the clumsier. That's why large projects like OSX and Windows
will
> NEVER really work right.



> > Ever notice how the bigger a production team is, the longer it takes for
> the
> > work to get done?  On one hand you could say that it's due to the size
of
> > the project that a team would be assigned to, but look at other
endeavors
> > that are just as great but had small 3-5 man teams...  hell, games are a
> > good example (graphics and programming, as well as other tasks).  The
more
> > people you assign to a project like that, the longer it seems to take
due
> to
> > all the coordination, and the more... generic... it starts to look.



> > > yeah and there are tons of rooms full of artists trying to come up
with
> > the
> > > next irritatingly boorish animation for some cheezy flash website...


> > > > > Ain't no friggin typing pool . And I ain't pullin' your leg.

> > > > You mayn't be pulling his leg, and you aren't technically incorrect.
> But
> > > > there's a lot of departments out there that have six month projects
> with
> > > > staff meetings and four guys trying to work out how to write Hello
> World
> > > in
> > > > VB.