Industry report

Advanced 2D Techniques

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My experience from applying for jobs

Advanced 2D Techniques

I have spent few days applying for Animation Generalist jobs in both Animation and Game Design studios. From my applications I have received some positive responses. First one was from Games Design studio Burke & Best based in Canterbury, that makes mobile Adult Swim Games including very successful Amateur Surgeon. They have recently signed contract with Cartoon Network to make Captain Planet game and their other clients include Nickelodeon. It is a small studio consisting of 8 people, that believes that strong small team can be capable of more than a big studio proving it by making successful games that sell very well on Android Market and IOS market. Amateur Surgeon has been Android Market bestseller in multiple countries including UK. I have been invited for an initial  telephone interview with recruitment manager of their partner company – Mediatonic Games, based in London. Company uses Flash for creating games… To prepare for the interview I have researched both Mediatonic, Kempt company ( former company of Chris Kempt – managing director of Burke&Best – he published 120 games with Kempt) and Burke & Best. Apart of companies research I have revised Flash, that I have stopped using since I came to England. My phone interview went very well. Recruitment Manager was pleased with how much I knew about company. He was initially planning to tell me more about company, but instead I have provided him with all the company background that I know to confirm the information that I have. After few minutes I have been invited for an interview in person in the studio in Canterbury. Before I came to studio I have spent a week animating in Flash and making a further research about the company and managing director Chris Kempt, that was due to be on the interview as well. Another person that was present during the interview was Burke’s & Best animator. During interview Chris made a presentation brief about company asking as well about what I know about the company. He was really pleased with my research. He asked me about all the experience that I have, my knowledge of Flash animation and game design workflow. I have said about what I can do using flash, but I have said that I don’t know action script. During interview my portfolio and showreel have been screened. They were very pleased with the dark and eccentric atmosphere of my designs and Overtime animation, since it was a very close match with what the company was creating. They have been asking me about how I came up with the ideas, what was the purpose of the projects. Before making decision they have asked me to send them examples of animation tests including walk cycles, lip-sync, principles of animation. I have send them work that I have created on the 3D production module using Max rig. They were pleased with the tests and invited me back to the Canterbury for a next stage of the interview which consisted of creating animation test in studio using flash based on a brief. Before the brief I have shown tests that I have made in flash during the week and I have received positive feedback. When I have arrived for an interview I have been acquainted with the brief.  I was supposed to create character throwing a ball with a start and stop button. I have created the buttons, but Animator helped me to make them function using action script since I don’t know Action Script. For an Animation part I have created character throwing a ball, ball bouncing of a wall, hitting the character and killing him and then bouncing off a screen. They found it very funny and positively exceeding the brief. From things to improve main animator suggested less keyframes, so I could alter the timing more easily. After the test I had a meeting with Chris Kempt and main Animator and I have discussed my expected salary, when could I start and the details of the vacancy. I have provided all my project files. Few days after interview I had a call, that they need to recruit Senior Animator first, so I have somebody to support me with Game Development and after they create facilities for Junior Animator they would like me to work for them.

Creative jobboards /cover letter

Advanced 2D Techniques

Dear Hiring Team,

I am writing to enquire If you have any vacancies or opportunities for graduate Animator. Please find my CV attached. You can watch my latest showreel at https://vimeo.com/217042372 or on my website: https://hania-sikorska.squarespace.com

I am a passionate and creative Animation graduate and Peer Support Assistant at School of Media. My course and work gave me skills that could prove useful to your company. During my time on University I have learned to work proficiently in both 2D and 3D and I consider myself to be generalist opened for new challenges. My animation workflow involves constant use of Adobe and Autodesk packages and Zbrush together with fine art skills. My previous internships and work experience and my hard work and determination make me a perfect addition to your team.

I have excellent references and would be delighted to discuss any possible vacancy with you at your convenience. In case you do not have any suitable openings at the moment I would be grateful If you would keep my CV for any future possibilities and I am always happy to receive feedback.

Thank you for taking the time to get acquainted with my work and I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

Sincerely,

Hannah Sikorska

 

http://jobs.gamesindustry.biz/

http://www.artjobsconnection.com/

http://www.arena-multimedia.com/jobs-and-careers.aspx

https://www.creativeheads.net/job-search/all-jobs/everywhere/1

http://www.gamasutra.com

http://www.cgsociety.org/career/

 

Action Plan

Advanced 2D Techniques

Senior Animation Generalist for Game Design Studio or Animation Studio is where I want to be in 5 years’ time, Animation Producer or Animation Director is where I would like to be in 20 years after gathering as much varied industry experience as I can. I am not ready for a senior position yet, but here is how I will prepare :

 

Year 1 (After Graduating):

  • Email Game Design and Animation Studios in UK If they have any opportunities/openings for Junior Animators and Graduates.
  • Apply for job placements, internship programs, work experience as well as junior vacancies. Apply as Animation Generalist and alternatively Production Assistant opportunities. Additionally Apply for MA in the area that I want to specialize in.

Use my varied interests and experiences, software skills and personal skills in cover letters to brand myself.

  • Attend animation festivals and conferences, volunteer on festivals, meet people from related professions, meet other animators, get to know reality of business, ask for feedback on portfolio, give my business cards and stay in touch by email.
  • Create a storyboard for a new project and practise by animating characters for it.
  • Keep working on my showreel – especially character animation, storyboarding, lypsinc, timing, make body dynamics and personality tests. Character rigging in AE.
  • Regularly update my portfolio and showreel.
  • Work on networking, don’t be shy and make a lot of industry contacts. Use my personal skills to my advantage.
  • Be up to date with industry news, go on forums, read magazines : Animation Magazine, 3D World
  • Follow the profiles of the animators and designers that I like, build the database of work that I admire using Pocket App,
  • Attend recruitment events, ask for feedback,
  • Make trips to major Animation/Game Design cities and do in person meetings at he studios. Gather feedback, develop relations : not every studio posts jobs online.
  • Have a weekly checklist to make sure that I work towards achieving my goals

 

Year 2:

  • Start my internship, work experience or MA,
  • After 6 months try for permanent Junior position at the studio,
  • Constantly update my portfolio and showreel,
  • Apart of work, do on my personal project
  • At the studio be a Team Player, develop relationships, be active and have an influence on the project.

Use my friendly, easy going and helpful personality to have a positive impact on the studio.

  • Take active part of Animation/Games community, attend meetings, festivals and stay in touch with people I meet

Year 3:

  • Have a good influence on my studio, be engaged in developing its brand
  • Propose improvements, brainstorm with other members, collaborate between departments
  • Apart of my work do additional animation work to vary my experience, try different experiences
  • Start applying for my favourite studios as Animation Generalist for a better job
  • Take an active part in Animation/Games community, volunteer, try to have positive impact
  • Travel abroad, make international contacts, collaborations, help your studio in networking

Year 4:

  • Start working as more experienced Animator in better studio,
  • Be an active part of my studio, collaborate with different departments, help younger animators
  • Improve atmosphere in my studio, make sure that everyone is part of the team and everyone’s opinion is taken into account
  • Apart of work be active part of the community, provide support to graduate animators, students and people that just started working in industry
  • Create collaboration opportunities for my studio

Year 5:

  • Come up the ranks and become Senior Animator or Producer
  • Alternatively apply for supervisory Animation jobs

 

In 20 years… Apply for Animation Director or Producer jobs

8. Reflecting on this point of my career (GENERAL REFLECTIONS)

Advanced 2D Techniques

How can I Improve my performance by reflecting on my final project experience and its outcome :

If I would be creating my final project again I would decide on narrative animation but create a fictional story. Making a documentary animation gave me a strong subject to work on, considering my engagement in the subject, but it caused me to base myself too much on my reference material and limited my creativity. Although I am happy with experience of making a documentary and amount of drawing practise and study that it gave me. Now I think that I should pursue more with fiction to work from imagination and use a more of the potential of animation medium considering exaduration.

How can I Improve my performance by reflecting on my final project experience and its outcome :

I should still improve on the way that I receive feedback, listen to suggestions and immediately apply the changes to my projects. If I don’t agree with some of the corrections or I find the better solutions I should work on a better way of expressing my solutions and brainstorming with other animators. I am satisfied though that I have followed Emily’s suggestion to change my project completely on the end of the semester instead of staying with my old idea. I have learned that every mistake can be a good teacher and important thing is to keep trying out different options receiving feedback and that it is never too late to change the direction.

Look to the future :

Experiences from this module teached me that I engage more easily in creating animated and narrative content that in designing static designs. It gave me direction for my future development as an animation generalist. My inability to focus just on one of the workflow elements directed me to take advantage from my broad interest and show my best side as someone that can very quickly develop new skills and connect skills from different areas of expertise.

Now I can identify myself more as an animator than designer.

About the subject of my animation I am very happy to have an experience of telling a very emotional and sad story. As my career I would prefer though to create entertainment pieces with dark and dramatic elements but balanced with the humour to lighten the mood. In this case subject have not allowed me for too. Many humoristic elements but If I would be making this animation again I would implement as well positive points of live in the care home, all the friendships and relations created there, connection between carers and the patients.

I would like to be creating meaningful stories showing real life dilemmas but I would like to show them in a way that would be more appealing for the audience, gradually build tension and implement bright positive elements more like in heroes journey.

 

 

 

7. Presenting conclusions, reflections, how it can affect my career, future plans (CONSCLUSIONS)

Advanced 2D Techniques
  • recording my professional progress (I should have been creating my blog posts on more regular basis)
  • What have I learned? What would I change? :

I can learn from my experience that while designing characters I am not as productive as while making animation. Creating narrative story and the fact that every test needs a lot of frame by frame drawings in classic animation made my style much more dynamic and sketchy with more occasions for experimentation and practising my drawing abilities.

  • Analysis and exploration of the experience :

With a lot of drawings that I made this semester I have worked a lot on my fine art workshop.   I have discovered potential in myself to create 2D animation and experiment with different techniques. I feel that I have vastly improved my storytelling abilities while telling a grown up dramatic story of people living in care homes.

6. Reflections on my new project (REFLECTION)

Advanced 2D Techniques

What went well what didn’t :

Every week I was preparing 1-2 tests 4-6 seconds long with 5 drawings for every second. It was a vast improvement in my productivity which shows that I was much more committed to my new project that to character design portfolio. It made me reconsider my future plans, reconsider idea to become character designer in order to become animation generalist.

 

What did I feel? – analysis :

I felt more motived and connected with my animation. My weakness was basing myself too much on the reference materials and drawing on computer. I did it because I needed to spend some time in the week away from my workplace because of the stressful nature of my work. To come back to my patients with enthusiasm and engagement I needed to work on my project away from the care home. Another advantage of working from the reference was the ability to work on layers and using only line work without its background. I could have achieved it as well with the use of blending modes.

Analysis and exploration :

 

What I should have done was creating dynamic reference drawings at my workplace that would show personality of my patients and the mood of this place. Than I could have developed in-betweens and other frames from those key drawings.

 

What happened – description :

 

My lecturer pointed out that some of the elements in my composition like texture background, legs, chairs are static. This was making the while animation much less dynamic. To resolve those issues I animated those elements creating 3 frames of animation that I would loop to make a boil effect. This made a big difference in dynamics of animation.

 

I as well had a feedback that my drawings should be from life to be more personalized and alive. I felt that after spending 36 hours a week at my workplace it would not be wise for me to come there as well on my days off since It is a stressful job and I need some time off to be able to come back and give my enthusiasm to the residents. As well drawing from reference made me able to composing elements in after effects apply different background and make composition more dynamic. I tried though to make my tests more alive not drawing straight from reference but adding different twists and interpretations to my footage.

 

I needed to create more space to my animation instead of only camera movement through the empty corridors. To archive it I animated windows, doors and personal things belonging to residents. It added a lot to believability of the place and gave it more atmosphere and improved engagement in the piece.

 

Find links between theory and practise :

Most important points – analysis :

 

 

 

 

4. Workflow and progress of new project (PREPRODUCTION)

Advanced 2D Techniques

With new project concept from a first week I was bringing in tests and I could see a rapid improvement in my engagement in the project. New subject made me much more passionate and connected to my work. I am glad that I followed Emily’s advice.

Every animation test required 5 drawings per second and Every week I was bringing in 1-2 tests 4-6 seconds long. This meaningfully improved the amount of drawings that I was producing. I wasn’t compromising in quality trying to depict all the folds and anatomy details. In a feedback I heard that I am even sometimes catch up too much In drafts man perfectionism depicting both cloth and human elements with the same amount of detail.

To bring all of the tests and elements together I have created 3D composition in After Effects and space in which I have combined my 2D and 3D skills. I have used different variations of a texture to give character to the background and to give CG space traditional look.

My feedback was that my tests are too static because some of the elements like legs, wheelchairs or clothing weren’t moving. The solution for this was adding boil to all of those elements so they don’t attract attention as static. Same about how static my texture background was. I have added boil to all elements of my animation and I could see a significant improvement of dynamics.

My animation needed some type of soundtrack to give it atmosphere. With my lecturers I have decided on recording sounds of the residents to add realism to the sounds. Recording voices in the care home is connected with many implications. There is a lot of background noises that can interfere with recording, multiple people talking. Another problem is recording in a way to gain a natural speech from residents that would match the atmosphere of the animation and deliver the personality and experience of the residents. I have decided to rent a small Yamaha recording kit. This way I could record in not intrusive way without making patients uncomfortable that they are being recorded.

Another sounds that added atmosphere to the animation are foyley sounds of opening doors and any other background sounds that can be heard in care home.

 

 

3. Reflections on my project (REFLECTION)

Advanced 2D Techniques

What did I feel? – analysis :

I was feeling uncomfortable to show unfinished and sketchy designs on the lectures,

what caused me to spend too much time on bringing them to the final

form instead of working on developing good idea by producing multiple variations. I didn’t feel productive and creative enough while designing characters to make multiple concepts every week.

I was focused too much on my design choices and my own vision deciding which way to develop

my characters and not leaving my lecturer enough possibilities for feedback.

Analysis and exploration :

Most important points – analysis :

Link to the theory :

What went well/what didn’t? :

I had multiple suggestions from my lecturer that I should develop plan of action and research what studios are looking for in character designers to work towards industry standards to increase my chances of future employment. My lecturer was suggesting as well that I should commit more time to my project and bring more sketches every week. She was suggesting that I have an artistic potential but I have to put more work and passion into my project. This feedback resulted in me slowly increasing the amount of character designs and creating more sketches instead of fully rendered artwork. Sketches that I was bringing in initially was mostly based on light and shadow and fotographies. They felt static. After this feedback I have started making line work dynamic sketches of people that received much better feedback.

 

Every week I was creating only few polished character concepts. I was too much focused on creating the final look. I should have been bringing multiple versions of every character in sketchy concept form and together with class and lecturer choose the versions that should be developed further. Bringing only few polished versions was not leaving any room for altering my design. In real studio environment it’s important to create quickly different designs to give art director possibility to choose one suiting project best

 

 

What happened? – description :

When I was trying to increase a number of my weekly sketches and make my line work more dynamic and characters more depictable and expressive I have been approached by Emily and she wanted to get acquainted with my progress and work in this semester. My line work catched her eye and she said that she would love those lines to be moving. She as well knew that I am very committed to my work in care home and that it takes much of my passion and engagement in my studies. She suggested to connect my passion about helping old people with dementia with my appealing line work and create an animated frame by frame drawn documentary about forgotten people in care homes. It was a turning point in my final project. I finally felt like my engagement in the project is back and I am committed into developing final project. I have gone straight into work next week showing my first animation test.

2. Description of my progress and workflow (PREPRODUCTION)

Advanced 2D Techniques

My positive feedback from my lecturer was, that she admired my fine art skills and art workshop

1. Describing the initial ideas for the final project and explaining my decisions (CONCEPT)

Advanced 2D Techniques
  • Building 3D Character Design Portfolio in order to specialize in Character Design or find out If this is a suitable career for me,
  • Characters based on my interpretation of literature characters,
  • 5 concepted and modelled characters,
  • Designed in Photoshop, modelled in Zbrush, retopologized in 3D coat, rendered in Keyshot,
  • Neil Gaiman’s literature as an inspiration for my character designs

 

In my initial presentation I have included breakdown of software packages and my planned methodology of building 3D models because I wanted to work using industry workflow in 3D character design and polish my technical skills. The urge to practise software usage drove me away from more important matters such as good character design containing designs that would be likely used in games and animations. My software considerations should not be prior to concept and design phase. They should be only the tool in creating my concepts.

Feedback- too much attracted to detail, which software packages should I use. I should have looked more into a bigger picture- what is included in character design portfolios by industry professionals, theme mood and subject around my characters, break down my plan how to became a character designer analysing successful industry professionals path and what studios are looking for in candidate portfolios

cover letter

Advanced 2D Techniques

Dear Mrs Mantell,

I am writing in response to Graduate Video Graphic Artist vacancy posted on totaljobs. Please find my CV attached. You can watch my latest showreel at https://vimeo.com/209236265 or on my website : https://hania-sikorska.squarespace.com

I am a passionate and creative Animation student and games enthusiast, graduating this year. My course gave me skills required for this position. During my time on university I have learned to work proficiently in both 2D and 3D and I consider myself to be generalist opened for new challenges. My animation workflow involves constant use of Adobe and Autodesk packages and Zbrush together with fine art skills. My previous internships and work experience and my hard work and determination make me a perfect candidate for this role.

Thank you for taking the time to consider this application and I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

Yours sincerely,

Hanna Sikorska

Cover letter

Advanced 2D Techniques

Dear Mrs Mantell,

I am writing in response to Graduate Video Graphic Artist vacancy posted on totaljobs. Please find my CV attached. You can watch my latest showreel at https://vimeo.com/209236265 or on my website : https://hania-sikorska.squarespace.com

I am a passionate and creative Animation student and games enthusiast, graduating this year. My course gave me skills required for this position. During my time on university I have learned to work proficiently in both 2D and 3D and I consider myself to be generalist opened for new challenges. My animation workflow involves constant use of Adobe and Autodesk packages and Zbrush together with fine art skills. My previous internships and work experience and my hard work and determination make me a perfect candidate for this role.

Thank you for taking the time to consider this application and I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

Yours sincerely,

Hanna Sikorska

Anatomy

Advanced 2D Techniques

To improve my anatomy understanding I am currently studying series unleash anatomy : https://www.uartsy.com/course/unleash-anatomy and Power & Grace the structure of man : https://www.uartsy.com/course/power-grace-the-structure-of-man from UArtsy

career check-up

Advanced 2D Techniques

According to article about animation careers in Animation Magazine to become a sucessful animator I should be competent with my duties-perform them well to reduce amount of unnecessary effort, lost time and stress. Another important check-up is passion and excitement about my career to make it engaging and important part of my life. I should as well make sure that my career serves my purpose. I think that I should work on passion and purpose elements and make career in animation my main goal. Currently I feel distracted by my other job that gives me financial stability and satisfaction from working with people and helping and taking care people with disorders like Dementia. To commit fully to my animation career I need to earn minimum of 200 pounds a week in my inndustry and find a purpose in making animations with meaning and theme that would engage me. To improve my competency I should improve my animating environment, work not only at home, gather feedback, do a lot of networking and polish my skills and practise on every occasion especially life drawing, sculpting and painting.

My other goal in career seeking is to effectively showcase my work on social media, channels, websites to gather recognition, network, gain feedback and maybe try to monetize some of the videos.

I have to research the animation trends, demands, what people currently want to watch and keep polishing my skills in direction that would allow me to match market needs, not only my personal tastes.

 

Animation magazine -careers centre

Advanced 2D Techniques

job search :

http://www.careerwebsite.com/jobseeker/resources/?site_id=22660

job resources :

http://careers.animationmagazine.net/

 

Raul Garcia – Art Director and my future plans in animation industry

Advanced 2D Techniques

Recently I have been reading one of the issues of Animation Magazine and I have been drawn by the article about animation The Fall of the House of Usher directed by Raul Garcia, director of Extraordinary Tales.

What cought my attention was original artstyle and mood of this animation.  I am impressed by character design and color scheme full of complementary colors and very expressive storyboard.

storyboard

Main inspirations of Raul Garcia has always been classical Disney Movies and literature of Edgar Alan Poe together with Warner Brothers cartoons. He wanted to became one of animators and film makers after watching animations all of his life and developing a deep passion for them. The path to becoming animator was a mistery to him so he started soaking any information about animation industry that he could get. His other inspirations were from Westerns and B movies to  to the works of Truffaut, Kurosawa or Kubrick. He loved reding comic books and developed interest in illustration, design and cartooning.

He has a long experience working in animation industry. He moved from Spain to America to work on as an animator for big productions such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Alladin, Pocahontas, Tarzan, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and the Lion king for 20 years of his career. From 2003 with enough experience under his belt he started creating his own stories and writing, directing and producing his own short animating movies. His long experience and increadible talent gave him a chance to work on adapting his favourite stories and creating his own. I think that becoming animation generalist and gathering varied experience in different aspects of animation industry can be an effective way towards, after many years of experience, becoming Art Director. Career of an Art Director in a small studio would be where I would like to end up after many years of previous experience as an animator.

My first step to archieve my goal would be to apply for animation generalist internships in animation studios and gather as much industry experience as I can and patiently work towards my goal observing industry professionals and learning from them.

Hopefully it is going to help me to improve my art style, ability to use different techniques and cooperate with different people in order to become a better animator.

Garcia in his short animations is striving to create something different that the project he has work on before which were often almost photo realistic and archieve a different artistic look. His main goal was to match style with a story to create engaging atmosphere of the piece. He inspired himself with paintings of Edward Munch which helped him with creating atmosphere. His love to the stories he is adapting makes experience of watching his animations very engaging. I like as well his enthusiasm to try more mature subject, because I believe that any age group should be able to enjoy animations created for them.

My ultimate goal is to be able to give mood and theme to animations and tell my own story and I think that Art Direction is the best position to be able to archieve this goal but I know that it is not something archievable in 5 years, but rather in 20 years. I am as well interested in the horror animation subject and the mood of Edgar Alan Poe in the Fall of the House of Usher captures me as something that I would love to work on. I know that my designs and animations have dark mood as well and I could be a good fit for studios making animated horrors for adults. Game industry has much to offer as well in terms of animated, darker pieces.

I think that for the animator it is very important for me to develop my fine art skills, drawing, painting, understanding of role of color, texture and line qualities.

I see myself working on short animations for small studios. I will apply for internships in all of UK, America, Switzerland, Norwegia, Sweden and New Zealand, Poland  and Bulgaria because those are places that I could move to for a job.

 

My alternative is trying to find remote animation generalist internship and pursuing my career in freelancing. If I would be freelancing I would be living in Poland or Bulgaria probably in mountains or on a coast

I am as well interested in indie emotional documentaries

Articles how to get a job as Animator

Advanced 2D Techniques

Average Salaries and Career Paths :

https://www.nyfa.edu/student-resources/jobs-animation-average-salaries-career-paths/

How to find a job :

https://theoryanimation.com/blog/how-to-get-a-job-as-an-animator

Goverment page :

https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/job-profiles/animator

  • junior animator, apprenticeships, try with small studios, generalist