Wednesday, December 12, 2012

FAQ - I graduated, no job, now what?

So, it's about 6 months or so after some folks have graduated and I've gotten a few emails on the subject and actually a few asking this very thing as well at a users group meeting in Austin last week so....

Thought I'd just answer here.

A few thoughts in bullet point form as it seems easier for folks to follow:

  • Honestly look at your reel - There's a saying about doing a thousand bad drawings to get to good ones. It's the same in animation - you have to do a lot of bad footage to get good enough to be hirable. If your work isn't up to snuff and you really want to be an animator, that is what you should be spending every moment  you can spare on. Look at your time, are you spending hours a week watching your favorite shows or playing games? There's a chunk of time to be had.
  • There are SO MANY animators looking for work right now - Many studios have closed in the last few years so you're competing in a very saturated market. Animators with years of experience are looking for whatever jobs they can get in some cases. It's a competitive market. Compete or....
  • Are you sure you want to be an animator? If animation isn't your passion, better to figure it out sooner and get to work becoming an expert in another of the many many facets of the animation process. Modeling, Rigging, Pipeline, Lighting, Pre-vis, Layout, and on and on the areas go.

    That's what happened with me, I started out thinking I loved animation but that's not what it really was. What I'm passionate about is making characters so that's where all my free time goes to - making Morpheus' and Squirrelies and learning how to be a better TD so that I can make the stuff I want and animate efficiently when I need to.
  • Should you go back to school? Only you can answer that. I would say think long and hard about taking on more student debt, it stays with you a long....long....time. Once you have the basics, there's nothing to keep you from learning on your own, working on projects and growing as an artist. There are also workshops that some of the animation schools offer that might be helpful if you just want some more of that.
  • Other ways to get better - Practice in places like the 11 Second Club or work on a friend's short film... or your own. Coming out of Midway I did a ton of footage on my buddy's film to get more key frame footage for my reel. Caveat - don't work for free for people or projects you don't really care about. I know some folks have had good experience working spec (free) for projects, just not me.
  • Other options - If you're sure and can't get the job yet, look in other possibilities - smaller commercial studios even local ones if you're not in LA or NY or another hub. There are even some government contractors that need artists at times. Larger corporations often have staff artists too. If you have any connections (maybe a family friend with a business), see if you can get a freelance project.
The most important thing is to continue to keep growing as an artist. You have the rest of your life to perfect your craft. Hope this is helpful and have a great week, internets! Back to Morphy 2 :)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Morpheus Rig 2.0 Kickstarter...the game has begun!

We're live, internets! You have 30 days to make this project a go. So if you like Morpheus Rig or CG Monks and  wanna see more, now is your chance! Thank you for all your support.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Morpheus Rig 2.0 Kickstarter Teaser

 It's about time for an update, no? We're super excited to get this ball rolling.

Monday, August 20, 2012

CG Monks Tag Anim WIP

Been playng around with a tag animation for CG Monks. We're probably gonna do the fx in maya and do 2d characters for the tag. Gonna try go get it done this week. Hope everyone is well!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Morpheus 2.0 Kickstarter Preannouncement!

First off, thank you for all the great uses so many of you have put Morpheus (and Squirrely) to. You've pushed the rig in ways I hadn't anticipated and it's so exciting to see it.

This September, CG Monks will be starting a Morpheus 2.0 Kickstarter campaign to help fund the project. We have a lot of ideas and would love to get moving on the project but we want to try and find a way to fund development of rigs like Morpheus and Squirrely, tools, assets and other projects for the community we so loving being a part of. We reached out to many of our communities and a Kickstarter campaign was one of the common themes we kept hearing. So, we're gonna give it a shot.

What we're looking for now is quality versions of some of the great animations we've seen on the internet. So, if you've created a great animation with Morpheus and want to possibly be included on a best of video to be featured as a part of our campaign, please upload a good (hd is preferred) version of it to Vimeo and send me a link to the video - (no spaces) j j b u r t o n @ c g m o n k s . c o m. In your message, please list your name and an email or webpage if and as you want them specified.

I'll post again when we have a better idea of when the kickoff date will actually be.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Epic Mickey Work...

Well, it's finally up. At least a good chunk of it...

I had the pleasure of working on this project last fall and a chunk of this spring. Last fall I animated a segment (all of which is in this vid). The majority of my work on the project was rigging character faces, rigging other stuff and swapping in and out mesh updates on rigs. I wrote a good chunk of my blendshape transfer stuff during the project to make the workload manageable.

Specifically I animated from 3:58 - 4:36 except for the lightning storm exterior, doc at the window and Mickey in the tv at the end so the Gus working and Ortensia observing stuff. Gus was a lot of fun.

Crummy thing is I did another pollish pass on a bunch of my shots but they apparently didn't make it in the render pipe...the joys of production:)

Dang, it's been since last fall that I've animated full body stuff. Python has me in a death grip...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Morpheus Needs help...

Or rather I do in helping to plan next steps that involve ole'Morphy. If you're a fan, please take a moment to fill our a survey to assist or maniacal plan making:)


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy Independence Day!

If you're not from the US, you can celebrate independence from Maya's frustrating attribute editing tools with our latest tool! Hope you enjoy and if you play with pop bottle rockets, after you light them remember to let go (as my grandfather laughingly told me after I neglected to do so)

In other news, I'm looking for some potential collaborators going forward on some of the cgMonks stuff. I'm fixing to start pushing through the modular rigger and there are some opportunities to make some new characters while we're at it. For example, a fish of some sort for the fish module, bird for the wing module, etc. etc. If you're interested, can model or are a talented designer who wants to get some free publicity, lemme know.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

cgmWeekly is back!

Hope everyone is doing well. Finished up a gig and back on cgMonks workin on tools. They're in open beta now so hop over and download em if you like:)

In other news...
  • Prometheus - beautiful film with a couple of plot holes. Saw it in IMAX 3d and enjoyed the experience a lot.
  • Legend of Korra - Anyone else geek out at this weeks episode? How cool it is to see Aang again. Man, I love that show.
  • Guild Wars 2 Beta - So good....get it out now ArenaNet!
Have a good one, internets! Gotta make dinner:)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A snapping update!

Latest update on CG Monks/cgMonks/cg.Monks (not sure how we wanna put it in text yet:). Lots of updates in the post. The webinar went well last week and I'll post a link once they get the vid up for those that emailed saying they couldn't make the live one.

Hope everyone is well!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Face Rigging Webinar Next week...

Doin a webinar next week for Faceware if anyone would like to hear my ramblings on facial rigging. Planning on covering blendshape and joint based rigging as well as a bunch of tools from CG Monks as they relate. If you'd like me to cover anything specific, lemme know:)

Sign up here.

Monday, April 23, 2012

If you've not been checking....

There's been a whole lot going on over at CG Monks. The tools are coming along and we've gotten some fantastic contributors to the tool set. Here's this weeks vid from there as a way of enticing some more testers...:)

Also, I started up a new Best of Morpheus channel via CG Monks as it's a bit tedious hopping back and forth between accounts. There's been some fantastic reels lately so if you want some inspiriation. Check em out. Here's one with some great customizations:

Supposed to do a facial webinar in the next week. I'll post the details when I get em. Have a great day, internets!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

CG Monks!

I'm happy to announce the formation of CG Monks a new venture with some good friends through which  we hope to make cool tools, rigs, and other goodies available to the cg internets. Some of our goals are..

  • Creating  commonsense tools we actually use on a daily basis including our own modular character rigging system
  • Creating a community collaborative site that acts as a virtual studio, place to get community vetted tools and assets, and to get questions answered
  • Creating stable character (including Morpheus 2.0) and prop assets that follow common sense and animator friendly standards.

I'll probably do most of my blogging there for the foreseeable future so if you'd like to hear more of my yammering, head thataway.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Do I really need that....?

Ah, the therapeutic process of geeks everywhere. Getting a new machine setup is both annoying and refreshing. One such part of the process is thinking through the apps you had and culling out the proven useful from the 'why didn't I get around to uninstalling that'. Here's some picks that carried over:

  • Bulk  Rename Utility - great general purpose renamer for files
  • Filezilla - my ftp of choice for some time now
  • Evernote - I come to really enjoy this note keeper after google notebook went the way of the dodo
  • Wing IDE - my coding tool of choice. Just to think this time last year I was still coding some in notepad.
  • Dropbox - Oh I can access my import files from anywhere, with revision history and shared project directories with friends and clients? How I ever got along without this before I have no idea
  • VLC Player - great all around player that works with most anything.
  This is my first ssd drive machine so I found this post super insightful for optimization.

Hopefully I'll be able to make an announcement on another front in the next week or two stay tuned:)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Happy Birthday me, you all get a present!

I turn the big 34 in a couple weeks. Exciting, no? Back to the important bit about a present to the internets.

After a year of getting many inquiries and frankly just not knowing how I wanted to handle it, my mind has been made up. I haven't had a chance  to change the docs page but I shall when I find a second.

You may now use Morpheus 1.0 for any commercial venture you please providing:
1) credit is given where appropriate
2) Use is in keeping with the "Would-Pixar-make-this" rule (no porn, no "Killing puppies is neat" promotionals)

No fee is required though you're always welcome to donate on the official Morpheus page.

I hope to have another announcement on my site before too long about a new venture among like minded riggers and that entity where will Morpheus 2.0 production will commence from. Sorry it's been so long of the tooth on updating. Life is busy:)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy New Year. Hope it's not our last!

Sorry for the gibe, keeping seeing blurbs about Mayan prophecies. Hope everyone had a good New Year celebration. My wife and I brought it in playing games with neighbors and eating pancakes and bacon after the clock turned.

Like most folks, I took the time to take inventory for the year. 2011 was a great year for the studio of one on the prairie. I'm grateful for all the projects that came along and I made a lot of progress leaning python as well. In terms of projects the highlight of the year was definitely the Nintendo E3 project though there was a close one the last couple of months that I'll be able to add to the reel sometime towards the end of the year if schedules go according to plan.

Morpheus has been blazing a trail across the internets and this month saw some great entries on the 11 second club. Including number 2...

My hopeful plans for the year is....
  • February - closed release of the first pass of rigging tools
  • April - closed release of the character rigging system
  • Learn ZBrush and start working on some new characters
  • Fall - Morpheus 2.0
Oh, and whatever projects come along a well:) Wish I could find away to make money just making stuff for other people but not found a way to do it. Yet.

Blessings on you and yours for the new year.

All the stuff on this site is 2000 - by Josh Burton...unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.