Just recently on November 30, I had completed my masters of Animation and Visualisation at the Animal Logic Academy. My initial reason of applying to this course was the simple reason of gaining more experience of working within a studio environment and understanding the studio workflow and pipeline. After this intense year of working 9 - 5, Monday till Friday, towards the end of the year extending to Saturdays. I can definitely say that this course had really shown me that kind of experience I was looking for.
I had learnt so much from this year from this course, that I really think that can't be taught especially when already in the industry. The soft skills of learning and understanding that there is going to be different personalities in the studio, being able to work alongside them and collaborate on a single project is an achievement itself. I had the opportunity to become Surfacing Lead during studio 1 on The Colour Thief project and studio 3 on Xploro. This involved researching and being responsible for delivering assets in an efficient manner, whilst also managing the surfacing department.
During studio 1, we had up to 10 artists on the team. At first I honestly thought I wasn't really qualified for the position, just because of my personality of not being able to tell people what to do. After a while though, I got the hang of being lead and being more confident in showing people how to use substance painter and katana. Additionally, learning how to give critical feedback and also understanding that some people learn in different ways and trying to find a way help them learn better was really a rewarding feeling. This was a similar process in Studio 3, when creating Xploro.
The only missed opportunity during the whole year, I would say would be not learning more software or not really learning more techniques. This whole year I was mainly working within the surfacing department and sometimes in the modelling. The only new software I learned and utilised was Katana, which was great. However, I really do wish I had more time to learn nuke or houdini this year. In terms of substance painter, I did learn more tips and tricks but overall still felt like my technical skills haven't grown that much. Though to be honest, I wouldn't have time to teach myself personally because these projects really need your full dedication and I also would like to sleep once I get home.
To the leads that spent everyday with the cohort, dealing with all 27 students and I really doubt that they would actually read this, but thank you for everything! To Dan, you were really my mentor for the whole year, always giving me advice on how to surface things and make them actually reflect how real objects are made from to always supporting me / believing in me when I doubted myself. Thank you so much for this year!! To Chris, Thanks for believing in me too and helping out with my budgeting, making sure I'm get paid properly and just generally being an awesome, funny guy who always sees the bright side of things. To Matt, never really worked with you, which I regret never going up to you to just talk about something. But I heard from other students you're awesome. To Diego, I'm mostly sorry that every time we talked during this year it was cause I broke something or had a publishing problem. Though the advice you have given to me and all the emotional support towards the end of year, I will always remember, so thank you for that!! Emma! Thank you soooo much for helping me during studio 1, helping me get use to being a lead, and teaching me basically everything to do with katana and substance painter!!
Finally, to the other 27 students that I spent practically one year of my life with. It was such a pleasure getting to know everyone. I really hope that everyone gets their dream job and I really hope to one day work some of you guys in the future. It was such an awesome year, creating a short film and an educational AR app. Going to miss all the lunchtime fortnite on the couch, Thursday game nights, Friday night dinners, the everyday banter with certain people, staying late nights in the studio and basically seeing people faces. Hope that we still remain friends and if not, still hope that you'll get what you want in the future! Here to ALA 2018.
P.S.: final note, special thanks to Ben Skinner who made the year that much more fun and bearable. I truly couldn't have gone through this year without him. Blessss <3