Monday, July 7, 2008

What’s the Role of the Animator? Is It Beneficial to Explore Different Disciplines?

At any medium-large studio (including games, TV, or feature films), an animator is hired to animate. Not to create textures or model characters or light scenes. Most bigger studios recognize that these are all skills that take decades to truly master, and that the true path to beautiful imagery onscreen is to fill the studio with expert specialists.

In other words, most studios aren't too hung up on finding people who "know a little about a lot of different disciplines." Most features and games studios are looking for an artist who "knows a LOT about ONE discipline."

It's the pairing up of these experts that results in the truly memorable work you'd see in any blockbuster film or A-list game.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with dabbling in all the different disciplines available to you as a CG artist, but we generally recommend that once you've found which discipline you are the most interested in - be it animation or modeling or lighting or rigging or textures or whatever - once you've found your "true calling," your best bet is to put the rest of that stuff aside and focus as much time as humanly possible on becoming a true expert in whatever that chosen field is.

Many people will say that this will limit your job opportunities, and guess what?

They're right. It will.

But I guess it boils down to you deciding what kind of job you are looking for, and what kind of career you are going to attempt. There is nothing wrong at all in deciding to be a generalist, and continue to learn about all aspects of this stuff called Computer Graphics. There are many jobs, especially junior-level jobs at smaller-to-medium-sized studios, where generalists are specifically sought out and encouraged.

However, I can't tell you how rare it is for a generalist to get a job as an animator at a major feature studio or large game studio. Almost every professional animator at that level has decided to focus at least MOST of their time on animation, even if they also enjoy other disciplines deep down...

Before I end that thought, though, it's really important to point out that if you are new to the industry, getting a junior job as a generalist can be one of THE best ways to break into this business.
Getting your foot in the door of a studio and getting *any* kind of professional experience is invaluable, and will help you make connections, learn the ropes, meet people to learn from, and look great on your resume.

If you aren't getting to spend most of your time at work actually animating and growing as an animator, then my advice is to work hard, do a great job, and then go home and animate your brains out and practice as much as you possibly can in your spare time. Read animation books, get involved in online animation communities, meet up with some animation student friends and watch some animated films frame-by-frame and talk about what you see...

Getting a job where you aren't doing *exactly* what you hope to be doing doesn't mean that you have to stop striving towards your dreams of working as an animator! It's more than common for animators to have to work their way up, and slowly climb that ladder until they finally get their dream job.

It's very rare for that to happen overnight, so don't automatically turn your nose up at jobs that aren't exactly what you hoped for... Just don't let that job stop you from continuing to move forward!

- Shawn :)


John said...

Wow, well said. I went down a path like that in my career, starting with a generalist background and concentrating on animation later on. Doing all the lighting and modeling and other stuff is fun, but it made me realize that what I really love to do is animate. This is a great blog, keep up the good work!

frank said...

Thanks for the inspirational words.

The generalist approach has its appeal for an animation student.

It's good to know and appreciate what the rest of the team do.

The apprenticeship as a generalist wouldn't be a bad thing in that sense as it increases an animator's ability to communicate.

I know a retired German architect. He undertook compulsory 'journeyman' training in the 1950s. He worked as a buider's labourer, carpenter, tiler, bricklayer... before he entered his profession. Now he's retired, he looks back and advises he would never have been as good an architect, if he didn't understand how the other parts worked.

I agree with keep striving for that character animation job but learning about the wider craft may be the rocket booster that gets you there. Just by a different path.

Hey, I'm only a student. What do I know? Niente.

Brecht Debaene said...

great stuff shawn!

I recently ran into that exact situation. I've been working as a generalist for 3 years now in a small commercial company. I did all rigging/character modeling and animation. So animating was really only a part of my job.

Recently I accepted a new job offer at a larger studio to animate on a feature film. So at my new job i'll only be animating! and finally have the time to really concentrate on the art form :)

Francisco Javier Loredo said...

Hello Shawn! :)

It's great when a person reads something and immediately is able to relate to it. Thats why I love stopping by this blog almost every day and read your posts.

I'm currently in an internship here in Miami at a TV station but in the Film and VFX department. They liked my work and specially what I animated for class 1 and 2 at AM, so they gave me the opportunity to join them and help them out.

There was moments when other artist were working on the modeling, texturing or rigging the characters and there was no animation on that moment for me to animate. So thanks to my knowledge in Maya and Zbrush, I was able to keep my self busy modeling and sculpting until the RIGS were ready for me to animate. And let me tell you I couldn't wait to get my hands and those rigs and start animating. I also planned my animation doing sketches and with video reference, so when the rigs were ready I was ready to start animating. I was modeling, but always keeping my self learning more and more of what I really want to do that is Animation. :)

Sorry for the long post! :) Wanted to share my short anecdote. hehe

Thanks again Shawn!

-Javier Loredo

Unknown said...

While I agree that it helps to know a little about a lot. I have a firm belief that the moment you become extraordinarily skilled at one thing, the other atrophies, so if your models look too good your animation cannot be exceptional. There are not just enough hours in a day to be perfect at all aspect of the craft, so i see sepcialisation as the only path to take. Its a bit like being a doctor first you are general practioner the you specialise to a brain surgeon, you can't do that and still master plastic surgery....well except you are immortal and you have the time

Mariana Levischi De Luca said...

Although I always think it's important to have knowledge of the hole process, I agree that it's a market tendecy to look for specialists in just one discipline. The first time I applied to a studio the CEO told me: you don't need to do everything; you need to do just one thing, very well!

Sooi Leon Li-Aun said...

Hi Shawn,

I understand that specialization is probably the best approach towards perfecting our craft in a particular skill.

However, am I also right to say that studios are looking out for animators who are well-rounded artists? I recall watching an interview [A Human Story of Computer Animation, 2005] where Andrew Stanton advised aspiring animators to learn everything - from sculpture to drawing to theater, etc. The rationale is that we should be able to draw ideas from the "source" -> life (and the old masters).

While a generalist approach could refer to learning all the disciplines in CG (rigging, modeling, texturing), I think that a generalist approach could also refer to a broad-based understanding of elements of art (composition, forms, lines, colors, etc.)

Do you think it is beneficial to explore different disciplines of art (not merely CG) in general?



Unknown said...

Obat ambeien herbal de nature
Cara mengobati wasir dan ambeien
obat tradisional wasir dan aman
cara alami mengobati wasir ambeien
obat herbal wasir atau ambien
cara mengatasi wasir ambeien saat hamil
cara tradisional mengobati wasir/ambeien
obat tradisional wasir atau ambeien
obat kutil kelamin ampuh tanpa operasi
obat kutil kelamin mujarab
obat kutil kelamin medis
obat kutil kelamin paling murah
obat menghilangkan kutil kelamin
obat menyembuhkan kutil kelamin
obat tradisional menyembuhkan kutil kelamin
obat minum untuk kutil kelamin
Obat kencing nanah atau sipilis
obat tradisional buat kencing nanah
obat buat penyakit kencing nanah
obat antibiotik buat kencing nanah
obat herbal buat kencing nanah
obat apotik buat kencing nanah
obat kencing nanah gonore
obat gonorrhea kencing nanah

Reseller De Nature said...

obat kutil kelamin
Pengobatan Wasir
Pengobatan Wasir Tanpa Operasi
Pengobatan Wasir Dengan Propolis
Pengobatan Wasir Secara Alami
Pengobatan Wasir Bafar
Pengobatan Wasir Stadium 2
Pengobatan kutil kelamin dengan cuka apel
Pengobatan kutil kelamin di anus
Pengobatan kutil kelamin di bandung
Obat kutil kelamin
Obat kutil kelamin di apotik
Obat Sipilis Instan atasi gonore dengan cepat
Obat Sipilis Apotik
Obat Sipilis Di Apotik K24
Obat Sipilis Di Apotik Terdekat
Obat Sipilis Paling Ampuh
Obat Sipilis Ampuh
obat kencing nanah selain ace maxs
obat kencing nanah apa
obat kencing nanah apa ya
obat kencing nanah atau gonore
obat kencing nanah akut
obat kencing nanah amoxicillin
pengobatan herbal penyakit kencing nanah atau sipilis
obat dari penyakit kencing nanah
obat alami penyakit kencing nanah
obat apotik penyakit kencing nanah
obat apotik untuk penyakit kencing nanah
obat kencing nanah
obat dokter untuk penyakit kencing nanah
obat resep dokter untuk penyakit kencing nanah

World Goverment said...

Obat Wasir Berbentuk Salep
Obat Wasir Bagi Wanita Hamil
Obat Wasir ampuh stadium 4
Obat Wasir Berak Darah
Obat Wasir Buat Sendiri
Pengobatan Wasir Cirebon
Pengobatan Wasir Cibubur
Pengobatan Wasir Stadium 4
Pengobatan Wasir Cara Tradisional
Pengobatan Wasir Cara Hembing
Pengobatan Wasir Cara Injeksi
Pengobatan Wasir Cara Islam
Obat Wasir Ciflon
Obat Wasir Cabe Rawit
Obat Wasir Cepat
Obat Wasir Cara Hembing
Obat Wasir Century
Obat Wasir Cair
Pengobatan Wasir Di Cirebon
Pengobatan Wasir Dengan Cara Di Ikat
Pengobatan Wasir Di Cibubur
Pengobatan Alternatif Wasir Di Cibubur

Anonymous said...

obat kencing keluar nanah
obat untuk kencing keluar nanah
obat kampung kencing nanah
obat herbal gonore atau kencing nanah
cara mengobati gonore dengan obat herbal
cara mengobati kencing nanah dengan obat alami
obat kencing nanah herbal manjur

obat kutil kelamin yang alami said...

Thank You dear....hopefully this article can be useful for the visitors.
obat penyakit raja singa dari bahan alami
obat wasir herbal

obat kutil kelamin yang alami said...

WONDERFUL Post.thanks for share..more wait .. …
obat kutil kelamin
obat kutil kelamin manjur
obat kutil kelamin salep dan kapsul
obat kutil dan herpes dari alam
obat kutil kelamin yang sudah terbukti manjur
obat kutil kelamin yang aman tanpa efek samping
obat kutil kelamin tanpa operasi
obat herbal untuk kutil kelamin
obat manjur untuk kutil kelamin
cara alami mengobati kencing nanah

Bukan Siapa - Siapa said...

semoga bermanfaat... terima kasih....
obat sipilis yang manjur
obat kutil kelamin khusus untuk pria

obat kutil kelamin yang alami said...

semoga bermanfaat,,,
mengobati kutil kelamin dengan obat herbal
mengobati iritasi pada kelamin

Anonymous said...

cara mengobati sipilis dengan obat alami
cara cepat menghilangkan kutil

Unknown said...

There are some interesting points in time in this article but I don’t know if I see all of them center to heart. There is some validity but I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner as well
obat penyakit kulit raja singa
daun kenanga obat raja singa
obat penyakit raja singa pada laki-laki
obat raja singa manjur
obat raja singa murah
obat raja singa paling manjur
obat medis raja singa
obat mujarab raja singa
obat menyembuhkan raja singa
obat mengatasi raja singa
merek obat raja singa
merk obat raja singa
obat untuk mengobati raja singa
obat tradisional mengobati raja singa
cara membuat obat raja singa

Unknown said...

I’m impressed, I must say. Really rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. Your idea is outstanding; the issue is something that not enough people are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to this.
konsultasi dokter kelamin online
obat herbal untuk gonore
bagaimana cara mengobati kencing keluar cairan seperti nanah
cara cepat mengobati kutil kelamin

Anonymous said...

This is the right blog for anyone who wants to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic thats been written about for years. Great stuff, just great!
jual obat kencing nanah di jakarta
jual obat herbal untuk penyakit kanker payudara
jual obat herbal untuk kutil kelamin
cara mengobati kutil kelamin dengan cepat
dimana bisa beli obat untuk penyakit jengger

Unknown said...

Oh my goodness! an amazing article dude. Thank you However I am experiencing issue with ur rss . Don’t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting identical rss problem? Anyone who knows kindly respond. Thnkx