Sunday, 9 January 2011

Industry Research

After learning all these new skills I thought it would be interesting to see what jobs are in the Industry at the moment.

I first looked on the Skillset website for an overview of the different types of jobs:

Jobs in 3D Computer Animation
3D Computer Animation, or CGI, takes place in a variety of different contexts. Therefore it is important to remember that different companies will have different interpretations of what a job role entails.
Some jobs will exist in one studio but not in others. For example whilst a Storyboard Artist is a very key role within feature production, the same job rarely occurs within a Facility House as storyboards will be provided by the client.
UK Facility Houses tend to call all roles TDs (Technical Directors) rather than the title of the specific job. This means there are TDs in all specialities with varying levels of skills.
When considering a career in Computer Graphics it is a good idea to think about whether you see yourself more as a creative or a technical person. Many jobs will require both attributes but most favour one or the other. Some will be almost entirely creative but others are exclusively technical and may require knowledge of Maths or Physics.
DevelopmentThe Development stage broadly involves the conceiving and identifying of ideas and designing initial concepts. Pitching the product and securing funding and intellectual property rights are also important at this stage.
The Development stage very much requires a strong understanding of the target market and any commercial constraints, opportunities and competition it presents.
Jobs in Development:
Pre ProductionIn broad generalised terms, the Pre Production stage involves fleshing out the idea to make it ready for production, typically involving writing the script, drawing the storyboard, designing character turnarounds, designing layouts/backgrounds and creating an animatic. For post-production companies much of this work will be undertaken by the client.
Jobs in Pre-Production:
Production Designer
Layout TD (several levels)
Art Director
Layout Supervisor
Concept Artist * (often 2D)
Layout Artists (Rough and Final) *
Character Designer (often 2D)
Environments Designer
Storyboard Supervisor
Effects Designer
Storyboard Artist
Storyboard Assistant *
Head of Tools (R & D)
Pre-Vis Artists (3D) *
Tools Writer
R & D Artist/Look Dev Artist
ProductionIn CGI the production stage involves building, rigging and texturing models, animating characters, and setting up and lighting scenes. Rendering is also undertaken to output the animation sequences ready for compositing and editing.
Many of these activities can be undertaken either by manually manipulating objects on the computer screen or by using software-scripting languages to automate the process, and frequently involve combinations of both approaches.
In fact animators represent a fairly small proportion of the crew, many fewer than in 2D. It is significant that CG is often more sequence led than character led. Each animator can be asked to animate all the characters within a shot; whereas in 2D, a lead animator may handle a character throughout a project. This practice can vary from project to project.
Jobs in Production
Assistant Director
Effects (FX)Supervisor
Visual Effects (VFX) Supervisor
Effects (FX) Artist/FX Animator
Director of Photography
Effects (FX) TD (several levels)
CG Supervisor
Cloth Simulation FX Artist
Fur/Feathers FX Artist
Modelling Supervisor
Water FX Artist
Modelling TD
3D Tracker/Match Mover *
Shading/Texture Supervisor
Digital Painter
Shading TD
Matte Painter *
Shader Writer
Texture Artist/Texture Painter
Lighting Supervisor
Lighting TD / CG Lighter (several levels)
Rigging Supevisor
Rigging TD
Fixing TD
Character TD
Rendering Supervisor
Rendering TD
Shot TD (Facility Houses)
Render Wrangler *
Set Dressers
Runner *
Animation Director
Lead Animator (Supervising Animator)
Systems Administrator
IT Support *
Character Animator
Junior Animator
Production Secretary
Production Assistant
Post Production
Post Production involves collating assets e.g. filmed footage, digital animation sequences and special effects into the finished film. It includes editing, scoring the music, quality checking and outputting the final product into the required formats.
Some animation companies focus exclusively on post production and deliver special effects for film, TV and commercials.
Jobs in Post Production
Compositing Supervisor
Editing Assistant
Roto Artist *
Scanning TD
Scanner/Recorder *
Wire Remover*
* entry level with appropriate qualifications

Evidently I want a job in the Production of 3D animation, I know this is where I am strongest, I do enjoy making concept art to help with my work however Post Production compositing does not interest me, mostly because I do not have the eye for colour.

I really want to get into the games industry in my career, so I started looking on Gamasutra for job openings. However, I found that all of the animation jobs did not mention rigging, which is interesting as the two are so closely linked. When I searched for 'Rigging' the results that came up were for Technical Artists:

I then looked on the Lucasfilm website as this is my dream company, and where I hope to work after a few years in the Industry.

It seems that in bigger companies like this it is not necessary to have all the skills for rigging and animating, as they will have different people for the jobs. I know I want to be an Animator, but I do enjoy rigging and think it will help my animation, so it may be better for me to aim to start at a smaller company where they made need the extra skills and I will be a more desirable candidate. This is because I do not want to really become a Technical Artist and disregard my animation because that is my passion. I would really prefer to be an Animator and continue with my rigging skill set in my spare time.

I know I am not ready for the Industry with my rigging anyway because I have only just started to learn it, but I feel if I do not rest now and continue to practice on different models throughout the rest of my final year I will be ready by the time I leave University.

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