Friday, July 30, 2010

Tuesday @ Siggraph and the after party

Tuesday we got to Siggraph fairly early. We stopped at the starbucks inside the convention center for some breakfast. Then a few of us went to the "Women in Animation" talk. As some know, this industry has mostly men in it. Not too many women, but its changing. After a while they split us up into groups to get to talk to people. A lot are grads looking for work. A few ladies looking to hire. One women had mentioned that I could do 3D for the army in making simulations. I thought that could be an interesting avenue to take. Then another was actually looking for women to take on her team to do games in New York City. She said it was near time square. I gave her my info. so will see. After that panel we headed to the Animation Breakdown panel where a few Disney and Pixar animators broke down their process on how they animate shots. Some challenges they faced and how they over came those challenges. It was pretty cool. There is a scene in toy story 3 where Mr. Potato head is a pita bread. Their reference for that was this, Hilarious. I saw this on the internet a while back and never thought it could be reference for an animation. They were focusing on the floppy movement of the guy that would work well for the pita bread. One guy who did the animation for the gator in The Frog Princess was showing his breakdown sheets. When the gator plays the trumpet the fingers for the notes are actually right fingerings. As they say research, research, and more research. Its not always best to pull something out of your head. Nine times out of ten its not going to look right if you go that route. After that panel we went to exhibition hall. This area all the different software companies show off there latest technologies. There also a few companies there that have job postings. A lot of free stuff. And you have to be quick about it too. Pixar was giving away these little toy tea pots. The line wrapped around the exhibition hall for that one. O_o At 2pm we made our way to the job fair in the exhibition hall. I was ready to talk to people for the most part. If anything useful feed back on my work. The companies in the job fair I was most interested in were Digital Domain, Frame Store, Lucas Films, IGT, and Ubisoft. There were some companies outside of the job fair that where looking too. It seemed to me that most of who where at the job fair looking where students or just graduated students. I talked to some of the recruiters at Frame Store. Their opening a new location in London and are looking for about 100 applicants. I had never heard of Frame Store till the conference. Most of my classmates didn't stay long. A making of How to train your Dragon had started. Though I loved that movie, I thought staying at the job fair a bit longer was more beneficial. IGT was looking for interns. They lady mentioned to me that they pull in new hire from interns. I already have experience in making slot style games. Why not? Though the weather in Vegas can be brutal. After networking a bit more I left to find my classmates. The panel was still going on. I just waited outside wishing I could get one of those cheap massages they where offering. lol With all the walking and what I was carrying in my bag was killing my back. I had reels, resumes, business cards, notebook, and a sketchbook in my bag. Doesn't sound much but it felt it. After the panel we met back up to head to the Side FX/ Houdini after party. As they say, most job opportunities come from these parties. I'm not a Houdini user yet, but I soon to be one. :) The place they had the venue was pretty fancy. Signed in and went up the elevator. More free shirts! lol! The Side FX folks launched their new release of Houndini 11. A few companies showed off some demo's using Houdini. Frame Store and Digital Domain from what I could remember. After the demo was food time and watching fire dancers. A few other companies where there and I grabbed there info as well. Not a bad day at all.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Siggraph Monday

After visiting Psyop on Monday we went to Siggraph. It was crowded. This is my first Siggraph and I didn't know what to expect. If your in the film industry or in school for it, and technology this is "the" nerd convention for that. lol This is smart/rich nerdy that were talking about. The things that seem to be big is mocap systems and these machines that take your 3d model from the computer and make a real representation of it. It creates it by layering. Creates a layer then glue, then another layer. It uses different materials too. Its pretty cool. I'm not sure how more effective it is then creating a mold then casting it from that. I know the lessor is cheaper.
They had a "Making of Avatar" panel there too. Some of the creators spoke about some of the techniques they used. I did a paper on mocap and read a lot about the making of Avatar through Cinfex. But some of the things they talked about I didn't even know. Even though they had facial capture on the helmets the actors wore they still did blend shapes on the model. I'm talking over 100 blend shapes for expressions. I did read that the camera for the facial capture created some weird perspective being that it was so close to the face. But using the two in conjunction from what we've seen from the film worked out those issues. Some other things they said like everything they did had to make since. They showed us breakdowns of shots for the film. It was really cool to hear this from the people who worked on this in person rather then from a youtube vid. which I did for my paper.
After that we walked around a bit. Found a area where they where taking pics for these circles that had pics of people around the convention. Of course we had to get in on that. And of course I had to do a split for them. lol And of course the nerds went wild over that one. :p After that we walked around looking at some other things. Apparently an animator from Pixar had been drawing on neon post-it notes a character and a web-site on the back and randomly sticking them on the Siggraph signs. It was a scavenger hunt to make sure everyone in our group ended up with one. After that we ate at a yard house then went back to the hotel to do it all over again the next day......THE END. ;p


So, Since we have been none stop for the past few days I'm kinda behind on updating my blog. I'll start on monday and work my way to wendesday. On monday we started off grabbing some breakfast then heading to Psyop studios. Psyop does commercials mostly. Some of which you've probably have seen on Tv. Like the hp commercials or coke. They are a smaller company, but they do pretty much everything in house. The staff was very friendly. They fed us, gave us free stuff. Totally awesome. 3 guys of which viewed our reels and gave us helpful feed back. Two of which went to Scad, including the art director. His suggestions he gave us was insightful. Go where the jobs are. Most of which are in California. Recruiters like to know if they hire you, your ready to go basically. The thing that I keep going back and forth with is that the cost of living is a lot higher in LA then Atlanta. You could be in LA and looking for well over a year and still not get anything. I don't know anyone enough out here that I could be comfortable enough to crash on their couch that long. And I really don't want to be one of those people who just mooch. I hate that, and I don't want to do it to anyone. If I had a way to give something back for using their water and sleeping there would be one thing. Its one of those things of taking a chance and see what happens. Like the guys at Psyop where saying, either sink or swim. Keep improving yourself while your looking. They told me that I need to focus my reel to models and put my other stuff to the back or in a separate vid in the menu. Put an Occlusion pass on the model to bring out detail. Visible wireframe in the turnaround. Stills of art work in a flatbook and not in the reel. I also interviewed with Microsoft. I got different feedback on my reel from them. The thing is what ever company you want to work most for you go back and do those specific changes for them. Or both. I plan on taking that feedback from the guys at Psyop and changing my reel for them. I believe that I would do better starting off in a smaller company. Though I'm still going to keep my options open. Why can't I still have my eye on working for Dreamworks some day?
Psyop also has a location in New York. The thing is they have good relations with Scad and their willing to help. Scad seems to be huge out here. I had no idea. There are over 100 Scad students who work at Rhythm and Hues. Insane! All the suggestions and info I've been getting I'm just absorbing. When I get home I have a lot to think about. What is that next step going to be?

Monday, July 26, 2010

So, yesterday...we started off at 8:30am. Got coffee at Tina's favorite coffee shop here. Its great to have a professor that likes coffee just as much as me. :) Then we headed to the Getty Center. More or less a big art museum. I enjoyed it a lot. They had a garden and plenty of art pieces for us art students to drool over. And unlike the High Museum back home, your allowed to take pictures of the piece save for the contemporary photography. It was a lot of walking that my knee bothered me. I'm trying to prevent that today. But at any rate, we headed to the Siggraph convention to pick up our badges. We walked around a bit there. Got a preview of things to come. We don't have a full conference pass so we can't see everything. For those who dont know, full conference = $800. Yeah, those nerds are rolling in the dough. Even hours was $400 each. We saw some animations, then headed to preview of papers or talks. Very, very, very nerdy. Like math meets, 3d animation and motion, meets art. All rolled up into one con. They had machines that will do a 3d rendering of your 3d model. Like if you where to make toys or needed a maquette. Very cool stuff. Then me and Miranda tried a little workshop of sewing thread that could carry a current to a battery that would light up a led. Inside of our button contained tool, and another conductive material that would also give the led a on and off state. You could apply these to your everyday clothes if you wanted. lol We went to the book store after that. I got an art of Up book and a tutorial for Dynamic figure drawing. I guess I'll save my other monies for souvenirs for people back home. And yes, everything is expensive here. Its LA/Holly Wood and the taxes are higher. Then we had dinner and came back to the hotel and crashed. Well, I stayed up and did homework then showered. Yep, bed 3:30sm GA time, and up @ 7:30am LA time.
Today where going back to Siggraph. But this time where bringing our demo reels to get feedback and hopefully a job or internship. Will see. This week is full of possibilities.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

So, most of the day was spent in the airport and on the plane. Though I did play a Star Wars slot machine at Vegas. My effort to see the death star bonus round was shot down pretty quickly. I'll probably skip the boring stuff. Though the women who sat next to me to LA thought she could prop her feet all over my purse, then had the nerve to elbow me in the side and not say excuse me! I mean come on People! After checking in to our hotel, which is pretty nice. The tub is sunken in! Like you step down into it. There's also a fireplace, lil kitchen and two flat screens, and living room area. But, yeah...we get food and planning on going to Mass up the road. Even though your not suppose to eat an hour before mass...I was feeling weird from not eating much today. The mass was super awesome. On saturdays they do Gregorian chants. So half the mass was in Latin. With the continuous smell of incense I was feeling at ease. Def. more so then here recently. After we headed to grab some snacky poo's for tomorrow. Then I got Lacy a dress. It maybe a bit small for her. They said it has some stretch. So, maybe a little form fitting. lol I know I wouldn't hear the end of it if I didn't buy that dog something. :p People out here go Gaga over their dogs. There are spa's here for dogs. I asked the guy if they do massages for dogs, and he said yes! lol And they color hair, cut hair, manicure, etc. I mean, I love my dogs to death! But a massage! Even I've never had a massage! O_o

Well, tomorrow is suppose to be sight seeing. = a lot of walking. I wearin my puma's. Then will head to Siggraph to pick up our badges. Its 9:45pm here and 12:45 in Atlanta. So, body is still on Atlanta time. And I've been going to bed super late or even not at all. So, should be interesting to see what tomorrow morning will bring. Either I'm going to be up by 5am, or I'm going to be late. Will see I guess.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Eve of the LA Trip

Day before we leave. I stayed up all night unfortunately. I had so much left to do other then packing. Burning Dvds, Lightscribing labels, journal, shopping, laundry, etc. Other then being super nervous, I'm also excited. I feel its going to be hard to impress some of the professionals I'm going to meet at Siggraph. People that have been in the industry for a long time and that have the record to prove it. Skills that I wished mine where at. With that being said, the feedback I can get from them could be priceless. I hope to make some valuable connections in hopes that someday I will have a job again.