For the past week, I’ve been meaning to update my blog every day, but I’ve been busy, busy, busy! I’ve been on work experience at Kilogramme, and it’s truly been one of the coolest experiences of my life! I had the BEST time! I’m so sad that it’s over, but what I’ve taken away with me is truly valuable – the advice I was given has made things a lot more clear to me in terms of how to progress. I’ve always been inquisitive, wanting to know the ins and outs of everything in the industry, so this is why this whole experience has been great for me. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to be in a real working animation studio, full of creative people who took time out to answer my questions and show me new things. I really did meet some great people who I really got to engage with. I was interested in knowing each person’s role and finding out which stepping-stones they’d taken to get to where they are today.
Being in the studio at times was overwhelming (in a good way!) I was so intrigued by the work people were doing. It was one of those cases where I found myself saying ‘I want to do that! And that! Ooh and I wanna try that too!’ I was writing notes like crazy and sponging in all the information I could before I left on Friday.
On the first day there, I guess you could say I was sort of an assistant – I was helping the animator/director with the storyboards – taking screengrabs from animatics and putting them onto production sheets so they could then be put up on the production board. It was really straight-forward and they apologised for the tediousness of the task, but I didn’t mind! I was on cloud 9 just doing that copying and pasting because hey…I was in a ‘real’ animation studio with ‘real’ animators. I was just so happy to be there!
The first couple of afternoons I spent on 3DMax, having never used it before, but I was more than willing to give it a try. They got me trying out walk cycles, which you’d of thought I’d have been taught by now since it really is the essential for an animator…but nope! I found it really tricky, but by the end of the day I got it looking pretty damn good if I may say so myself =) To receive praise from them felt fantastic, and I by the time I’d finished on my first day, I really did feel fulfilled. I had a smile on my face, books under my arm and new skills in the bag. I was there 4 days in total, and on the second day they got me doing a run cycle. More difficult than the walk, but I was determined to nail it! On Thursday I worked on the ol’ bouncing ball. Another essential. This is where the Richard Williams book ‘The Animator’s Survival Kit’ really came in handy – the way it went into depth was phenomenal – it was a real eye opener. The same applies for the walk cycle and the way he explains the transfer of weight. I’ll see if I can upload what I did while I was there, especially the bouncing ball, which I was taught how to animate by drawing frame by frame into Flash with a graphics tablet. I’ve ‘always’ wanted to know how to do that! Having someone actually teach you in comparison to trying to figure out how to do it yourself is a lot easier! Another great thing that day was getting to speak with a character designer, who gave me tips and techniques for digital colouring and spoke about his love for concept art and what inspires him.
I’d better wrap this up – this is turning out to be a long blog entry, but wow, what an experience it’s been! I’ve gained new skills, knowledge and ‘know-how’ and walked out of that place with good contacts, oodles of information and a double-whammy boost of motivation and inspiration ready for the second year of my course!