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Studio artist disconnect

Share your views on the state of the Animation Industry.

Studio artist disconnect

Postby Charles » Tue May 21, 2013 2:15 am

Hi everyone.

It's been a while since I've posted a commentary on the AN Forums. I feel like adding to the inventory.

I had a meeting yesterday which left me somewhat unsettled. It was with an industry animator, very talented with quite a lot of feature experience on major studio CG films. They were looking for a teaching position at my school.

I scheduled a meeting and quickly became unenthusiastic for the person I was interviewing. I felt no connection. They couldn't draw, yet they were a prominent animator. When I brought up key names in production design, artists that any studio animator would certainly know, they had no idea who I was talking about.

I was amazed at the gulf. Not just because of this alone, add to it that all this person knew was work for hire. Trying to explain to them what was happening in the independent world of animation, where artists were creating independent economies brought about perhaps the most vacuous facial expressions I've yet seen in my years in the biz.

A few days before this, a friend with many years experience in feature films stopped by. Again, a disturbingly surreal conversation. By the time it was over I had no real idea what we talked about.

So who's the ones that's out of it? Is it the work for hire artists who haven't much of an idea as to what's happening outside of the studio world, or the ones on the outside who are far ahead of the pack in terms of pioneering what it means to be independent?

Two different worlds in one industry.

Being employed at a major studio is a great way to make a living in animation. Not everyone in a studio is as disconnected as this. Studio experience is valuable and can be a great asset in one's career. But if that's all you know, you're cutting yourself off from a growing world of success in animation through independence.

The animation sun shines on everyone in our biz. Not just the studios but for everyone around the world. There's an advantage to having an independent aspect to one's life in animation.
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Re: Studio artist disconnect

Postby JDC » Wed May 22, 2013 9:25 pm

I'm not surprised to read about your experience. I had a similar experience at a game studio I worked at. The execs hired a "tech artist".. which I thought would be someone to bridge the gap between art and engineering. What I learned was that the Tech-artist was my boss.. He couldn't draw and was learning the software as he went. I was animating a character on one of the games one day, and the Tech artist wanted to give me notes. I asked if he wanted the character animated on 1's or 2's.. HE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT THAT MEANT. I had to go for a long walk that day.
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Re: Studio artist disconnect

Postby JaredL » Thu May 23, 2013 6:51 am

It's not just animation. Something I've noticed over the past few years is that there are more and more 3d modelers who simply don't know how to model for animation. They can sculpt highly detailed models in Zbrush, but they don't know how to take that and make a mesh that will deform cleanly.
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Re: Studio artist disconnect

Postby Charles » Thu May 23, 2013 4:34 pm

Here's something else that might qualify as a disconnect.

A reliable source confided a couple days ago that a popular animated TV series was looking to hire a character designer. After looking at many submissions only two of the artists whose work they reviewed showed signs that they understood fundamental drawing.

With the widespread use of technology in the animation industry do you think that good drawing abilities are being affected or would you say this is a consequence of an art education system that places use and knowledge of technology above traditional and essential foundational basics?

Would you take the time to learn how to draw when you can master software instead?
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Re: Studio artist disconnect

Postby Charles » Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:51 pm

The more time that passes the more distant I feel from the work for hire studio scene. The less in common I feel I have with artists who are in that part of things. Even though I have many friends in animation studios and even more students, I find I'm less enthusiastic about what's going on there than what I experience in the independent outside world.

The films that are being produced are a far greater variety and the talent behind much of what I'm seeing is as good or even better than the predictable cookie cutter studio content.

I find myself less interested in the studio scene and even put off by it. I don't get into sites that fawn over studio stuff as much as areas of the Web where creative innovation is going on.

Maintaining AN over the past few years has no doubt contributed to my growing excitement about what I see happening outside of the mainstream. Add to that the politics and dysfunction of the studio based system and the gap widens.

I like the idea of new studios being created all over the world. I like the era that we're in. I greatly respect entrepreneurial artists and relate much more to them.
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