Friday, 28 January 2011
Pixar Animation Studios
Sony Pictures Imageworks
Industrial Light and Magic
Dreamworks Aniamtion SKG
Blue Sky Studios
Aardman Aniamtions (uk)
Thursday, 27 January 2011
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Apprenticeships at Pixar Canada: Role Descriptions
- The Modeling/Rigging TD will build either character or set models from concept artwork. Character Modelers rig and skin the models so that they can be animated. Set Modelers model the geometry of sets and props, as well as assemble these models into fully dressed sets. The modeler will construct shapes of the digital character or set in a 3D modeling software, such as Maya, then convert the models for use in our proprietary animation suite.
- The Shading TD works alongside Modelers and Lighters to create the look of characters, sets, and other objects in the film. All textures and materials are developed by hand and must integrate into the Pixar worlds. The shading is created with RenderMan shaders, using a mixture of painted and procedural textures, along with sophisticated illumination models.
- The Visual Effects TD works to create visual effects in the animated film. Visual effects work often includes aspects of modeling, simulation, animation, shading, lighting, rendering and compositing for the visual effects elements of the shot. Visual effects work often includes simulation of dynamics and natural phenomena, as well as animation of effects elements either done by hand, or using procedural techniques.
- The Lighting TD creates the lighting of sets and characters in each shot of the animated film. Lighting makes the images look attractive, rich and interesting. It does this while conveying the mood, directing the viewer's attention to key story points, and ensuring that important actions are visible and easy to understand. A love of photography can be a great foundation for lighters. Lighting involves the placement and adjustment of lights in Pixar's lighting system, as well as the use of compositing tools to further enhance the appearance of the rendered image.
- The Apprentice role is intended for new or recent graduates (from relevant programs) with zero to one year of work experience. An Apprentice works on films produced at Pixar Canada, and will have the opportunity to learn from our creative and talented team. All our Apprentice roles are paid full time positions. Apprentices also receive Pixar Canada's benefits package.
- Pixar Canada offers Apprenticeships in a variety of departments including Animation, Layout, Modeling/Rigging, Shading, Lighting and Visual Effects. Check out the Apprentice Role Descriptions for more information.
- The duration of the Apprenticeship is a maximum of one year and is based in one department.
- We hire Apprentices throughout the year depending on our film requirements. It is best to refer to our websitewww.pixarcanada.com/jobs to find out our current openings.
- This very much depends on our production requirements. We will generally have two to six at any given time.
- Following a new hire orientation, apprentices will go through extensive training to learn about our proprietary software and job specific skills. Once training is completed, an apprentice will work with Pixar Canada employees and contribute as full team members. Apprentices will be producing shots/assets for the film while continuing to learn "on the job". Apprentices will be evaluated during their time with Pixar Canada and will be considered for ongoing employment.
- Our Apprenticeships will be posted on our website typically two to four months prior to the intended start date. As these are posted throughout the year, please continue to check our website for information. International students are welcome to apply. Please note that any offer is subject to the applicant's ability to obtain the appropriate work permit to work in Canada.
- Your resume should highlight your areas of interest, any relevant work experience, and your education information. A cover letter should describe your interests and experience with respect to the position, and why you are fit for this position. For more information, have a look at these tips for Putting Together a Strong Demo Reel.
Apprenticeship Tips: Putting Together a Strong Demo Reel
- Check out the Demo reel guidelines on the main jobs page to get information about how to set up your reel. However, here are some tips to help you get the most out of the time you spend on your demo reel.
- Student reels should be no more than 2 minutes TOPS!
- Do your research. Find reference material from film and photos.
- Show you! We want to see your personality coming through in your work.
- Focus. Make sure you focus your reel on the role you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for an Layout Apprentice, show Layout, not modeling and lighting.
- Keep it Simple. Over-complicating shots/designs may lose the viewer's focus on your core skills.
- Always have a reason to move your camera. Unmotivated camera moves are distracting.
- Make sure you are happy with your camera angles, cuts, and timing.
- Pay attention to composition of shots. What are you trying to tell your viewer?
- Study the work of great cinematographers.... They are your mentors.
- Test your cut on other people. Do they understand it? If not, change it.
- Don't feel like you have to make your own concepts. Use designs that have been created by professional designers.... It will make your models better.
- If you use your own designs, create detailed drawings (front, side, and 3/4 drawings). It will make the process much smoother.
- Know everything about what your character does, who they are, and what happens on your set. This will help you make design choices.
- Model environments to a camera so that you only build what we will see.
- It is best to build characters with conventional proportions as they are easier to rig and animate.
- Study anatomy and find out where animals bend, rotate, and how the skin moves over bone.
- Shoulders are the hardest part to rig on a character. Take your time with skinning this part.
- Test your rig out. Ask an animator to help make sure it holds up to the movements we would expect.
- Don't build in crazy expressions that no one would ever use. Ask an animator what they need and then build those expressions into your rig.
- New shiny environments do not offer the opportunity to test your skills with materials. We like things to be rusty, dirty, and scratched. This is also truer to life than clean and brand new!
- Try models with multiple materials, not just metal, but also leather, skin, glass, and hair.
- Paint your own textures. Don't rely on scans or photos.
- Remember to create a story that sells your skills. Think outside the regular format for your project. Consider two short films or a few vignettes - they don't have to be long.
- Know the story point and emotional quality of every shot, as well as your character's development through the story.
- Watch for blank areas in the middle of a face as they reduce the punch of facial animation.
- Some things are hard to animate. Choose wisely when deciding want to incorporate: E.g, Two characters interacting (fighting, hugging, pulling), weight change (heavy objects, pulling, buoyancy, falling & contact, gravity), emoting, dialogue.
- Film yourself doing the actions in your project.
- Use dynamics efficiently and only when it's worthwhile.
- Show more than a particle or fluid effects right out of the box.
- Find a way to make your explosion, liquid, hair, or dust have a personality.
- Accurate timing and weight is everything. Make sure you pay particular attention to this.
- Show more than one type of effect in order to show a breadth of skill and knowledge.
- Show the breakdown and your process of creating the effect.
- See if you can create stylized fire, water, hair...something that would fit into the Pixar world.
- Lighting is not just about allowing us to see a scene. Itâ€™s directing our eye and making a statement about mood.
- Lighting needs to have a sound foundation in order to be effective. Use good models that are well textured and shaded.
- You should attempt interior and exterior, as well as day and night setups in your reel.
- Consider using a design or photograph to recreate an exact lighting style.
- Be sure your lighting doesn't cause a shot to flatten out. Find a way to separate foreground and background.
- Make sure to have your camera move a bit in your scene so that we know you did not doctor your lighting in Photoshop!
Specific Role Guidelines
What do the different roles mean at Pixar Canada?
In Pixar's production process the term "TD" means Technical Artist. There are four main categories: Modeling & Rigging, Shading, Visual Effects, and Lighting.
Layout Artists (3D)
3D Layout Artists continue the visual story telling that has started in storyboarding. The tool that they use to tell the story is the CG camera. Akin to a cinematographer in film, 3D layout Artists create a sequence of shots with the use of camera composition, timing, and movements. These factors must guide the viewer's eye through the scene according to the Director's vision.
Animation is not merely moving an object. Animation brings the object to life and gives it a personality. The animator creates motions, gestures, and expressions of 3D characters and objects. Animators must know their character's motivation and back story, then use CG animation tools to "act" them out for the viewer.
Apprenticeships at Pixar Canada: Frequently Asked Questions
Making A Career As A Freelance 3D Artist
Make the right business connections in the world’s
fastest-growing freelance marketplace.
Since the 1990s there has been an increasing need for freelance 3D artists. More companies then ever are involved in making 3D games, art and animations. 3D renderings can be found just about everywhere you look. Due to this increased demand there has been an increase in the number of students who have graduated from art schools and are now looking for work as a freelance 3D artists. Whether your interest is in games or art, there is a need for experienced artists. Artists experienced with modeling, animating and rendering are in constant demand.
There is a constant need for 3D art because it is used in just about every advertising medium available today. Sometimes people take for granted the flashy graphics they might see on a commercial or on a website advertisement, but a lot of that is available thanks to the hard work of freelance 3D animators. Their task is not a simple one. To take an artists drawing and figure out how to render it as a 3D animation that will be seen potentially by millions.
As we move deeper into the 21st century the need for freelance 3D animators will only continue to grow. The days of hand drawn animated movies has past. More and more companies are focusing their efforts on making feature length 3D movies. The work involved can take months or even years. In order to bring costs down, most companies are contracting freelance 3D model and 3D animation artists. This is a trend that is bound to continue due to the increasing complexity of today's movies and the expensive computer processing power that is required in order to deliver the very best in 3D graphics. Whether you are just starting out or you are a veteran of the freelance 3D industry, you are going to need to find work from reliable employers in an environment where trusting relationships can be developed. The best forum to allow for that is the Go Freelance. Sign up today to take your freelance 3D artist career to new heights.
Principles of Animation
28 Principles of Animation
This article was given to me by Mark Kennedy (storyboard artist on Hercules and Tarzan). Thank you Mark for all those handouts!!
Often times animators and storyboarders in the industry are able to get handouts from some of the artists who are great teachers. This is an example of such kind of handout that gets circulated among the artists gradually. It took me quite a while to retype and scan the images from this handout. Please don't reproduce this on the internet without permission. (if you'd like to print it out and give it to another animation student, however, PLEASE do!) The entire article from here on out is by Walt Stanchfield (sp?) I included the images in approximately the same spot as they were on the original hand-written article.
This is a wonderful article for not only beginners but also for practiced animators. Please read it.
There are some principles of animation that can be consciously used in any scene. We should familiarize ourselves with them for both animation and animation-cleanup.
To illustrate these principles, I have chosen a supposedly simple scene. When the scene is analyzed, it is apparent how far one may go in using these principles.
The action in this scene is quite broad, making the principles easy to find, but they should be applied to subtle scenes also. Rarely in a picture is a character doing nothing- absolutely nothing. Snow White and Sleeping Beauty spend a short time in complete inactivity, but even then certain of these principles were used.
The use of held drawings and moving holds can be very effective, but only if they contain the vitality of an action drawing. Again, the use of these principles makes that possible.
28 Principles of Animation
The purpose of studying and analyzing a scene like this is to acquaint oneself with the possibilites in the use of the principles of animation. I have listed 28 principles, though there well may be more. At first these will have to be used consciously, then hopefully in time will become second nature. These are the tools of animation and should be incorporated whenever possible. Some of them are accidentally stumbled upon while animating in an emotional spurt, but when the emotions are lax, knowing these principles will enable the artist to animate his scene intellectually, logically and artistically as well as emotionally.
28 Principles of Animation
Here is a list of things (principles) that appear in these drawings, most of which should appear in all scenes, for they comprise the basis for full animation
28 Principles of Animation
An example of the observations that might be made by flipping and studying just these two drawings. By shifting your eyes from one drawing to the other you can see these things happening. Watch the negative shapes also.
Principles of Animation part 2
28 Principles of Animation-page 5
... To continue along this line of investigation...
This drawing would be called the "push off". Note that every line and shape on the drawing helps the upward thrust. Even the tail, which is still following the path set up for it by its primary force, the rump, helps by way of contrast and followthrough. Pick any shape on the figure and compare it to drawing #6 on the preceding page. Note how each shape changes to enhance the overall shape and action: the neck, the chest, the legs, the back, etc.
Even though this is just one drawing, there is no doubt about the action that is taking place in this part of the scene. This should be true ofany drawing in any scene.
Consider Anatomy Alone:
Aside from its purpose in the scene each drawing can be analyzed for different aspects of drawing. The whole body is a caracature of an animal, but all the parts of a real animal are present i.e., head, neck, back, hips, tail, etc. And each of them work and move in a plausible way.
Anatomy, of course is essential to any drawing whether it has a direct reference to nature or is completely imaginary. Though a character and/or its action may be greatly exaggerated or caracatured, anatomy in a sense remains fairly constant. An elbow is an elbow and only bends in a certain way, and has its limitation. Liberties may be taken but the "reality" of even a cartoon must be kept or it will lose plausibility or credulity. It is not an easy thing to convert one's knowledge of structural anatomy to the cartoon medium.
It has been said that the location of a joint is more important than the joint itself. For instane if an arm shape has been established, it cannot have an elbow bend in an improbable place, no matter how well the elbow is drawn. Compare tiger's arm to that of a real tiger.
The pull of gravity is one of the most important principles to deal with in animation. Everything has a certain amount of weight and will act and react accordingly. One easy way to lose the attention of an audience is to have feathers falling like bricks or bricks falling like feathers.
A certain humor can be gotten by bending the rules but should only be used where humor or special effect is called for. In shorts cartoons defying the laws of gravity, weight, speed, squash and stretch, etc., is a the rule of thumb. In Disney feature cartoons such flamboyant abandonment must be handled more discriminately.