Monday, November 30, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
Depending on which part of the world you are in, there is either a shortage of job vacancies for animators or an even bigger shortage of job vacancies for animators. In short, there are more people applying to become animators than studios offering positions.
In such a competitive environment, this is where a CG artist has to excel in packaging and promoting himself. You will have to learn the art of networking first of all. In many instances where the bigger studios are concerned, submitting showreels might not be sufficient to warrant the HR's attention, because big studios means lots of work and that means BUSY. If you participate in trade events like software launches or trade exhibitions, chances are you can get to know a lot of studio executives. By getting to know somebody directly and having a name to contact, you might get your demo reel viewed much faster as 'you know somebody'. And if your reel is any good, chances are you will get hired, especially if the studio is in a hiring mode.
Now sometimes even after you've done the above and your demo reel is really good, you still may not get a job, and that's because the studio just isn't hiring at that point in time. However, your portfolio will be kept for future references when they do have a vacancy.
Also, there are times when studios just don't want to hire fresh CG artists. They may prefer to hire 'experienced staff'. But who's going to give you experience if you don't get hired by them, you ask.
OK, to answer your question, first you must realize that there are a number of industries where 3D animation is used, and you may be able to get started in an industry other than the one you initially had your heart set on. If you can't find a job with an animation studio, then consider working with a web design company, a game design company, an architectural firm, a media company, an advertising company or even a product design company. Many of such companies require a 3D artist, and you can build up a portfolio and the much coveted 'experience' there.
Getting an internship during your education is also a good method of paving your way to getting your first animation job. If during the internship you exhibit yourself to be a conscientious worker with good habits and skills, you might just get a job offer upon graduation. Many 3D artists got their jobs this way, so this is a very valid method of getting your first job. Another spin off from this method is by offering to work for free. Look upon it as an opportunity to learn from working professionals and to gain experience with the latest softwares and real-world projects. If you show yourself to be sincere and dedicated enough you will eventually be offered a position.
Whatever the case, remember to get a demo reel produced. The reel should exhibit your best work and your skills to the fullest. Take out the crappy work and if there's nothing good to put in, then work on getting some good stuff to put in instead of putting in crap. Crap is not going to get you any job offers! A demo reel is going to make or break you, so make sure you put in 1000% effort into making the best reel you can produce. Know that the person reviewing your demo reel (if he ever picks it up) is going to spend less than 30 seconds looking for something he likes.
We sure hear a lot of complaints about how hard it is to break into the 3-D animation business and Hollywood. Many in the US are complaining that most of the jobs are now going to India, and whereas, it is true that the Indian animation entertainment sector and electronic arts industry is growing by leaps and bounds, we must also realize that there are many more animation films every year than there ever have been in the past.
We should also realize that Disney, Pixar, and DreamWorks are each putting out a couple of animation films a month, usually they might be able to do one, two, or maybe on a blue moon three in the same year. It should also be noted that television is using much more animation than they have in the past, and not just for kids programs and cartoons anymore. Worldwide, we are watching more animation films, and cartoons, so the reality is the entire industry is moving upward and more jobs are needed.
Of course, the computer technology and software is also getting much better and a good computer operator is able to do what 100 animators used to be able to do in a week's time. So whereas, there are more animation films, it can be said there is a need for less people. And more folks with creative ability + excellent computer skills in manipulating and designing on 3D software.
Still, we need people, lots of them to do animation, and this is why so much work is going to where jobs are the cheapest in India. Nevertheless, there are jobs in the United States in animation related industry subsectors, such as 3-D animation for presentations of new inventions, innovations, concepts, or products. There is also a huge need for things like 3-D animation to help companies and corporations improve their distribution supply chain flows in their factories and warehouses.
Before, anyone gives up on their dream to have a job in animation, they should look at these ancillary industries as well. From there they just might be able to get the experience they need to break into the more glamorous, and "sometimes" higher-paying animation entertainment industry. I sure hope you will please consider all this.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Computer graphics have come long way ahead in terms of technology and creativity. Cartoon animation is one such feature that is being used extensively in website designing. In animation different series of drawings are segregated together in order to create movement. Resolution of vision requires at least 24 frames per second in a particular frame. As far as cartoon animation goes, animators and cartoonists both are required to make them.
Usage of cartoon characters online for company or product promotion makes a special impact on the site visitor. It adds element of interest, humor and attractiveness to a website. Cartoonists are people who are responsible for using graphics in developing cartoon characters and inserting the right expressions on their faces. After that animators use specialized graphic software tools to animate them. Based on a particular storyline, cartoon characters are created and movement is given as per the story. Usually these cartoon animations have a particular theme behind them with a strike of fun added to them.
Themes in cartoon animations should be concrete and appeal to the visitors. Cartoons are given life through animation, it is indeed challenging job. Putting right kind of emotion and expression in cartoon characters require deep thinking, power of visualization and knowledge.
Animated cartoons are in sequential order with humor in it based on the storyline. Use of language can be there or not there, it depends on your target audience and whether you want to use a specific language or not. Cartoons are far ahead of any regional constraints. Many advanced computer software are available in the market which are used by animators and cartoonists to create wide range of animations used in online games, commercial uses, online presentations, cartoon movies, etc.
Types of computer animation
Cartoon animation can be constructed in two different formats- 2D and 3D computer graphical design. The different resolutions used in their making gives diversified optical illusion of motion to the onlooker.
Development of 2D cartoon animation is done on computer screen or paper with the help of 2D vector graphics or bitmap. Techniques like morphing, twining, blurring and interpolation are used in 2D graphics which are initially drawn on X-Y coordinate. PowerPoint and Macromedia Flash are widely used software tools for creating 2D animations.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Have you ever wondered how some cartoon characters became so famous - with hundreds or thousands of merchandise bearing their names and images? Remove the ones with animated series out of the equation since they have a marketing medium - and you still have a handful of characters out there who became famous through the merit of their designs. Examples are Julius the Monkey and Emily the Stange.
This article discusses some tips for creating and selling cartoon characters.
Are your characters cute or cool? Cute characters easily attract the females and the young children markets - two of the largest consumer markets. Character merchandise is often cheaper and more affordable. Therefore profit through sheer volumes of sales can be quite astounding.
Cool characters are more suitable as collectibles, and often cater more to the male market. As they are often more exclusive and expensive, sales volumes are seldom as impressive as cute character merchandise.
In the spirit of games development, decision makers might simply want to pick a design that is most suited for the game concept. But as far as possible, if the game concept so allows, do try to go for cute characters because they stand a higher chance of getting licensed for merchandising.
A character bible is the foundation for every product that would stem from an intellectual property - be it a game, animated series, comic, story book etc. Regardless of the resulting product, everything should refer back to the character bible. This is what the bible is all about - a kind of blueprint for an intellectual property besides being a showcase for the intellectual property.
A style guide to showcase your characters in their full glory is absolutely necessary if you plan to license your characters. The average licensee is often quite unimaginative and seldom sees beyond what you show them. So if you are showing them screen captures of your game, hoping that they would see the full potential of your character designs, chances are they will not. A style guide with multiple poses and designs of each character would help them understand and appreciate your character designs better.
The cartoon effect has caught on in so many different ways. We have the little assistant cartoon person step out onto our desktop at several service sites. We have the cartoon logos identified with our products and more recently we have the cartoon caricature used for our social networking presence. We find offers in our mailbox to have our profile image 'cartooned' for us.
The cartoon effect in After Effects is great for a banner, a photographic image or video providing a simple way to give an other worldly look to your subject. It is also easy to create a 'French impressionist' look with bright colors and exaggerated texture and features. Fortunately the cartoon effect is quite easy to apply, very easy to experiment with. Like any animation or special effect, giving some thought to what your finished product is going to say, how you want it to look is a great start. A comic effect is typical for the animated helper but it is just as easy to create a little drama with bold features and shadows. Picture the Hulk or Superman.
The fill option does the opposite. It exaggerates only the fill portion doing nothing to the edges. Imagine puffy fill with soft textures and because you haven't used the edges attribute, edges are very rounded and reveal curves. With fill chosen you see shadowing and darker shades highlight the fill creating the cartoon effect in this fashion. There is no better subject for the cartoon effect than a human being complete with face color, lines, and texture and the clothes we humans wear. This 'fill only' approach, creates the true comic book cartoon likeness with shading and color describing human features and clothing fabric. The fill option has two adjustments for shading steps and smoothness. At the higher setting for shading steps, the shading is less pronounced producing a softer image. At it lowest settings approaching zero, the fill shading produces much more noticeable differences in color and shadow, a much more noticeable effect.
To get a different and perhaps the preferred cartoon effect, use these two together combining fill and edges under your render option. You will see an immediate profound difference. You see the soft textures, colors, the fabric you can touch, but you also see powerful dark lines outlining everything from your human subject to the objects that share the video. If your subject is sitting in a chair, for example, your subject and the chair share powerful outline and animated description, sharing similar descriptions providing a seamlessness to the entire image.
Remember that because the cartoon effect has graduated settings, you can use After Effects 'brainstorm' tool to get help producing some random combinations of the available settings, assisting you discovering that 'certain look' you are looking for. As you use 'brainstorm', you are presented with different combinations of the settings introduced in this article. Clicking on the ones you like will include them in a second 'brainstorm' random creation. You also have the option to add one of the 'brainstorms' presented to your current composition or save it as an entirely new composition.
Grab The Bookmarketer For Your Site
Saturday, November 21, 2009
It is often said that in movies and television, sex sells. But never is this claim more true when tracing the history of Western animation which is supposedly for children. Let's turn back the clock a bit and do a retrospective on the Queen of the Animated Screen: Betty Boop.
Betty was a brainchild of the iconic animator Max Fleischer who also worked on the legendary animated series Superman. With her popularity, Betty became the star of many films including the Talkartoon series and the self-titled Betty Boop films. Paramount Pictures knew they had a gem in Betty; this is why it sustained such success that is still recognized up until today.
The crazy thing about the character design of Betty Boop is that it wasn't even a human to begin with. She was designed to be a walking and talking French poodle - similar to other animal anthropomorphic character such as Mickey Mouse. However in 1932, its creator Fleischer finalized it as a human, owing it to its sex appeal success. Its poodle ears were turned into hoop earrings while its black nose was turned into a sexy button-like nose.
Moreover, Betty would go on to play supporting roles in movies - more notably as a girlfriend to the popular character back then named Bimbo. Betty Boop was called Nancy Lee and Nan McGrew during these roles.
Betty's voicing was largely popularized by Mae Questel who took the role from 1931 to 1938. Other notable actresses who voiced the sultry character were Margie Hines (the first one), Kate Wright, Ann Rothschild, and Bonnie Poe. The name Betty was said to have been derived from the 1931 Screen Songs cartoon Betty Co-Ed - but animation historians are debating that it is not the actual Betty Boop but just a prototype of the real Betty.
Her only theatrical movie appearance in color was with the animated movie entitled Poor Cinderella in 1934. In 1988 she would have a cameo role in the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit? But most of the stardom of Betty became apparent when she became the lead role in the Talkartoons series of 1932 as well as her own series starting with Stopping the Show.
Betty's importance as a sex appeal icon was stylized in glamourized fashion from short dresses to high heels and then make-up. However, this was more given prominence in two landmark movies in 1932; Chess-Nuts and Boop-Oop-A-Doop. In Chess-Nuts, Betty was shown tied in a bed by the White King who exclaimed that he will have her. But before anything happens, the bed runs away and she is eventually saved by Bimbo. In Boop-Oop-A-Doop, the title of the film came to refer to her virginity as it was threatened by the Ringmaster of a Circus. Inside a tent, the Ringmaster starts to harass her with Betty begging off "Don't take my Boop-Oop-A-Doop away!" Eventually she go rescued again by Koko the Clown who beat the Ringmaster with a mallet.
These instances were early portrayals of sexual harassment in the silver screen - taboo subjects during those times. This was a brilliant illustration of how animation can go well beyond entertainment. Betty Boop certainly deserves its place in the animation hall-of-fame. In fact, just this year, Betty Boop was still voted as the second most cartoon character through a poll run by a newspaper in the United Kingdom.
Grab The Bookmarketer For Your Site
Friday, November 20, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
If you are involved in the world of animation as an upcoming animator then more than likely, one of your major aspirations is to getting a cartoon animation series produced. If you of a realistic nature you also realize that it is not going to be very easy but it is possible.
Let your imagination kick in. You need to come up an idea for your series. Being as it is a series you need an ongoing theme. Probably if you look back at your old sketchings, you will see where you drew perhaps an action figure doing several different things. The theme is what your action figure does. Now you will need to build your theme and once you do this, it becomes your foundation.
Naturally, there are going to have to be various characters in your series. You are going to need to think about each of them and what roll will they play. This does not mean you are designing the plot of the story, it means you are assigning traits to your characters.
Most cartoon animators do not consider themselves adept at script writing. This is where they will rely on an expert in that field. Your job will be to present him with your theme and your ideas regarding that theme. Your scriptwriter is the one who brings your characters to life. He will do this by utilizing the traits you have provided him. Make sure your choice of scriptwriter is one that is well versed in this type of writing.
One of the key factors of your success is making your characters remarkable. You can enlist the services of a good design company for this segment of your project. They almost have to become household names. Hopefully to the point where various products will be designed after them. Imagine a super hero you have erected becoming the hottest action figure on the market. I would class that as the ultimate success.
You are very close to the point of now compiling your character bible. This is where you start to put things into action. This book, which has now become a very valuable commodity of yours, will contain all of the information you have gathered so far from the different venues you hired. You will take your character bible to an animation house in the hopes of having a pilot episode produced.
Now you will have reached a decision-making period. You can approach a distribution company with your pilot to see how marketable the finished version would be.
The other alternative to a distribution company would be to approach the television media to see if there would be any interest by them to produce your show. Here is the step where you have to be confident in your work. You know it is good and now you have to sell others on that very fact.