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Old 12-18-2012, 11:21 AM   #1
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The end of another year! What are your personal highlights?

I can't believe it's almost the end of another year! I thought it'd be fun to start a thread for folks to share their stories about how they've spent this year with regards to their art. So do chime in with your own tales!

I've had a pretty unusual year in that I've spent the last few months outside the studio on account of the fact that there's been no available work in Soho. I've spent the time chilling at my new peaceful home in a village in Hertfordshire with my two devilish cats, doing concert photography a few times a week in London, and teaching an online workshop while I wait for things to pick up in town again. Before this dry patch, I spent a year and a half working on an incredible project at Framestore in Soho - Alfonso Cuarón's upcoming sci fi film, Gravity, which I finished on in July. Sadly I believe the release date for this has been pushed back to the final quarter of next year, so I can't really reveal many details about it, suffice to say it was one of my absolute favourite projects of my career thus far (I think it's the 24th or 25th film I've worked on, so that's saying quite a lot!), we had an incredible team on the show and I got to work on some amazing, huge scale assets that really pushed and challenged me, which is something I really love. I'm a real sucker for all things hard surface, and this particular show really fulfilled that love. I can't wait for the film to come out - I hardly ever watch anything I work on but will definitely be seeing this, and can't wait to hear what all my peers think of it too, as I'm immensely proud of the work we did. So not only was this show a highlight of my year, but also a highlight of my career to this point.

In the new year I'm hoping for new work to hit Soho so I can get back into the studio and get back to some texturing, otherwise I may have to consider another path, possibly just diving into the photography thing full time if need be, but I'm hoping that there will be texturing work again, as texturing will always be my first choice for making a living. In the meantime I've set myself a goal of also learning some matte painting as it's something I've always been interested in and feel it'll complement by texture skillset nicely.

So, what about the rest of you? What cool things did you work on this year and what are your plans for 2013?
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Old 12-18-2012, 12:15 PM   #2
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Nice thread idea!

Aside from doing some client work - various 3D stuff - we have spent much of 2012 developing several custom video-processing algorithms.

In 2013, we hope to start the process of patenting and commercializing our algorithms.

Also, we hope to create GPU-accelerated realtime versions of some of them.

This year has gone past fast, I must say. Much too fast...

2013 will be a great year I think. Full of opportunities and innovations, possibly.


I wish everyone here a productive & luck-filled 2013!

Unless of course the Mayans were right, and the world ends on Dec 21st... in which case we are all royally screwed!
 
Old 12-18-2012, 12:20 PM   #3
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No working high points for me yet until i finish school.
The high point of the year for me was when I started driving a car on my 17th birthday. My Dad bought me an old VW Polo and insured it for me.
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Old 12-18-2012, 01:12 PM   #4
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A big thing for me this year was finally getting to display some of the work I did last year.

I spent around 6-8 months this year working on three projects, back-to-back. The clients are happy, so 2013 may be even busier.

Apart from work, I spent too much of the year writing Maya scripts and obsessing over feature character rigging, while accomplishing little. Reading about the amount of shot-sculpting on Hotel Transylvania convinced me I'd been drastically overthinking things.


For 2013, I want to get back to modelling my own characters, and not let scripting get in the way. It'd be nice to apply what I've learned about feature rigging, but I'll have to remember to only worry about it if the character will be animated in the near future. I've also had a breakthrough with a story I'd been developing, so 2013 might be the year for me to finally draw some comics.
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Old 12-18-2012, 01:16 PM   #5
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Personal highlight this year was stepping away from freelancing in the animation industry to take up my first year of four at Uni to become a primary school teacher. As much as I've enjoyed my seven year career in animation it was time to move onto something more stable and more suitable for who I've become.

Started doing more video work on the side as a hobby and soon found myself in high demand for a wide variety of video work (corporate to poetry slam). So looking back at this past year I can most definitely say it's been the most refreshing, challenging and satisfying year I've had in some time.

In 2013 I'm heading over to Zambia to do some short term mission work, construct school buildings, teaching, help where I can and enable people to connect with their brothers and sisters on the other side of the world though the video work I'll be doing there also.
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Old 12-18-2012, 01:29 PM   #6
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Fantastic thread idea Leigh!
Quote:
In 2013 I'm heading over to Zambia to do some short term mission work, construct school buildings, help where I can and enable people to connect with their brothers and sisters on the other side of the world though the video work I'll be doing there also.


Josh that sounds awesome! You'll have to PM me if you get the chance and tell me how it was. I've always wanted to do something like that. I almost joined the Peace Corp after highschool.

Now on to my 2012 -

Well, I won a high-level company award for some technical animation I did to go with an ad campaign (which I also worked on) to explain nuclear power to the public so that was pretty cool.
That same animation was also run on Fox News and CNN so it was cool to see that on TV.

Outside of that this was the first year in my almost 10 year career where I've really stepped away from the computer when not at work. No personal "For fun or learning" type projects at all this year. It gave me time to get back into my love of photography. That in turn has lead to the most exciting thing that happened to me this year. I just found out that in September of 2013 I will be going to a small island chain off the California coast to photograph and film Great White sharks! I'm practically jumping out of my skin as I type this! lol
 
Old 12-18-2012, 01:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crotalis
Outside of that this was the first year in my almost 10 year career where I've really stepped away from the computer when not at work. No personal "For fun or learning" type projects at all this year. It gave me time to get back into my love of photography. That in turn has lead to the most exciting thing that happened to me this year. I just found out that in September of 2013 I will be going to a small island chain off the California coast to photograph and film Great White sharks! I'm practically jumping out of my skin as I type this! lol


That's amazing! Like you, I also made an effort to stay away from my computer outside of work, although I did it several years ago. Okay I do still use it for processing photos but that's different to working on CG projects and has allowed me to venture into a totally different artistic medium. Photography is such a satisfying and exciting medium to work with and yet I only really learned how to use a camera properly a year ago. Before that, I never ever would have imagined that I'd do photography professionally and yet that's exactly what I do these days.

I'm sure your shark shoot will be incredible. They're beautiful, amazing creatures and yet so misunderstood, thanks largely to Hollywood.
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Old 12-18-2012, 01:50 PM   #8
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The so called "dry patch" allowed me to venture a bit into the exploding indie game developer scene (even though I had sworn myself 10 years ago never again to touch anything game related).

Even though there is not much money, the spirit in this developing community is quite refreshing.
 
Old 12-18-2012, 02:00 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Hun
Even though there is not much money, the spirit in this developing community is quite refreshing.


As a longtime fan of games, I feel the same way, even though I'm not involved in gamedev myself. It's been wonderful watching how indie developers have managed to explode onto the market, producing some absolutely brilliant titles - in recent years, games like Braid and Limbo have enjoyed hours on my XBox alongside the usual triple A titles. While I'm a fan of a lot of the big name series by the big developers, I'd say that some of the most innovative and fresh ideas for gaming are actually emerging from the indie scene, not the big dev scene.
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Old 12-18-2012, 02:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
That's amazing! Like you, I also made an effort to stay away from my computer outside of work, although I did it several years ago. Okay I do still use it for processing photos but that's different to working on CG projects and has allowed me to venture into a totally different artistic medium. Photography is such a satisfying and exciting medium to work with and yet I only really learned how to use a camera properly a year ago. Before that, I never ever would have imagined that I'd do photography professionally and yet that's exactly what I do these days.

I'm sure your shark shoot will be incredible. They're beautiful, amazing creatures and yet so misunderstood, thanks largely to Hollywood.


Ok, you've got me there. I may also have fired up the laptop to run some photos through it so I guess I can't say there were NO projects! lol

And yes, agreed on the shark thing. My hope is to actually have enough footage to do a small documentary. The people I'm going out with are scientists so there won't be any of that chumming and getting them to "attack" the cage type stuff you often see so I think it will be a cool way to show a more true side of them. I'm also hoping to get a good enough photo of one so that I can do a large scale print to have the shark pic hanging on my living room wall with the shark at it's full size!

BTW, I looked at your concert photography. Very nice! You have a very well developed sense of personal style for someone who hasn't been doing it that long!
 
Old 12-18-2012, 02:22 PM   #11
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Getting married in August was the highlight of 2012 for me

Other things I really enjoyed was working as animator/rigger on a really fun short film for a studio in Norway (to be shown at festivals and online in 2013), studying animation with iAnimate and the amazing reaction to the animation ghosting tool I created for Maya (https://vimeo.com/50029607).

In the last month or so I've also made some time to get back to my first love a bit - I've been playing music (guitar/bass) a bit more as a break from the computer, nice for recharging the creative batteries, I guess in a similar way to the posters above with photography.

Hope everyone has a great holiday break and roll on 2013!

Cheers,
Brian
 
Old 12-18-2012, 02:26 PM   #12
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Main highlight was reaching the far side of the CG generalist learning curve after 10 years of self-instruction so I could actually enjoy making things without being overwhelmed by the tedious aspects of the process.
And self-publishing a second book.
And going back to portrait sculpting and model making off the computer (though I use the computer to verify the likeness)
Next year I want to finish a couple of CG enhanced book trailers and complete several movie character head busts and maybe get a third book out but I am a slow writer(a book every 5 to 10 years on average).
 
Old 12-18-2012, 02:29 PM   #13
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For me, it's been a very eventful year but mostly because of things unrelated to my CG work. The main thing would be getting engaged, and moving to Sweden because of it. So I've now relocated my freelance business from London to Gothenburg and in the past four months I've gone from worrying about whether I'll make ends meet, to worrying about which jobs I'll have to turn down. I can't really say there's been any projects in particular worth mentioning, but all in all it's been a good (and terrifying) year.

2012 was also the second half of my project of spending a whole year exploring Sweden by travelling around on trains, so I went to a lot of places I hadn't been before and did all sorts of things. Not CG related, but I did get a lot of nice photos and lots of great inspiration!
 
Old 12-18-2012, 03:05 PM   #14
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This has been a trying year...

Starting at the end of last December with finding out I was loosing my job and being locked into a 6 month agreement for benefits...to spending a lot of time reflecting on what made me tick. An odd type of "mid life" crisis I suppose, but at least I didn't dump all of my severance into a sports car and go totally crazy! I realized that I was most happy over the years doing something creative and challenging... it was like I had been living in a black-hole the past 13 years without the creative side working in me.

I first seriously considered going back to a university, and getting my masters degree.. specifically looking at the glass blowing program here locally at UTA. I may still do this in the future, its a media that has always fascinated me and i never got a chance to work with it.

so, I guess I haven't had much in the way of accomplishments other than a self-revelation.
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Old 12-18-2012, 03:17 PM   #15
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A lot happened in my 2012 but almost none of it CG related. That said we did manage to get a shiny new website up and running and have worked on some great projects, including campaigns for AXE, Resident Evil 6 and a fantastic project that I can't talk about yet because its still on-going

Highlights in order of occurrence:

Putting a dog in a box



Getting a Cintiq



Getting a dog



Building a gate to keep said dog away from vegetables



Taking Kris Costa's absolutely superb character creation course at visualarium.com and starting work on this guy...




...although my progress was cut short by the number one event of 2012, the birth of our baby daughter 5 weeks ago.

(Toilet roll optional)

It's going to be pretty hard to top that last one

Roll on 2013!
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