Hi hanias and JBoogie,
Originally Posted by hanias
First I want to thank you for your time...
Well I entered VFX field almost 2 yrs ago, I work in Lebanon(Middle East).
The field is evolving here but still not as professional as what u guys do. I'm really eager to learn and improve in this field more. I would like to ask you, is it in any way possible for me to do training in one of the post production companies in the US? If yes how can I reach any, if not then what's your advice for me in order to improve and reach the pro level..
To start, I just want to say thank you. You and your team have done a magnificent job with the Matrix movies, as well as the Spiderman movies (super huge ridiculous spiderman fan since I was born). Your fx are greatly inspiring and amazing! I have always had a passion for animation and I am getting ready to attend AAU online at the age of 26 (military service after highschool). I feel like I am a bit behind the curve because I have very little knowledge in the 3D animation world (messing with the downloadable version of 3DS Max as of late) and the animation/production language used. If you wouldn't mind, I would just like to get your advice on some of the possible obstacles/problems that I may encounter as someone starting out "this late in the game" so to speak. Thank you ahead of time and keep the amazing work coming! Take care!
I'm going to answer your questions together since you both have similar requests.
You can find contact info for studios on the internet. Just type the studio's name in Google and go to their website. Most will have an "employment" section that will give you an address to send demos to. Here's one to get you started;
Make sure your demo is vhs or dvd in ntsc format. Most studios get tons of demos everyday so don't expect a quick reply. You can follow up with a phone call to the HR department. Make sure your demo and cover letter are clear about the position you want; modeling, animation, lighting, etc. You can also inquire about internships which can usually be a good foot in the door if you are just starting out.
I know what it's like trying to make that initial contact and it can be intimidating and/or frustrating. If your demo is specifically character animation you can mention my name in the cover letter and I'll be happy to take a look at it. Please only send me character animation demos though.
To JBoogie, the best thing you can do is animate, animate and then animate some more. One of your fellow posters ( amitabhverma8) asked a similar question, here were my suggestions to him;
The best advice I can give to improve as an animator is this; animate what interests you not what you think other people want to see. Whether it's cartoons, photoreal monsters or spaceships, you'll do better work and be happier if you follow your interests. Also, study real world reference. Act out an action in front of a mirror or, better yet, videotape youself and study it frame by frame. If you are animating a creature, find an animal in the real world to get ideas from. Find nature footage of that animal and study it frame by frame and apply that to your animation. Read animation books like "The illusion of life" or Richard Williams "The animator's survival kit" for basic animation principals. Most of all...animate, make mistakes, learn from your mistakes, be your own harshest critic and study human and animal body language.
The software you use is not as important as developing good animation skills.
I hope this helps, I look forward to seeing all of your great work in the future.