Monday, August 26, 2013

The Full-Time Placement (how time flys)

    Still feels like yesterday I clicked render for the final time on "Under the Weather". This summer has passed quickly to say the least, filled with real work days and responsibilities.

   I picked up a work placement through Go Wales toward the end of July, which I am now half way through. The company I work for are a Swansea based software development company named "dezrez", and they wanted a series of promotional videos for their various products. Nothing to it :)

      Really admire the people here and the way the company goes about it's business. Small-scale and extremely passionate about what they're doing. It's been a joy so far, apart from getting used to the working world on my part. Not sure if people round the office are used to a sleep deprived overly-absorbed-in-work-and-increasingly-succumbing-to-CVS animator/motion designer. After all this isn't a design company. In the wider world they would work with an outside studio, but working in-house has it's perks.

       I would like to offer a couple of tips to anyone out there in this line of work though.

1. Iterative Saving
   This is something I picked up for my own benefit whilst producing Under the Weather, but it's so much more useful once you start working for a client, and something every professional does anyway.

    Save different versions of your work as you go. If you make a significant change, save it as a different file, just in case you or your client wants to back-track to an earlier version. It will save you a lot of work, trust me.

     An example from dezrez
 This shot originally said "dezrez cloud" at the end, but along the pipeline I was asked to change it to "Azure", the storage platform which the company use.

Upon seeing the final release however there were a few concerns over the fact that Azure is a third party product and that it wasn't based on the cloud platform, and so had to be changed back.
This wouldn't have been difficult to change anyway, but it saved that little bit of time, and when people want results time is valuable.

2. Listen, listen, listen. Then elaborate.

   There's literally no point working for someone if you're just going to go off and do your own thing (unless of course you are asked to).
    The folks at dezrez had a very good idea of what they already wanted, and have a plethora of visual assets to go with it. They wanted high-end graphics to outshine competitors. All a very good start.
     But you still need to elaborate and bring something to the table. As easy it is for people to see it in their minds, it can be difficult to verbalize.
     Being able to listen and come out with an appropriate response is one of the key skills I've picked up over the past few weeks.

3. Plan your time.

    Again, something that I picked up during the past 6 months, but never vehemently stuck to until now. This is more for the companies piece of mind so they know that I am on track, and actually doing something rather than getting payed to sit around and doodle. After all they've made a fair investment in me, buying the appropriate hardware/software I need and supplying me with ENDLESS AMOUNTS OF COFFEE (which is always needed with the hour-and-a-bit commute to Swansea everyday).
    Apart from giving everyone piece of mind, I've never fully appreciated how much a schedule helps, and how much more productive you become by sticking to your own deadlines. This again is something you get told over and over again by Uni but you don't take as seriously as you should.

4. Compromise

    With having to plan your time to get optimum results, there will also have to be sacrifices. This kind of corporate marketing uses down-and-dirty animation. The initial sequence with the characters isn't anything to write home about, but it got the job done in a good amount of time. Making the product look good is the main aim at the end of the day, and nobody cares if a walk cycle looks right unless they are another animator.
     This is not to say I'm dissatisfied  with the final outcome at all. Its been a good test to see what I can do when working to a brief on a small time-scale. It's what the client wants which matters, and the feedback has been positive so far.

With all that said, here is the result of about 4 weeks work (with one week spent brainstorming and pinning down visually what dezrez wanted). Excuse the cheesy free-stock music.


Here are a few pre-production shots on a couple of other videos I've begun for dezrez



With all this said and done though, I am hankering to get started on my next and final film at Uni... can't believe it's already 3rd year. 

Watch this space for initial teasers (it's going to be a lot different from the last one, I can safely say that) 

1 comment:

  1. Some Great work there ted. hope the placement is going well, it looks it :)