I spent reading week (6th Feb to 10th Feb) volunteering to help run Animex 2012. It's always a fun experience and I enjoy doing it.
I love Animex because it's the perfect pick-me-up if motivation is a bit sparse or the ol' creative brain is a bit worn out. So perfectly timed after our recent deadline! Though this year hasn't been as good as previous years (on the Animation side), it's still been really great to watch and help run. I felt that this year lacked on the animation side because it was mostly about the industry situation in the UK, visual effects and the technical side of animation, such as how stereoscopic 3D works. However, there was a fantastic talk from Karen Prell (who animated Wheatley and Glados in Portal 2, she also worked on a lot of Muppet productions!) who talked about how she animated Wheatley and Glados. It was interested that they left Wheatley until the last minute because of waiting for the dialogue but they prepared by creating custom animations ready to be put together in an animation mixer!
I've made it a goal to actually show some work to people at Animex 2013. I've been going to Animex for 5 years (volunteered for the past 3) and I've never shown my work because I've never felt it was ready to show or good enough. I think this is actually mostly because I did not have the confidence back then, so instead I focused on just talking to the speakers and over the years I have become more comfortable talking to various speakers. I've noticed that this year I've gotten more confident and much more comfortable speaking to them. I've even made some friends whom I hope to keep in touch with. I managed to get a couple of business cards which I will keep a good hold of for the future!
I've been inspired as usual by Animex and there are a few things I want to do from now on. I want to draw more, much much more. I want to include environments because I have picked up a beautiful art book from Tori Davis (who has worked on concept art for Rio) and the drawings were amazing, her work is a level I want to achieve.
I also want to become a better animator. Karen Prell's work was inspiring and her level of work is starting to look more and more achievable if I work hard and really push myself.
I'm also considering looking more into particle simulation. I messed around with particle simulation (water specifically) a few years ago and once I'd figured it out it was quite fun to work with. It was mentioned that the smaller the studio, the more you're going to need to be able to do. So it may be beneficial to have a couple of other skills.
Another thing is that Maya is becoming more popular (it was already popular but lately it seems to be getting more so, even my University has recently switched from SoftImage to Maya. Which is a bit annoying actually, considering I've finished my BA last year in which I'd been learning SoftImage!). So I will have to learn that as soon as I can. I might try to do one or two of the tasks in Maya but we'll see how I pick it up!