If I were still in college right now, I'd be too busy to blog given the graduation requirements and show reel panel presentation jitters. It was around this time that I was working so hard to get my reel just right - not too girlish but not masculine either - and when you're a student who takes pride in your grades and receiving honors, the pressure doubles.

Almost two years later, I'm missing those moments. The panic over the PC not working properly, the stress over Zbrush not "cooperating" with how you want your model to look, the frustration over syncing your imagination with your current skill level - it's BULL. I've gone over to graphic design and web design, but it doesn't mean my hands aren't itching to animate or model another character in Maya.

The Show Reel

I'd like to show you my graduation reel for the course BS Digital Illustration and Animation (BS DIA). While it's not much, I'm proud of it. I even pushed myself to model a guy. Sheesh. (Watch in HD if you can. It'll be worth it, I promise.)

Why look back on this now?

Now that I'm thinking more clearly and not under the pressure of professors and academic reputation, I've come to realize that although it's important to perform well at school, it's also a priority to take a breather and focus on the future. Now, I wasn't thinking about any of this at the time and my goals were a bit too ambitious (haha), but again, it was 2015 me. After graduation, the medal/honors I got just sat on the shelf. Works well with my resume, but in real life, not so much. Ultimately, it's the skill that matters, and oh how I WISH I could go back to UNI and focus on animation again.

The Process

Show reels aren't magic. Animators and artists go through lengthy brainstorming sessions, sleepless nights, and dead hours (rendering time sucks). This is the reason why when I watch 3D animated or stop-motion films, I appreciate it as much as possible, no matter how boring or unpleasing the story itself is.

Model topography. Used to properly map out textures and place controls for animation (rigging).

There are times when your computer just gives up and shuts down right in the middle of rendering an image or a video. There are times when it won't open at all and you have to rely on the PCs at school instead and pull and stay overnight. I'm grateful these have not happened to me, but when the deadlines are around the corner, you get incredibly tense and agitated. People panic. Relationships get affected. All for the perfect reel.

My favorites, Shannon and Beatrice. I modeled Beatrice after one of my SIMS characters.

I see people commenting on 3D or 2D films and talking bull over how the story isn't good and how the animation sucks, and while there may be truth in some of them, you can't throw the whole film out the window.

You stick to it, no matter how boring or infuriating it can get. You have to get the mouths working right, the rig or "skeleton" of the model right so it won't look awkward when animated, you've got to make sure the texture works for your model, the lighting should be on point - it's an endless checklist of should be's.

In the world of animation, you can create just about any world you want, but at the same time, you have t make your audience believe it can exist. That starts with the environment, the textures, the model, and other technical aspects about it. Sometimes, the story isn't enough to sell a movie. As you can see from my amateurish texturing and modelling, it will take someone with passion and love for crafting to make the models believable. The first two models didn't make it to my show reel because it wasn't textured well. I couldn't have industry panels see that.

What you see in animation isn't as easy as it looks. You think all we do is push buttons and draw and click stuff? We pour our hearts into what we do (and so do other creative, passionate people) and we consider outputs as our "babies".

I had recently watched The Angry Birds Movie and it was well-animated, textured, and was visually appealing. The story may not have been great, but it hurt me to see so many critics not appreciating the effort put into animating the whole thing. Yeah, rate the story, but don't think no other effort was given to complete it.

I'm really just frustrated. Everyone thinks that all animators do are play around and model or draw. Just because we aren't doctors or businessmen, doesn't mean we're less serious about our careers and life in general.