By profession, I’m in the creative fields. I’ve worked in the Animation and VFX Industry for the last 13 years and counting. I also teach Animation VFX softwares, like, Toon Boom Studio, Maya, MotionBuilder, Nuke, FCP and many more. Although I have a certificate in Digital Character Animation from VFS (Vancouver Film School, Canada), I’m mostly self-trained.
Animation Film Making involves 3 major departments. Pre-Production, Production and Post Production. Ideally one should get training in these departments in this sequence, but due to a “series of unfortunate events”, I learned the process in a very haphazard manner. I first got to learn the 3D softwares, then VFX and then Drawing. To explain what I am talking about, I’ll need to fill you in on what these departments are all about.
Pre-Production mostly takes care of Designing all the elements of the film, starting from Sets & Props (Concept Design), Character Design, Storyboarding, Setting the mood with Colors and Animation. All this is done on paper and one needs to be very good at drawing to be a part of this department.
Production is mostly the 3D part of the pipeline. All the designs created by the artists, is now re-created in 3D using any one of the many 3D Modeling and Texturing softwares. These are then Rigged and Animated and finally the output is Rendered out as an image sequence.
Post-Production mostly involves, Compositing and adding VFX, followed by Sound & Video Editing.
Now, as I mentioned earlier, I got trained in 3D first, then VFX and finally Drawing. It should've been - Drawing, 3D and then VFX. Eventually I realized my mistake and started self-training thru a buncha online Tutorials and Courses.
When I was studying Concept Design, I got introduced to the term - Value Shading. I was following Scott Robertson’s awesome Perspective Drawing and Shading DVD series for The Gnomon Workshop.
When I was studying Character Design, I got introduced to the terms - Direct and Indirect lighting. I was following Glen Vilppu’s Awesome Human Anatomy Series.
When I was studying Storyboarding, I got introduced to the term - Shot Framing. I was following Feng Zhu’s Awesome Fundamentals of Shot Design for Environments DVD for The Gnomon Workshop.
When I was studying Color Theory, I got introduced to the terms, Color Harmonies and Contrast along with Bounced light, Shadows, Atmosphere and Camera Effects. I was following Richard Keyes’s Awesome The Mechanics of Color and Jeremy Vickery’s Awesome Practical Light and Color DVDs for The Gnomon Workshop.
The one thing that was common in all the above-mentioned study material is, understanding how light effects everything that we see, how to capture it and how to show it to others thru your drawings. They all talk about the importance of observation and some of them directly talk about how learning Photography helps an artist in creating compelling Artwork.
This became very evident in Storyboarding and Practical Light and Color. Here the instructors very clearly stated Camera Esthetics, like, Placements, Angles and Composition along with how the Camera captured Light & Color, Depth of Field and Motion Blur. The more I studied these topics the more I got interested in actually holding a Camera in my hands and practically trying out what these instructors were encouraging me to do.
That’s when I started doing my online research to find ways to learn Photography and the very first name that came up was the Awesome Karl Taylor, a British Photographer, who also offers Photography Master-Classes, perfect for amateur photography enthusiasts and even professional photographers.
After getting introduced to Photography thru Karl, I bought my first Camera, an entry-level Canon EOS 600D, that I wrote about in my earlier blogs, Anatomy of My Camera Part1 and Part2. I also did more research and found the Lynda.com's Photography Series, which I wrote about in another one of my earlier blogs, The Learning Curve.
As I learnt more about photography, I also started fiddling with the idea of maybe finding a way to sell my Photographs. Further researches lead me to the stunning new world of Stock Photography. I’ll be writing about how to sell photos online in subsequent blogs.