The ABOSG presentation was tweaked a wee bit - Riley had to cancel at just about the last minute, so a couple of other people that do a bit of maquette sculpting were kind enough to give a presentation, bring some of their work with them, and hold a Q&A afterwards - Anthony Coffey (I-Station) and Shawn Peters (ReelFX).
One of the guys was actually someone I'd worked with in the past at the toy company where I'm currently employed; however, he now works as a 2D animator. He brought along some of the maquettes that he used to have sitting at his desk...stuff that he'd done in his own time - not for work. The other guy, primarily a digital illustrator and matte artist, was a bit newer to the maquette sculpting process - he'd been learning this technique at work in the past year with the company's go-ahead, by creating actual maquettes as pre-vis tools for a couple of their 3D animation projects.
Their presentation was primarily focused on getting started in maquette sculpting, so they gave us handouts which included a list of basic tools, armatures, modeling clay, brief step-by-steps of the sculpting process, and suggested tutorials for us to check out. They also discussed some of their best practices, some of their mistakes, and some of their reasons for using the different types of clay or, on occasion, combinations of clay.
Since this is exactly what I needed to know, it was all good to hear. I have one sculpt currently in progress, the head of one of my polar bear characters, that I now know how to finalize with details.
I should have taken some pictures to show some of the excellent work that the guys brought with them, but unfortunately I didn't bring my camera. I'll have to next time. Actually, the next meeting will be the Industry Giants event, and I've already bought a ticket for that, so I will definitely be taking pictures at that time!
Here are some of the recommended websites for sculpting inspiration and reference:
And may I also recommend these:
Maquette Sculpting tutorial by GoblinQueen:
The Gnomon Workshop Sculpting DVDs by John Brown:
The Stop Motion Animation discussion boards:
Prior to the panel presentation, a comment from one of the instructors attending the meeting had me shaking my head and getting a bit irritated. Rita Street will be the moderator for the discussion panel and Q&A that will conclude the IG 2006 event. This instructor from the Collin County Community College felt that Ms Street would be an excellent role model for the young females of ABOSG who are seriously interested in working in the animation industry.
I disagree completely. Did he say this comment simply because Ms Street is a woman working in the animation industry? Are we going back to the days of the Disney Ink and Paint girls?
The women that attend the A Bunch of Short Guys meetings are generally doing so, not only because they are interested in working in the animation industry, but also because they are learning and building skills as animation artists by studying and practicing character animation, modeling, storyboarding, digital and traditional illustration, and other various 2D and 3D disciplines. Why would they be even remotely interested in becoming an editor, producer, managing director or journalist of animation, particularly at this early creative stage in their art of animation careers? To put it bluntly, those roles tend to be rather non-creative in a potentially very creative environment.
If the CCCC 2 year program in 3D Entertainment Animation/offered courses in the business of animation and was churning out writing degrees for roles in the animation industry, then I would agree that any student, not just females who happen to be interested in working in the animation industry, should see Ms. Street as a role model. She is very successful at what she does and is fairly well-known in the animation community.
From Cartoon Brew:
"Rita Street is the managing director of Radar Cartoons, a boutique consultancy firm focusing on the needs of international animation studios, helping develop and sell her client’s original content onto American networks. Rita is also the out-of-house entertainment producer for the Los Angeles-based design house Mighty Fine (creators of Ruby Gloom and French Kitty) and the co-producer of "The Nicktoons Film Festival" with Frederator Studios for the Nicktoons cable channel.
Before opening Radar, Rita worked as a publisher, editor and journalist focusing on the industry of animation. She has served as the publisher of ANIMATION MAGAZINE, the editor of FILM & VIDEO MAGAZINE and has also authored several books on graphic arts including COMPUTER ANIMATION: A WHOLE NEW WORLD (Rockport). For the Art Institute of Pittsburgh she serves as a program advisory committee member for Game Art & Design. She has also served on several prestigious juries, most notably Austria's Prix Ars Electronica competition for excellence in computer animation and visual effects.
Rita is the founder of the international non-profit organization, Women In Animation and a board member of ASIFA-Hollywood."
I wish I would have spoken up at the time he made that comment. Eh, but I probably would not have been able to speak as directly to the point about why that comment bothered me. Instead I think that I will post these comments on the ABOSG forum, in the hopes that I can better present my argument...and maybe get a nice little discussion going. :)
One final comment:
A male student from my old school that liked to follow me around, sit next to me in every class we had together, send me email after email asking to be my "friend", wanted me to teach him better English, pestered me about giving him job advice and help him get a job...showed up at the ABOSG meeting. It's like old nightmares from elementary school...but in college!
When we were in school I treated him no better and no worse than any of my regular classmates. This man was not a friend of mine. Just a classmate. One little smile and a friendly hello to him just as I did to any other student I knew while I was in school, and the idiot WOULD NOT LEAVE ME ALONE! I did ask him to stop sending me emails and I told him that I could not help him with his career. I finally just blocked all emails from him. Once I graduated, there was no further in-person contact with him either.
Well, get this: I left the meeting for a short bathroom break. He followed me and waited! I leave the restroom area to go back and there he was. He just stood there watching me, smiling. There was no one else in the bathroom that he could've been waiting for. I decided to leave the meeting entirely and didn't go back. I don't need that kind of annoyance.
What a creep.