I had the special treat this week of having a question I had asked (via the "ask" AM email) answered by Bobby Beck himself in the AM video news!
I was watching the news and thinking "wow. Bobby is actually talking to me!" Very cool.
My question was on "fluff", asking for advice on how to draw the line between nice visuals and pure animation content in the presentation of our work. Bobby's answer, in summary, was that in school it is vital and singularly important to focus on the animation. Playblast what you do, no need to render. Once we've graduated, all that work can be dressed up a bit to look nice in our demo reels. If you can do it, fine go ahead. But the people hiring in studios out there are looking for good animation, plain and simple. Nothing else matters. Good animation that has been playblasted (simplest manner of rendering in Maya) will get you a job. The recruiters don't care about the music, and they don't care about special rendering or effects. They want to see performances that are real, authentic, sincere. Particle effects? They have essentially no relevance. Nice lighting? It can be a nice touch, but it's window dressing. "But I wouldn't do it on my own work at all. Because that'll all be done by another department anyway." "Focus on the animation and make it look as great as it possibly can"