I recently obtained permission from REPSSI to post the 3 minute introductory segment of "A Hero Book In The Making" on youtube. This is a short film I made for REPSSI (Regional Psycho Social Support Initiative) of South Africa. Based on the instructional book by Jonathan Morgan. Directed, originated, and animated by myself.
I finished work on this in 2010. The entire film is about 15 minutes long, which I completed in animatic form in 2008 (I also have permission to post this now, more on that at another time).
This film would be my "before shot", the best of my animation effort prior to Animation Mentor. It was very much a generalists' effort, with animation being one of many elements.
I'm very happy with the work I did on this project. I had a lot of creative freedom, and it was an amazing experience. I don't know if it ever will be given the chance to be completed. There was limited funding and this short segment took a lot of time to create. I'm glad, at least, that I got this much done.
It is wonderful to finally be focusing on animation in and of itself. There is a lot about animating that I "quickly skimmed over" in the past which I am now being led through at AM in thorough detail. I can make an informed comparison between self-taught and formally-taught now. If I were asked to draw a simple conclusion about it, I'd say that both are valuable, and that it is best to obtain both if possible. Each of the two has shortcomings, so putting the two together I do find myself in a well-rounded position.
I do enjoy working in Softimage. It is like smooth clay to the fingers: malleable, yielding, yet no less powerful. I look forward to the day when Maya provides the same ease of user control and breadth of functionality. After a year in Maya, it still does not yield to my creative wishes as readily as Softimage did. Sure, it can do (almost) all of that. And to be fair, Maya is improving. A year ago, an instructor told me I'd warm up to it. And I have, in many ways. However, I can compare. There aren't so many Maya users who have had the chance to really get to know Softimage, so it seems to me the assertion that Maya is the leader often comes of a lack of opportunity to explore, and pragmatic feasibility. It takes months at the very least to truly learn these applications, and demo versions are only available for 30 days, so few have the time or resources to make a thorough comparison.
I do hope all the hard work and innovation that was put into Softimage will not fall by the wayside. Nowadays, Softimage seems to be promoted more as a particle system, but it is strong for character animation, rigging, shaders & texturing, modeling, rendering, all these other pipeline stages as well. The built-in character development system was very useful for getting things rolling quickly with rigging on this job, and it was straightforward to transfer attributes and properties between the rigs. I also did all the compositing for these shots in Softimage, and the tools for this were more than sufficient. On top of all of that, the ease of customization is an added bonus.
Ah well, I follow suit. I really do appreciate being able to use a student copy of Maya via being a formal student right now. It is also good to know and understand the consensus.