My summer was a huge animation learning experience. It was in early March when I first got the email from the recruiter at Blur Studio that they were interested in hiring me. I was working on my personal animation at the time and still just focused on landing my first studio gig, so this was my chance. I had an interview with my soon to be animation supervisor Thierry Labelle over skype and then would drive across country to move to Los Angeles.
Moving to LA and working at Blur was better than I could have ever expected. The studio overall was really laid back and fun to be apart of. Blur has been around for quite some time now and some of the employees there have been on since the beginning. It literally was a big family that grew to about 170 in middle of production. Everyone was welcoming and helpful, especially Betty :).
This was my first ever animation production in a studio and it was very much a trial by fire. I was thrown into the deep end of the pool and this was my time to learn to swim. I was also learning a new software when I started, going from Maya to Softimage. Also never working with mocap data before, the project was sure to be a huge test of my skills.
Animation went fairly smoothly throughout the time I was there. I was able to work on more than just animation when I was there. There were quite a few technical problems that came up during production that I was able to help out with and fix. Also there was quite a bit of things that needed to be done for animation layout so that we could sell the animation pass to the client. Most of it was animating effects that would be used as a guide for Scene Assembly to then create the final look. I was actually pretty pleased to see most of the same timing and look that I created in the animation pass made it to final, but with much better details and awesome rendering!
One particular shot that I had a great time doing is in the showcase below. I animated a truck being smashed by a giant robot leg. This was meant to be just used in the animation pass as a stand-in so I only spent a few hours doing it. I was asked to scale around the truck and see what I could do because there was no rig for this and the client needed to see the direction of this shot. I ended up animating the geo and used deformers to get the final look of the animation. I thought simulation would then go in and make the actual animation later on but towards the end of production they came to me and asked to use my anim as the final look! So Scene Assembly took my animation and added some glass breaking simulation and dust to get the final look of the shot.
I could go on for awhile about how amazing my experience was at Blur Studio but this will serve as a quick summary of my time. Once the Halo 2 cinematics were wrapped up I was also invited to join up on another project there at Blur to animate on. I worked on a commercial TV spot for the new Assassin's Creed Unity game. You'll see a good chunk of the work I did on Halo 2 as well as the shots I worked on in the Assassin's Creed commercial in the video below.
Now on to my next animation adventure!