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How does a day in animating look like?

I want to figure out what a day in your job looks like to get a better understanding of what should be expected

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Subject: Career question for you

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Ted’s Answer

Hi Weitao,

Example for a Games Animator:

You get an assignment to animate a two hit melee combo for the player character. You are never an island. You are always collaberating with other departments to get your work in the game.

First step is to get together with your character rigger (this might be you in small studios), to get the player character "control rig". This is what you will be animating with. This will be in a 3D package like Maya or 3DS Max. (Right now usually Maya)

Next, is collaborating with Design. Your combat designer will have specific ideas on what he wants the style of these hits to look like and the timing of the strikes. Is it martial arts? Is it Fencing? Design should have most of the details (sometimes in storyboards, but usually in a "Spec" page desciption. You can, of course, make suggestions and collaborate with the designer with ideas of your own. But the Designer is your client, and in the end they will make the decision.

Once you get that information for the style of the hits and the timing... you can start blocking out the animation on the Player Control Rig. In some cases, this is keyframe animation. In more realistic... larger budget games... this could be planning for a motion capture session.
You want to work quick with your animation block outs... and get them in the game quickly (prototyping) so you can test it. The designer will probably have the move set up for you in the engine's editor (like Unreal 5) . When you feel you have a good block out to be tested, you will be exporting your animation from your Maya package to your Unreal editor.

Hook it up with the Designers help and play your work! Have the Designer play your work! Get feedback. Make iterations until you get to what the Designer wants. Find the fun.

Once Design is happy, polish the animation and replace the rough blockout animation with a beauty pass.
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Lindley’s Answer

Hey there! For the past few years, I've been working as an in-house motion graphics artist.

As many others have pointed out, our job involves teamwork with a variety of creative minds like directors, copywriters, and designers, to name a few. Our work process is divided into three main stages: pre-production, production, and post-production.

During the pre-production stage, we concentrate on the concept of what we're going to create. This includes deciding on the style, video/motion, and the message we want to convey. The production stage is all about putting the pieces together. This involves video/photo shoots, designing, and storyboarding.

Once we've gathered all the necessary elements, we move on to the post-production stage. This is where the magic happens with animation, editing, and sound. Throughout each stage, we make sure to keep our stakeholders in the loop and provide them with review links to the assets we're creating.

The time it takes to complete a project can vary greatly. It could be a matter of hours, or it could stretch out over several months. But that's the beauty of working in animation - no two days are the same. On quieter days, we have the opportunity to experiment and explore new ideas and trends.
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Gary’s Answer

Howdy!

I've been a character animator for ELM Learning since 2020. I use Adobe Illustrator and After Effects to create 2D animations in the form of training videos for big-name clients like Google, Facebook, Netflix, and more. This form of animation goes hand in hand with motion graphics so much that the two become almost interchangeable. My job starts when I get a heads-up from the art director that a project is coming down the pipeline. They check to see if I'd be available for that project (my answer is always yes because I love my job). In a few days, they send me a bunch of Illustrator files, audio files, and a PDF storyboard to show me what goes where. I break up the Illustrator files into layers so that a character's head can be animated separately from its body. Every piece that must move independently from everything else goes onto its own layer. I import those broken-up files into After Effects and piece everything together according to the PDF and submit the first 30 seconds of completed video as a checkpoint for the art director to review and submit notes for fixes back to me. I'll keep plugging away for about a week on a video roughly 1 minute in length (animation takes forever) and then submit the final video by the deadline date set at the start of the project. I always try to get this submitted early so that I can get more notes and make the video as perfect as possible. You'll find it pays dividends to keep your employer happy. After that, the company will make some final adjustments if needed and submit the video to the client for their review. More often than not, that's the end of it and I'm off to my next project. Hope that helps.
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Trilochan’s Answer

A day as an animator can vary greatly depending on the specific project, the stage of production, and individual preferences. However, here's a general outline of what a typical day might look like .
Planning and Pre-production: Before diving into animation, there's often a phase of planning and pre-production. This might involve meetings with directors, storyboard artists, and other team members to discuss the vision for the project, review storyboards, and plan out the animation sequences.
Storyboarding: Animators may start their day by reviewing storyboards to understand the sequence of scenes they need to animate. They might also work on creating or refining storyboards for upcoming scenes.
Animation: The bulk of an animator's day is typically spent actually animating. This involves using specialized software to create movement and bring characters and scenes to life. Animators may work on individual shots or sequences, refining movements, timing, and expressions to convey the desired emotion and storytelling.
Collaboration and Feedback: Throughout the day, animators often collaborate with other team members, such as animation directors, other senior animators, and supervisors. They may receive feedback on their work, make revisions based on that feedback, and provide input on the work of others.
Problem-solving: Animation often involves problem-solving, whether it's figuring out how to achieve a particular movement or overcoming technical challenges in the software. Animators may spend time experimenting with different techniques and approaches to find the best solution.
Meetings and Reviews: Animators may also have meetings or review sessions where they present their work to the rest of the team for feedback and critique. These sessions are important for ensuring that the animation aligns with the overall vision of the project and meets quality standards.
Research and Inspiration: Animators may also spend time researching reference material or seeking inspiration from other sources, such as films, artwork, or real-life movement. This helps them bring authenticity and creativity to their animation work.
Breaks and Relaxation: Like any job, animating can be mentally and physically demanding, so it's important for animators to take regular breaks throughout the day to rest and recharge. This might involve stepping away from the computer, taking a walk, or engaging in other activities to clear the mind.
Overall, a day in animating is often a mix of creative work, collaboration, problem-solving, and attention to detail, all focused on bringing characters and stories to life through movement and expression.
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