Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Our First Guest Speaker! Alex Alvarado!!!

Recent CCAD grad, illustration major, 2D work got him an internship at Disney Feature Animation, his newer CG work got him an internship at Laika. He is now working for Disney Feature. Right now he works as a Look Dev artist: texture painting, shading in Maya, etc.

Websites we looked at:  - Alex's Official website - Akin Bilgic's blog - texture painting program he mentioned

From what he knows of modeling:
-       your portfolio should have a good mix of organic and synthetic/man-made stuff

What he can expect when he gets to Disney:
-       three months of training, and then a review of his work, three more months of working on feature stuff/more training, another review and then he will be hired full time.

Advice for current students:
-       if you want to specify within the department, take classes specific to your skill set. So, for those who want to focus in modeling, take sculpture, etc.

For portfolios:
-       Look at work you are passionate about, by artists you like and respect, and go from there.
-       Know what you want, know the level of the people in the field --> aim to be this good!
-       Practice off of artists that you enjoy! Not to show to anyone, but just to practice your skill.

What he learned most from the internships:
-       How to work with other people in a group setting, the business/professional side of the industry

-       know that everyone has been in your position at some point
-       don't pester, but don't be afraid to connect again with other people. If it's been a month, email again to verify that your first message got through.

His internship process was quite simple: sent his blog to Disney, got the internship.

Taught himself a lot using online resources:
-       digital tutors
-       lynda
-       the gnoman workshop

Fundamentals are so important
-       the tools are easy to learn or to teach, but you have to know the basics

Does he have time for personal work?
-       he says it's still a pretty rough work load, but it's all about motivation. If you're passionate about it, you'll make time
-       plus, you generally get to leave your work at work!

Big studios vs. Small studios
-       Bigger studios have more defined roles
-       at a smaller studio, someone may be both a 3D modeler, and a stop motion animator, for instance

How much creative freedom can we expect?
-       it really depends on the job, the position, and the studio. Concept artists, for example, have a bit more creative freedom.

What he wishes he'd done while at CCAD?
-       more! More practice, more personal work. A larger body of work.

Studios do indeed have a lot of extracurricular classes
-       it's all about continuing to learn while you're at the job

You generally work with a group of people in the same department
-       for example, he worked with about 15 others
-       you will have times when you work by yourself as well!

His internship at Disney was more about learning, and education, while the one at Laika was more about getting the work done quickly and efficiently.

Advice to Freshman:
-       participate in forums like cgsociety, get your work out there to others!

How long does it take to texture a character?
-       For secondary/background characters, about a week. For main characters, up to a month.

-       The models he received were all quads. But generally: Quads =  film/tv, video games = triangles.

What programs did he use most frequently:
-       Maya, ZBrush, 3DMax, Cinema 4D
-       But, in reality, it's not about the specific program, it's about your work.

How long were the internships?
-       Disney = 10 weeks
-       Laika = 13 weeks

Disney is now using .ptex
-       No UV assignment is required! Ptex applies a separate texture to each face of a subdivision or polygon mesh.

He found it easy to mesh with and become friends with other people at the studios, because of similar personalities and interests.

It really is all about getting your portfolio in the door. If you can get someone to look at your work, you're set. THEN it becomes about networking.

Studios are mainly using LINUX, and mac, not windows.

Teachers he recommends taking:
- Riley, Mckissick, Groff, Wang

And here are just some of the intern's Alex had the opportunity to work with while at Disney! 

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