Monday, 1 February 2010

Skillset: Model Maker

When I decided to do the animation course I'm now doing the area I was most interested in was stop motion, and more specifically model making. Before christmas we looked at in order to find out what skills we would need in order to get into our chosen area of industry.

I looked at a number of different roles other than those I was most interested in, including Production designer, Animator (2D computer generated), Animator (2D drawn), Inbetweener, Layout Artist (2D drawn), Layout Artist (2D computer).

The two main areas I have focused on are Animator - Stop Frame/ Stop Motion and Model Maker, though my main interest in the Model making.

Within Model Making there are a number of roles; Trainee Model Maker, Junior Model Maker, Model Maker and Team Leader - Model Making. Obviously I'm looking at the skills needed for the lower entry levels for these jobs, from trainee to model maker. The list of skills for each all have the same requirements but as the job level gets higher there are more requirements, below is a list of requirements compiled from the three lower job levels. Items listed in italics are for Model Maker, others are for Junior Model Maker.

* manual dexterity combined with artistic ability
* ability to think in 3D
* ability to be methodical, thorough and patient, with a good eye for detail
* ability to communicate with colleagues and work as part of a team, keeping supervisors or production managers advised of progress or problems.
* enthusiasm to learn and develop professionally
* knowledge and use of a wide range of materials
* technical or mechanical skills relating to the model making process
* ability to take direction and accept delegated tasks willingly
* capacity to work alone, without supervision and follow a brief
* ability to work to a schedule and recognise deadlines
high level of various craft skills combined with artistic ability
ability to give guidance to more junior members of the team
* ability to liaise with members of other departments
* ability to keep good records and log sheets if required
* ability to deliver on schedule, working under pressure
* respect for the procedures and requirements of a particular studio or production
* knowledge of the requirements of the relevant health and safety legislation and procedures, including use of PPE (personal protective equipment) and COSHH (control of substances hazardous to health) regulations

There is also a section on Training and Qualifications. This suggests for all roles that candidates are likely to have an art or design related degree. It involves a broad range of craft skills so a background in one of these areas can be appropriate. These include animation, fine art, sculpture, jewellery, ceramics, graphics design, information design, metal work, dressmaking etc. Applicants will be expected to show a portfolio of their work, this can be personal work, including any sculpture, models or puppets. For an Animating role is it also very beneficial to have examples of life drawing, traditional drawn animation and a proven ability to develop characters and produce good performances. It also states that a show reel will be more beneficial than qualifications, so a good show reel is SUPER important!

As far a Qualifications go I have my Degree in Design and hopefully a Foundation Degree in Animation when I finish this course! I don't have a lot of examples of my model making skills as I only have my granny Model, this is why I am focusing on stop motion for my two current projects; so that I will have a lot of examples and can broaden the techniques I have used already for model making. Hopefully my interest in crafts will also stand me in good stead, and I now have an excuse to do more knitting and improve my crochet skills!

In order to add to my skill set I think it would be beneficial to attend life drawing classes and definitely dressmaking and pattern cutting classes. There is a pattern cutting class available for free at college but it is on a saturday and I can't make it as I'm at work. Another option would be to buy a book on pattern cutting and try and teach myself in my spare time. 

I think it's still important to improve my skills in other areas too, and I've just bought a book (Cinema 4D, The Artists Project Sourcebook - Anne Powers) which will help me work on my cinema 4D skills. Being able to build characters in cinema 4D will also show my ability to visualise in 3D.

I also want to work on my drawing skills in Photoshop, I've recently started using my Tablet a lot more but i think to get the full benefit of it i need to be using it to do stuff i wouldn't be able to do without it. Good old Alex Davy gave me a few tips on colouring using the tablet 'cause she's pretty awesome at it, might have to get her to give me a few lessons...

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