After I graduated from SCAD, I started preparing for SIGGRAPH, where I volunteered over the summer of 2014. I had to do whatever I could to make money to save up for the trip but ran into some health problems that got exacerbated while there. I've been recovering ever since then. Shortly after, I participated in the Atlanta Underground film festival, where I managed to get my short film, "Lost Light" into the animation category. I started up a personal art project and began local networking at various events, such as Film Bar Monday, My Animation Life, and others.
Through such networking, I meet a group of people who participated in the 48 hour horror film project, where I acted as the visual effects supervisor and artist, as well as compositor. I went on to help with another contest, this time for Doritos, where I held a similar role. Somewhere during this time, I participated in GENERATE, the 24 hour animation and visual effects contest, as well as the 48 hour Global Game Jam shortly after.
I was lucky enough to work with a good friend of mine, Chad Cox, on some freelance projects, making videos for companies. I mainly did modeling, texturing, lighting, rendering, and compositing for these. As I struggled to find more freelance work, I took up Lyft and Uber driving to make ends meet.
Life threw a few curveballs my direction during this when we had to spend a few months packing and moving to a new apartment, and then surviving an unexpected flood. Once we got resettled (and replaced all the damaged items), we took in a roommate to help with rent, and I began more freelance work again.
It became apparent to me that my computer was now no longer up-to-par for the work I was doing, when a scene needed to be rendered overnight took over a day to finish. I took this opportunity to rebuild my computer, which I only recently finished, and upgrade to Windows 10. Now that I have worked out most the bugs, I have been struggling to get certain programs back on, such as Renderman. That is currently where my co outer situation is right now, mostly where it needs to be but still some things to work out. However it was worth it, my render times went from 27 hours to 3 hours! Unfortunately, during this, my wife was laid off, forcing me to spend all my time working on making money, and finding a full-time job. I took up working as an extra for films and television as well.
So that is where I am, looking for work, struggling to continue my own art projects, while "background acting" on the side (which usually takes up an entire day) when I'm not Lyft or Uber driving. Meanwhile, I've been learning new software, such as 3DS Max.
That brings me to the future. I have been signing up for interviews and looking for work. Wi no significant income, I need to spend all my time on finding work, which means my demo reel and personal art projects are once again.put on the back burner. One potential job would pay me entry level work but doing the things I don't want to do anymore, things I left behind on Virginia when I moved to Atlanta to study animation. It's work, it pays, it has basic benefits, but I have to decide this week if it is a good fit for me. I admit I can do everything they need, but I am already depressed thinking about the work, as it reminds me of all the jobs in my past I didn't enjoy doing. I went to SCAD to get out of that, but it is trying to pull me back in. And the sad thing is I need the money bad enough I might just have to take it.
I am hoping something else comes my way, so I can get into the industries I'm interested in: Games, Film, or Television. But as I keep working on getting my computer software installed, and doing whatever I can to make ends meet, I am going to pick up my own art again this week. I have new goals I would like to set starting today, regardless of my work situation.
For starters, if I find no job, I want to spend 30-40 hours a week working on my own art, or at least figuring out the technical side of it. If I find a job, I will spend at least 3-4 hours a day during the week working on the same thing. If I get stuck in another job I don't like, I will spend more time looking for another job as well. I also plan to join some feedback groups online, such as 10,000 hours, who can give me feedback on my website (any suggestions for sites or groups to join would be great), as well as using CGSociety and others to show the final work. I will also update this blog daily! YES, DAILY!
Why daily? I need the motivation, the feedback, the incentive. I am spending too much time looking for work, or trying to make ends meet, and not enough on my art.
What's the art you ask? Specifically, 2 things, each with many parts. The small projects will be to take photographs of environments with different lighting setups, and recreate them as accurately as possible in 3D. This involves photography, real-world lighting, photo editing, modeling, texturing, shading, lighting, rendering, compositing, and if I have time, animation. The second is to make a few short animated films. I have 2 in production now, but neither are very far along. This is more collaborative, and requires a group of people to work with. I have a few people interested, and some online groups that have projects I hope to find time to participate in.
So for that's it for now. Look forward to the first new entry in my relaunched blog starting today, yes today! As soon as I can, I will be back home, figuring out Renderman and hopefully getting a leg up on my current Starbucks scene. I have a lot to do, and I'm afraid my days of sleeping almos full nights are over.
Intel 5820k i7 6core 3Ghz processor
ASROCK X99 extreme4 motherboard
16 GB DDR4 RAM (2400)
500GB SSD + 4TB HDD (plus 500GB Ubuntu boot disk)
CoolerMaster Storm case
ATI Radeon 5770HD (<- needs serious upgrade).
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