Update: Mentorship Ended

My mentorship ended mid August, and that combined with a project that came up with Novaby was pretty slammed. Unfortunately hasn’t really allowed me to work on All in Your Head as much as I would have liked but I hoping that will change soon.

Of the Spring 2022 Women in Animation Circles, I was accepted into Surviving and Thriving in Animation. I picked this one because I wanted to have a mentor who could possibly help navigate me in terms of my career. I started as an animator, I learned rigging and now that is primarily what I do in regards to work now. However knowing all these different parts of the pipeline kind of spread me a bit thin in terms of work I end up doing. During my mentorship because I was waiting for character models to be made, I volunteered as a modeler, and mostly was tasked with reworking an original model of a kitchen another member made, the following are kind of where I ended up taking it.

honestly I started to feel that we weren’t going to have time to actually animate during this mentorship as I also have a job to do. So when I was given the main character’s model, a 7/8 year old girl I tried my best to speedily make a rig. I wasn’t able to finish as fast as I wanted to but still I got to a point were I was pretty proud of how it looked. Biped rig included Ik/FK switches in arms and legs, reverse foot controls, finger pose controls and individual controls, a very basic facial set up that included mouth/lips and eyelid, and eyebrow controls, and a ribbon rig set up for her braid behind her head, some fk controls for the front bang that is loosely draped on the side of the face. All in all I think the set up was able to give some basic expressions, the character herself doesn’t have any dialogue so I figured the teeth could just follow mouth. I made a quick walk cycle for her and a small facial animation to kind of demonstrate most of it.

There were two more rigs I planned on making of the mentorship, one being the second character, a chubby pet cat and the other one was an elaborate prop Egg Carton Rig with Eggs that ideally would have yolk spilling out. I ended up placing the priority on the Girl rig because she’s the main character. the lid and front flap were rigged to close with set driven keys, and there are two versions of the eggs, cracked and solid. The only thing I was not able to finish is the actually deformation of the yolk from this oval shape to any kind of deformation however if i were to continue I would probably do it with a lattice deformer. Although a different solution might have to be figured out if it had to be moved out of Maya.

that being said what I did get out of the mentorship was a confirmation on how to move forward. I’d like to focus to being a technical artist/animator, because rigging is something that I kind of love to do. It’s like problem solving in a way, working for Novaby showed me, that nothing is too much of a tall order. I am confident I could rig up any and every model they give me. Moving forward as I look for work that is more full time and consistent with actual payment I think my first choice would be to work in games but honestly I’m open to any opportunity if the fit is right.

For now my plans are finish two more rigs for the current project at Novaby. I’m still waiting on a model update but I have a skeleton and controls ready, if the model is too different I can adjust but after its just setting up the quadrupeds and paint weighting. In my spare time I’m working on two new 2D rigs as well, one being the image above, the other I took a screenshot of and posted it on twitter. I’d like to start streaming again too and I’ve got a couple videos I recorded with the intention on making tiktoks with. Then of course another goal of mine is to move All in Your Head to UE4 so I can get more help on actually working on it.

However I’m actually in a position where finding new work kind of takes priority to making a free game, and that I also need to make my mental health a priority. Having ADHD has been kind of a battle since I found out, personally I find it hard to ask people for help, and I know that the biggest hit is my self esteem; it is the reason behind me continuously learning new skills and I do have confidence from that. I’ve have been struggling with the financial instability for so long that I worry I’m actually never going to get a break from it and sometimes my brains sends me thoughts like: ‘it could possibly be all for nothing’. Once the current project from Novaby is finished I know there will be some relief, but that can’t come soon enough and I’m just taking deep breathes and telling myself “It will be okay.” I want to believe that more than anything else.

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