October 13, 2017

Game Character Rigging Fundamentals

It's been a while hasn't it? And here I am with three-month-old news. Things have been very busy the past several months and I tend to forget making posts to any of my social media profiles. This time I forgot about my own dang site! I'll try to make it up to you by catching you up on all the stuff that's been happening over all this time :)

First of all, the biggest thing is that I moved to Brazil! It took me a little too long to realize it was what I should have done in the first place. In the end, I just had to take the jump and trust that my family here would be there to cushion the landing. The biggest holdup before moving was a work-related one. Generally speaking, you don't work in the game industry from a distance. Companies like to have all their employees under one roof while they make things so with a big move in mind, I had to find work that I could do from any country.

I quickly found that getting work with other companies in the games industry was a stretch. I did my usual emailing of resumes and asking contacts and all that but just came out empty handed. If I wasn't turned down in an automated message, I heard back from them saying they don't take on remote workers. I know it's possible but I suppose the companies I was interested in would ultimately be the type to want an in-person relationship.

At the same I was looking for remote artist positions, I was also experimenting with tutoring. I have always loved to teach and after all this experience in the industry, I feel like I could offer a lot to someone getting started. Before sending any applications, I created a little tutorial for my YouTube channel that I could include as experience and an example of my style. Most of what I had to show from earlier was very old recordings I made in college that aren't that great and wouldn't help me find any work.

Soon after I made my tutorial for YouTube, I got an email from Pluralsight! I don't know if they saw the video or if it was just a coincidence that I had just made it but they were interested in me making a course with them and I was happy to accept the opportunity.

Working with Pluralsight was very different than my normal work so everything felt new and unexpected. The company - formally Digital-Tutors - is all about creating learning courses and their pipeline for producing a course feels very refined. Because all of it was so new to me, the preparation for my first course took quite a long time. Eventually I got to recording the rigging tutorial and very slowly continued progress on what would eventually become a five and a half hour course!

It took months to create and was a lot of challenging work as all the narration and editing were up to me but I found myself really enjoying the challenge and type of work that came with creating the course. Part way through, I ended up making the move to Brazil and had to finish the course in my new apartment. Things became much more of a frustration than a challenge at that point as neighbors from in the building and on the street below can be pretty loud.

To paint a picture: We have some dog-owners living on the street level below the apartment who's furry friends like to bark and snarl at anything walking by. There are all the "moto-boys" out delivering food who perilously streak through the streets on their very loud motorcycles. Every day is a celebration here in Jundiai as folks will set off fireworks in broad daylight at seemingly random points throughout the week. We are also neighbors to a car tuning shop who live to rev engines and cause backfires that sometimes sound a lot like hand grenades or other small explosives. On some particular nights, the dance school will have drumming events that can be heard from the apartment despite the great distance. It's also not uncommon for drivers to have large speakers tied to their cars blasting advertisements or political propaganda for all to enjoy.

I could really go on but for the sake of length and sounding too negative, I'll stop there. Because, to be honest, while much of it can be annoying at times, when I don't have a voice recording to worry about, living here is wonderful. Things that could be painted as negative are just strange and unusual aspects of living in a new country and I wouldn't trade it for anything. The atmosphere here is rich, colorful, full of music, singing and celebration. A great place to live but not so much to be recording. Not until we move out of this apartment anyway.

So that's pretty much the story of creating this course :) It was a tough one but a great experience that I should revisit when I get the chance to record in peace!

If you would like to check it out, either click on the post image or follow this link and get ready for some learning!