On April 12, 2018, The Art Lecture Series featured a lecture by Jeremy Butler who is a successful animator and special effects artist. He shared the experiences of his career and offered advice for aspiring animators and those who were just generally interested in the field.
Butler had been an animator for the past 20 years now. Throughout his career, he had the opportunity to work on Featured Films and AAA title games such as Battle: Los Angeles, World of Warcraft, Clash of Clans, and Overwatch.
Butler would then go over the many different programs he would use and compare them to the ones that animators use today. When Butler first started his career the most expensive program, Maya Unlimited cost around $16,000! Nowadays these programs are easily accessible and are much cheaper considering student discounts.
How does one become a successful animator? Butler had answered this in great detail by explaining that one must find their niche. Become really good at one specific thing and search for jobs that tailor to your specific skill set. You also have to take criticism very well. It’s not about how good you are, but how the studio envisioned what they want to be portrayed. Can be frustrating, but you would have to roll with the punches if you want to get ahead of the game. “Understand that you’re there to serve the project, not your ego” Butler stated.
Networking has a huge role in getting employed as well. During the course of your academic career, you’ll never know whom you’ll meet, and they can definitely get you started on your path as an animator.
Once you are established in your field, you would have to keep that skill set sharp. The technology is continually changing, and the software is always updating. To hone these skills is to keep training yourselves in many different ways such as studying motion. This would imply focusing frame by frame studies of live action and understanding shapes. Drawing life itself such as nature, people, and animals. Lastly, to always practice animation with small and simple projects.
Overall, this lecture kept the audience engaged, and they benefited from hearing the experiences from the well established freelance animator, Jeremy Butler.
“It’s about the Journey, not the destination” – Jeremy Butler.