I’ve been doing this animation thing for a while, and while I’m not a fantastic artist, my one saving grace is that I work fast. Really, really fast. At least I thought so until I went to the Daily Show with John Stewart (my favorite show, and the only reason I take a few minutes to eat every day) yesterday and went to the show, and afterwords, talked with some of the graphics team about what they do. And they do a lot.
When I was working on commercials regularly, I thought the 2-day turn around time was pushing it. But imagine having a job where you’re asked for an animated graphic for air in 2 hours – or less! For those of you who work on Broadcast News shows, I know the news is a lot like that too – but add the need to make it funny/loony, and it’s at a whole new level of work.
One thing I’ve really tried to do with my tutorials is help you get better at using After Effects. Not to just recreate what I’ve done. Here’s why:
In many ways, to be successful in this industry, it’s more important to be fast than it is to be talented. If your not a designer, speed and attention to detail easily trump artistic flare – no question. Don’t get me wrong, if you have real artistic talent, attention to detail, and you work fast – well that’s the best. But I don’t, so I work with what I’ve got. And I know a lot of people who have been very successful just because they can get the job done quickly.
So for those of you like me, who love animating, but maybe aren’t true artists: practice, practice, practice. In these tough economic times, where you may be in a work slump, use your down time to get better and faster at what you do. Create your own projects and animate them. Learn as much as you can. It just might make you indispensable on your next gig. I know I’d rather hire someone who knew what they were doing over someone that didn’t.
All of that said, I need to give credit where it’s due… The Daily Show has a graphics team that has it all: Artistic talent, speed, attention to detail, and most importantly, the ability to be creative and funny under extreme pressure. Good stuff.
I’ll end this by saying, while I have worked with a lot of cool people, I would kill to work with John Stewart, who, by the way, is 10 times funnier when the camera is not rolling – and that’s saying a lot. Now… I’m going to go hide under a blanket until these jealous feelings goes away.