Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Graduate Spotlight: Andrea Ferrara


Andrea Ferrara is a very talented graduate from AnimSchool who with his hard work and dedication not only passed the Animation program with a great shot, but also went on to work in feature films. Here is an interview where we learn about him and his workflow.

Andrea, tell us about yourself

My name is Andrea Ferrara, I am 26 and I am from Italy. In high school, I graduated in fine art and my course of studies was specialised in painting, mosaic and stained glasses.

At the age of 20, I moved to London where after two years working on different jobs, I started working as a barman to pay for my studies at AnimSchool.

What motivated you to become a 3D animator?

I have always wanted to work within the industry. When I was a child, I loved drawing and that led me to the idea of drawing for animation. This passion naturally made me pursue an art education.

I grew up between the ’90s and 2000s, and 3D animation was becoming the predominant way to make animated movies, I guess it turned out to be the obvious way to make animation and to become an animator for me as well.

Why did you decide to learn animation from AnimSchool?

After completing a one year 3D generalist course, I realised I needed to focus solely on animation if I wanted to achieve something in this industry; so I started researching for the best school to do that, and looking at every school’s student showcase, the AnimSchool’s reel was the one that made the best impression on me. It had more quality in my opinion and with the payment plan that they have, was also affordable for me.



Could you describe your work experience with The Secret Life of Pets 2 and how it was working on a project that big?

I had a lot of fun working on The Secret Life of Pets 2. It was my first project, and I really felt like I was improving shot after shot.
When you get the chance to work in a studio this big you really have to put in extra work and a lot of extra time, and you have to be open to improve, learn, and get as much feedback as you can. I really tried to show how much of a hard worker I am, and I was paid off by getting bigger and better shots every time.
I think I have animated just under 30 shots by the end of the production of various frame range. As today I have worked for Illumination Macguff for a little longer than 2 years. However, I animated on Pets 2 for 14 months.


Did your time / experience with AnimSchool help prepare you for a job like this? If so how?  

Thanks to AnimSchool, when I was assigned my very first shot, I felt like I already knew what to do. The transition from school to work was easy enough because the basic concepts of how to make an animation; how to conceive a shot etc. are the same in the workplace. It really made me feel at home.

Tell us about your workflow.

I examine the storyboard and layout with great attention. I play it in a loop to create a good image of the shot in my head. I try to visualise the best possible acting choices and determine the mood of the shot. I try to get into the character’s personality. 
When I feel I have the key poses, I sketch them down, and then I take a long time to pose the character into those key poses in Maya, then I put the in-betweens. 
I work putting every control’s key on the same frame but I keep the curves in spline, it helps me when I am making new in-betweens, and it also helps me keeping everything in order on a mechanical and technical point of view. It gives me a better chance to avoid unwanted gimbal locks. Once my ideas are in for good I start asking for some feedback and sometimes people around me give me such cool ideas or inputs that I have to put them in even if I have to delete a big chunk of my animation. 
Once I am happy with all the ideas, I start polishing the main controls (head, chest, root) then arms and legs at the end. When everything is looking smooth I add the details; more feedback really helps at this point as well.


Storyboard by Eric Favila


What are you up to now?

At the moment I am working on Sing 2, I have been on the project for a year already, and I will be on it until the summer.


What do you think animation students must focus to improve the quality of their works and get noticed and possibly be hired by a studio?


Just put those hours in, animate and animate till you are good. Putting as many hours a week on your animation is the only way to get better.
They should work on the ability to change their shots according to the supervisor’s notes. And trying to do that considering your instructor as your supervisor is the best way to do it in my opinion. 
In the practical sense, I would encourage students to create a LinkedIn profile and apply for as many places as you can starting from the top. Don’t be shy about applying for the biggest studios. That is probably where you might get a bigger chance to get hired as a junior.

Thank you Andrea for giving us this interview. 

If you want to watch Andrea Ferrara's work, check out the video below.



Learn at our online animation classes and animation workshops. If you’re interested in our accredited 3D animation programs, check us out at www.animschool.com.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Creature Animation - Workflow Tips
















With the rise of high quality VFX films and cinematics, there’s been a higher demand for creature animation. But, animating creatures is no easy task - you have to portray their animalistic behaviors while keeping track of 4 (or more!) feet and most likely a tail. It can seem overwhelming when starting to animate a creature shot, but as long as you keep the fundamentals of animation in mind, you can create awesome looking animation, too.


In this clip from our VFX class, instructor Tony Mecca talks about his workflow for animating a creature shot and tips for getting the smooth arcs he talked about in our last post (link here). Learn about how he approaches creature shots and deals with untangling the rigs!





These are the kind of skills you can learn in our online animation classes and animation workshops. If you’re interested in 3D animation programs, check us out at our website link below!






Start your journey into 3D Animation. Apply today! For more information about AnimSchool and our online animation programs, visit us at www.animschool.com