Andrew Scott is a DJCAD graduate, studying Animation and graduating in 2016. He now works for the animation company Blue-Zoo Animation Studio as a 3D artist. Below is our interview with him:
Hi Andrew! We’d like to talk a little about inspiration. What’s your main source of inspiration when approaching a new project? Do you do a lot of research before a final design? Who inspires you, and why?
That’s a tough one. I would have to go with Artstation though, the level of quality that website offers is unbelievable. At work I have a tab always open with Artstation work and I browse through it during my lunch and whenever I am doing test renders. When starting a new project I just like to quickly look through what people are making and it makes me want to instantly start creating!
I always do a lot of research before starting a project, even for smaller scale projects. Because most of my work is modeling I need to realise a full 3D object and make it believable, meaning that it has to seem like it would work. A lot of that comes from examining images from Google, Pinterest, etc. Working out how parts fit together and what the little details are. Those are what bring the design to life.
I’m not sure I’ll be able to just give you a single designer. There are too many amazing people to choose from, but if I had to, I would go with Tor Frick. He’s an incredibly talented artist and the speed and proficiency that he works at is mind-boggling to me. His speed models can take less than one hour and it would take me days just to get even close to his results. It can be a little daunting, but everyday I feel like I am becoming faster and faster at creating my work. Maybe one day I’ll be half as fast as he is haha!
How quickly after uni did you manage to find work?
I found a job around 2 months after graduating. Between those two, I had a short remote internship position.
How much creative freedom do you feel you get in your current job?
I would say I have a good amount of creative freedom, overall. I usually work from pre-approved concept art but they can be vague, in a certain sense, so it is up to me to fill in the blanks. That is where I can really express myself and show my talents. All of this has to be done within the confines of the style of the project, so there is only so much you can do. But, it is good to have that focus since it keeps you from straying too far and wasting time.
Do you actively seek work? And, if so, how?
I used to look for freelance work, but after doing that for a couple of weeks and working full time I decided to leave it. Too much hassle and you end up feeling like you have no time for yourself.
What resources and infrastructure do you miss now that you are away from uni? Do you feel connected to the people or networks that were available in uni? How do you manage to make new contacts?
I miss having access to Pluralsight (previously DigitalTutors). I spent many hours going through tutorials during Uni to help get me up to speed with a lot of software. Getting opinions from lecturers such as Brendan Body, Sharon Campbell and Sang Hu is something that I also miss. There feedback was always interesting to hear and it definitely helped me progress through fourth year to where I am now.
Do I feel connected? Not particularly since I am down in London right now. Most of my recent new contacts are through work and social media such as Instagram.
How do you overcome difficulties during projects such as lack of ideas, motivation etc?
I like to take a break from a project from a short while if there is nothing left in the tank, in regards to ideas etc. I just do other things for a while like go on artstation, play games, hang out with friends or whatever. After this I find that before sleeping my mind tends to start coming up with new ideas, seemingly on it’s own and I just repeat the process until completion. When it comes to motivation though, you just have to force through it. I’m still working on this constantly and I’m not quite there yet. But, most of the time, I just force myself to do it because it is about being disciplined. Motivation is important since it gives you that spark every now and then just to remind you that you love what you do. In the end though, discipline is what will get you to where you want to be though. I tell myself that as often as I can to keep going.
Have you experienced any form of internship, and if so, is it something you would recommend? How did you go about getting one? Are there any websites?
Yeah, I had a short remote internship with Digital Shoguns for just under a month. It was fun, but a bit hard since I was looking for full time employment during it. I don’t really have enough experience to recommend it or not. It will completely depend on the company you are working at. If you want to get in the business and have zero options then go for it.
I got it through AnimatedJobs, I think. I saw a listing and sent them an email with my cv, showreel and artstation account. Other places I looked for that sort of work was on GlassDoor and Indeed.
Would you consider going back to education, do you have any plans for the future?
In the future I would like to try out teaching 3D, with an emphasis on modeling/texturing since that is what I currently do. Perhaps I will go come back to DJCAD and try it out if there is an opportunity. I don’t have concrete plans since I feel like it is too hard for me to make concrete plans due to all the variables. I do have a company in mind that I would like to work with in the far future. Between here and there though, I’m just going to work hard and see where it takes me.
What do you reckon employer’s would want to see in a showreel for a job in 3D?
That’s a tough one, I can only really comment on modeling/texturing since that is what I focus on. Probably the largest thing they want to see is quality. So, having all your best work on the showreel is a necessity. If you have doubts then ask other people…not close friends though since they can be biased and just say all of it is good. Same with family! Remember though, you are not aiming to achieve Blizzard quality work, yes you should aspire to, but for a benchmark you should be looking at junior/entry level artist reels in your chosen profession and aim for better than that.
Keep it short, around 1-2 mins and don’t go crazy with the music, keep it simple and elegant since most people will turn it off when listening to it anyway. In the case that they do have the speakers on, you don’t want them to hear loud obnoxious music and turn it off out of anger!
Try to have a consistent look to everything, not 100% sure it helps but I kept everything from my business card, to my showreel and to my CV in a similar style. I went at it as if I was producing a brand for a company. Chose two typefaces, a colour scheme, made a logo etc. This helps, I believe, show pride and professionalism in your work. I’ve only had positive comments about my strategy so it is doing something right…I suppose.
What kinds of tasks were you first given at your job? And has that changed? If so, how?
I started my current job as 3D artist, mainly working on environments for a kid’s tv show and that has not changed. On occasions I create hero props when we need them.
What one thing do you know now that you wish you had known when you were leaving uni?
I guess I would have understood that employers were not expecting my work to be 100% perfect. You don’t have to be producing the same quality as Blizzard or Pixar artists. You are in University. Yes, the quality has to be of a high standard but you are trying to demonstrate that you have potential, an eye for design/art and can produce work with character. If I’d understood this more in University I would have been less hard on myself and perhaps would have progressed more without fear of failure. And failing is all part of the process, just make mistakes and keep going.
Follow Andrew’s work on social media by following the links below: