I recently received an e-mail from one of the 1up.com users with some questions regarding what it is like to work as an animator and if I could share some of my experiences as well as what parts of GOW 2 did I work on. Sincethere might be some people that might also be interested in pursuing a career as an animator in the future, I decided to share the questions and the answers and post them. Here are the original questions that were sent to me as well as my responses:
Q: I just finished GoW2 and spotted your name in thecredits. What scenes did you animate?
A: I mainly worked on animations for the main character, Kratos. These include most of his new special moves, Icarus Wing special moves, Titan Mode, Sword of Olympus, Barbarian Hammer, Spear of Destiny, Earth, Wind, Medusa, and Electricity magic moves.
Q: Can you share some of your experiences with me? Is it stifling, "production monkey" type of work or is that just the bitter talk of grumpy burnouts?
A: I definitely cannot speak for any grumpy burnouts that may be out there, but as far as my experience is concerned I can say that being an animator has been fun and anything but stifling. Please keep in mind that my perspective comes from working at video game companies. I cannot speak for the environments and work conditions that are found in TV animation and motion picture FX houses. I have worked on more than 5 game projects and I have never felt like I was a “production Monkey” of any sorts. However, I would be lying if I didn’t mention the fact that there have been many long hours and crunch periods that I had to endure. Hours can be long at times but work can also slow down to almost a halt right after a game is shipped since there is some down time between projects.
Q: How much creative input would a character animator have?
A: As a game animator you have lots of input as to how characters move and act. It is often the case in which a single animator must take charge of several characters in a project and define their movement while closely working with game designers.
Q: How prominent are unions?
A: If your goal is to work for film and television, then it is a safe bet that you will most likely have to be part of a Union. As far as the game industry is concerned however, Unions have not been formed yet. Perhaps this is something that may change in the future as Video Game production is becoming more like film, especially with the rising budgets of next gem games.
Q: Are you always worried about finding stable work?
A: If you plan to work in film or television I would have to say yes since animators are usually hired from project to project. Working in games is different because generally people are hired full time and continue to work form one project to the other, even during the pre production phase. These are all the questions so far.
If anyone else has any more questions regarding this topic I would be more than happy to answer as best as I can. Thanks for the questions and thanks for reading.