Monday, May 23, 2011

Compleat Project

I use 'compleat' here with its archaic meaning.

My thesis project is finally finished! After my last post, I presented and successfully defended this project to a three-person panel. The panel gave me some very pointed feedback, and I also got some nice criticisms from my classmates who were present. We talked about what I was trying to prove by using a game engine as a rendering tool, and where the strengths and weaknesses of such an approach might be. I shared the data of what I found while working on it, and happily enough, they came the same conclusions I did in my paper. If you'd like to read up on that, check out the prior post.

Probably the most memorable question of my defense came at the end, when one panelist asked me what I wanted to do after school, and how this project was relevant to that. I told him that I want to be a technical director, the guy who sets up things and fixes things to empower other artists to make all sorts of awesome. I want to be a problem-solver and an awesome-enabler. I've decided to focus on effects work because that seems to be where I can do the most good with those skills.

In point of fact, this thesis effort ended up being a lot closer to my ideal career than I even intended. For this project I was technically the producer, but most of the time I was modeling and rigging up characters and fixing things to allow my other teammates to animate, record, and generally strut their stuff. The rigging script I created for this project was almost completely re-written, twice. Yet in the end, I estimate it still saved me about a month in production time. In short, I was the medic to everyone else's soldier. And the soldiers on my team were very, VERY good. One of these days, I will pay them back, because the occasional cookie or pizza slice that I was able to provide is not suitable payment for that kind of awesome talent.

In the end, we ended up with an enjoyable short film. I ended up stating a point in my paper and I feel like it was a worthwhile effort. In their deliberations, the panel discussed the quality of the film itself as well as the technical points I hit while working on it. For those considerations they decided to graduate me with Honors. It's a nice feather in my cap :)

And now, thesis completed, NYU Master degree conferred, I step bravely out into the world to look for a place to begin my career. If you think the film linked up top is fun to watch, just think: I made that film while holding down a full-time job and going to school in my after-hours. Just imagine what I'll be able to do as a full time technical artist!

I can imagine some pretty nice things, and I can't wait till I can share that with you guys, too.