I launched this club, then went quiet pretty soon thereafter, so I wanted to post an update and maybe it is something other people can relate to or share advice on.
I finished my first major short film, a 13-minute adventure comedy about a rookie government agent trying to hunt down his first UFO. It was an exhausting 140 days of production, but the film turned out awesome and it was a huge educational hurdle for me. More than anything, it was the first time that I was working in CG full-time (I've been teaching myself since 2005, always with a full-time day job in an entirely different field).
About four days after completing my film, I was ready to start something new. :P I found all the models I needed on TurboSquid that would allow me to jump straight to production on a 2-minute short. My plan was to quickly produce something with Hair and a daytime/indoor environment to round out my skills/experience before trying to fundraise for a feature. I was ready to start storyboarding when I discovered that the models I was planning on using were ripoffs of major animated films: the fully-decorated kid's room was from Boss Baby and the girl was from Inside Out. They were extremely high quality models created by a really talented artist, but no where did they mention these were copyrighted designs - they were posted as royalty-free original models. Had I not randomly watched Boss Baby because it popped up on Netflix streaming, I would have been halfway through production of a short film completely unaware that my models were stolen from big studio productions! (And yes, I feel really stupid not recognizing the girl from Inside Out.)
Anyway, that discovery really knocked the wind out of my sails. I am not very adept at design/modeling, so I went from being ready to start production on a new short to facing a long and tiresome design phase. I spent a solid month or two struggling to find the energy or interest to start a new project.
A friend of mine once said, "The natural state of a film is to not be made." This couldn't be more true. Every single day is a struggle to keep your film alive. While that struggle is often time, money, or technical, it can also be emotional. And I think that's okay. What we do is really incredible, from creating a virtual world out of nothing, to seeing a project through - despite seemingly insurmountable odds.
I created this club because I don't know any other CG artists who make animated films. I've noticed a few people in the Cafe who have posted short films, but I've never exactly been inclined to send a message and be like, "hey, I also make animated films. Let's be friends."
The Cafe has been really helpful for addressing specific procedural issues, but I often feel at odds with all the people who work in photorealism (VFX, product visualizations, etc). The solutions that work for them often don't work for a cartoon - especially when your biggest challenge is rendering thousands of frames of a film on limited processing power.
I wanted to create a space where I could discuss methods of creating stylized images, CGI and narrative storytelling, workflows for longer animated content, and other challenges that arise in the process of making a film. There's a lot of overlap with the creation of other types of CG content, for sure, but I felt like there were plenty of things that I would want to run by other people who specifically make animated films.
Please comment and share what would be most beneficial to you for this club to cover.