So I kinda fell off the face of the earth this last year. So why? Well, firstly I got a job down at Reel FX in Dallas as a Technical Director. The days were longish and I was really focusing on learning what I needed to learn to be as good at my job as I could. And the move down here was hard on both me and my family and so we were dealing with that as well. Basically, I was coming home after work burnt out and not ready to share what I’d learned that day. Which blows. Not just because I love spreading the knowledge around, but because it genuinely was rough not being able to reach out to the community and actually show folks what it was I was doing and how they could do it and learn from it.
I won’t go into the nitty gritty of everything that went on, but the long and short of it is this: I got hired; I worked on the VES nominated Humbugged: Rockettes to the Rescue; I then rolled onto an unannounced project with the same team and started supporting the Houdini pipeline that we had in place more often; That wrapped and I asked for a raise; Then I rolled into a new role as the Lead FX TD for our first feature film – I’d like to point out I’d only been there for 9 months and came in with minimal Houdini experience (and I’m still no guru, but I am a quick learner and performed damn well); Then I got the raise, but was told my time would end in August – guess the raise pissed them off; Then I rolled onto another unannounced project that already had a team in place so I was helping in a limited fashion; Then I got rolled onto another unannounced commercial project; Finally I found a new job that I’ll be starting at in July. The list is not exhaustive, but it’s close enough. The last few months have been kinda hectic with being on three projects and looking for a job, so I was having a really tough time finding time to relax or share anything. So I picked up a piano since one of my goals for the year was to learn an instrument. It helped immensely to let me relax and it’s been a lot of fun.
My time at Reel FX was both good and bad (as it is with any job). I learned a TON and have gotten really good at writing good clean python and utilizing it’s built in awesome. PyQt I regularly destroy and I love making sweet UI’s for our artists to work with. It’s been an extremely amazing learning experience and I’m going to miss a lot of the folks that I met during my time there. My CG Supervisor for my first two shows (Mike Fortner) is the best boss I’ve ever worked for. Not only is he smart as hell, but he really encouraged me to branch out and take on tasks I wasn’t ready for – thus making me force myself to be ready. He was extremely encouraging and really pushed me to be better at my job. He made me feel at home – on both a personal and work level. He also allowed me a ton of creative freedom in how we solved problems and we absolutely killed the shows we worked on. They looked great and we had so few “big” issues that we rarely worked late. We had a great dynamic and really played to each others skills. And we did two shows with just a CG Supervisor and one TD – just saying. He was an amazing mentor and I would HIGHLY suggest working with him if you ever have the opportunity. I really can’t say enough about how great my time working with him was.
So what’s next? Well, I’m kinda getting out of 3D. I’m going to WMS Gaming on their web team as the Principal Software Engineer (holy shit right!?!) writing Django applications all day and making cool shit there (As an aside, if you haven’t played with Django I HIGHLY recommend it. My site is still running on PHP currently, but I’ve been slowly migrating things over to Mezzanine/Django as time permits). Plus it’s back in Chicago so that’s a HUGE bonus for me because Dallas has been… Not what I expected nor what I had hoped for. I’m also hoping to get back to school and get my Masters in Computer Science since that would probably be a good thing since I’ve never actually taken a programming class (not that seems to have been an issue). I’m hoping to still play around in 3D and level up some of my skills in both Maya and Houdini and continue to do some cool stuff and try and hook folks up with information. I may do a big data dump at some point to see what I can remember and pass back to the community as well. I’ve also had a few requests for both an update to my quickPlayblast script (which is in dire need of an update) as well as some tutorials for artists with Python. I’d love to do both, but time is going to have to permit for either. I’d be more interested in doing the tutorials to be honest, but I’d like some feedback from some of the artists that are interested in it so that I could tailor it to something useful rather than “Here’s how you make a PyQt UI and populate it with data from your scene.” because while it’s useful I’d much rather tailor it to an actual need that’d be fairly generic in its context. I prefer writing lower level stuff, because there’s enough high level stuff out there for folks to get confused about already.
Until next time I actually write something, I bid you all adieu. Thanks for reading and leave some comments on what you’d like to see from a python tutorial. Till next time!