Archive for ‘December, 2013’

Networking tips!


Notes taken from a lecture by Leon van Rooi

While making a change in my career it has to be said that I started to ponder over the reasons of why success has been so elusive.  I wouldn’t say it has eluded me but it is a fact that the illustration industry is straining under the pressures of recession and technological changes. Hence the reason I have chosen to update my knowledge and get these pictures of mine moving.

But how can I get more work, find work, keep clients and keep the ball rolling? And especially in my newly chosen career.

I’m not oblivious to the word networking, I phone potential clients and email them, plus keep a news letter, dabble with social media and my website is up to date. But there must be something more I can do because, till now it hasn’t gotten me where I want to be.

One thing that I do know is that your network is vital, it is the life line to your success. The majority of work comes via via and not just out of the blue, (unless you are well known and have an established reputation within the industry; although this comes from hard work and a good network).

Networking: a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest.

Networking is an active word. It is something you have to work hard at.  All the time. A bit like eating healthily. To some it comes naturally, to others, not quite. For those of us for whom it is a little more difficult, there are some guide lines that we can follow.

Bellow are some points I took from a lecture given by Leon van Rooi (Networking guru) which if we try and follow should keep our creative heads above water.

Social media

It’s all very well having a Facebook page and telling the world what you ate for lunch, but you can do a lot better.

  • Keep a blog and tell the world about your work and what you are working on. Then link it to all of your other social media accounts (WordPress is great for this).
  • Keep a news letter and send it to everyone you know and link it to all of your social media accounts (mail-chimp makes it professional and gives people the opportunity to unsubscribe)
  • Look for others like you online. Be interested in others, make polite comments and suggestions and become online friends.
  • Make contact, ask questions and share information. If you are a fan there is always a way to get in contact with that person. Try it, they don’t tend to mind and actually like the attention.


If you can get an agent some of your problems will be solved. It wont mean that you will never have to network again, but you will have someone to look after you when it comes to your paper work and money issues, with clients that they arrange.

If you want an agent make sure that you are unique, there is something recogniisable in your work and sell yourself…. Network! and let them know that they need you.

Workspace and Network Events

If you are a freelancer, get outside and find a workspace to share with others, or in a building where you can a least meet others. This will allow you to interact and tell others what you are up to and what your hopes and dreams are. You may even find someone who is like minded and help you make your dreams come true.

There are some places where several companies share the same space and when needed they can join forces and take on a larger project together.

If you are a bit of a loner though, don’t fret. Just make sure that there are times when you get outside and make contact with like minded peeps.  This can be at networking events, but make sure it is one which has the potential clients you are looking for.

Showcasing your work

Never make your art for money – go for exposure! David Wilson, Animator/Director/Film maker.

The creative industry is a tricky one for those of us who wish to make a career out of our passions. Reason being is that we want to make beautiful things that satisfie our personal needs. And if we do not reach this satisfaction, frustrations takes over and no one is happy with the final result.

It is also true in that money needs to be made to pay the bills. So is there is a way to achieve both creative satisfaction and a few pennies to pay the bills?

It is possible. Although you need patience and to be willing to invest a lots of time and your own money.

If you want work which exploits your own personal interests, styles and techniques you must create a portfolio which screams out that you are the best in this area of creative expertise; and then use it as bait. And this bait should be used to lure in those clients who are willing to pay you for what you love and are so good at.

And when I say use it as bait, I mean go to that fishing hole and hold it in front of those clients you wish to work for!

DVEIN is a spanish company who did just that with a short video clip:

DVEIN  took it to Adobe and basically told them they wanted to make something for them. And they got the job.

DVEIN had no budget but talent and a network to make the clip possible. All of those who participated in the clip also got to reap the rewards of eventually working with Adobe.

Your portfolio is your business card to those jobs you wish to have. If you don’t have the portfolio, make it. And then pluck up your courage and tell who ever it is that they need you!


We often see our colleges as negative competition. We shouldn’t. There are very few creatives who make the same sort of things as each other anyway and there clientele want them for what they do, the same as your’s want you for what you do.

Instead they are your network. And this network can help you get you to places that you couldn’t get to alone. They may know people you could work with in collaboration and/or they may know of someone you are looking for.

Talk to each other, tell each other your dreams, passions and goals and who knows who could help you.

Be nice

It may seem trivial but being nice is something which everyone can appreciate. If your client likes you they will want to keep working with you.

Be nice, be friendly, work hard and you will get what you deserve! David Wilsons father.

Keep moving

Talk to people you meet and tell them what you do and what your goals are. Do this everywhere you go, not just networking events. Be interested in others and ask questions, listen and remember what they say.

Remembering small detail could get you that job, even if it is about a cat that had to go to the vet.

And keep moving! go to places and talk to people and eventually you will get the ball.


The tips are simple, keep moving, keep talking. It is something you have to do all the time, make it part of your life style and learn to enjoy it.

Highlighted points:

  • Don’t work, just follow your passions; You wont get rich straight away but you will find satisfaction and happiness.
  • Talk to each other, tell each other your dreams, passions and goals, and who knows who could help you.
  • Get in contact with people, be it online or in real life. Meet up and talk.
  • Talk to everyone about yourself, passions, dreams and goals.
  • Use your network and get to know the people around you.
  • Go to studios.
  • Follow your passions.
  • Ask questions
  • And keep moving.

 And finally:

If you have questions and want to get the information from other professionals or those that you are interested in, just tell them you are writing a book. it always works! Even Opera does it. Leon van Rooi

The making of: The film so far

When I took on this project it was my mission to not only make a nice animation but also to learn as much as possible. 

With a little trial and error and help from some people I know… tutorials, blood sweat and tears, this project has started to go in the right direction. Although I feel like an old steam engine, where the cogs have started to turn but it is yet to pick up in speed and the spectacular whirl wind of excitement is yet to begin… It is getting there, but I am a little concerned that the track will run out before I get the result I am intending for.

But I can only believe that all will be fine, get my head down and ass up and do my best!

During the last few weeks I have had to make some choices which are now forming the final result of my film. These choices have been made by software problems, knowledge and time. So although I have a storyboard and script to work to, a few plans have had to be laid to rest and some decisions and choices changed.

One example of this is the animating of Dave, my main character. The initial plan was to make a puppet which would be filmed in real time on a green screen. I would then be able to place him on a different background and animate his arms, legs and facial features in either After effects or Anime pro.

This is no longer going to happen. Why? Well with my experience in the green-screen studio, (bad lighting, bad camera) and having never animated on to a real-time film, I thought it best to leave this experiment to the next project, I simply don’t have enough time.

Plus I also realised that if I were to animate Dave frame for frame (hand drawn animation) it would add to my mixed media explosion and add another element to the ‘Visual culture’ story.

So Dave will be drawn.

My only problem now is that my version of TVPaint keeps crashing. I have ordered a new copy and at this moment in time waiting for the post man to arrive with it… But I now have an appointment and have to leave. So if I miss the post man I have no software and nothing to animate with and christmas is coming and I’m going to England and the time is running out because the deadline is creeping up on me and I have so much to do! The panic has set in, Bleeeeeeeee!

But I can show you what I have made so far in TVPaint. It’s not much and it is just a sketched version of part of the Dave animation, but it will give you an idea of the movement made possible by working in frame for frame. And I think that it is the right choice for this film:

Dave-Take 01

I have also had a bit of a break through with the keying out of the flying book and growing arm that I filmed with Fabian de Boer, in the Green-screen studio a couple of weeks ago.

Back then, I wasn’t sure if the footage we made was good enough to use for the film, due to a video camera which was a bit pants and poor lighting. But with a little trial and error and Fabians help we managed to find several ways of keying out the green background.

For those of you who don’t know what I mean with term ‘keying’, it is basically the selecting of a colour and removing it from the image or film. If this colour is the background, which in my case was green, you can create a free standing subject on a transparent background. In order to ‘key’ out a subject you can use effect tools in either Adobe Premier and/or Adobe After Effects and the animated Mask tool in After Effects. Finally you export it on an Alpha channel so that the Black is no longer seen in editing programmes and you can place your subject on a new background. Easy peasy! 

Below is a clip to show you the original footage and the keyed footage. It is not perfect and you can even see where the mask was too low and cuts off the finger tops. But this fault just allows you to see how the mask works.


So you are now probably wondering how in the world I plan on using all of this footage and the props that I have made.

Well wonder no further! because in the clip below is of my film so far.

IT IS NOT FINISHED! There is still a lot of editing to be done but you can at least see in which direction my film is headed.

I have created a 3D space in Adobe After effect and placed the props with in the space to create a scene. Try and spot the flying book and the growing arm.

I will be making use of the cameras in Adobe after Effects and wiggle effect to create the feeling of a hand held camera. But that is still all to come.

Film so far 

Oo! Yey! The postman has just Arrived with TVPaint! Panic over.

The making of: Prop Box

In deciding that I want to work in mixed media for this animation, it has meant that I get to make lots of props and set pieces. These set pieces will eventually be placed in a virtual space which I have made in After effects.

Here is a little film of me making a couple of those props and below photos of the finished pieces, ready for use:


Screen Shot 2013-12-04 at 11.01.42

The virtual space I am making in Adobe After Effect



These pieces i drew and then printed out to be cut up and used as parts of other props.

Prop box

the final pieces ready to be used.

BottlesBottle-Poison - pink


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