Karl Maddix

What is your name and your current occupation?
Karl Maddix – 3d Artist/Animator


What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Not very crazy but I once got sacked from a greengrocers for being too scruffy to bag potatoes!?

 

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I’m proud of all my work, but in particular my animated short The Roboteers which despite being produced under extremely tight deadlines, budget and resources, managed to win a film festival award for best animation. Also my animatic concept for EA’s Dante’s Inferno which won first prize and was subsequently shown on the big screen at London’s Apollo as part of London Sci-Fi Festival a few years ago.

How did you become interested in animation?
I’ve always drawn and been obsessed by character art so bringing those characters to life in whatever way I could was the logical next step. There is only so much back story and depth you can put into a single image.

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from Derby in the middle of England. At the time when I was looking for CGI courses there were only one or two in the UK. I settled for an Illustration degree but as soon as CGI became more popular I signed up for a free workshop that appeared in the next city to me (Nottingham) and spent 6 months learning 3ds max with other artists. After that I taught myself as much as I could.

What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
 The beauty of freelance is that each project is different, so there is no typical day as such. At present I split my day between working from home on models and animation clips for a Unity based game under development and funded by Channel 4, and the rest of the day is spent brainstorming and concepting with colleagues of mine about projects for a new company we have recently set up called Masters Of Pie.

What part of your job do you like best? Why?
The best part of my job is the freedom to be creative every single day, as an artist that outlet is vital or else you end up resenting the entire world and being miserable.

What part of your job do you like least? Why?
I used to hate the technical aspects of CGI which meant that before the real art can begin you have to learn entire software packages, but to be honest I seem to be embracing the technical side a lot more nowadays. Also working from home can get lonely and your work can become stagnant without interaction with other creatives so I try to get out into the studios as much as I can.

What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
The most difficult part is more accurately the most frustrating part, which is the limitations that time and budget place on your project. It is hard to compromise your perfect artistic vision and settle for less because the time or budget won’t allow it. Learning to balance this out is a difficult skill.

What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
Well my meat and potatoes are 3dsmax, Photoshop and ZBrush. There are a few plugins such as UVlayout and XNormal that also feature heavily. I seem to spend an equal amount of time between my mouse and my wacom tablet, which is nice as it breaks up monotony.

In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I worked with an animator called Jim once who worked with Disney on projects such The Wild as well as animating on Happy Feet by Warner Bros. He was pretty handy with a character rig as you can imagine.

Describe a tough situation you had in life.
It’s tough to take rejection after rejection when you are doing the rounds hawking your CV. If your experience lies in another area but your portfolio demonstrates skill for the job, I feel you should be given an interview. Sometimes however, you don’t get past the receptionist who has an experience check list to fill in before you even see another artist. That is tough to take.

 

Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share details of?
Well I have a few side projects, I mentioned the indie studio I recently set up called Masters Of Pie which we would like to continue to build. Also I have a long term graphic novel series I have been working on that I hope to develop fully at some point.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I play guitar and spent many teen years in a band. Good times!
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business? 
It’s a cliché but you can’t ever give up. Everyone encounters rejection at some point, sometimes many rejections before they hit their stride, but you have to keep going and have self belief that it will happen for you. Also don’t mix your drinks on a not unrelated topic.
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