As one of the ever-growing sub-fields of animation, motion capture is slowly taking the lead when it comes to modernization and advancement. Just consider, for instance, the fact that even some of the most renovated, 3D software is starting to take a backseat to simple, motion-capture-based programs. This boils down to the credibility of the deliverable, which is almost incomparable between these two alternatives.
If you are one of the many individuals that want to enter this sector, you will soon learn that the level of competition is extremely high. To build a lucrative career as an editor, producer, animator, or any other professional who handles motion capture, you will need to stand out from the crowd. To do so, consider following the next few steps as you advance through your basic studies and enter your first job.
Study Visual and Media Artistry
To get into the over-arching industry where motion capture exists, you will have to study visual and media artistry. More precisely, you must complete some formal training in animation, editing, character rigging, or similar. Doing so will help you learn the ins and outs of the creative process that goes into making multimedia deliverables from scratch.
Also, contrary to popular belief, you do not need to be an expert in everything that is animation-related. This is because motion capture is very narrow in focus and relies on your ability to learn as you go. Therefore, while knowing how to use a plethora of editing programs is a great thing to include on your resume, it will have very little practical utility when you begin capturing motions with software that the company employs.
Start Building a Portfolio
As you are completing your degree or training, regardless of which subfield of animation it is in, you should start building a versatile portfolio. That means that you have to find time to work on your projects and make a diverse catalog that offers a glance into your well-rounded skillset. Doing so will increase the odds of getting a job interview or an offer letter from a company that is willing to let you become their motion capture specialist.
Unfortunately, given that these will be the years when you have to do a lot of studying while potentially juggling a part- or full-time job, finding availability to make and edit your animations could seem impossible. If that is the case, consider prioritizing and eliminating all activities that are not pertinent to your long-term success in this area. That could translate to less sleep, a weaker social life, and maybe even a drop in income. As a consequence, however, you will get the much-needed time that can be used to optimize or polish your portfolio.
Network With People
Even though you should network with people from the moment that you start your education, beware of the sequence in which you do things. For example, if you start networking long before you have a tangible portfolio, you may run into issues with credibility. Most employers or corporate representatives want to see examples of your work, and they use that evidence as a factor that drives their decision to interview or hire you.
If you are networking with a dozen recruiters and have nothing to give them as a demonstration of your talents, your application will fall behind all the other candidates that already built their portfolios.
Apply for Jobs Across the Industry
Regardless of your success with networking, you should start applying for jobs from the moment that you become eligible. If you have a few companies that you would prefer working for, simply put them as the frontrunners on the list of all organizations that do motion capture. Further remember that, according to Intel, there are a variety of industries that rely on motion capture. In other words, animation should not be the only sector that you pursue.
Additionally, a common rule-of-thumb that you should always keep in mind during this part of the process is that saying no to multiple offers is much better than not being able to say yes to anyone. While over-applying for jobs could result in a lot of offers that you have to decline, this is much more favorable than only applying for a few jobs and not getting any offers.
If your opportunities are few and far between, think about expanding your search both location- and skill-wise. The fact that you want to work in Los Angeles should not prevent you from applying for a motion capture position in Sacramento. Similarly, just because you want to do motion capture should not prevent you from starting as a general animator. On the contrary, keeping your criteria as broad as can be will maximize the likelihood that you enter this field fast, which increases the odds of you working in motion capture eventually.
Attend On-the-Job Training
Albeit one of the important learning stages of your life, the vast majority of your education will not roll into your daily tasks. Instead, you will have to rely on your job-related training to succeed. Luckily, this means that you can finally get some exposure to hands-on, motion-capture-based work that you have been looking forward to. Hence why you should do everything in your power to learn as much as you can as quickly as possible.
That way, you can become a valuable asset to your employer’s motion capture team and begin building a career close to that department. If you are unable to grasp the concepts, you may get transferred to another sub-field of animation, the likes of which include 2D or 3D projects, and your exposure to motion capture might fall.
Finally, do not forget to have fun as you are working hard toward your dream. Being a motion capture specialist in an industry that will soon be worth over $270 billion, as per BusinessWire, is certainly a difficult feat to achieve. If you cannot afford to have some fun and excitement, things will only get harder.