Industry Placement Report; Rebecca Thompson

Click here to see my finished work here; PLACEMENT

You can also watch my placement reel;

During my 6 to 12 month placement year I was incredibly fortunate to be able to take part in various projects that allowed me to experience a lot of different aspects of professional/industry work. I got to travel, compete in a competition, work in an animation company and do various freelance work with different companies/clients.

Reflecting on my time at the BFX competition I have really enjoyed my experience there, it was a brilliant opportunity to fly out to Bournemouth and compete in a professional environment and make more connections. Phoebe Long, Kristina Stankyte, Robert Caldwell, Meabh Gilheany and I were all in a team together and applied 2 pitches to get into the BFX competition and we got chosen to do an advert for Recycle. Recycle is a charity where they get people to donate their old bikes to them and they give it to those who are less fortunate in which they do not have a way of transport, whether it be traveling miles for water or even just to go to work, which is a great charity, especially as it also trains locals to use the bike, as well as repair them if they were to break. I was the lead character modeller, texturer, concept artist, animator, and rigger in the team and really enjoyed all my roles within the project. We took many risks and challenges with our animation, especially as we went for split screens in our animation which the other teams did not go for, I  think that because of this it makes our animation unique and would be our strong point. Although by doing this we tripled our workload which was the most difficult part, but as a team, we were able to keep on track of things and meet the deadlines that we had set.

If we were to do this again I think our team would reference in our assets from the beginning as this would have saved time, and personally, I would have deleted the geometry under the clothes so that we would not have as many issues when it came to rigging and painting weights on the character.

As a team, we learned a lot while we were there, especially with learning about VRay which we had not touched before coming to BFX, so it was a challenge but it was great to have the opportunity to learn it. I also learned a lot about different rigging techniques, especially with Advanced Skeleton.

Joining the BFX competition allowed us to experience a competitive environment that also worked alongside industry professionals. Coming from a course that is team based as we work in group projects to create finished animations throughout the year, we knew what we were entering into and that we could work together to produce a quality animation, whereas the students from Bournemouth university work individually throughout the year, so a lot of teams were going into it not knowing how they would work efficiently together.

As for advice for anyone else who is interested in doing the competition I would say that it is important to make sure you keep on schedule, if you do feel like you’re struggling, don’t stay silent, you have a team for a reason, always ask questions. Always plan for bumps in the road, always be there for your team and enjoy your time as it really is a wonderful experience.

I have loved my experience at the BFX competition, I was able to meet such lovely and talented people that I will hopefully be able to work within the future, I have loved getting to know everyone and enjoyed the whole process with my team.

Reflecting on my time at Enter Yes, which is an animation company based in Belfast. Enter Yes was looking for animators to help with their project that they were working on for BBC Bitesize Biology CCEA. I love animating and thought that it was a fantastic opportunity to get industry experience in the workplace so I applied and was sent a test animation that I had to complete within 7 hours which I did and got accepted and started straight away.

There was a lot of various animations that I had to complete for the project, making sure that my timing was to their voice-overs while making sure that my animations looked like what they had to, using the help of the graph editor to make sure that everything looked ‘believable’, I worked a lot with blend shapes within the animations and did some modelling of objects and scenes that I then used for the animations.

I made sure that I kept to their deadlines and aimed for finishing them sooner than what they expected them to be done, as I knew they were under a tight schedule, I got praised for how fast I got the animations done and to a good standard, as well as my use of naming conventions within the scenes.

Working at Enter Yes was a wonderful experience that I thoroughly enjoyed, it was great to learn how an animation company works and I’m grateful I got the chance to work with them, I hope I can work with them again one day and learn more from them also.

You can see the work that I did for them here; BBC Bitesize. (2018). BBC Bitesize – GCSE Biology (Single Science) – CCEA. [online] Available at:

A project that I freelanced worked on with Michelle Beggs, Kristina Stankyte, Robert Caldwell and Meabh Gilheany, was with a company called Paradox Oil, which is a Belfast business that specializes in Omega 3 fish oil that has been branching out and expanding by creating a wider range of products. They wanted us to create an advert for their new product Yomega3 which is a healthy frozen yogurt packed with Omega 3 and Vitamin D. When we were working with them they were not sure as to what they wanted and wanted us to explore different ideas whether it was full of information, family orientated or simple and to the point. We gave them various advert ideas, as well as a range of character ideas, as they suggested having a character mascot, they wanted to explore and see what options that they could go for before settling on a finalized idea. This was understandable but was also a lengthy process with a lot of back and forth to see what they like and what they don’t like.

Eventually, they settled on one of our more simpler ideas as it kept the focus on the product, which is good for a first advert, you want it to be the main focus and easy to understand. Overall even though this was a long project that had a lot of back and forth I still enjoyed it and happy with what was produced in the end. It taught me a lot about keeping communication going even if it’s a slow process, making sure that you are ticking your clients boxes while also showing them different ideas which they could go down if they are unsure and making sure that you stay motivated with the project even if it is slow when trying to finalise an idea.

I also did some freelance work with Michelle Beggs, Rebecca Blair, Robert Caldwell and Meabh Gilheany on a project for Ulster University’s medical course on a demonstration video of a treatment for pancreatic cancer. For this project, I got to do some sculpting and helped with texturing. This was a simple project that was incredibly interesting to work on as we got to learn the process behind the treatment and had to research about pancreatic cancer to have the demonstration video as accurate as possible and meet the client’s expectations.

Overall my experience with placement year is positive, I loved getting to see what it is like to work in the industry, whether it was working in a company or doing freelance. I’m glad I have those experiences behind me as I can put it in my curriculum vitae which will help me find a job when I finish my degree. I am so grateful to each of the opportunities that I was given and the clients that I have worked with and the course tutors for giving me a year to have these experiences.



Personal Project: Rigging Duck

For the personal project I decided to rig the duck that I had modelled for the Amazing Grace project.


I took the duck model and organized the outliner ready for rigging;


To get a basic idea of the placement of joints I used quick rig which would work well with human characters, as you can see because my character is not human it didn’t work that well but it gave me a starting point.


I then went in and moved the joints to follow where i wanted them to have joint movement;

duck3 fixing positions mirror button

I checked it from all angles and then created the joints to make sure that they were in the right positions;

duck4 movein f s t view onlyduck5rig generation

After getting the basis down I exited the quick rig and when on to adding in the joints that I actually need for my character. I started doing the facial rig joints;

duck6 starting face rigduck7 facerig organising

Once I had the facial rig joints I parented them and the added in the tail rig;

duck8 mirrored

Moving on to skin weights, it easier to make the character go into different positions so you can see where is being pulled wrongly, therefore making it easier to spot and fix. Below you can see one of the poses I did in order to catch any pulling


I then went in a fixed these isssues and you can see that there is not more pulling in those areas


I then set up the controls using constraints. I wasn’t sure on how to do the facial controls, and if I had more time I would have set up a better control system as I wanted to do to one of the control panels for the face. I have to do this in the future as I am going to use the Duck in my showreel which I am going to have two, one for animation/rigging and one for sculpting.


Final shots


Creative Solutions: Grace Updates

When we got feedback from Joel he said that she didn’t look young enough, which I do agree with, so I gave her more of a button nose and made her face more of a V shape, and gave her face more S curves. You can see below how she looked before on the right, and how she looks now on the left


Something I also had to experiment in is how the nose should look, I showed Joel the below image and he liked the one without nostrils the best. More like Sofia the First.


I then moved onto the hair, since he wanted hair for when she is horse riding I had to do her hair in plaits. I took a picture of Jenny’s hair plaited for reference and then began to block out the hair;

Image may contain: one or more people and close-up

I used the curve tool in ZBrush to do this and the tweaked it when they were in place;



Doing the plaited part was quite difficult as it was a lot of tweaking and moving28hair

I then added in the fringe part, using the same techinique;


For her main hair, Joel wanted the strands at the side of her face shorter and puffier. I then also experimented with different face shapes as you can see below but he liked the original one best which is the first face;


I then added some color which made a lot of difference, and gave more life to the character;


Finalized hair

So Joel gave us feedback that he wanted more strands in her hair and that her fringe should be more short rather then it flowing down her face. So I went in and added more strands to the hair and fixed the fringe.

finalspin grace.0120finalspin grace.0032finalspin grace.0063


I did the same with the long hair;



Creative Solutions: Rabbit, Duck, basket and Carrots

Process of doing the rabbit model


Final rabbit


Uv Map



Tested different fur using paint effects, really loved the fluffy one at the endfluff rabbit fur and fuzz

Tried to apply with all over but it was making everything incredibly slow and was also hovering over the model itselffurproblem

Looked more like a mask and a bit weird.bunnyfuzz

Using the same technique I created the duck;duck

I then created the basket of carrots. I weaved the strands in and out of each other to create the basket look and then created the carrots


UV of the carrotsCarrotmapsleafmap

Creative Solutions: Background Houses

Michelle and I tag teamed each other and worked on the background houses for the Scene. As always make sure to research first. since Joel wants it to be in the irish countryside we did our research into the traditional houses that would be there. This was definitely helped by going on our trip to the Ulster Folk and Transport museum as we were able to see the actual design of the houses there.

As you can see from the pictures below the windows are fairly small, the doorways are practically right up to the roof and the roofs are traditionally thatched. You can also see how small the houses are in the last picture where you can see it compared to Sinead walking in front of it. This is important to note for the scale of the house in comparison to grace and the surroundings;

This was my first attempt at some houses before going to the Ulster Folk museum. As you can see it was too model for the style that Joel is going for and t


Taking into consideration the research that we had done I created this house below. I still kept it very simple looking as it will be in the distance;


I created another more simplistic one with more of a thatched looking roof that I will pass over to michelle for texturing;housenew2