Saturday, February 13, 2010

Freelancer's Guide: Goodbye 1099

So, if you're a freelancer chances are you've been talking with your friends, coworkers, and clients about the IRS crackdown on "misclassification" of freelancers.  Since I started this blog, one of my main reasons for posting was to create a sort of freelance guide for animators, since it's somewhat of a mysterious lifestyle to anyone who's not a part of it.  Therefore I've been meaning to post about this, since these recent changes pretty much leave a lot of my old posts about paying your taxes, dealing with 1099 forms, etc, outdated.  However, since I'm still learning about this myself, I thought it might be better to just present some links to recent articles and discussions on the matter.  My point in posting about this is just to spread the word to people who may be looking for freelance work about what is going on these days so they can further educate themselves, not to tell people what to do.  Like I said, I'm guessing if you're freelance you know about this already, but there are many people either just getting out of school, or who are in staff positions, that may not be aware. 

DISCLAIMER:  I'm linking to outside sources purely for informational purposes, not as legal advice.

AWN article:,1

Motionographer article (includes good resource links at the end):

The IRS rules of classification for independent contracter vs employee.,,id=99921,00.html

Keep in mind, many of the discussions in the comments of these articles are heated, and sometimes not always written with accurate knowledge.  Your best bet is to do your own research.  That's my only advice ;)

Monday, February 08, 2010

Maya Cheats

Check out the book that my good friend Eric Luhta wrote!  "How to Cheat in Maya 2010".  Behold the first Maya book that actually focuses on the animation tools and techniques in Maya.  3D software development and its documentation seems to rarely get any time spent on the animation tools themselves, at least not as much as the fancy new things.  There are plenty of awesome animation books to be sure (Survival Kit, Illusion of Life, etc), but when it comes to learning how to animate in Maya, not so much.  This is where Eric's book comes in handy, and if you're trying to jump into animating in Maya as many academic programs do, this book will undoubtedly come in handy.  He covers a lot of the technical aspects of the graph editor, splines, as well as workflow for animating in 3D.  Don't worry if you don't have 2010...we all know the animation tools in Maya pretty much stay the same ;)  The only thing that is new is the animation layers that he talks describes, and I *believe* that is in Maya 2009.

Eric asked me to help him with a few of the character poses for the images, and I had fun doing the little flipbook animation in the corner.  As a kid, I remember flipping through the pages of this book at the local library where my mom worked, and watching this ladybug in the corner jump and dance around.  It was kinda fun to get to do one of my own.  Even though I do that all the time now, it's a specific format.  The animator in me says it's cool to show that, at its core, 3D essentially functions the same as 2D.  I think the kid in me just likes flipping pages :)

Anyway, you can find it at Barnes and Noble, or at Amazon.  Check it out!