So, after almost fifteen years in the printing business, I’ve moved on to much greener pastures. First, a little history.
Programming. Animating. Writing. These are the things I did as a kid, lo those many years ago. I wrote games, utilities and graphics demonstrations on my Dad’s TI. I wrote stories and poems constantly. I made elaborate flip-book animations in every notepad I could find. And always, the three would cross-pollinate. I’d write on the word processor that I’d developed on my own. I’d program graphics visualizations and put animation into my games.
And now, how very fitting that I find myself doing the same thing as an adult. I write books about animation software, software of which I’m both one of the (very minor) developers, and one of the users. But writing isn’t my new job. It’s software development. Almost thirty years after I touched my first keyboard and typed
10 PRINT "YOU SUCK"
20 GOTO 10
Someone is actually paying me to write and maintain software, and that’s probably what I’m going to end up doing in one capacity or another until I’m too old to make my fingers strike a keyboard. It’s funny, and a long, weird road.
Ton used to say to me, when I’d start talking about some coding project I wanted to do in Blender “No! No! Write books! That’s what you’re good at!” And it turns out that I am good at that, and I’m grateful for the shot he gave me with organizing “The Essential Blender.” It also turns out that development, or coding, or whatever you want to call it, is buried just as deeply within my bones as writing.
As I was mowing the lawn tonight, I was contemplating the path ahead for many people in my position: management. The thought came into my head: “Nope. If I’m not inside the computer, I’m not happy.” And thinking back, it’s always been that way for me.
So I want to give a huge thanks to Ton, and to Blender, and to the community that recognized its potential, payed the ransom for, and ran like the wind. Without the Open Source nature of Blender to fiddle around with, so many things for me just wouldn’t have happened like they did. Working on Blender has allowed me to be “inside” the computer in a very meaningful way over the last several years.
Of course, I’m still waiting for the day when I’m independently wealthy enough to take a whole summer off of work, drag my family to the Netherlands and donate my time just doing whatever needs to be done. But until then, I’m going to enjoy my new job, enjoy my family, and keep trying to become more than just a hack animator.