So in between sketching, animating at the studio on our growing IP (abbrev: "H&H") using XSI, and thinking up new reel material, I've taken a dive head first back into Maya using AM's Bishop character, and I'm noticing a lot of interesting workflow issues.
When I was working on Abby at the studio, there were a number of helpful factors. Being around other animators is almost a "must" because you inspire each other and critique each other constantly, and better animation is always the result. There were other nice reasons having others around, to share helpful advice and receive assistance easily when needed. My setup was a little nicer as well, in terms of machine and having a second monitor - although now that I have a new computer at home, the hangup has been resetting my preferences with new hardware & software. I have an old monitor I think I'll be hooking up soon, and then my workflow should improve at home.
Then, there's XSI versus Maya. I've put in probably well over 2000 hours in XSI in the last year, and in the same time frame I've maybe put in 15-40 hours of Maya. But in the last 10 years, prior to working at SpeakeasyFX, I animated almost exclusively in Maya, through all my Animation Mentor experience, and most of my Purdue cg training (with some 3d Studio Max education early on). Thankfully I'm pretty adaptable and it shouldn't take me long to get used to Maya again.
But then there are issues like character setups. The AM character setup is great and very flexible, but right now I'm used to our Abby rigs and other internal rigs that we move around almost like puppets. The controls are so tactile, instead of using GUIs or channel boxes with a hundred options. It's nice to be able to pose a hand by clicking right on parts of the finger and manipulating them directly. Probably there's a way to do that with the AM rigs.. I just need to look into it for longer than an afternoon.. or just build my own controls on it. :-)
Tonight I have another sketch to work on, but hopefully I'll have some new animation to show later this week. I've gotta get some things set up on Naveen's XP computer because they aren't complying with my Windows 7 machine (ergh), and then I'll be in business.