Job In Sports: Animator – EA Sports – Jay Bulbrook

Job In Sports: Animator – EA Sports – Jay Bulbrook


>>Trevor Turnbull: Hey guys it’s Trevor Turnbull
here with Sports Networker and I’ve got another interview for you today from the EA Sports
campus. I’m here with Jay, who is the lead animator
for the NHL franchise for EA Sports. I’m just going to spin the camera around here,
there we go. How’s it going Jay?>>Jay Bulbrook: Awesome.>>Trevor: Good, good. Maybe tell us your role with EA and what you
do on a daily basis.>>James: I’ve been here since 1997. In ’97 we started the first 3D hockey game. We took the NHL franchise out of California,
it was originally being done in San Mateo, and brought it to Canada. It was the first year of 3D hockey and it
was the first year of hockey done in Canada, by Canadians, and it’s been here ever since. I’ve been a part of that franchise.>>Trevor: That was ’97 you said?>>Jay: 1997 for the NHL ’98 game.>>Trevor: Wow. So you’ve obviously seen the evolution of
this game over the years then.>>Jay: I’ve been there every step of the
way, yeah.>>Trevor: It’s changed a lot, I would imagine. How do you go about getting into a role like
that? What was your background before that? Did you go to school to be an animator?>>Jay: I did. I went to school – I took more of a broad
course and I took to animation like a duck to water. Some people just have a weird aptitude for
animation and some dont, I did. I ended up teaching the exact same course
that I had taken right after. That’s when Electronic Arts heard about be
and they brought me in, asked me if I maybe could help them finish NHL ’98, which was
half in the can. Of course it was the first time we had done
a hockey game in Canada so there was a lot of work to do. They brought me in to pinch hit and that was
1997 and I’m still here.>>Trevor: Yeah. I was speaking with James earlier, who is
one of the programmers for the game.>>Jay: He’s one of my guys, yeah.>>Trevor: Yeah. He was saying that you guys work very closely
together in building out the product from both a programming and animation standpoint,
obviously. The capture studio that we see here in the
background; you guys are actually working in there a lot of times with the athletes
too, are you not?>>Jay: That’s right. The interesting thing about Electronic Arts
is that not only are we developers but what makes us different than other sports franchises
in other parts of the software community is that we’re also publishers. That means because we publish our own games
we dont have “bosses.” James and I, as developers, have complete
control to do whatever we want and we are really a 365 days per year think tank for
hockey. That’s all we do, that’s all we want to do,
that’s all we care about.>>Trevor: And clearly a Canucks fan.>>Jay: I’ve been on this ride for 38 years.>>Trevor: So it’s tough to argue that.>>Jay: And I’m still on it.>>Trevor: Of course, and with the campus
being here, close to Vancouver, it’s tough to argue that.>>Jay: Yep.>>Trevor: On a daily basis, what would you
say is the best part about your job? What makes you get up in the morning and love
what you do?>>Jay: Loving the sport of hockey. I really, deeply care about hockey. It’s our national sport and I want it to be
as good as it can possibly be. Working with people that you respect – we’ve
got a PhD from Moscow University who does our physics, we’ve got a lot of really good
people in the right places and when you get to come to work and play and collaborate and
come up with things that nobody has even tried yet; which is what you guys are going to see
next year in NHL 13.>>Trevor: Yeah. James actually mentioned that, with the game,
you guys captured a lot of your live footage at an ice arena here in Burnaby.>>Jay: Yes we did. Our EA capture guys have a road unit. They went in overnight, they set up a whole
motion capture space on ice and we were there for two days freezing our tails of but we
got over 1,000 moves to put into the game this year so you guys are going to see a lot
of new stuff you haven’t seen before.>>Trevor: Yeah it’s very cool what you guys
are able to do with the animation. For anybody out there that is looking at what
you do for a living and saying, “I want to be in that business. I want to do what that guy does.” What kind of advice would you give to those
people?>>Jay: Take a course. There’s a lot of free stuff online now; it’s
not like the old days. You can go to Maya’s Web site and get a free
educational version of Maya; just download it straight from their Web site. You can go on YouTube and there are endless
tutorials that can teach you how to do anything. With free tutorials and free software, if
you’re a self starter and you’re really proactive about it, there’s no reason why you can’t
teach yourself for free.>>Trevor: Cool, good stuff. Last question for you – if people wanted to
connect with you in particular online; LinkedIn, Twitter, how would they go about doing that.>>Jay: You can check me out on Twitter @JayBulbrook. I’m also on Facebook. My gamer tag is armedescort. If you ever see me online let’s have a game
of hockey.>>Trevor: There you go. I imagine you’re pretty good at your own game.>>Jay: I dabble.>>Trevor: Alright, thanks for doing this.>>Jay: Take it easy.

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