Being proactive about your skills set and working on your own projects in your spare time will possibly be one of the most important and rewarding things to do when you are in the animation, films or games industry.
By working on your own projects and collaborating with other artists in and outside the industry, you are challenging yourself and accomplishing personal little victories. By doing this, you’re expanding your skill set and you are growing your problem-solving abilities due to the challenges of your personal work.
Because you are working on something you actually WANT to work on, the time and effort that goes into these problem-solving areas and development areas will be worth it and those fundamentals that you learn, transfer to many other platforms and skill sets. Everything is linked in one way or another.
One of the key benefits to expect from working on your own projects, exploring new ideas and building your skill set, is that the quality of your work will improve and that also adds more portfolio content for you to use when you apply for work or pitch concepts to clients.
This also counts in your favour when you collaborate with other professionals, they’ll be able to refer you to projects and art directors because they have worked with you and they know the quality of your work.
All of this will eventually lead to a continuously growing portfolio and skill set that will equip you to adapt to the industry as the technology and methods of work change. All of the markets across the board, is constantly changing and it is in your favour to stay up to date and keep up. Don’t forget the old techniques though, because ALL the new techniques are adaptations of the old.