It’s so easy to get tunnel vision when you’re deep into a shot. I can get so focused on the arc of a wrist that I’m completely blind to the fact that the whole pose is wrong. I can be so concerned with my shot having a perfect beginning and ending that I forget that it needs to hook up seamlessly with the ones before and after. Losing sight of the big picture is something everyone is guilty of at one time or another. It’s important to learn how to recognize it when it happens, and how to deal with it.
If you’ve been lucky enough to go to one of those universities that is renowned for its animation program and its students are actively recruited by major studios, good for you. Seriously, that’s awesome. But this post isn’t for you; you don’t need it. This is for the rest of us who, upon graduation, suddenly realize that it didn’t work. After all those years of overnighters, stressful finals, and bad cafeteria food, the demo reel we cut together to send out to the world. . . sucks.
Animation is generally referred to as the means by which artists imbue drawings, virtual rigs, or physical objects with the illusion of life. Character animation adds that this illusion portrays an individual with specific characteristics, mannerisms, beliefs, etc. This is the typical way to think of what we do, and it’s certainly a valid definition. However, I would like to explore another way to interpret that term and how it applies to us as human beings.
Eight years. Eight years and countless hours is how long it took me to finally “break in” to the animation industry. Most of my classmates didn’t make it. In fact, if you told them at the beginning that it would take that long, they would have stopped even sooner. That’s certainly not to say that there was anything wrong with them, or that I’m in any way superior. I’m sure that most of them had more talent and smarts than me, which is why they’ve gone on to other things and done well. My undeniable lack of talent is probably what’s most responsible for any success I’ve had as an animator. I simply didn’t have any other option to fall back on! Read more
I’ve always had a bit of an issue with how “the industry” is portrayed to animation students. I used to think that it was some kind of Mount Olympus-like place where only the gifted went to make incredible art and live easy. I remember all too well sitting in my room, beating my head against a little laptop with this ridiculously complicated thing called Maya on the screen, and despairing about how far I still had to go to get there. Read more