Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Feeling of Accomplishment

You'd never think that being a student, you'd be asked to throw something together out of the blue. You expect everything to come at you week by week, class by class. A couple days ago I was completely removed from this thought!

The director of my program called me up saying, "You know you have a presentation infront of the entire Animation Board in a few hours, right?"


Apparently this was the first 'Student Review' they were holding and decided to set it up at the last minute. So I threw a quick movie together of my progress of the past 3 years I have been attending this school (the Art Institute of Pittsburgh). Even though I had a couple hours to piece it together, I was able to organize the movie AND put it in chronological order so that they could see progress (if there was any, haha).

I was the ONLY one in the room on time.

The Animation Board was made up of all teachers I have had for classes and who I deeply respect and value their opinions. That made it much more comfortable for me.

When I was showing them my work they had a lot of reactions DURING the movie. It was so heart warming to hear them laugh, or make small noises like "hm", or to hear them shuffle in their seats.

Before I walked into that classroom and while they were watching my presentation, I kept thinking about how much work I had put into each and every one of these pieces. How much devotion I had for them. All the time that was spent, all the effort, all my heart, all the tears from frustration, the lack of sleep to get them done, and the absence of food since I was so focused that hours would fly by.

Everything that I had sacraficed to complete each project as well as I could and to hear those that I respect give positive reactions towards them was the biggest feeling of accomplishment ever! I had always hoped, but never thought I would get to this point in my life where I could feel SO accomplished that it brought me to tears. I always thought that I would feel accomplished and cry the second I was shown my desk area in an animation studio...but I'm most sure that at the Student Review I felt that goal!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Animation Mentor: Posing

For the past couple weeks I've been learning how to pose a character. I always knew that acting was an aspect of key frames, but I never really understood how exaggeration can be pushed and work together with acting until I joined Animation Mentor! I always think I've gone the furtherst, but when I step away for a few minutes and come back I think - I can go much further with this pose!!!

The past assignment was to draw people, and recreate the poses in 3D. I then received an Ecritique from my mentor, Steve Cady, who gave me some tips on how to spice it up!

(This is a test post to see if my movie files will upload - please let me know if you do not see a movie file, thanks!)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

When Sketching the Public...

I was sketching the people who were moving into the dorm today. I prepared a sketchbook with 2 pencils, sunglasses and my ipod. At first when I started sketching, people were giving me weird looks (even though they know this is an art college). That's when I had noticed I forgot to put my sunglasses on. As soon as I did that, everyone switched to natural mode!

I'm suggesting wearing sunglasses while you sketch the public. I took them off for a couple minutes to sketch some more, and when people saw me, it made them uneasy - and their poses turned uncomfortable and unnatural. But as soon as my shades were on, it was like I was invisible, because they could't see me looking directly on them.

It's also good to carry around an mp3 player or cd player to block out the sound. It's especially useful when you have inspiring songs and it fires you up and you draw faster and with more heart! It makes for better sketches :)

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Why Animation?

A good friend of mine, Matthew Kapfhammer, and I were having a meeting about a project we were working on together. We were trying to find what message we wanted our story to convey. At that point he asked me, "What does animation mean to you? Why do you love animation?"

I froze. I could've said I like to make characters come to life, or I like to make pretty pictures...but then I've heard so many other people say that as well. It's almost default to say, "I love animation because we breath life into characters." There is absolutely nothing wrong with this comment, but I feel as though it's over done.

I've been stressing about this a lot recently. Why do I love animation? What made me want to become an animator? What continues to keep me motivated through my animation school?

For a few days I felt lost as to why I loved animation. It was almost as though I had lost the trail in a vast forest.

My dad and grandparents came up yesterday and I was able to show them the work I've produced the past few months. This is where my answer laid. It hit me like a freight train.

As my family watched my work, I watched their expressions, their moods, and their body languages. One piece, which took me 75 hours of extreme focus, seemed to really get their attention. They reacted to it! And it doesn't matter that it was a good reaction. It could've been a negative reaction and I still would've known why I picked up animation in the first place.

It was great to see that I could make them smile and laugh through my art work!

That's what it was! That's why I love animation so much! I love to entertain! I love to make people go through emotions...make them live and feel life!

Everytime I watch "Ice Age", I cry. The scene where the characters are in the cave with paintings, and the mammoth remembers his child, and relates it to the human child. And I completely start crying my eyes out out at the very end of the movie when the human father and the mammoth finally see eye to eye. Even though I'm crying, the emotions are so powerful that I enjoy every second of that moment - which makes that movie one of the greatest I've ever seen.

Ever since I've figured out why I love animation (again), it's been easier for me to do work. I'm more motivated and inspired. The work I produce has more heart in it, which in turn, is making everything look better than I had hoped!

I encourage everyone to find out what it is about animation that they love. It might sound mushy, but explore your heart. The answer is there!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

How to Escape a Creative Rutt

Every other month, it seems, I fall into a creative rutt. I don't know how to start my projects and I don't even feel like doing them. It usually takes a few weeks to crawl out of the hole and I'm never quite sure how I pull it off.

Michael Lesko, a very talented storyboard artist and animator, who's worked on Nickelodeon's "Blue's Clues" and MTV's "Daria", wrote an email to me today and included a great technique on how to over come a creative rutt!

"Some terrific advice a very smart man gave me once. He said most times when you feel like that it's because you feel overwhelmed with the task in front of you - it just seems like too much to do or you can't decide how to approach it. Perhaps you don't even have any desire to do it. Well do this, works every time. Just take the project and divide it up into many small parts and write it down. When a project is broken up the individual tasks it become easy. Then you just start out slow and do the first item on the list and only focus on that one simple task, whatever it is, don't worry about anything beyond that. Doing this takes a complicated project and makes it easy and achievable no matter what it is."

Now I almost can't wait to fall into another creative rutt to test this out!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Counting Sheep...and So the Dream Begins!

This blog will be used for me to record anything that I learn about animation. Tips, hints, pictures, news, animators, my personal work, schools, etc. If given the free time, I will post everything I possibly can to make for an educational, interesting and fun blog!

Go, ninja, go!