I HATE AM

June 1, 2007 at 11:28 pm (Uncategorized)

Dang..

Who are these guys!! How can they be so awsomely talented? And how can they be so cool to think of teaching all they know? weirdoes.

Im doing class 4, and its been harrasement.. Total Harrasement. Each week, they find something great to give in a lecture and after every lecture that i watch, i feel like a total noob who doesnt know how or what to animate.. What they say is so correct and it makes my animation look silly. I get the impulse to delete my entire assignments and start over in hope that i can do better. subtlity?? mood?? entertainment?? Acting?? Sincerity?? This is the stuff that im being taught and it simply cancels out 80 percent of work that I did so far.. Much of the stuff that I animated doesnt have any of those to the level that they could be.. (The other stuff that i did is irrefutable.. bouncing balls, pendullums and side steps..Yay!!)

I have been animating overlaps, anticipations, settles, eases and what not, for 6 years now… And now, when I was asked to act, I am baffled!! Dont know how to make my character seem “ALIVE”.. my animations (other than the floursacks) look really dead and lack real personality. Cool poses? Ive done some. Overlaps? ive done many.. but make characters “live”?? NEVER !!! And the stuff they are teaching me now puts the point across so clearly.. And the message is :

BUDDY, U ARE A NOOB.. ANIMATE FOR YEARS BEFORE CALLING YOURSELF AN ANIMATOR!

They dont say it at all directly, but the stuff they are teaching is so awsome that the message is irrefutably embarrasingly clear. I have to start learning. I have to learn how to make the character feels like its alive. I feel like ive just started animating.

I cruised along happily through class 1 (basics) and class 2 (body mech).. learnt a ton of stuff that i couldnt have learned on my own, met great mentors and friends, had a great time. I thought I was “animating”. Happy days!

Then came class 3. It started getting tough to make my character act and react to situations (if you notice, thats when i stopped posting my work..). You want me to make a character jump and then dive and then kick and then have a nice settle? No problem!! Any day!! But you want me to make it act?? Thats just 100 stories higher. I have to think out each gesture, think of “breathing time” where the character should appear to think, think of phrasing the acting clearly and once you really know how you are going to portray what you want, then you start thinking of staging and timing and all that good stuff. That is the hard part.. After this part, i can handle myself again.. Get into the rig, pose, add overlaps and settles and anticipations and thats not that hard.. The first part of thinking it out is the hardest.. Now I know why GREAT ANIMATORS ARE GREAT. Class 3 gave a taster into what Animation really is.. and i wasnt really ready for it I guess.

Before class 3, when I watched cartoons for study, all I was trying to see were those cool actionlines, transitions and settles, accents with tails and stuff like that. All I was looking for were Tricks. Tricks to make something move correctly. So, I became a good “mover”(ahem..half-way decent, i mean.. ) of objects in 3D. But animation is not about MOVING, but about ANIMA, that is LIFE!!

Thats what AM threw at me in class 3.. I thought I would get it… Easy.. no problem.. it didnt knock my ego down. I thought “Now I know what to do.. Im on my way to being a great animator!!”

Then Came along the purgatory named “Class 4”. It is excruciating. I am having to work 10 times harder than what i had to. No, i dont mean i am working in maya longer.. it just means that I have to spend so much effort BEFORE I FIRE UP MAYA. Its very enjoyable when you get results, but what if you dont like what ever you are doing?? I mean, I think hard for a couple of days, get some gestures planned and then I hit the computer and create it.. and at the end of it, I realize that thats not what I should’ve done… Thats when it hurts most. While doing its great fun.. but afterwards, its almost embarrasing!!

Class 4 is a great leveler and this multi-shot (having multiple cuts in the scene with two characters) is just overwhelming for me. It just showed to me that I need to learn a lot. You have to think of actions of one character and reactions of the other and add to that the concepts of Screen space, composition, gestures and so on.. And on top of that, Make the characters believable!! WOW!! THATS HARD!!

Before class 4, I was prancing around happily in my self-created “Pixieland” where I was almost a “great animator” and that all i need is one good shot to do and i have a pixar-rivalling demoreel.. But during class 4, i realized that I need to do a lot lot lot lot lot lot more shots in practise to be able to do it “easily”.

These guys, the mentors, are now appearing to me as Weirdoes.. I mean, come on! you take a rig and make it appear alive?? And do it everyday?? And do it while not stressing out about it?? and to do it while having a “life” outside animation?? And then come up with fresher and livelier animation every time?? You cant possibly do that!

Take my mentor Dave for example.. The stuff he created on “Over the hedge” makes me cry. I mean, he is so good!! He took on the character “hammy” and animated it so wonderfully that I am doubting whether i can ever reach that level. I feel like a nobel-laurelled physicist who just saw a Great Man made dust turn into Gold just by willing it to.

All in all, AM Class 4 has been a great leveler. It has been an eye opener. It opened up a whole new world before me. It is showing me why its amazingly wonderful to work day in and out making characters “live”. I love it for that. But at the same time, it made it clear to me that much of what i have done in the past is almost nonsense. It surely helped to learn the basics, dont get me wrong.. but its more like learning how to use a pressure cooker.. but its not about how to use a cooker, but its about making great food!! Overlaps and anticipations and settles are cool… But thats not what ANIMATION IS!! Now I understand what Keith Lango was trying to teach me.

Now in class 4, these AM guys threw me in to the deep end of the pool.. No. They just threw me in a whirl pool in the middle of the Indian ocean. Its a whole different ball game now. Now I know what AM is all about. Now I know its true worth.. and boy oh boy.. isnt it worth every penny!

Now, when im trying to do my assignment, i just feel like pulling all my hair out (the little that remains..), soak it in dry venegar and stick it back up with quickfix glue. Its darn hard!!!

As of today.. oh AM!! I hate you.. You embarrasingly and without any manners, pointed it out to me that im not an animator.. Pray that I become a good animator so that atleast then I can love you and appreciate you for what you’ve done to me.

Shawn, Bobby and Carlos.. thanks for a great school. I hope I can utilize your efforts better to learn more. And Keith, I hope I can utilize you better if ever I get to do APT again. Now I think I know what questions I should ask you..

Dear readers.. if you think im done talking about weirdoes, you are wrong. There are those student weirdoes who seem to create magic while still being students at AM. I will write about people like Deter Brown. people like lluis llobera. (google ’em up for their blogs.. watching their animation is well worth every minute for animation students). Ill write about these guys some other time.

Ill post some of my stuff once it starts to look a bit decent.

DJ

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