Sunday, November 21, 2010

Four Year Animation School - Year Two

In their first year, our budding Eric Goldbergs and Brad Birds did approximately ZERO feet of animation.

They should be good and ready to pick up their pencils right about... NOT SO FAST.

First they'd have to work with Helen Hill's "Recipes for Disaster" for a month or so.

There are a million lessons to be had here, but to number a few:

1) fearlessness: Experiment, mess up, do things even if you don't know whether it'll work (HINT: if you've thought about long enough, you've probably worked out how to get it done)

2) time: Touching film, cutting it up, looking at the little pictures -you see the meaning of a frame. It's a sledgehammer way of showing the value of a single image as well as its worthlessness.

3) community: You, student are laboring by the dim light of your Cintiq, there are others out there like you. Talk to them, share with them. Your colleagues are your greatest resources. They're more important than any films you can produce, more valuable than any awards.

We've got to get to the flour sack sometime, and Nancy Beiman's "Animated Performance" is the best introduction.

She's still concerned with how you think about/approach animating but has exercises to put them into practice.

After several months of preparation, artists should be ready to animate.

There's no better reference for motion than Muybridge.

The best artists make a continual study of history, for animators the history of their field is especially important. Past animators and films form a lexicon which can communicate ideas elegantly and accurately to those who understand the language.

There are multiple sides to every story. Most history books (even Barrier's) tend be told from the studios' point of view.

Tom Sito's "Drawing the Line" looks at animation history from another perspective. Its full of interesting stories -but the fact that is shows the business of animation from a different angle is more than enough to make it pedagogically important.


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