I don’t think we take enough time to appreciate the periods in our life when our noses aren’t runny. Is your nose runny right now? No? Think about that. Honestly reflect on it. Enjoy this era of peace. There are dark times on the horizon
Also I actually kind of like the update where all images show up as grey boxes. You can upload all kinds of strange and wonderful things and they’ll be a complete surprise
I Christmass’d my theme up and now I’m thinking of what to do with it next month. I’m worried because I want to put fandom characters on it in some way but the only “fandom” I really feel invested enough in to advertise on my blog is my OCs, is it egotistical to put your OCs on your theme?
Answer: of course it is BUT I’M GONNA DO IT ANYWAY BECAUSE IT’S MY BLOG NOT THE BLOG OF PEOPLE WHO THINK THAT
What are ten things you recommend a student learn before entering an animation course?
Oh wow I don’t really know where to even start, hahaha. 10 things? Ahhh jeez. I can try. This is a tricky question! And honestly, this is just my opinion and advice based on my experience… but here goes!
1. Look up the “12 Principles of Animation”. It’s a widely known and accepted set of concepts and mechanisms related to animation. I hesitate to call them rules, because rules can (and sometimes should) be broken. Either way, familiarize yourself with them!
2. Add a 13th principal, “Weight”. Being able to convince your audience that the thing you’re animating actually has a mass is incredibly helpful!
3. Animation is a really broad term (artistically). In the west we tend to refer to animation as if it’s a genre—it isn’t. Animation isn’t strictly for one particular demographic, and there are all different kinds of it. It’s not just for kids, and it’s not always strictly character and narrative-based!
4. Animation is a broad term (technically). You might want to be a character designer, or a storyboard artist, or time animatics, a keyframe/layout artist, or be a CG modeler, a character-rigger, a set designer, a lighting person, a background painter, a puppet-maker, an effects animator, a writer, or a director!! You might want to do a little bit of everything! It does help to hone in on a specialty or two, though. Find out what you’re into and work that to your advantage!
5. Assuming you’re wanting to do something character or narrative-heavy, go spend a lot of time on TVtropes.org. If you’re going to be a creator/writer, it helps to be familiar with the devices and conventions that are commonly employed in narrative.
6. Surround yourself with people who are better than you. I know that sounds kind of weird so let me elaborate. It’s easy to surround yourself with people who you feel aren’t really a challenge to you. That makes you complacent. Instead, try surrounding yourself with people you feel are better than you—-even if it’s intimidating. You will learn from being around people who you look up to. And to be honest, you’d be surprised how many people would be absolutely flattered to help you out or give you advice. You know what? Honestly? Even if you’re surrounded by people you consider equals, you can still benefit from that. Really just keep the mindset that you can learn from anybody! Everyone has their own set of skills and unique way of thinking.
7. Learn a lot about animation history. If you’re taking classes on animation I’d kind of expect them to talk about this anyway, but still! There’s a long, rich history in this medium and a lot of people actually know very little about it. Like yeah, everyone probably knows about Steamboat Willie but how about Gertie the Dinosaur? You probably know a lot about Walt Disney but do you know anything about Ub Iwerks? How about Walt’s old Laugh-O-Grams studio? They don’t mention it much. It’s sitting in the slums of Kansas City about 10 minutes away from my old apartment and the only thing keeping it from rotting away is a small, non-profit organization who managed to raise enough money just to have the outside of the building stabilized. You can’t go in. It’s still crumbling. The company isn’t going to help preserve this piece of their history.
That’s just one really specific example, and I don’t mean to be a downer! But there’s all kinds of stuff that gets lost or forgotten over time, and also just stuff that not a lot of people know much about! Read things, watch things, discover things!!! The more you know about your roots, the better!
8. This is probably a little biased, but check out John K’s blog. He’s the guy who did Ren and Stimpy. I’m a little biased because following his blog is sort of what encouraged me to actually consider animation as an option. He’s a little opinionated but he knows his shit! And he posts little lessons and lectures and stuff on his blog… super useful information!!
Check out any blogs you can find, really. Everyone’s got something you can learn! I’m just saying John K’s is a good place to start. : ) If you have a hero or an artist you look up to, or a show you really like or something, try to track them down! You’d be surprised how many people have blogs you can follow.
9. If you’re coming from a background where you normally do design or illustration or concept art, and you’re used to working on just a singular image and perfecting it, you’ll have to start thinking a little differently. You can’t be too attached to just one image, you’ll have to make multiple images to convey the overall gesture or expression you’re trying to communicate. Animation is about capturing movement and the illusion of life! Sometimes this is kind of hard, and you’ll end up fussing over a few frames, trying to fix them, but you just have to end up throwing them out and starting over. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and let those mistakes go, so you can apply what you’ve learned and move forward. If something’s not working or not moving right, you just need to bite the bullet and fix it… sometimes from scratch!
But there’s a plus side to this too: you are absolutely allowed to take short-cuts when they work! Animation is fuckin’ hard. So you know what most of us do? We animate on twos. Or threes. Or fours or fives sometimes! One second of animation is 24 frames per second (or 30, depending. But 24p is NTSC standard and pretty standard for film too. That’s another thing, SURPRISE, you’ll have to learn a bunch of technical video format jargon), and you can either be a show-off and draw 24 fuckin’ frames, or you can draw 12 frames and hold each one of them twice as long. It reads about the same and it’s half as much work! You’ve seen the way some action sakuga anime sequences move? It’s kind of limited but clearly stylistic…? They’re making the most of using very few frames and relying on strong key poses to carry the action. There’s all sorts of ways you can do this stuff, haha.. and there’s no harm in being efficient!
10. Okay this is probably a given and I’m sure you hear it all the time but it’s completely true. Animation is HARD WORK. Even if you’re good at it! It’s tedious. You will never stop learning. You will spend HOURS working on a sequence, and then you’ll play it back and it might only be a second or two of actual animation. Sometimes I would sit for awhile and watch my one measly second of animation on a loop over and over again for a few minutes, just to try and balance out the time difference. It really isn’t easy stuff. It takes an unreasonable amount of dedication and it’d be no exaggeration to call it a “labor of love”. You’ll know pretty quickly whether or not animation is for you. Because at the end of the day when you sit back and watch something you worked so hard on come to life, there’s really… not quite… a word… to describe that feeling. Haha. I know that sounds really cheesy but it’s absolutely true. I’ve said it to people before and I’ll stick by it ‘til the day I die. It’s something pretty special, and even though it’s difficult, it’s really rewarding.
Sorry it took me so long to respond! I have a lot of feelings about animation!! Hahah. Hope this helps at least a little bit…!
———-EDIT!!! HERE’S A BONUS THING!!!
There are lots of helpful books out there on animation too! I didn’t use mine all that much, but I have a few of them that are like… really major resources and whenever I pick them up I can’t put them back down!
1. The Animator’s Survival Guide by Richard Williams
2. The Animation Bible by Maureen Furniss
3. Timing for Animation by Harold Whitaker and John Halas