I love to see students doing great things with simple characters in 3D, it means they can focus mainly on animation and acting instead of getting bogged down in the whole modelling, texturing, rigging, skinning thing.

Check out this gem from the Vancouver Film School. Gota love a pirate gag.


Frank said...

Yeah good acting.

Movements, gestures. Yup that student got the message. Hope it sinks in for me when we get our 3D characters moving.

Story had good build up but ended up a bit under...graduate (class mates probably wet themselves on the first viewing). totally subjective, I know. Maybe I'm sitting outside the target in the audience.

And that's where the story, the script, may have undone the good work of the design and acting?

What do you think?

I think jokes need to be road tested a bajillion times before application.

The creators said something like that for the Simpson's Movie. If a gag wasn't funny after a bajillion viewings, then it didn't get in. (You'll have to check my figures).

That's why Ralph is so funny at the start.

Ian said...


The story is simple, but it served to showcase the animators skills.

I think the best animators in your class worked in the Anim8 group. Do you think the anim8 group produced the best animation?

Time is finite, even for a workaholic like you ;). I can tell by the attention to detail in this piece that the student settled on a story and then focussed on executing that idea well. Personally I think that’s what students should do.

To do anything else grossly underestimated just how much there is to learn about making the actual animation.

Things I express on the blog often get boiled down to broad generalisation (its all the fault of John Howard and his bloody wedge politics). SOOOooo I think stories are important and good story telling skills are rare, they are definitely work thinking about. BUT try thinking about it this way. If you were an animation employer and you were about to employ a new person, would you be willing to fork out $800 a week for someone who had good story ideas but couldn’t animate, or someone who can animate really well but put a fart gag at the eng of their film?

Your idea would ideally be original and maybe this piece is a little guilty on that front. But I fear that for students a “better” story often equates with a more complicated story, or one that is to be mused over or debated for ages and ages instead of getting in and producing the animation.

Its not like the animator here made a copy of Southpark or something, there is plenty of unique stuff here.

In an ideal world I agree that society would give us the time to become master animators and storytellers before entering the industry, but I’m a realist. In your case Frank you are half way through the animation course, multiply what you have learnt about animating so far by 2, is it enough? If you learn enough to make a good living from your animation you will be able to meet and work with many great artist (animators and/or storytellers) and continue to learn from them while making a buck. Unfortunately there are no jobs in animation for great storytellers who can’t animate, how much will you learn from the sidelines?

Study time (tafe or uni) is just the beginning of your learning, focusing on the “how to” instead of the “what” empowers you to continue learning beyond the class room.

Frank said...

I want it all.

Frank said...

That said.

Surely the teacher could have said, "You don't need the fart gag."

I know you know that I revel in this idealistic, pampered, student existence and still remain one not for 'trade-offs' (or, dare I say, 'selling out'). I'm sure that lesson is looming like a shark fin in the big pond.

I agree with your insights and am certainly finding that my animating time at home has increased to surpass the hours at school. There is so much to learn and this blog is a gold mine.

I wonder if an employer saw a good story packed in 15 seconds. That would be ideal. AND then the excitement of animating it. Demonstrating thought, emotion, meaningful symbolism, line of action, power centres, psychological gestures, balance, key imbalance, timing, pacing, walking, running, pushing, pulling, design, layouts ...

My sequence in the Anim8 project is 42 seconds and I've learnt the important lesson of biting off more than one can chew. I can see it's failings the more the clock ticks. It's a lesson learnt the hard way. But a lesson well learnt.

I'm not sure the Anim8 group will produce much animation. I've talked with 4 out of the 9 this week and they have next to nothing for the film after 19 weeks of TimTams. Fallen in that quicksand that the whole lot of us hit mid-term. The other 4, I haven't seen since the end-of-year screening.
The primary aim was to complete something. That before anything else. Just get it done. And we've all learned that it requires more work than we thought. Definitely more than we talked about. You could see it and kept telling us. I can see it better with hindsight.

You're so right that the animation happens when animators actually animate.

I think, if I double what I've learnt this year, it's enough to get me a start somewhere. But at the same time it's only single digit percentage of what I want to learn and create.

I think an animation employer wants an animator. Someone who can sit at the grindstone and make the flour so the businees can make the dough.

But then there will be those shiny, sixpence in the pudding, moments where a good story might, just might, be needed and someone will have to step out of the ranks of the inbetweeners.

I still reckon the fart gag undid some of the good work in the "Happy" film.

Nuff chat that's 15 minutes to dock of sleep time and add to animation time before bed.

Ian said...

This was an important conversation for me Frank. Thanks to your willingness to speak out and express opinions I articulated something that I haven’t managed to before. Cheers :)

I’m thinking of a primary school to high school metaphor. In terms of learning about animation Tafe or Uni is like primary school and your first years in the industry are like high school. Any educator who tells you they can make you into a complete animator in 2 or 3 years is talking out of their ars.

In high school you learn about relatively detailed stuff and how to apply it to real life application (well at least that’s the ideal), you start to become aware of the possibilities your knowledge opens up for you. Some think, “I might apply my skills as a doctor,” other, “ I might apply my skills as an accountant,” and so on.

BUT they won’t let you into high school unless you know the basic building blocks (again in ideal land), if you don’t know them yet then you are denied entry into high school and have to repeat a year.

When my daughter was 9 she told me she wanted to work in an ice cream shop when she grew up, I thought it was so cute. We know of course that she was unable to take the more complex factors about having a job into consideration at that point in her life. With the added wisdom of experience and learning, the anim8 crew have been working on an idea about how depressing such a dead end job can be. Whats the difference? Experience!

At the risk of sounding condescending, I have similar feelings when animation students tell me they want to be the “storyteller” or the “character designer” (not that you have said that at any stage). Its cute, but they don’t even understand the medium yet. As your understanding of the medium expands your ideas and aspirations of how you want to be involved in it and what you want to do with it will change, its inevitable.

Learn the craft of animation (or at least learn more than just scratching the surface) – then you will be able to make an informed decision about how you use it.

Ian said...

Oh and I'm actually trying to tell you how you can have it all. I'm just saying you can't have it all yet :)

Heidi said...

... and that is why farts are funny!