Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Animation Class at Foundation University

I'm in my second week of animation classes at Foundation University. I've jumped in midstream so I have a lot of catching up to do, but otherwise, I'm quite happy with my progress. I have a bit of an advantage because of all my attempts at making comics; my disadvantage is my heavy hand, which is ill-suited for the freehand tracing work.

Animation is a very exacting job, as I've come to learn. The slightest mistake in a line can turn your work off-model (as they call it when your drawing doesn't quite match the model sheet). It isn't rote work, as I misjudged it to be, because you're forever trying to match your drawing to the original. On the other hand, it can be quite relaxing, especially when you enter the zone and just sort of blank out: just you, your pencil, the sheet of paper, and the model sheet.

Most of my classmates are shooting for work as animators come January. I doubt this is something I will do for a living: I might not have the patience to do this full-time. But I am learning the things I want to, and so far, it's definitely been worth it.

The improvements in my pencilwork in just this week-and-a-half has been tremendous. The samples I've posted here are of my own composition (after a couple of corrections from my ever-patient instructor, Carl of Top Peg Animation) based on model sheets. There's Stitch in a lazy pose (although one might also say he has heartburn after eating too much); and there's an action anime character named Jessalyn, pushing something heavy.

Could I have learned to draw like this on my own? Probably, but only with so much more difficulty. I've been trying to draw well for years and I couldn't reach this level! There's something to be said for the classroom environment, after all. I guess this all goes back to John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid's The Social Life of Information: we learn better when learning is a social activity.

Well, back to the drawing board!