Recently an animation student emailed me regarding his struggle. He has created his demo reel and yet, he is feeling lost. I must say that he's demo reel is pretty decent for a graduate. Have you felt like him before, feeling demotivated? How did you move on from there? I've took some time and given him my advise. I'm so glad I did, because my email not only helped him, but made my day as well!
Animation Student's Struggle
Shekhar recently completed his animation demo reel, which includes acting, walking, athlete action and more. I've watched the demo reel and I find it good enough to find a job in the animation industry.
However, Shekhar seems to be demoralised. He felt that he hasn't been improving even after completing his demo reel.
Here's what he wrote to me:
He has problem in a few areas:
1. Unsure of how to improve his animation
2. Feeling demoralised
3. Financially unable to take up more animation lessons to improve
I am sure these are not only Shekhar's problem, but to many students as well. Personally, I experienced this issue as well when I was starting out in animation. There is no way the school would put in extra time to help students to improve. For the obvious reason that they only teach what they are suppose to teach.
So how exactly can Shekhar overcome his problem?
My Advise For Animation Student
It's only three options I can advise: practice, Practice and PRACTICE! Skills can only be improved when we continue to practice it. It is very similar to building muscles. The more we exercise the muscle, the bigger the muscle will grow.
Observation skill is also an important skill to help you assess your animation.
So here is my response to Shekhar:
What to animate? (Film or Game?)
In animation industry, there is mainly animation for film and for games. (Let us ignore web button 'animation' or fancy html5 fading 'animation' for now.) This narrows down to the type of animation that we can practice on, which is character animation. And character animation is quite challenging because of the complexity of human's mechanics.
So for film, an animators are expected to be expressive and/or entertaining. After all, animation is a form of art and artist should be creative in expressing themselves through art. Practicing acting and injecting acting into animation is a good way to improve our character animation for film.
And for game...
Now this is my personal favourite! I love game's animation because there are so much action going for in the game. Apart from boring idling and walking, we have punching, kicking and many more exciting fighting moves that we can animate!
Talking about games animation already makes me excited!
Passion is your opportunity
Trust me on this.
Before we take our first step into the animation industry, DO WHATEVER ANIMATION WE WANT!
I really mean it. Once we are in the industry, it really depends on some luck to animate what we really like.
So before we get tied down to politics, storyboards and director's vision, take this chance to animate what we like. This is the best time to create and enjoy creating animation to our hearts content! And because we animate with all our hearts, our animation will tell how passionate we are.
And we do not keep these animation in the closet after we created it! We include them in our demo reel. Sometimes, these personal work are the better animation in our demo reel, compared to those we work to earn a living... (Sadly but that's the truth, at least for me).
If you are, get your butt working on a kick-@$$ animation Right Now!
Just follow these simple steps:
1. Find what you Really like to animate
2. Research and find references on the action you want to work on
3. Animate to your hearts content like there's no tomorrow!
4. Don't forget to eat, sleep, then animate again!
Leave me a comment below and tell me your struggling experience as well!
Student's reply made my day :˜)
Teaching has always been something I enjoyed apart from animation. It felt really good to know that someone has gain something valuable from me and making it even bigger in their live!
Everything happened today is really short, including my email response. However, I felt more motivated than any other day after receiving this email reply:
All the best to Shekhar and all animators out there!