Cool! So I’m finally an animator. Boy, does it give me chills to think about it! I’ve got to repeat this thing: “I AM FINALLY AN ANIMATOR!” Woohooo!! Well, if you’re thinking what this hype is all about, I won’t disappoint you. But hey, let me say that once again. Just once: “I am finally … an ANIMATOR!!” Wow!
Ok, it may not be a biggie for you, but my animation training got completed yesterday. For five months, I had been a “Trainee 3D Character Animator” at Pakistan’s finest animation studio, and now – FINALLY – I’m in production. Well, not really production as yet, but a buffer between training and production. I just can’t wait to get my first shot in actual production thingie. Man, do I feel good!!
These five months of training were a real adventure. A true Animation Safari, it was. My mentor got me and my fellow trainees started off with a history of animation, and the 12 principles. We played with the good ol’ bouncing ball for a while. Then we played around with humanoid characters without faces, and then we got into full-fledged facial animation. I can safely say these were probably the most memorable five months of my life.
It’s literally a dream come true. I used to bitch around with my business-school friends that I couldn’t converse with them about animation for even an hour. And now I get to blabber with my fellow trainees (not trainees anymore, though) and my seniors about animation all day! It actually feels like a global online community. In which other industry is it possible that you add the top dogs of industry all over the world on your facebook friends list, and you actually get to talk to them!? And they don’t even sneer. They are so frikkin’ helpful and kind, that you just can’t help feeling overwhelmed. Just imagine chatting with guys who animated the most outrageously fantastic scenes of movies like Ratatouille and Madagascar! And that guy is even giving you feedback and critique on whatever little animation work you’ve done. Frikkin’ awesome, man! You feel indebted to these giants.
Even in Pakistan, we have such an amazing quality of animators that it baffles that hell out of people who just associate Pakistan with suicide bombers. This Pakistani animation may not be Hollywood quality, but it certainly beats a lot of competitors in South Asian and Middle Eastern markets.
I just can’t help feeling proud that these talented Pakistani guys are securing respectable ranks in 11 Second Club competitions. And the best part is that most of them are my seniors; i.e. they work at the same animation studio as I. (Yeah, I really meant to brag when I said that.) Or maybe, it’s more appropriate to say that I work at the same animation studio as them.
So … now what? I’ve been randomly blabbering for almost one full page of a Microsoft Word document, and I don’t know where these randomly firing neurons are gonna take me next. Maybe to Shawn Kelly and his insatiable appetite for fried chicken; maybe to the Tom and Jerry episode that my neighbor at office is watching with all the concentration he can muster; or maybe to … ummm .. I don’t know!
I really wanted to talk about something productive. And I think you’ll wholeheartedly agree that I’ve miserably failed in that quest. So, what do I talk about? Acting? Yeah, right. I’m just a noob who got done with his animation training just yesterday, and screwed up his acting assignments quite successfully. Yippee!! So, yeah, I’d better steer clear of that path, or I could end upbeing answerable for misguiding future animators at the Day of Judgment. (Ok, put down your pebbles. I understand how lame this one was.)
So, what do we talk about? Yeaaahh!! Exaggeration!! Man, why didn’t I think of it before!? My mentor says that beginning animators usually fall in love with any one of the twelve principles, and neglect the others in order to woo this elusive damsel in distress. And in most cases, this damsel in distress is named “Arcs”. Ok, are you guys wondering what the hell am I quacking about? In case you’re still reading this, that is. Well, let me just list down the twelve principles of animation really quickly (in no particular order):
1. Squash and Stretch
2. Straight-ahead / Pose-to-pose
3. Solid drawing
5. Exaggeration (Yaaayyyyy!!!)
6. Slow-in / Slow-out
8. Follow-through / Overlap
12. Secondary action
These twelve principles act as the cornerstones of your animation. They’re all equally important. You neglect any one of them, and your animation is a gone case in no time. So, for most of the beginning animators, arcs are the “hottie-on-the-campus” they keep pursuing. But in my case, the “hottie-on-the-campus” had to be the one and only, Miss Exaggeration! Hey, I think Exaggerita sounds even more like it. Exaggerita, Senorita … Senorita, Exaggerita … you see the connection? Pfff!! Ok, whatever. So, the point is, that the first principle that I fell in love was “Exaggeration”.
Now, what is exaggeration? This is exactly what you think it is. It’s a caricature of reality. And the way I see it, the sole purpose of animation is to exaggerate reality in an entertaining manner. And animators understand it very well. They exaggerate everything. They exaggerate poses, timing, acting choices, mannerisms, moods, personalities, characters, and basically everything under the sun. Well, not everything, but everything that holds any importance in the story.
Yeah, I think that’s about it. It was just a random rambling about something that I’m really passionate about. Well, my entire blog is actually a random rambling about something that I’m really passionate about, for that matter. If you’re still reading this, I’d just thank you for massaging my ego.