Animators by day Animation teachers by night.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Animation, is Animation, is Animation.

There was a comment in the last post about Walt Stanchfield's amazing drawing notes, which you can get at animationmeat.com, about how some students or even non-students dismiss these because they feel it only relates to 2d animation and doesn't relate to 3d computer animation. I guess this might be why people are always looking for books on computer animation which is silly. Animation is Animation. Animation as and art form or craft exists outside of the medium your using. It really doesn't matter if your working in clay, sand, pencil, computer, paper cut out, or any medium the principles of animation exist in all of these. The principles of animation exist outside of these mediums. So anything that would help in one medium would also help in the others. As far as drawing goes, and learning to draw or understanding the principles of design and composition these are some of the most important things we can have as animator to help tell our stories. So to dismiss these ideas and concepts because, you are not a graphic designer, a cinematographer or a 2d animator is really just hurting you as an animator. The best animators I've come across are really talented at all of these things, Design, Composition, Acting, Music, Dance, Film history, Observation, Drawing, Story Telling, Attention to detail, Physics, and Passionate. I've always believed that what makes animation so hard to master, is that you have to have an understanding of so many things. Like being able to understand body mechanics and human emotion to having the ability to draw like Rembrandt. And then having some concept of almost everything in between. It's hard trust me, and I myself am no where near knowing all of it. The only thing I do know is the people that tend to be better at all of these things tend to be better animators.

The catch in all of this is that in your quest to become a better animator it takes a tremendous amount of time and focus. Thus potentially limiting your time to explore other areas of art and life. In a field that really needs you to be an extrovert and observe life, animation really makes you an introvert and locked down to learning the craft at a computer or drawing board. I guess that's the rub.

So remember the more you can learn about anything especially drawing, because it incorporates things such as design, weight, balance, emotion, story telling, physics, the better off you'll be. Just because you work on a computer doesn't mean you don't need to draw. Now let me clarify a bit I'm not saying you have to be an amazing draftsman you just need to be exposed to drawing and constantly trying to become a better draftsman because through that process you'll become better at all things you can learn from drawing.

How could notes like these not help you in any form of animation?

Or Understanding great Design ar appreciating Art like this Mattise not be helpful?

The nine old men did and even refer to fine art and learning from it in the "Illusion of Life". It's kinda funny that it's at the begining of Chapteer 16 my favorite chapter.

--Dr. Stephen G.



16 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand more and more what a complex and deep artform animation is. It is amazing how much a simple post like this helps out the educating animator to move better along the way to success. Thanks for the post.

Thomas

12:23 PM

 
Anonymous Paul said...

I'm going to be teaching a character animation class in the fall using Maya. When choosing a textbook for the class, I succumbed a bit to this mindset, as I made sure to pick a book that had examples done in 3D, as opposed to drawings. And this from a guy who started out as a traditional animator! I guess I didn't want students intimidated by drawings or dismissing the lesson at hand simply because it was illustrated with a pencil instead of pixels.

I'll atone for my sins by handing out copious amounts of the Stanchfield notes :0)

1:41 PM

 
Blogger gemini82 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:03 PM

 
Blogger gemini82 said...

If anyone is interested they can download a pdf copy of Stanchfield's notes. Its a compilation of the notes
edited in a book format. (By Leo Brodie)

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=U8HPHONS

P.S. If someone can find a better place for the pdf file please do so. Megaupload is the only place i could find to upload it.

5:06 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So true. I am a writer/illustrator, and I keep a printed copy of Stanchfield at my table and re-read it often. It's indispensable to anyone trying to communicate narrative visually. as Stanchfield reminds, animation is to make a thing come to life, not just making cartoons. In that sense I consider my paintings animation, just at a really slow frame rate. I find nearly everything Stanchfield says holds just as true there.

5:18 PM

 
Blogger Dr.Burke said...

I had the pleasure of meeting and learning from Walt and it has had an influence on my work ever since. His approach to draftsmanship always dealt with the "feeling" of a drawing as opposed to the draftsmanship of it. A beautiful drawing is important, but as an animator (much like an actor) it is what you communicate with your performance that resonates and touches an audience. The ability to understand what goes into a strong pose is no different than what a well trained actor does when he/she realizes how a performance is read by the camera.

Whether you are working in 2D or 3D, the end game is the same. An audience is not going to see your spline work or how well your character is rigged. They're going to want to get lost in a film and a compelling performance, despite how it's done. Your audience doesn't want to see the strings. They want to be swept away.

For those who read this blog and hope to learn something new, or gain insight from our posts, please do us a favor. Learn this. Animation is a medium of film making, not a genre. Think of what you do as it relates to the scope of film making and you'll be fine. I'd like to thank Dr. Stephen again for getting on his soapbox and doing what he does best. He is by far, the most modest and poignant ranter, and his comments are always refreshing. Thanks for visiting the blog.

-Adam

10:51 PM

 
Blogger Terry Song said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:23 AM

 
Blogger Frankie Stellato said...

Honestly.... you Docs are doing such a great job. Every time I read these new posts it gets me inspired. Especially now when your talking about illusion of life.....I'm reading it again and noticing you see things in it you've never seen before. FUN!

Thanks a lot for all the posts and keep them comin! :D

4:17 PM

 
Anonymous Kyle said...

After getting back into The Illusion of Life, I got all inspired about how I wanted to really pursue my continuing goal of improving my drawing skills. I was getting all excited about it, in a 'seize the day' Robin Williams way :P Then that thought crossed my mind--wait a second, if I spend all my time drawing and investing into myself, how am I going to have time to observe other people, live life, and give to the things that *really* matter? But yeah, I guess that's the balancing act we all have to find in life.

I agree with your post though. And I feel that being well-rounded is actually a positive thing in our field. From what I've heard of the 9 Old Men, they all had other interests and hobbies outside of animation, that in turn gave them something personal to bring to the craft. That doesn't mean that deep down I still don't wanna sometimes just draw until I get better, or until my fingers bleed :P

11:38 AM

 
Blogger Marcos Gp said...

I have allways wonder why the Stanchfield's notes are not more popular....

2:35 AM

 
Blogger chintan said...

"""The best animators I've come across are really talented at all of these things, Design, Composition, Acting, Music, Dance, Film history, Observation, Drawing, Story Telling, Attention to detail, Physics, and Passionate. I've always believed that what makes animation so hard to master, is that you have to have an understanding of so many things. Like being able to understand body mechanics and human emotion to having the ability to draw like Rembrandt."""

"""For those who read this blog and hope to learn something new, or gain insight from our posts, please do us a favor. Learn this. Animation is a medium of film making, not a genre. Think of what you do as it relates to the scope of film making and you'll be fine."""

Sir, you have just opened my eyes and you have showed me a path to become a better animator. All the posts on this blog are invaluable, Thank you for spending your time on this and inspiring all the students and animators. Also I get to learn from the comments posted by the viewers. I make sure to check the blog at least twice a day.

You guys are truely doctors as you inspire & ignite the passion for animation with every post of yours.

Thanks a lot
Chintan :)

3:00 AM

 
Blogger Fraenk said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:39 AM

 
Blogger Fraenk said...

you are right indeed dr. stephan!

animation is so hard to learn because it is a combination of so many different art-forms and for me it is sometimes quite hard to get back my focus to animation when i had a "journey" through "story-land", "potter's clay-world", "photo-dungeon" and so on. my problem is, that i can't do all these things just as an animator. i have to switch my whole point of view. what means that i must become "just" a writer, a story-teller, a sculptor, a photographer, a draftsman or what ever AND NOT a writing- or scupting-animator. i have to get lost entirely in these worlds to explore new things. that's my only way to get something new out of these issues that enriches my knowledge as a fundament for animation.

cheers fraenk

4:42 AM

 
Blogger Olivier Ladeuix said...

I bought the Illusion of Life a year ago but put it aside after reading the first chapters.

I was looking for very practical tips that the first chapters didn't give me but few weeks ago I decided to pick some random chapters and finally realised that everything I needed to learn was there! No need to read anything else. I got mistaken to think that Illusion of Life was about the "why" and I must admit that it also contains the "how".

I have also printed the Brodie's Stanchfield compilation and promised myself to finish reading the notes as soon as I can.

6:01 PM

 
Anonymous erq said...

Very interesting points were brought up in this entry. I cannot agree more with the fact that Animation requires so much dedication, time and knowledge of all the different forms of art, physics and psychology. My biggest issue right now is creating a balance between my passion in animation and art and my personal life. Sometimes its as if I forget about friends and family and delve so deep into art that close ones around me start to complain. Yet when I turn my attention to my personal life, the animator in me begins to slack. Can any of you doctors prescribe something or at least point me in the right direction as to how can I create balance between the two? Maybe writing out a schedule so some days Im involved only in art while others with my close ones?

9:07 AM

 
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