As animators, both in life and projects in which we are involved, many times we wonder ourselves what’s the best path to go through, what decisions to make, and especially how to manage them in order to achieve the fruits that we desire so much.
When a shot is delivered to us and we start imagining how we would like it to be, we think about these questions. And always the uncertainty invades us about how we will get what we intend. This uncertainty, along with other external aspects that influence us, and specially the attitude with which we will take those decisions, determines the final result of our animation.
This is why I would like to share my point of view about what is the best way to tackle the problem in this thought process. Before taking any decisions, it’s important to think about a sort of assumptions that, in my opinion, are very important and essential in order to get the final results as you expect, or even much better, as you really imagine. The point is what attitude to choose towards what you want. And that also applies in life. In the following lines I will describe a series of universal concepts, applicable to animation, or anything else, to get what you pursue.
WANTING, “Where there is a will, there is a way”
The Compass. Is the attitude that drives us to behave actively, with determination and enthusiasm against the adversities, so that we can get what we want. The perfect example would be the different reactions we may have against the problems that are facing us in the shot. The “how” will not become relevant if we don’t fight with our best attitude:
- Positive mental attitude. You must realize that, more than being conditioned by the circumstances of the shot, we can choose how to face the circunstances, intellectually and emotionally. The position we take against this situation will completely determine not only the interpretation of the shot but how it will be in the very end.
- Optimism. That’s it. If I really want, I can do it. And I’m doing it immediately without postponing it for later. I’m doing it now.
- Willing to be useful. Creating something with the intention of bringing novelty, value-added. Willing to give the best of ourselves, wanting to do it well and prove to people who trust us that we can do it even better.
- Generosity. If we are able to give what is expected from us, we will be very lucky. As the saying goes: “Whatever you give, is giving it to yourself, anything you do not give, is taking it off from you”.
- Risking. Do not go with false security, you have to jump into the swimming-pool so that you can check if the water is cold.
- Humility. Focus on what you really want with a humble attitude. This will give you more credentials and you will stay away from the famous arrogant image which is often projected onto the figure of the animator. This only drives you into failure (speaking in a profesional and emotional way).
KNOWING, “Wisdom is the daughter of experience”
It is the terrain map. As artists that we are, we must never stop learning, allow yourself to be influenced by each and every one of the passions you have. The knowledge never stops growing, there’s always something new. Researching, learning, understanding and anticipating to have the best range of solutions. That will make you remarcable over many others and will make you feel recognized and valued. That’s why being prepared and formed before starting the shot is so important in order to fully understand what we are creating, and also with the highest competence. That means, if the shot requires it, doing a little research of what we really don’t know and also we need to know, in order to apply this knowledge into this particular animation.
- Willing to learn everything. Never stop learning.
- Expertise and differential knowledge. “If you want to be relevant, you have to be different from others, and being different means that you have to look everything that surrounds you differently than the rest does”.
- Make mistakes. In my opinion, making mistakes is one of the greatest privileges you have in the learning process. You feel lucky for having experienced a situation where you could learn how to do things better. It’s better having been in those situations instead of ignoring them, isn’t it? I believe making mistakes is one of the most important things when learning. Do not be afraid of failure, because that guides you to better understanding. Again, it is being privileged.
- Listen. In order to learn you must know how to listen, get involved with the best people and learn from them. Reward and appreciate the ideas they can give you.
POWER, “Act, here and now, the future is the present and you have the power to change it”
The skills. The shovel that allows you to dig until you find the treasure you desire. it’s not enough wanting and knowing if there’s no execution afterwards. You have to give to get, and it must be done in a proper way related with your mind intentions.
- Be determined. With the predisposition and knowledge inside your backpack, it’s time to implement those ideas, but it is important not to move off. That knowledge has created a very specific idea in your head. Do not miss this idea, maintain yourself focused. Put the Key Poses you think will add value to the animation and build the rest around that. So just from the beginning you won’t lose the focus of interest in the shot, which is the most important thing.
- Willing to improve. “If you do things well, then do them better.” The instinct of self-improvement is a silver bullet, and also if you get surrounded by the best talented people, it will help you improve professionally. There’s nothing better than feeling this sense of fulfillment.
- KISS, “Keep it simple, stupid”. That sentence sums it up, keep it simple, if the idea is simple and it works, keep it like that. Leave the ornamentation for when it is really needed.
IMAGINATION, “If you can imagine, you can create”
It is the light that enlightens you throughout the process. It’s the muse, what you believe in. It’s a concept that it’s linked to everything else. It’s essential to imagine in order to create all that you believe in and you have learned throughout the process. It’s very important not to lose your path and to be clear about where we want to go, trying to see what our destination is, the “leitmotiv” of the shot.
- Perspective. When you get stuck (and it will happen) is important to step back, look at the problem in perspective, take it easy (how many times we say ourselves how bad we are animating?) to be more efficient finding the solution. That may mean stop animating and continue with other things to relieve tension, start with another shot, try thinking this is not a big deal… It’s true, if not the second, the third time’s charm, and you always end up finding the best solution. Patience is the key, but also perseverance.
- Look and feel. “It’s not enough having a vision, it’s mandatory to feel it inside you”. Try to make other people feel what you want to transmit. In this case, to your supervisor, so he/she knows exactly what’s your intention in that shot. Make him feel.
I could pick to pieces many more ideas, particularly some techniques like: ways of organization, how to preserve work procedures to be useful in a near future for another shot… But this is not the real intention of this post. The real intention is how we focus more emotionally towards we want, and as I said before, both in life and in animation, is extremely important. Especially if you know that in animation, the emotional and personal factors influence directly in each animator’s work.
My advice is that everything mentioned above can be applied across the board, and then you can start creating synergies that, without getting noticed, will get applied into your life, your job and your animation.
It’s us. Animators. Odd personalities. Always looking for the little details. All that is very difficult to perceive and for most people can’t see, for us is a whole world, and we are delighted to understand it. It is the motivation to find those engines that make people act, react, think, perceive or find satisfaction or happiness, that inspired me to write this article.
I hope this post has been useful for you. I encourage you to fulfill your best goals with this good dose of motivation.
PD. – Thanks to Alex Rovira and Francesc Miralles for their influence in the “Treasure Map“, as well as all the other books. It has been a great source of inspiration for this post. Thanks to Manu Menéndez that helped me out translating this post into the english version.
Muchos de vosotros a lo mejor pensábais que había abandonado el Blog en el peor momento, justo cuando estaba a punto de finalizar el curso de Animation Mentor. Pues no, aquí estoy así que podéis estar tranquilos, tengo cuerda para rato. Aún así aprovecho para pedir disculpas por mi ausencia durante estas semanas. Todo tiene una buena razón de peso y el título del post tiene mucho que ver con ello. Prometo que en breve colgaré un último post dedicado a las últimas semanas de AM.
Una vez dicho esto, me gustaría comunicaros que la razón por la cuál he estado ausente es debido a una gran oportunidad profesional y personal que me ha surgido. He tenido la “suerte” de poder entrar dentro de la próxima producción animada de Juan José Campanella (Futbolín), como animador junior. Y para ello he tenido que desplazarme hasta Buenos Aires con la intención de quedarme hasta acabar el proyecto (aproximadamente para dentro de 1 año y pico).
Muchos podrían atribuir esta oportunidad a la suerte. Puede. Desde mi punto de vista creo que la suerte nos la creamos uno mismo, estamos continuamente provocando el destino para que aquello que queremos se materialice. Es por ello que, con la experiencia que he tenido durante este largo proceso de introducción en la animación (y que muchos de vosotros habéis podido seguir), me siento con la obligación de contagiaros con la única filosofía válida para conseguir alcanzar vuestros sueños en la vida, especialmente los animadores.
Es la filosofía de la Alegría, del Entusiasmo, del valor del Compañerismo, de la Autocrítica y de la Ilusón de materializar aquello que deseas. Yo me siento afortunado de poder estar viviendo esta experiencia, pero realmente me doy cuenta que si he llegado aquí és porque lo he perseguido, cada paso o movimiento que he hecho en la vida ha sido enfocado hacia lo que quería hacer en un futuro inmediato, a pesar de que fuera un paso pequeño, todo suma. Al final te das cuenta que todo lo que recibes ha sido provocado por tus acciones. Así que os animo a seguir esta filosofía. Es una filosofía aplicable a cualquier cosa, y a diferencia de otras, ésta, tarde o temprano, te devuelve los frutos.
“Animaros” a forjar vuestro sendero hacia el éxito personal. Deseo que mi ejemplo sea inspirador para muchos de vosotros y sobretodo no dejéis de trabajar duro para cumplir vuestro sueño.
With this post I want to celebrate and thank several things. Specially all the people who follow the blog weekly.
Thanks to all the people who everyday spent his time reading my personal website. Since I created this website I’ve been receiving messages of support from people around the world. They’re glad to read a blog where they could follow the process of animation from an amateur level to an advanced level.
I’ll tell you something. Before I started Animation Mentor, I was in the same situation that many of you are, looking for references of people involved in the course, because doing this I could decide what to do with my professional future. This already happened more than a year ago. That’s why I created this website, because I wanted you to had the chance to participate in the experience I’m currently living. I hope to convince lot of creative people about the wonders of animation. For me this experience is being very hard, spending lot of effort but in return, the level of satisfaction and happiness is huge. In addition, I’ve met a lot of people with the same interests, you are the best example of that.
So I just want to say Thank you all for being there, following me, for encouraging me to go through with this experience, and to make me able to represent (for a few) a promising figure in the world of animation (I’m full of pride and enthusiasm for that) Your enthusiasm and friendship took me where I’m today.
Although there’s a lot of great stuff to learn and a long way to go. I am still a “youngster” in animation!
A big hug to everyone!
I’m very proud to announce my first interview as animator. YouAnimator get in touch with me and asked me if I would like to be interviewed as an animator with a successful future. Obviously I said YES!
Meet Albert Barba Cunill, a talented AM student from Spain with bright future. Albert is a big fan of the World Champion Spanish soccer team as well as Animation Mentor.
YOUANIMATOR: How long have you been involved with animation – and how did you originally get into it?
ALBERT: To be honest, I think that I’ve been involved since I was a child. I’ve always had artistic sensibility and I loved all related with drawings, movies and FX. I remember being a child I wanted to be technical in FX for Hollywood movies. This is not far from what I’m doing right now, my intuition was guiding me through the good path.
I completed a degree in “Electronic Art and Digital Design” in High School and in there I discovered 2D and 3D Animation. I learned with Maya software and I used it for more than 4 years, but I spent most of the time modeling with Nurbs, polygons, studying Fur, Cloth, PaintFX… I only spent 6 months learning 3D animation, and sincerely, I didn’t learned almost anything. I guess I didn’t have enough willing because It was very difficult for me and I was overwhelmed at the end.
Now I’ve discovered the animation through a different point of view. Knowing that you are able to create a character from scratch and give him to life is such a sweet feeling. Then, if this character produces laughs or tears to audience, well… then I will have achieved my goal: excite people.
Y: What do you think about the current school you attend (have attended)?
A: No doubt, for me Animation Mentor is the best animation school at the moment. The program gives you the opportunity to learn from the best professionals in the animation. And you can do it staying at home. For me it’s a unique experience and I’m making lots of friends and contacts. I hope they will serve in a near future! Anyway, I still have much to learn. I’ll finish the course in July 2011. Then I will focus on finding a good job.
Y: What would you consider the most crititcal aspect of character animation?
A: The hardest thing is to make believable what is not real. We are talking about a 3D character with no life, and bringing him to life requires a special sensitivity for observation and introspection. Small details are what really matters. The goal is to achieve a link between the audience and the character, and try they feel identified with what is happening. If finally happens, then the satisfaction is absolute. But it is very difficult to achieve it without the basics of animation. Without this base you will not get anything.
Y: what is the most difficult for you?
A: I still have much to learn, and I’m sure there are a lot of things that are very difficult and many of them I’ve still not discovered. I could tell you that the most complicated moment I had was when I was trying to animate a heavy object (external force) which was being manipulated by a character. External forces are very hard to comprehend when they interact with a character.
Y: Do you have any idols (role models)? (In animation and/or acting)
A: There are so many! But most of them I can’t remember the name. In the world of animation I would pick Chuck Jones (genious), Glen Keane, Matt Strangio (Animation Mentor student working on Pixar), Carlos Baena or Carlos Grangel (Character Designer). For me one of the best actors is Jim Carrey. His acting ability has no limits, has infinite performing choices. I just love his performance.
Y: What is your opinion of the rigs you can find on YouAnimator?
A: I still haven’t used them because Animation Mentor offers us their own characters rigs. However, in the near future I’ll download the rigs to practice.
Y: What are your dreams for the future? (can be animation related – doesn’t have to be)
A: Work as Animation Director in a feature film. I would love it, now that’s my goal, but I am a man who has many interests. Maybe in 10 years I’m working on music clips. What I do know is that I want to be creative the entire life, is the talent I have and I enjoy very much with it, so I’ll try squeeze it to the maximum.
Y: What is your ars poetica?
A: I think that if you believe in your opportunities and chances, then the reward will come to you someday. But you don’t have to wait for the 1 Million dollar call. You must believe in you, and if someday reward comes to you, this will be because you deserve it. The Passion and Love you show at your work are the keys that will open all the doors to success. And now, let’s fight for your dream!
If you want to succeed in something, you must first start with a simple idea and then, fail 10 times while trying to make it happen. It will be later when you see the light.
This is called the “Aha Moment“. And only then, you will realize that this simple idea, that was flying over your head during so much time, is much more than a good idea. Now has turned into a brilliant idea.
And the only secret in order to achieve that is enable you to… ACT. You must do it, and convince yourself this is a good idea and realize that it will be successful.
Frans Johansson is an entrepreneur and thought leader. He is also a consultant and the managing director for a hedge fund. Frans previously co-founded and managed two companies, a Boston-based software company and a medical device company operating out of Baltimore, Maryland and Stockholm, Sweden.
In this high-energy talk, Frans Johansson illustrates how relentless trial-and-error – coming up with an idea, executing it on a small scale, and then refining it – is THE distinguishing characteristic of the greatest artists, scientists, and entrepreneurs.
Bobby Beck posted this video a couple of months ago. I’m totally agree with this type of thought. The power of now, the power of love and of course the power of attraction. This kind of thinking is the one which I’m always looking for becuase it gives me power, energy, inspiration and faith for being the one who I want to be.
I posted the hole speech for you. Jim Carrey as you have never seen him before. His honest, candid, humble self discussing openly his life-long pursuit for meaning and purpose, his encounters with Awakening and his optimistic view of the emerging “New Earth”.
Recorded at the 2009 Inaugural GATE Event (Global Alliance for Transformational Entertainment)
Video was Shot and Produced by Eckhart Tolle TV. Eckhart Tolle TV is an online video network offering of transformational video content featuring Eckhart Tolle & Kim Eng.
This is for me the best inspiring speech I’ve ever heard in my life.
Please, take a seat, lean back, put your feet up and just enjoy the speech.
Keep silence… Please welcome Steve Jobs.
Note: The speech begins after minute 7.30
Artists, animators, designers, producers… anyway, all this kind of people, like us, are continuously searching for something to get inspired. I believe that enthusiasm is the turning point to achieve whatever we are looking for.
So, when enthusiasm and inspiration come together, then we have the perfect formula.
Let’s back to previous. Me, as animator and designer, I’m always thinking about which is the key to attract the audience attention. There are a lot of formulas and it also depends on social trends. So it’s pretty difficult. But there are few people who are genious and had been working on that.
J.J. Abrams, as it happens, was invited by TED to talk about something profound and interesting. He traces his love for the unseen mystery – a passion that’s evident in his films and TV shows, including Cloverfield, Lost and Alias – back to its magical beginnings.
Check out his speech. I’m sure you will get inspired immediately, I was impressed by his communication skills.
Love to watch it several times.
TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers are invited to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes — including speakers such as Jill Bolte Taylor, Sir Ken Robinson, Hans Rosling, Al Gore and Arthur Benjamin.
TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, politics and the arts.