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View Full Version : Learning on my own and Utterly Lost


Romanthony
08-14-2009, 11:10 PM
I'm 19 and I'm not planning to go to college, because I don't need it to get into this industry. I've animated in all different mediums since I was 10 years old, but here and there and nothing really great looking (lacking the basic principles of animation).

Where am I supposed to start?

I have Richard William's book, 'The Animator's Survival Kit', and of course the internet, and that's basically it. Do I have to do hundreds of trite bouncing balls to start off with? Standard walk cycles? Should I use traditional pencil and paper or computer to begin with?

99% of the time lately I don't animate at all, and always want to do something else but feel guilty because I have no method to all the madness and no self confidence. It's very hard to be motivated when I'm at home all day and haven't the faintest clue about how to practically become a good animator.

I'm in need of help.

KrzysztofFus
08-14-2009, 11:38 PM
Although you do not need to go to school to get into this industry. You seem like the person who does.

If you want to be just an animator. Put down the computer and pick up a pencil. Draw walk cycles and character animation by hand.

If you have no clue on how to become an animator seriously consider going to an art school and joining an animation or computer animation department. Do Animation Mentor online.

If your lacking the basic principals then go to school. The people who do not need to go to school to get into this industry already know the steps they need to take to get there.

The only advice I can personally give is to enroll into a animation program or to read every book on animation. Study short clips of animation. And animate your heart out for the next 4 years.

stewartjones
08-15-2009, 12:21 AM
Although you think you might not need formal education in this stuff, you might, don't dismiss it by any means.

Oh, and my only advice for starting out in this stuff... Read the book you have. It covers a lot, if you can't pick up an idea of what you need to be doing then schooling might be the way to go.

danshewan
08-15-2009, 12:32 AM
I'm 19 and I'm not planning to go to college, because I don't need it to get into this industry. I've animated in all different mediums since I was 10 years old, but here and there and nothing really great looking (lacking the basic principles of animation).

Well, if your efforts aren't up to scratch by your own admission, what makes you think that a formal education wouldn't be productive? Humility can go a long way in this business.

Where am I supposed to start? I have Richard William's book, 'The Animator's Survival Kit', and of course the internet, and that's basically it. Do I have to do hundreds of trite bouncing balls to start off with? Standard walk cycles?

Bouncing balls might seem trite, but it's staggering how many people think they can do them, but really can't. Once you can accurately depict the 'feel' of a tennis, golf and medicine ball without relying so much on the size of the sphere, it won't seem so trite - it'll feel great, and rightfully so. Check out some of the Animation Mentor student blogs, and you'll see that even something as 'trite' as bouncing balls can be exciting.

99% of the time lately I don't animate at all, and always want to do something else but feel guilty because I have no method to all the madness and no self confidence. It's very hard to be motivated when I'm at home all day and haven't the faintest clue about how to practically become a good animator.

I'm in need of help.

Sounds to me like you own the Animator's Survival Kit, but you haven't really read it. If you always want to do other things than animate, are your goals realistic, or even true? If you can't enjoy the craft, then something as meticulous as animation may not be for you.

Rather than focus entirely on the chapters in the Kit, why not instead try and master the various aspects of animation simply, while you learn? Weight is probably one of the most difficult but vital aspects of successful animations. As with the varying types of ball animations, once you feel you've got a handle on weight, move on to another aspect, like anticipation...

Above all else, be realistic in your expectations and be patient with yourself. All the best.

forsakendreams
08-15-2009, 02:48 AM
Just because people say you don't need a degree to get into an industry does not mean you shouldn't go to college.

Ideally, college will open your mind and force you to grow in many aspects that are not directly related to the field you are studying. Your communication skills, reading/writing/math skills.. research skills, time management skills, even your skill at nagivating red tape will improve dramatically.

And those are all skills you are going to need in any industry, in particular negotiation/communication and time management.

The Richard Williams book is a very technical book that tackles a lot of the technical aspects of hand drawn animation. There is also story and emotion, gesture and many other aspects you need to explore.

If you want to learn hand drawn animation, you're most likely going to have to buff up your drawing skills. Life drawing, anatomy, gesture drawing, cloth drawing, drafting, perspective - in those areas you will have to be very strong.

Without much feedback from many pairs of skilled eyes and little motivation, you're not likely to get very far in your "room" all day long. Posting on random forums on the internet will unlikely give you the targeted critiques you will need to improve at a significant rate. That's what you pay a school for, whether it is a formal university or some online training like animation mentor.

Romanthony
08-15-2009, 04:23 AM
Well, if your efforts aren't up to scratch by your own admission, what makes you think that a formal education wouldn't be productive? Humility can go a long way in this business.

I would seriously consider the option of going to school (or would already be in school) if I had any money, and my family's financial situation wasn't as pitifully dire as it is.

Sounds to me like you own the Animator's Survival Kit, but you haven't really read it. If you always want to do other things than animate, are your goals realistic, or even true? If you can't enjoy the craft, then something as meticulous as animation may not be for you.

I have read about half of the book so far and have tried several exercises in it, in order that is. For me, animation is sometimes like math. I love math when I know what the heck I'm doing. I used to be very passionate about animation, and I still have lots of ideas and love for it, but I've becomes drained from all the pressure to be really good really fast, and people online confusing me about whether or not I should follow the guidelines in Richard William's book I guess. (for example, an online critic told me that walk cycles shouldn't be tried until much later on when the animator is more basically skilled, yet Richard stresses walk cycles as one of the first things to learn after bouncing balls... I guess it's obvious, weighing an anonymous internet critic with no work I've seen vs Richard Williams, but it threw me for a loop nonetheless). It's depressing not knowing how to go about it.

Above all else, be realistic in your expectations and be patient with yourself. All the best.

I guess my overly negative, overwhelmed attitude about it all is what's fading away my love for animation, even though it's the only field I can truly see myself belonging in (for years). On top of not needing school, I just plain financially can't go to school, and neither do I want to deal with debt from student loans. I wish I could just find a way to feel good about myself while I have fun messing around with animation. It can be a bit much always being either criticized or (far more often) completely ignored on the internet, meanwhile looking at the best work out there that gets all the attention.

I'll just organize my priorities and find a way.

NetMapel
08-15-2009, 04:55 AM
Learning something on your own is not for everybody. It may not be because you're not good at it or you're stupid, but simply, you don't learn easily by reading. One of the biggest advantage of going to school is to find out what your learning style is, which is different for everybody.

Don't be discouraged. You seem passionate about animation, so why not attend an online school like AnimationMentor ? It's fairly specific about animation so it doesn't have your usual university courses. It's also one of the cheapest school for animation that is decent. I would just get a student loan/line of credit since I understand you're not in the best financial situation.

KrzysztofFus
08-15-2009, 05:45 AM
I would seriously consider the option of going to school (or would already be in school) if I had any money, and my family's financial situation wasn't as pitifully dire as it is.


Do not just throw out the possibilities of college just because of your financial situation.
The less money you have. The more financial Aid you have. My school costs 35K a year and my freshman year I needed to pay that in full. But now my financial situation drastically changed and because of my grades and situation I was awarded over 15K in scholarship and a good 10K in federal loans. The rest? I told them I couldn't come up with the rest so they just took that off my bill.

What this all means is. Even though schools expensive, there are loans and lots of financial aid. If you work hard your school will see it and most likely will award you scholarship down the road.

Maybe go to community college and take art classes.

Rebeccak
08-15-2009, 07:09 AM
I'm 19 and I'm not planning to go to college, because I don't need it to get into this industry. I've animated in all different mediums since I was 10 years old, but here and there and nothing really great looking (lacking the basic principles of animation).

Where am I supposed to start?

99% of the time lately I don't animate at all, and always want to do something else but feel guilty because I have no method to all the madness and no self confidence. It's very hard to be motivated when I'm at home all day and haven't the faintest clue about how to practically become a good animator.

I'm in need of help.The purpose of school / college is to force you to do things you might not otherwise do on your own. If you are finding that you are lacking direction and motivation, then I would advise that you look into animation programs. One cannot possibly get into the 'industry' without having a solid grounding behind them. Some folks are able to self start and do everything on their own. I find them generally to be in the minority. For the merely human amongst us, most of us need a structure in order to learn. ;) I'm the kind of person who learns best in a structured environment. If you are finding yourself to be in the same camp, then perhaps you *do* need school after all. There's hardly any shame in that.

Romanthony
08-15-2009, 07:55 AM
Yeah, I do best in a structured environment, of that I'm definitely sure. I've always wanted to try Animation Mentor, but are they super expensive?

danshewan
08-15-2009, 10:30 AM
I've always wanted to try Animation Mentor, but are they super expensive?

Not compared to some other schools claiming to offer 'animation' programs, and definitely not when you consider the talent you'd be learning from. Based on what you've said, I'd seriously consider applying - not only would you be learning from the best in the business, but it would give you the structure that you seem to need.

Whatever you decide, try not to let circumstances wear you down. I worked as a telemarketer for years, trying to work on my portfolio when I got home. Between long hours, a brutal commute, poor pay and somehow trying to squeeze a relationship with my wife in there somewhere, it just wasn't happening and I felt very similar to how you feel now. About a year ago, I had an epiphany about where I was at, and decided to really pursue a career in the games industry as an environment artist, and now I'm about to go get my Bachelor's Degree in September. Best decision I ever made, and it feels great to be working towards my goal.

It can be a real bitch to stay motivated and work hard, but if you stick with it, it could really pay off. Whatever you decide to do, I hope it works out for you.

forsakendreams
08-15-2009, 08:47 PM
animationmentor's current cost is around $17-18K for the 1.5 yr program:
http://www.animationmentor.com/school/tuition.html

You can take it from home, so no need to increase your cost of living. The drawback is that you may not be skilled enough in breadth to easily advance into more encompassing supervisory roles if you so desire, say 10-15 years in the future. But probably a good option to get your foot quickly in the door

Romanthony
08-16-2009, 06:19 AM
Well, so far Animation Mentor seems very good, and I got my mom on board for it as well. We looked at this a few years ago and thought it would be impossible, but now it seems to be very possible.

Even if there is that drawback like you mention, this is probably the best springboard there is, and I can still continue to advance myself afterwards.

Thanks for the support, you guys.

Revalis
08-19-2009, 02:25 PM
Also, there is something else to keep in mind about school, outside of what you learn as a discipline. I scanned through most of what everyone was saying and didn't see this brought up, but it is specifically why I am looking at going BACK to school, despite feeling like I didn't learn a thing where I went.

But at most places, salaries are dependent on what level of degree you have. My portfolio got me in to where I work now, but I know if I were to go back to school and get a BA, I'd get an automatic raise just for having the piece of paper.

Seems weird, but its definately something to keep in mind. When studios are reviewing resumes, a college degree (despite where it comes from) is going to look more appealing than none.

My 2 cents. ;) Good luck!

leigh
08-19-2009, 02:28 PM
But at most places, salaries are dependent on what level of degree you have. My portfolio got me in to where I work now, but I know if I were to go back to school and get a BA, I'd get an automatic raise just for having the piece of paper.

Seems weird, but its definately something to keep in mind. When studios are reviewing resumes, a college degree (despite where it comes from) is going to look more appealing than none.


Not true, not true, not true, not true. Sorry to pick on your post but I am so tired of these bits of misinformation still popping up around here. Perhaps it applies in more corporate sectors of the creative industry at large, but when you claim that "most places" do this, you're making a claim for the entire industry and it's simply false. In the entertainment industry, for example, a piece of paper next to your name is not going to automatically get you more money at 99% of studios out there. This is a fact.

Revalis
08-19-2009, 02:43 PM
Not true, not true, not true, not true. Sorry to pick on your post but I am so tired of these bits of misinformation still popping up around here. Perhaps it applies in more corporate sectors of the creative industry at large, but when you claim that "most places" do this, you're making a claim for the entire industry and it's simply false. In the entertainment industry, for example, a piece of paper next to your name is not going to automatically get you more money at 99% of studios out there. This is a fact.

Well, now, that's interesting!
And so, I stand corrected. =P

I guess, technically, I've never worked outside of the 'corporate' industry. Seemed like that's all I ever hear, though.

Thanks for the clarification! ;)

leigh
08-19-2009, 03:02 PM
I aim to please :D

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