Of course, we don't like to use the term "bad" in reference to animators, though we can all point to badly animated shots. Animation is both a technical and an artistic endeavor, and there are plenty of opportunities to fail in both those areas. The technical stuff is more academic and is based on real physics, and is therefore more easily taught and learned.
I'm relatively confident that you can teach anyone to animate basic physics, assuming they have the will to learn and at least an average intelligence. More complex body mechanics will take a stronger, more analytical mind and good observational skills. Acting and design are much more subjective, and they form the great divide. The artistic side of animation is much harder to teach, because it can be hard to quantify. We know what we like, but how do we arrive there? Where does training end and talent begin? I don't think that everyone has the capacity to be a great animator. You can teach people about design principles, acting theory, storytelling conventions and staging, and they will improve to a degree, but there comes a point where a certain amount of natural ability is required. You have to have good acting instincts, you have to have a natural sense of timing, and you have to know how to entertain and audience.
I think "good" animators have an innate knack for performance and creating appealing poses and actions. A "bad" animator either hasn't learned enough to reach his or her potential yet, or just doesn't have that natural talent to rise above mediocrity.
Guest Blogger Victor Navone