Critiques & Opinions
Often in animation we are subjected to critiques -- most likely daily. I try to impress on my students the importance of learning all the principals of animation, but temper it with a bit of realism. It's a simple fact that everyone has an opinion, and no matter how good you are or how long you've been working there is always something new to learn. So seek out criticism, or take any thrown your way. Take what everyone says... Weigh it against what you've learned up to that point, and if a particular problem, or complement keeps cropping up, there must be some truth too it.
I’m sure we've all met someone who isn't crazy about our work for one reason or another.... but that doesn't mean you can't get something from their opinion. It's kinda like learning to fight... The more you mess up, the more you learn what not to do.
Animation is an art form, and as artists we all have our own sense of aesthetics. Don't take criticism as a punch to the gut -- most likely it isn't personal. Strive to do your best work, and remember it isn't your show/game. You are providing a service. If a director wants something, and you think it’s a bad decision or a problem, make it known to your supervisor or animation director, but don't fight it. If they elect to follow your opinion great, you’re a hero for pointing it out. If not don't latch on like a pit bull, leave it at that and do the best you can given the constraints. I think that makes a good honest animator: you are showing that you recognize issues, care about your work, and confront them head on, but are still a team player.
As a student learning animation, which most of us are until the day we kick the big one, we meet lots of other people doing the same work...yet everyone seems to have their own flavor of "How to do it?" What I like to do personally, and also tell my students is, whomever is currently teaching you is who you listen too.
In other words, if you are in school do what any given teacher tells you at that time -- learn what they have to give. When you move on from them, do the same with the next teacher. "But everyone does it differently, won't it get confusing?" Ahhh ...no, what you are doing is focusing on what you have to learn...not looking down the road.
Before you know it, you will have picked up a ton of knowledge and techniques, the next step is deciding what works for you and what doesn't.
This is where each animator, like some home brew from Grannies barn, picks their ingredients and heads off into the world. The only difference in animation is as we work with new director, supervisors, and animators.... we are constantly show different ways of the force. Take that ever-growing list and give it a fair tryout and see if you can incorporate it into your working method. Maybe it speeds you up, maybe it slows you down, maybe your work jumps to that next plateau. It's a simple fact that you will grow, and improve as an animator always but it won't be a simple strait shot to the goal.
Guest blogger David Breaux