Mars Life


Patience is a virtue

This morning, riding in on the train, I wanted to write a bit about patience. Ironically enough, I'll ask you to wait for that entry, as I finally tell you about the platypus.

First, here's a little backstory for those who haven't read all my archives (how dare you. yes you). About a year ago, I decided that there was no way I was going to be able to motivate myself to work on animation in my off hours more than by having an outside motivation, so I decided to sign up for classes and work towards a bachelor of fine arts degree. My plan was, and still is, to build up enough of a portfolio in the time I have out of the office to be able to transition out of the field of data analysis some day and into a creative field.

I'm not entirely picky when it comes to creativity either. All electronic media and forms of animation fascinate me, and I'd love getting a job creating publications, web sites, online animations, filmed animations, or anything else down that vein. Basically visual communication, but when signing up for school, I didn't want to deny my one true love of cartooning, so I went ahead and entered into the Illinois Institute of Art's media arts and animation degree program. It's great, I'm taking classes learning the artistic fundamentals I need to become an animator, meeting many people younger than me who have the drive and not the focus, and conversely, the select few who are either older, or younger but with the drive and focus.

Flash forward a year (no pun intended, for any who actually got the pun. Pettus, I'm looking at you.) and I'm trucking along in my new routine, going to classes and creating projects I never would have on my own, when one day, in the student lounge (working on one such project for 3D design), I see something intriguing. It's a sign stating "the revolution will be animated" and it has a disney-esque hand holding what appears to be a black bar with some white spots on it. It also had a date, a time, and a room number, and that was all. I decided sure, now's as good of a time to start networking as any.

Well, that first meeting in January had a bit of a low turnout. When I came to the second meeting, we had a better turnout and an instructor from the department sit in who was actually the club's advisor, Patrick Welch. He suggested we watch Anijam, and consider doing a similar collaborative project. Eventually, after a few more meetings, we settled on a group of students who would be participating in the project, and set out to collaborate.

It is quite exhilarating diving into the project, while also being the biggest newbie of the group. Funny enough, I first learned there that the black bar in the logo was a pegbar, which is a tool used in traditional animation. Most of my experience in animation has been through Macromedia's Flash, so I don't have much familiarity of the nuances of traditional drawn animation, though I'm picking them up fast. For instance, I now know what a "lunchbox" is, in industry terms. All of this ignorance is because I've yet to start my animation specific courses, though I will in April. Needless to say, I can't wait, and I'm excited I'll have a leg up when I get there.

So the actual project itself is pretty neat. All of the animators got together last Friday to draw their "last frames". Actually, before I explain that, I'll explain that each of us is producing about five to seven seconds of animation for the short, and all of these segments will be strung together sequentially to be shown at once. Now then, in order for this to actually have some sort of continuous flow, there has to be some collaboration between the animators so that once my 7 seconds end, for example, the main character doesn't jump to a total new location on the screen and style of drawing in the very next frame.

So, the first step we all did was to draw our final frames. We all drew final frames, and then when we were done, we made another copy of them and placed them in a pile. We then picked a frame from the pile that would serve as our starting frame. So now, at this point, we have a beginning of a cigar smoking platypus in some scene, and a final frame that we drew, and anything can happen in the 5 to 7 seconds between. When all is done, we will have one crazy little cartoon.

I can't wait to see it. It should be at least a month and a half or so before that happens, though. You shall be kept up to date.

Until I write about patience, More to come.


  • That's what i tried to do, though eventually the lure of all that money corrupted me, and my "day job" became my career.

    Gosh darn being able to buy what I want! You insidious beast! Argh!

    By Blogger Pluto's Dad, at 3/04/2005 11:09 AM  

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