Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Animation Mentor

Since I seem to be pissing a couple of people off with my hatred for motion capture in feature cartoon animation, I figured I should go one step further and piss off some animators that do it by hand.

Animation Mentor. That online "school" that helps newbies and experienced animators alike get better at their craft has recently released a School Demo Reel.

They are basically showing off the work from the students. Quite a bit of this stuff is top notch. Dare I say, it is even better than some of the mentors own professional and personal work. Not to slam the guys helping the students, but I think some of them are getting embarrassingly lapped by their students. Good for them!

This of course could be a result of the student getting more time to hone their shots than the pro animators get on whatever show they are working on. And of course we know that working on some other directors vision can sometimes be stiffling. Whatever the case, it gives me hope that some of the new guys are going to be half way decent. Unfortunately, most of the other schools are turning out terrible animators/artists/TD's.


jason said...

yep, the students are doing GREAT work! and as a mentor, I can honestly say that I'm stoked that the work that some of these students are churning out is better than some work that the mentors are able to do. It means two things.. one, that there are more kick-ass animators out there to be inspired by, and two, that the mentors are able to give direction and feedback that helps the animators meet and exceed their own expectations. So not only are we training up the next round of kick-butt animators.. but we're also training the next round of animation directors.

makes me smile. :)

otherthings said...

Haha! I'm probably one of those mentors whose ass the students are kicking. You know how the saying goes: those who can't do, teach! ;-)

But seriously: when my students do things that blow my mind, I'm not embarrassed. In fact, I could not be more proud.

Bobby Beck, AM's CEO, said it really well in an interview, which I'll quote here:

When we announced Animation Mentor to the public in June of 2004 we got a lot of hesitation from people in the industry. Some people said, “you guys are going to be giving away the ‘magic’ of animation.” I know we never felt that way at all. Our thought on this was that when you give information, it helps to elevate the overall learning curve. This means that animation could get better overall much quicker and this could ultimately take the art form to new levels.

Disney’s “nine old men” from the golden age of animation are still revered as the top animators of all time. I respect this so much because they had a mastery of both art and acting on a level that we continue to strive towards today.

I feel that everyone involved in Animation Mentor is dedicated to helping the art grow by giving all the information that we have and not holding back at all. I find comfort knowing that everyone involved in Animation Mentor is driving the art forward on a level that has never been done before.

Bobby's totally right. We haven't yet reached a point in CG where any of us are at the level of the Nine Old Men. Until that time comes, we need to do all we can to bring the level up, and we ain't gonna get there by being "embarrassed" by amazing student work! We need to embrace that stuff and learn from it!

Adam Strick said...

Yes, that reel looked awesome! AM is such a great place to learn when you've got so many devoted mentors teaching. There are just so many resources inside Animation Mentor to learn animation! Keep up the great work everyone.

Anonymous said...

You guys in the states are lucky.

You have an animation union.

In the overall future of western cg animation:

I hope work does not go overseas.

I hope that people don't get slave
worked on a consistent basis.

I hope wages stay fair & equitable.