Sunday, September 30, 2007

First Month Report

Wow, it really has been one full month since I really moved into Valencia. Certainly doesn't feel like it. Cal Arts is a pro for taking away any sense of time....the classes are so intense that time just slips by(though the classes are not overwhelming, and I'm enjoying every second of the majority of my classes.) After one month I thought I'd post a little look back kind of entry, you're more then welcome to next post will have a dorkfish so plan for that one, it's hilariously ugly in design(as I'm sure you saw) but the animation itself is pulling off the "fish feel" pretty well. My fellow classmates are VERY entertained by how thick the pile of animation paper is quickly growing(go back to the picture of the pile of animation paper I used for the roller coaster and multiply that by about three....and I'm only roughly 85% done!)

Dorm living is alright....aside from the random massive ant attack that took place about 20 minutes ago(a jar of tightly twisted shut peanut butter was the culprit.) it has been normal. Suite mates still obsessively use the shower and I'm starting to find that I'm spending more time in my cube then here in my dorm.
Classes: Going swell, I have 3 favorite classes that are hard to rank really, but if I had to:
Traditional Animation: Just keeps topping itself! I'm VERY fond of using paper and pencil now. Flash and Maya are going to be a hard adjustment whenever I animate in those programs(Flash in particular). I can officially say that I've learned the multi-paper flipping trick to test my animation without any need of a machine. Otherwise, the teacher is wonderful and every class I learn something new. I'm finding my eye and brain are switching into full animation mode---it's fantastic, no problems there. Just got to watch how much animation terminology I say during a normal family phone call(I bet you're learning a lot too, huh, Mom! :P)
Story Development: Even though I'm far from the strongest storyboarder in the class, it's still one of my favorites. The teacher is once more VERY inspiring and I'm learning so much about the boarding process! Aside from traditional animation, this one has the most entertaining homework assignments. The only downside is it's running later and later into the night(we're lucky if we get out at 11:30 now), which wouldn't be a problem if I didn't have a 9 a.m. class....uggg. In the VERY near future we're going to be presenting storyboards that are over 60 panels long(that have no connection to our actual short films, which we'll be boarding and presenting at a later time). I don't want to know how late THAT class will run! The critiques are always pack full of information and constantly show how much I have to go before I'm a little more confident in my boards.
Basic Perspective: Still a great class, get to play around with character design(for fun, the teacher doesn't actually say "design a character" or anything, I'm just practicing) and integrating a fitting environment around them. From what the upperclassmen have told me, pretty soon the teacher will hopefully bring in original backgrounds he created for various movies(primarily Disney) so I'm eager for that! Also the teacher is fun the talk to, knows a lot about the industry and is eager to share his experiences with us.
Other classes: Just grouping these together.....3D animation isn't exactly any animation right now, we're still presenting our old artwork to the class(we haven't even finished the H's, and we have to go to K!)! It's approaching 4 weeks of classes and we've touched Maya for maybe 20 minutes and I'm not going into detail over the "lecture", but it involved a lot of interpolation and NO squash or stretch---I did get to present some of my animations from last spring, which went over pretty well. The students enjoyed Batty very much...the teacher, though, called him a compilation of stale poses that he's seen before *not that I'm bothered by this comment. It was kind of the point---he's an over dramatic theater bat!* My 3D animation and caricatures were a little more warmly received by him. Anyways, after seeing my 3D demo reel piece he said we'd be animating 3D flour sacks and such, so I'm holding onto that tiny glimmer of hope. Life drawing: It's a very fun class, the teacher emphasizes exaggeration over being anatomically correct and he comes up with some creative ideas on what to integrate into our drawings(like motorcycles, giant pictures of frogs, monkeys, etc.). Story for Animators: eh...not much to say. Lot of reading homework and the book itself is full of interesting aspects, but compared to my other story class----....yeah. Contemporary Literature: I have my first paper and it involves a 3 page analysis of one of the more uncomfortable moments in the book......and I just started the new book I have to finish in 2 weeks and while it has an interesting beginning, it suddenly(where I last left off) became very uncomfortable as well......but it's critical studies so not much to say except: I'm eager to be rid of the class. It's just valuable time I could be spending animating! Computer/Animation Production: I actually enjoy this class. The teacher knows a lot, and he covers topics that still involve animation, but not computers at all. He also shows us video clips demonstrating strong visual storytelling. So this class covers a lot of bases. Plus, we're required to know just about EVERY LAST keyboard shortcut on a MAC(he's giving us weekly quizzes on the subject!). He's a firm believer that you can do just about everything with only the use of the keyboard. I've started getting the hang of some of the simpler shortcuts and they are very useful.
Classmates: I know a lot of them check this blog out so I gotta be nice(totally kidding guys.). But really, they're a fantastic lot. Always running into someone I know and everybody is eager to give insightful feedback and are great resources for making an idea fantastic. =) Plus what other group can sing "Meatloaf" at the top of their lungs to the point where I(and everybody else) can hear every last word from clear across the department. ;) haha. Always something entertaining happening in the freshmen dominated area. Plus everyone is so talented, it's always inspiring(though intimidating when looking back at my own stuff) to see what someone else has done--- awesome artwork always posted on the walls and a constant feast for the eyes. =)
Misc. area I guess: Cal Arts is starting to feel a little less dream like, and the reality is sinking in that I really DO go here. That I really get to experience a guest lecture, animate in the same building that has held many legends, and have the once in a lifetime chance to dive head first into animation----and it's very invigorating and just fantastic. I do miss home and seeing my Oregon homies on a regular basis, but I still get to keep in contact with everyone and in 74 days(yes I have a countdown, and yeah that means I was a little homesick when I initially started it) it's Winter Break. Overall, I'm far from regretting my choice in coming to Cal Arts, I really enjoy being just so immersed in the animation world and it's only the beginning! Just wait to see what kind of stories I may have by the time winter break DOES roll around, and what kind of drawings and animation I might have created! I can already tell how much I'm improving, nowadays, I'm usually found with a pencil in my hand and a lap full of eraser shavings. :P

Well one month has passed and I'm still floored that I'm here. =) Alright I'm off to bed, got a lot to do this week! Over and out...

1 comment:

Sam said...

This is all so cool! I love reading you're blog!