Frameboxx: Character Animation Specialization
After being frustrated by not being able to find the right career path and trying and failing multiple times to do something in the animation industry back in Pune, India, I learned about this awesome course in Frameboxx called Character Animation Specialization. The main selling point for me and my good friend Rahul was that the trainer was one of the trainers at Animation Mentor.
"Animation Mentor!? Are you serious? We have to use this opportunity!", I said to Rahul and he agreed. Since I could afford the fees for Animation Mentor directly, this was the next best thing. We would get the knowledge and the know-how of how we can create those amazing slick animations and I would hopefully fulfill my dream of working at Dreamworks or Pixar!
Amazed and giddy, we went to the institute and they said it was true! He was a trainer from Animation Mentor. Damn! How did we get so lucky? This is the opportunity we'd be waiting for.
Excited, I come back home and beg my parents for the nth time for this new learning opportunity. "Yes, I messed up in college and dropped out and couldn't become an Engineer but mom! This is my true calling and this guy is a trainer from Animation Mentor!!!........." I went on and on and on.
My mom has always had faith in me. She sold the last bit of jewelry she had to pay for this course. It made me feel really guilty but super serious about the course. This is what was gonna bring in the big bucks. So it is okay for us to make an initial investment. Ramit says this about his parents and it is true with mine too. If we don't have the money, they will do whatever it takes to make it available.
Me: Bro, I am betting everything one this course, man. We've gotta do this seriously! We know for sure that this guy is the trainer from Animation Mentor, right?
Rahul: Yeah, dude. That's what the institute and the people there told us. We even asked the trainer and he said yes!
Me: Yeah, man. I am super scared. Alright, let's do this!
Rahul: Let's do this!
We started off with the basic poses:
Which then converted into poses on the 3D model:
We then learned the basics of animation by learning to animate a bouncing ball. It was tougher than we thought:
Which, after a lot of iterations became this:
Then we worked on an assignment focusing on Carrom Board. Details and animation below:
Which then was made into this:
Then we focused on follow-through - imagine an animated tail of a chipmunk in any cartoon you ever saw. I really loved this exercise and below was my thought process behind it:
It was super amateur level work but I was really happy with the results I got and everyone in class seemed to love my idea :)
We also worked on a 360 degree turn. Thought process > Record Yourself> Obeseve and learn > Animate!
It was time we started learning about the walk cycle. Things were getting serious now and tougher, way tougher.
We first recorded ourselves from the front and the side:
And then made a 2d animated version of it in Flash.
This was a super tough one! I remeber going through a lot of anxiety while making this. I am not happy with the below animation and let's assume that the below character is listening to loud music while walking (hence the crazy head swings). :)
We then learned to animate facial expressions. And the below multi-character shot:
Same deal: record ourselves first, observe, learn and then animate it.
We had so much fun doing this =)
Oh, I almost forgot. We had a follow-up bouncing ball exercise which I am super proud of. This is the first time I really put in the time and worked really hard at making this animation and it turned out how I wanted it to.
And this is the final demo reel:
Given what was at stake, our "mentor" was a hard personality to deal with. He was biased towards other students and didn't communicate well. I and Rahul were super serious about Character Animation and wanted to make the best of this experience.
In retrospect, I feel like the teacher did a decent job at teaching me what Character Animation is all about. I thought I was serious but didn't fully understand how serious one needs to be and the hard work and the reps involved in creating something truly amazing. Since he didn't see those reps, he never really initiated further to teach us more. It was a bad recipe and a bad exchange of knowledge and energy.
If I come across him in the future I will apologize for being a bad student.
But, with that said, my biggest pet peeve is dishonesty. We later found out that he was just an Animation Mentor graduate and not an official teacher. This depressed me a lot. I put the last bit of savings in something which was based on a lie and with a person who was a really bad coach.
I lost all interest in him and what he had to say but I take full responsibility for not doing the work required regardless of the situation. He did share awesome knowledge with us and I should have worked harder.
Rahul, had relevant experience in the field so, in a few months, he got hired as an animator.
I was fresh. I was applying to every job out there. I never got hired.
I started working at a call center again.