Summer is here, and while that’s usually the time the creative industry slows down and takes a breather, we here at ADC intend to keep things moving — literally. Introducing Motion & Animation Month, where we will be featuring the small but mighty section of our community that brings art to life on projects from the serene to the bombastic. Whether they’re professionals, students or just keen amateurs, they’re all card-carrying ADC Members.
We’re kicking off the week with an ADC Member who is near and dear to our hearts — she volunteered her talents to one of our favorite initiatives!
Where did your interest in motion and animation begin? How did it grow into something you could see yourself doing professionally?
My interest in animation began as a child watching cartoons and movies where special effects were featured. The 1980s version of Clash of the Titans damn near blew my tiny little mind. I always wondered how it was all done. So cool!!
I started out studying Graphic Design and went on to learn Website design. Back then (yep… I’m old) Flash was being used for animation a lot and I got really into it. With my teacher’s encouragement, I began to really get into animation through it. Once I started working on my Bachelor’s Degree at the School of Visual Arts and saw Jeffrey Metzner (back then) and the work that was being done in his Motion Graphics class, I knew this was what I had to do. It combined my passion for Graphics and Animation. I was in love. I graduated in 2006 and have been working as a Motion Graphics Designer/Animator since.
How much of your ability is self-taught versus through schooling?
I’d say halfsies. I guess most of it is self taught but mostly because after school is done, there’s a lot of software to be learned as it is constantly updating and changing. There are a lot of tutorials to follow and a lot of work to be done on my own time to figure out the best techniques and my preferences for working with the software as a tool. It is essential to keep up with the updates as things change pretty dramatically even from one version of the software to the next. There’s also online schooling and continuing education classes that are a must for our process. To sum up, half of it is school, online school and continuing ed and the rest is practicing myself with the software. A lot.
How would you best describe your style? How did you foster that style?
I’d say colorful. I love to play with color and textures. As to how to best foster it, I’ve found out that drawing by hand in a sketchbook is essential. I know we have heard this over and over and that maybe some may roll their eyes at this but I really found out it is essential to my process to work things out. I am not doing one still frame. I’m moving at 29.97/fps. I need to wrap my head around the movement, transitions and whatnot. And a lot of time, I’ll take what I’ve drawn and bring it in for texture as well.
Tools of the trade: what items make your job a million times better? Types of pads, pens, tablets, programs etc.
Adobe Evvvvvverything! It rules the world of design. And Cinema 4D. Cannot live without a tablet because I absolutely cannot draw with a mouse. After Effects is the god I light candles to and Photoshop is probably the second deity in my holy trinity. The third is Cinema 4D, which I’m still learning. Lots to learn.
“Being a female designer/animator in this field, I often find myself walking into mostly or all-male studios. It was the same with school. For my 3D class, I walked in and there were 12 guys and only 1 other other female in my class.”
Which project are you most proud of and why?
The Let’s make the Industry 50/50 Initiative. Although I didn’t design the type (Lauren Hom did), it was lots of fun to play with it and challenging to figure out how to go from one card to the next. It was also for a very good initiative that I really feel close to. Being a female designer/animator in this field, I often find myself walking into mostly or all-male studios. I was the same with school. For my 3D class, I walked in and there were 12 guys and only 1 other other female in my class. Suddenly, top-heavy female bodies in 3D made sense. (laughs) In Motion Graphics and Animation, there are very few of us and I’m happy to be one of them and to have participated in bringing awareness to the initiative.
What’s the most challenging part of your career?
The long hours and the due yesterday deadlines. I wish sometimes there was more time to have fun with the projects. I feel that the animation part of the project always gets rushed through. I wished there was just more time to have fun with the animation but I’d say 80% of the project time goes into the design and the animators have to then stay until 2 am working as a result. Animation takes time. A lot of time. We don’t just press a button and boom. done. Animation does not work like that at all. I wished that this was taken into account more often. But for some reason, it never is. As it is one of the last parts of the project, it gets pushed and rushed. I feel that giving time to animate and render (which can take very long depending on the project and equipment) should be given much more time than it’s usually allowed for. I’ve heard many a time of animators sleeping at the studio while babysitting a render that’s due the next day.
“Animation takes time. A lot of time. We don’t just press a button and boom. done. Animation does not work like that at all. I wished that this was taken into account more often. But for some reason, it never is.”
How would you describe what you do to someone who has nothing to do with creativity?
Ha! It’s hard! “What is 2D animation?? huh?? Didn’t even know that existed!” I usually have to show them samples of what I do. That’s the best way for them to understand and then they usually say that they didn’t know that was an actual job. A visual works best.
Where do you go to find inspiration and motivation?
I have my own inspiration blog I keep because I got tired of looking through folders and folders and folders on my computer when I was looking for inspiration (it’s in here somewhere! I know it!!! That thing I saw with the color and the thing! What folder…???) I can tag things on my blog instead and if I’m looking for something specific, I can find it easier. I look through motion, art and design blogs. I feel that art blogs are a must. They take my head out of the design box and inspire me to do something beautiful or more unique.
Which professionals in your field do you most admire? What is it about their work that moves you?
Psyop. I absolutely adore their work. Just go to their site and watch your jaw hit the floor by the time you are thru watching their projects. What moves me and inspire me about them is the wide variety of projects they take on and their ability to move so seamlessly from one moment to the next. I sometimes openly weep watching their work. Not ashamed to say it.
At the end of the day, what do you love most about motion and animation?
I get to make stuff move!!! Seriously. I can no longer design just one still. I have to make it move. And if I’m designing something still, it also has to have movement to it. I just absolutely do it for the love of making something move. It’s always such a “oooooh-aaaahhhh” moment no matter what is moving on the screen, it’ll make people stop everything they’re doing and stare. There’s always a sense of wonderment in the faces of people when they see things move or see someone in a background that wasn’t there at all. I love that I get to do that for a living.