Monday, December 10, 2007

Perfectionism : Tips & Tricks

Most of you may not know that I've been loving/making animation since the age of 8 or 9 (in the late 80's), and at that time there was no sign of CG animation, at least not in my world! I used to make a bunch of simple flipbook animations (bouncing balls, porpoising fishes, etc.) in my drawing books (where you flip the pages with your fingers and the drawings come to life.... don't confuse this with the software FlipBook) For all these 15+ years, animation was just a pass-time for me and I wasn't serious about it and never considered it as a career option until I saw Victor Navone’s Alien Song, which inspired me so much that I immediately knew that it was the thing I wanted to do.

As a kid, I used to get amazed at my drawings coming to life! No matter how crappy my animations were, they were always enough to amaze me, and they sometimes even gave goose bumps. I used to ask myself a lot of questions… “How do these drawings work together? How come they have a sense of life? How can I make it look better? How can I breathe more life into my animations?.... and so on. I experimented a lot to find the answers to my questions.

An important thing that I've learned in these past years is to strive towards PERFECTION. Yep, perfection! As an animator we have to be a perfectionist most the time, or at least we should try to be one. It doesn’t matter if your work isn’t a perfect masterpiece… you just need to keep trying. I’ve seen a lot of newbies just trying to get into a job and ignoring perfection. “Hey! I’m a noob… I don’t care about being a perfectionist!” This is a lame excuse and I hear this one a lot. Just do something simple and try bringing perfection in your work. For example, just make a simple pose (sad, excited, devastated, bored, laughing, shocked, whatever...) and try hard to make it look and feel professional. Don't try and impress the world in just one exercise. Do 10 or 15 different exercises with the simple goal of doing them in a simple, efficient and clean way. Suppress your desire to "prove yourself" with every exercise. Instead, focus on workflow, mechanics, basics, good arcs, showing proper weight, good breakdowns, strong poses, solid timing. 90 percent of animation done professionally isn't much flashy - it just needs to be done really solid. No pops, no wobbles in the motion paths, no weak poses. Simple done well is far more valuable than fancy or 'impressive' done sloppily.

No matter what you make, look for perfection! If you don’t have the time and you have to meet your deadline… never say “Hey, I ain’t got no time for this shot and there is definitely no time for perfection.” YES, there IS time for perfection. Remember, you have to be a perfectionist no matter what. Even if you don’t have the time, you’ll simply do your best to make that scene stand out. It doesn’t matter if the output isn’t as good as you could normally have produced. At least you’ve tried your best. This is what being a perfectionist is all about!

Love what you’re doing… work hard for perfection and don’t give up that easily.

Animators are crazy people who love, dream and think animation. They love watching their drawings come to life. They are passionate about their work. They do everything to bring a sense of perfectionism in their work.

I don’t claim that I’m at all a perfectionist, but I try really, really hard to be one. And I think I'll never get there. For me, animating is just an endless journey and I'll just enjoy this journey! Heh… ;)

I believe that anyone who really wants to improve in animation and who works for it will succeed sooner or later, no matter what. Sometimes the lack of motivation can be an obstacle, and whenever you feel that you can't go on, just remember what's important: It's not the position you stand at, but the direction you look in. So, look towards perfection.




ashutosh said...

hi amrit,
thanks for taking time to write this wonderfull thing, i am among the one who knows that i need more time to be perfectionist but still trying hard for a job, i am doing the things you told me and please keep shareing this things to us.

Amrit Derhgawen said...

You're welcome, Ashutosh! :)