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So you want to be an Animator? Here's what to expect.

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Brilliant advice, Ken, and I agree 100%. Anyone who's spent any time doing this has probably run into this issue at least once - I have - and it's a hard lesson to learn on your own.

So Ken, did something happen recently? My web crawler has not picked up anything.

So Ken, did something happen recently? My web crawler has not picked up anything.

Nothing to me personally recently, but there was the CORE closure in Toronto so the post is relevant as a nod to that.

"We all grow older, we do not have to grow up"--Archie Goodwin ( 1937-1998)

Is there an age past which animation companies will not hire someone new to the field?

Is there an age past which animation companies will not hire someone new to the field?

I'd say no, because age means nothing. Ability is everything.
If an artist can produce work at a professional-level--at a level the studio needs-- then their age doesn't matter.

I have had students of mine, who graduated in their 50's go on to be hired at animation studios and they were new to the field.

"We all grow older, we do not have to grow up"--Archie Goodwin ( 1937-1998)

Cool. Thanks.

I'd say no, because age means nothing. Ability is everything.
If an artist can produce work at a professional-level--at a level the studio needs-- then their age doesn't matter.

I have had students of mine, who graduated in their 50's go on to be hired at animation studios and they were new to the field.

I seen and read many of your posts and they have helped me alot. Thnx for your unintentional help lol

Dear Ken,

I own an animation studio in India.
I really love the way you explained how things work in animation job. I've done few animation courses and did few jobs also. Later i started my own studio www.showboatentertainment.com .i wanna be honest here it's a non stable thing specially for ppl who r seeking career in job. You have to be reAally good in skills . I have 2 animators i can't run my studio without them but i've fired lot more whenever i got a better replacement. Bussiness sucks when i do this but this is life we have to do it.

Kindly let me know if we all together can do something to make it a better stream. I'll try my best to support you.Please suggest smthing, i really wanna do something about animators i got emotional attachment cos i was this few years back now cos of money i turned something else but somewhere in my heart i still have glimpse of those days when we were so happy about when we just found a small plugin and now we have everything but happiness is gone.

hi ken can yu plz suggest me good institutes for animation.....
i'm really very confused abt it.....
can i find a good future in dis field??????
plz do suggest me......

hi ken can yu plz suggest me good institutes for animation.....
i'm really very confused abt it.....
can i find a good future in dis field??????
plz do suggest me......

My guess is that Ken does not have a lot of knowledge about schools in India. You should check the main page of AWN, there is a school listing there.

My guess is that Ken does not have a lot of knowledge about schools in India. You should check the main page of AWN, there is a school listing there.

That would be a good guess. :rolleyes:

"We all grow older, we do not have to grow up"--Archie Goodwin ( 1937-1998)

I don't know if this is just me or if this is for everybody who animates. I call it Animator eyes.
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I know the 2D animation but does not Maya does it matters for me making a career in animation ?
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I know the 2D animation but does not Maya does it matters for me making a career in animation ?
_______________________________________________
UPVC Doors
UPVC Front Doors

You need to rewrite this post, it does not make any sense.

You need to rewrite this post, it does not make any sense.

Language is not his first English, eh?

"We all grow older, we do not have to grow up"--Archie Goodwin ( 1937-1998)

jobs in animation field

hi am a B.Tech degree holder in IT. i've completed my diploma in 2d and 3d animation.I'm skilled in Adobe Photoshop, Macromedia Flash and 3ds Max. How can i apply for the jobs in cartoon network or walt disney pictures?? is my qualification enough to get a job in animation field? plz help!!

I think if you want to study 3D animation, you'd better learn some knowledge by yourself, and then you should go to a trainning center for it! There is only my advice, hope to help you!

Althrough i'm not a 3D animator, i have some friends are 3D or 2D animators teachers, they told me that they learn more knowledge form trainning center when they graduated from the university! Come on, i think you will be a good animator!

the skill displayed from your animation examples will get you hired. an animator isnt an accountant. were all you need is a degree. its like being an actor your skill will get you hired

Some advice:

After looking over samples of young artists work over the past several week--on sites like Deviantart etc.--I've noticed several consistent bad habits alot of people have.

Lack of life drawing skills: this is a fundamental problem. Its not so much that many younger artists don't draw from still-life or live subjects, but more that they lack traditional drawing skills such as being able to depict a solid form.
A lot of the stuff I see are just lines, with no sophistication to them, and little to no knowledge of structure or volumes. To my mind, this is one of the key landmark traits that distinguish professional drawing from amateur.

Perspective drawing : This one is funny, because its very clear that it terrifies the living piss out of most artists--and to their detriment.
Perspective is NOT hard--but mastering it takes focus.
But most young artists avoid perspective, and instead focus on what they DON'T NEED TO--which is more figure drawing.

Frankly, those talents that want to step ahead of the pack realize that perspective drawing is one of the key assets to have. It expands the range of things that talent can draw, expands their utility in the industry, and increases their confidence.
And........I'll say with a touch of callousness........its one of those thinngs that separates the "wheat from the chaff"--it pushes aside the amateurs and allows the pros to step forward.
Related to that seems to be mechanicals...props. Drawing machinery is also a classic weakness. Yes, it takes time, is often complex......but, again, its an asset to have.

Related to these two things is the aspect of fear. I have written/talked before about the trap of niche talents--that is talents that can only do one or two things, and who are terrified..literally paralysed when it comes to doing stuff outside of their niche.
Fear kills talent. It puts it in a box, and seals the lid. It inhibits growth.
To my mind, a talent needs to carry a streak of fearlessness about drawing.
Now fearlessness is really just being able to problem solve.......or more specifically a mindset that with a few simple methods that ANY drawing problem can be solved.
Combined with a willingness to tackle new things, to deal with them head-on, analyse them, overcome them and then adapt and extrapolate them then an artist can expand their skill set.
The biggest hurdle is mental--getting one's frame of mind to the place where you can ask the right questions and break down an image into components that you can address a bit at a time.
The biggest ingredient of fear is overwhelm--looking at something as simply too daunting and impossible so that the mind just shuts down.
Hey, its JUST a drawing, right?

One of the ways to realize this is to focus on basic traditions over things like surface gloss. A LOT of young artists get caught up in the finish of the images they see--they think that colours, rendering and technical effects amounts to a "good piece of art".
But that is their lack of sophistication showing, and a measure of their impatience. There's a time and place for those things, but only after the foundations are laid.......the solid under-drawing, the appeal, design composition, structure, perspective etc of the image is place down.
Often its the case that the art these folks admire has those things in place already, which is why the art tends to be so appealing.

Based on my experience, for those seeking to step up to professional work, there's no other way to go about it.

"We all grow older, we do not have to grow up"--Archie Goodwin ( 1937-1998)

Ken this is a site that is use for inspiration over at the "11 second club".
http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=870

Everyone should look at this for inspiration and keep drawing.

Couple of quesionts for the self studied artists out there.

In your opinion, when studying the fundamentals (mainly perspective, composition, and figure drawing), do you feel it is best to focus on multiple subjects concurently over the long term or delve deep into one subject at a time?

I feel like sometime I am not being disciplined enough with time. e.g. whenever something I draw doesn't look quite right, I'd taking a long time to correct it until it does (which I do find gratifying), but I often end up wondering afterward if my time could've been better spent if I had just moved on.

My questions aside, if anyone can spare advice on self studying in general, mistakes you've made, things you would do differently if you had to do it again, habits you found to be especially helpful or just random bits of rant on when you did your self study, it'd be appreciated.

I'm all ears.

Couple of quesionts for the self studied artists out there.

In your opinion, when studying the fundamentals (mainly perspective, composition, and figure drawing), do you feel it is best to focus on multiple subjects concurently over the long term or delve deep into one subject at a time?

I feel like sometime I am not being disciplined enough with time. e.g. whenever something I draw doesn't look quite right, I'd taking a long time to correct it until it does (which I do find gratifying), but I often end up wondering afterward if my time could've been better spent if I had just moved on.

My questions aside, if anyone can spare advice on self studying in general, mistakes you've made, things you would do differently if you had to do it again, habits you found to be especially helpful or just random bits of rant on when you did your self study, it'd be appreciated.

I'm all ears.

If you are learning, you are doing it right. It doesn't matter how long it takes.
The aim here is to cement the lessons/studies at a essentially neurological level. The more intense focus you apply to doing, correcting and re-doing the strong the connection will be made and the deeper the lesson will take.
How you do this is up to you, and the speed of it is whatever speed you best process info at.

General info: Best advice I can offer is to not get locked up in lesson plans that other people insist upon. A lot of so-called art instruction has some very bizarre arbitrary "rules" that end up being just bullshit. Be sensitive to what works best for you.

I offer this: a lot of advice suggest you focus on just one thing until mastery. They say "draw only hands" until you master hands.
Yawn.............what "fun".
Seriously, if you draw nothing but hands, how much fun is that? It goes against the grain of what you are inclined to draw, and it stymies your creativity into just straight "mechanical" output. Most folks will draw some hands, realize they suck at it, or hate and and then hide the stuff and then a while later go back to doing what they enjoyed drawing in the first place.

So..........why not take the heed from that?
Draw what you enjoy.......no matter what it is. Keep doing that so you create, for you, a successful drawing.
Then take that drawing, and add something that you are weak at.......say a bit of perspective background. Nothing elaborate at first, just something simple to see if you can pull it off successfully.
The psychology working here is that you already have a element of the drawing that you like doing, that you are confident at pulling off successfully and that will "make the drawing" even if the additions look awful. This keeps you drawing what you enjoy, and gets you ADDING to that skill.
Add to what you know, do not replace what you know. Drawing JUST hands is replacing what you usually draw.......but drawing a character you like and adding a trickier hand pose is ADDING to that already successful drawing. Its a method that should keep you drawing AND keep you learning.

"We all grow older, we do not have to grow up"--Archie Goodwin ( 1937-1998)

Hello from on North

I'm new to the boards here, I was inspired to join by a post I saw by Ken Davis and have already sent him a message, or four, on his visitors page. Cynical or not, he has much more knowledge and experience than I do, who am I to judge what he thinks and feels, but grasp the wisdom he shares.
As for me, is art fun? Not particularly, it has its moments. The envisioning in my head, hearing the characters, devising the insanity of a thousand plots, grand heroes, despicable villains, that is fun. The pencil to paper, however, rarely garners such fun.
I've only been animating for two years, still a college student. I notice that Ken strongly recommends to 'draw what you like to draw.' Good solid advice, though in truth I've never really followed that. What I like to draw is what I cannot draw, so instead, I stick to what I can. I currently use mostly premade characters, with some exception, for animation and for comics, such as Toad, Mario, Link, etc. I'm currently doing a comic on my Deviantart, 3 times a week, just to keep a schedule and to help build consistency, while learning to draw many different characters and backgrounds: http://the-cloaked-one.deviantart.com/art/Snark-Comics-201250750
I've also made a handful of videos, but nothing particularly stellar or noteworthy, just more practice.
I imagine that attaching a dollar value to artwork has immense impact, especially when you depend on that dollar value, or if you feel your art is worth more/less than said value. Whether or not doing something fun is your attitude to it. The necessity of turning drawings into dollars can be quite a dampener from so many factors, especially the volume of artwork that needs to be turned over every week.
At least I need not concern myself with that dilemma at this time. I'm just a college student. All artwork and animations I will make this year will be practice or tributes to artists I look up to and I won't except a shiny penny for any of it even if offered. I'm not looking for money here, I'm looking to improve my talent and to tell stories. Until I can tell stories using my own characters, stories worth listening to, art that is not an eyesore, then I will look for a profit. Until then, I've got three more years of college, and then a fun job flipping burgers or mopping floors or moving furniture...
That was a fun introduction, a bit lengthy though. I'll save my questions for my next post or else this one will never end. XD

I have to say that I cannot respond to visitor messages on my profile page, mostly because I have not figured out how to. If anyone really needs to ask me something privately, then send me a private message, where I shoild be able to respond. Not that I'll guarantee a response either...at least not always right away.

TheLonePasserby--

You want some opinionated advice? Don't saddle yourself with "rules" about money or art.
If you want a REAL challenge to grow, put yourself into a position where you DO accept money to do artwork, and then have to deliver on said work to the demands of the client. Its not a dampener, its a sure-fire way to put yourself on the hot seat and compel you to perform, with the end result being some personal development in both things like time-management and the craft of making the art itself.
If you can get bucks for doing a drawing, take 'em.

In many respects the only way to grow or succeed in this is by failing a lot of times ( Remember Thomas Edison and his story) and maintaining persistence throughout.

See, I think the mistake people make is that I'm cynical.
I disagree.
I would consider myself to be realistic, perhaps pragmatic.
I could easily tell any and all that animation is a fantastic career choice, full of glamour and glorious satisfaction and success.
But that would be a heap of bullshit.

I don't do that for a good reason: that being that if someone REALLY wants to do this sort of thing, then they will do it--but they should also know and be forewarned of the things that can dissuade them from doing it. Better to know and understand that stuff CAN happen ( not, WILL happen, but that it can happen) and that going into this with some wary eyes is healthy.
When I started out, I did not have the benefit of that kind of insight.
I learned the painful/sobering lessons as I went along.
Its never made sense to me why anyone else should have the same learning curve in that respect.

It wasn't all pain though--there's loads of good times and good memories in there too--hundreds of colleagues and students and the mutual respect and admiration thereof.
Take a bit of a "tone" with my writings for a deliberate reason too.....I don't want people to do this sort of stuff.

That is to say, if they are NOT meant for this kind of work, then I will put up the first obstacle they will encounter ( and easiest to overcome) because if my words make someone think twice about this career choice, then they are certainly NOT meant for this craft or business.
I'm a "threshold guardian" in that respect, because the biz doesn't need, want or even have room for poseurs and wannabes.
It needs people with talent, and if they have it, there's LOADS of people out there ready to help them develop it. And if they don't have talent then.....frankly, it'd be better if they go away.
That's not being snarky, that's just the nature of the craft.

This thread is where the questions get asked, but mind this.....the questions are meaningless if there's no action, or growth.
Perhaps this is a good time to reiterate that asking a better question will gain a better, more useful answer.
Much of the material expressed here, by myself and many others is vague in nature.

It has to be, because unless one of us is sitting beside the other, we cannot see the work directly or physically point out how to improve upon it. And really, I'm not interested in coaching to such a minutiae level--I just don't have time.
That is why the "advice" is to work at your stuff until you come about "1/2 way" ( which is really about 95% of the way there) and then you'll find that people are able to help you the rest of the way.
That too, is the nature of the craft: the ones closest to being able to do it will receive the most help in being able to do it.
Someone who has a long way to go.......well, it just takes too much time and effort to develop them, and with no guarantee they'll have the legs to survive anyway.

But do the craft any way you can; shamelessly, fearlessly, purposefully.

"We all grow older, we do not have to grow up"--Archie Goodwin ( 1937-1998)

Thank you for being so prompt

I apologize, the website layout threw me off and it wasn't until later that I discovered the pm button.
I was reading through some of the threads and I thought you mentioned other people calling you cynical, but I am unable to cite that, so um, apology. You tell it as it is, how you see it, and that's how it is.
I like to challenge myself as much as possible. I don't have too many rules when it comes to art, but I have 2 I am sticking to for the time being.
1. If I wouldn't pay a dime for the picture I drew, I won't take a dime from anyone else. Artists are picky and know all the flaws of their own work, but I'm going to keep at this until I am on par with other artists I look up to. This will easily be another year or more. I don't need to be amazing like the works of Echiro Oda or Miyazaki, but at a passable level, a bit better than South Park and the Simpsons.
2. Tribute work, which, for now, includes parodies is any work where I use characters I do not own. I consider such works as my way of saying 'thank you for your hard work' to the original creators of the characters and also as an opportunity to continue practicing. My brother has remarked multiple times that parodies can be sold, perfectly legal, but it just doesn't seem to sit right with me.
I'm working on honing my questions to more specifics so I can learn best.
I mentioned I was watching animation videos on youtube, there's not an incredible amount of them. In this series of videos on youtube, this one in particular, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXAWj...eature=related they talk about the use of time tables with little to no explanation of how they are actually used. They show the time tables, I am wondering if you have used those or something similar, and if so, how do the tables work. When the Keyframer gets the table, does he envision how long a clip of animation is going to be, or does the director dictate how long a particular clip, such as a character simply turning around?

Second, I was wondering about the voice track being written down on an exposure sheet phonetically, could you direct me to an example to better understand? I write out the scripts for my videos, but there's different dialects and ways of pronouncing each word that it would be hard to know how long the dialogue would last until I got the audio track. The reason I am asking this question is because if I decided I wanted to make a 20 minute episode, how do I know how much dialogue to put in during the planning stage so I don't end up 4 minutes over or 3 minutes under?

Here's a reposting of some of my previous work: http://the-cloaked-one.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d3427kd - one of my oldest works, the characters tend not to move much if at all.
http://the-cloaked-one.deviantart.co...ery/#/d34274h- a few clips from aniamtions I am working on.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AA2mq...el_video_title - a simple animation of stick figures, the first time where I really got any characters moving. None of these are Earth shattering by any means, but serve as a gauge of about where I am.

Second, I was wondering about the voice track being written down on an exposure sheet phonetically, could you direct me to an example to better understand? I write out the scripts for my videos, but there's different dialects and ways of pronouncing each word that it would be hard to know how long the dialogue would last until I got the audio track. The reason I am asking this question is because if I decided I wanted to make a 20 minute episode, how do I know how much dialogue to put in during the planning stage so I don't end up 4 minutes over or 3 minutes under?

http://archives.frederatorblogs.com/yaki_and_yumi/files/2008/04/x-sheet.jpg

That's an example of the the dope sheet with lip synch worked out on it.

As for how much dialogue to put in...........well, if you have 20 minutes of dialogue, you obviously have too much, because then every second of the film will have chatter. The rule of thumb is that the more action you have, the less dialogue--the reasonable proportion is probably 2/3rds to 3/4rs of the length of the episode.
The sure-fire way to figure out the time of action AND dialogue is to time it out with a stopwatch.
Literally act out the dialogue and the acting business in the episode to get an idea of the running time that you'll end up with. Including lingering camera shots, camera moves, scene transitions and stuff, with an approximate timing for them.
Best way to do all that is to storyboard out what you have in mind, slug it ( assign a preliminary timing and then shoot an animatic--and see how it plays.

There are books and articles on how to go about with all of this too.

"We all grow older, we do not have to grow up"--Archie Goodwin ( 1937-1998)

Thanks

I'll have to see if I can look up more information on the picture you linked me to. If someone handed me that, I would not begin to know how to use it for animation until I better understood the layout of the page. Is the 1-15 in the columns individual frames, or is the animator being given a just a rough idea of what to animate? Nah, I won't bug you on this one, I can do the research.

An all dialogue episode would be very long winded and obnoxious. Usually I do all the action scenes first. I'll have all the dialogue scripted out too, but I just have never been good at looking at the script and going "Hey bro, the video will go from 4 minutes to about 7 minutes in length once I plug in the talking." I'm usually a minute or two off. This hasn't caused any problems yet, just irks me. I was hoping there was a developed method the professionals used in gauging dialogue, but reading it out and timing it will definitely work. XD

An all dialogue episode would be very long winded and obnoxious. Usually I do all the action scenes first. I'll have all the dialogue scripted out too, but I just have never been good at looking at the script and going "Hey bro, the video will go from 4 minutes to about 7 minutes in length once I plug in the talking." I'm usually a minute or two off. This hasn't caused any problems yet, just irks me. I was hoping there was a developed method the professionals used in gauging dialogue, but reading it out and timing it will definitely work. XD

That is why you storyboard it out first. Its easier to adjust the timing and material and edit the thing down to a reasonable run-time. You can also nail down the composition of your shots, spot any jump cuts and refine continuity, workout the camera moves, decide upon the acting, gestures and expression, and add or omit anything you to need along the way. Storyboarding is such an effective and critical step that it will save you time and effort ( and MONEY) before you commit to a single frame of film.

Once you have the animatic time out the way you want it, then you can do the exposure ( dope) sheets for animation, because they will further break down the action/dialogue from the animatic into specific frames on the dope sheet.

As just as an aside--a bit of a rant: its astonishes me how many times I have read over the past.....oh 15+ years that contemporary animation instruction in MANY college level schools DO NOT teach exposure sheets. The ones that seem especially bad at it are those that offer "instruction" in Digital Animation studies.
Its mind-boggling because a properly written dope sheet spells out the timing, acting and gestures DOWN TO THE FRAME for every technical aspect of the animation. Its literally a blueprint for the film........and equally astonishing is that some studios...specifically gaming studios.... just "wing it". They have NEVER heard of dope sheets and they don't understand that they can save time and money, if properly used.
Consequently, a digital animator who has never been " exposed" (PUN!) to a dope sheet, cannot cross-over to traditional animation ( at least not as easily) as a traditional animator can in vice versa.
I have read/heard far too many times of students that have never heard of exposure sheets, much less seen one, or know how to use one.
That's a shame because all it does is perpetuate the niche talent mind-set.

And btw: here's a 25-cent primer on that dope-sheet I linked you to:
The action column describes the specific acting called for, w/ the funny drawings present. It includes the holds and specific directions such as hook-up for the adjoining scenes.
The dialogue column has the phonetic breakdown of the track, as it relates to the sounds on EACH frame.
The "exp" ( exposure) column beside that contains the "ABC" mouths specified, which are the pre-designed mouth shapes for those vowels and consonants spoken in the dialogue. This is done to provide a more consistent look in the animation and speeds up the process.
The dope-sheet seen there is as is handed from a director to an animator to start a scene-its not been completed yet because none of the key-frames for the animation have been added in yet by the animator..

"We all grow older, we do not have to grow up"--Archie Goodwin ( 1937-1998)

Ok, I'm seeing it a lot better now

Thanks for clarifying.
So sheet 50 there is for 80 frames of animation(I assume there going at 24 frames per second)
the dialogue is out phonetically to precisely what the animator will hear on each frame and the exp part is for facial expressions. In the actions is rough sketches of what the characters are doing with rough notes. Trying to follow them, the mouse on the right is holding its position for the first 31 frames. blinking from 9-16, the dragon leans in and grabs the doorknob in 7 frames, pushes for four frames, and then the door opens with the next four. The letters in the first two columns (Dialogue and Exp) are for the dragon talking, but down further on the page there's letters in the next two columns which would be for the mouse.... I think.
The camera notes is left blank since the camera is sitting still the entire time.
I think I got that pretty close, please let me know if I'm missing something, this will be very helpful in future videos.
I wish I had animation classes to take, it would have helped a whole lot. I've taken one course of Maya and have learned the basics of 3-d animation, but nothing more. I'm in a flash animation class which is even less helpful wherein I could turn in a ten second animation and pass, but I want more than that. Way more.
It's sad to say that I did not understand the importance of story boarding until about three months ago; my current video I'm working on is story boarded, but I definitely have not done exposure sheets. XD I ought and get the audio tracks first before doing the animation (Sorry I'm saying trivial things, I've been working very counter intuitively for a long time, or very intuitively into every wall that the experienced so casually dodge).
Thank you so much for your help, I've gleaned a lot in so little time. In a way, it is common sense, but it wasn't common to me and who knows how long I would've gone on until it occurred to me that there was an easier way to doing things.

I wish I had animation classes to take, it would have helped a whole lot. I've taken one course of Maya and have learned the basics of 3-d animation, but nothing more. I'm in a flash animation class which is even less helpful wherein I could turn in a ten second animation and pass, but I want more than that. Way more.

Might I hazard the statement that the school(s) you are going to/have gone too probably wasn't offering the level of instruction they should have.

That's all too common actually, because animation is such a niche craft, and so few people outside of it have any inkling as to what's all involved, its very easy for a "school" to shirk on instruction, and none of the students would be any the wiser. Until its too late, of course.

But there ways to pick up the pieces: get a book like Richard Williams' Animators Survival Kit and it'll cover most of the animation timing principles for character animal. That and Elemental Magic, by my colleague Joe Gilland, for effects animation principles. Follow those principles and apply them to the software mechanics ( Maya, Flash, what-have-you) and you've just done what a 12-24 month animation course would mostly teach you. There's lots of other books out there too, you are not limited to the ones I have mentioned.

It's sad to say that I did not understand the importance of story boarding until about three months ago; my current video I'm working on is story boarded, but I definitely have not done exposure sheets. XD I ought and get the audio tracks first before doing the animation (Sorry I'm saying trivial things, I've been working very counter intuitively for a long time, or very intuitively into every wall that the experienced so casually dodge).

This is common too.
Two of the things I have noticed as an former animation school instructor, is the tendency for many students to fail to understand the relevancy of the various steps in the animation production pipeline. That and they tend to compartmentalize every subject irrespective of the other subjects--not understanding that they cross-connect.

Here's an example: Life drawing. Those quick little 15-30 second gesture drawings they get the class to warm up with often seem to be both a pain in the ass and a waste of time to students. Sadly, not a lot of instructors fully explain the relevancy of these drawings.
They don't understand WHY they have to draw that way, when they " don't actually draw that way, in real life".
Do they??

Oh yes. Its not some pointless hoop to jump through for the amusement of the evil demented instructors, the process actually serves a purpose.
Flash-forward to the student's student film where they have X-number of weeks to produce the film from concept to post. They are animating that sucker and its taking "forever".......because they are drawing the thing the way they "have always drawn".

I floor students, abso-fucking-lutely gobsmack them when I say that their ENTIRE student film can, and should, be animated in a single day, maybe a day and a half, tops.
Many of their brains cannot process how that can possibly be done, until I explain that those gestural drawings they had to do waaaaaaaay back are the key.

See, the whole point of getting animation right is the TIMING of the actions , and NOT the volumes and line quality of the object drawn.
You draw out the key frames as quick, supple, gestural drawings, with clear lines of action--not worrying about the look, but instead concentrating on the FEEL of the action. Those drawings take seconds, and therefore a scene need take only minutes to flesh out because its NOT a series of pretty drawings, its a rough guideline of the action that is then shot on pencil test to see if the business works on screen.
Once the whole short film works in that form, THEN the student can go back in and do the mechanical drawing and make it look nice--and its easier because all the thinking work is done at that point.

But many, many students..........far too many really, don't think it out that way.

They spend inordinate amounts of time fussing over "a drawing" when they should be flying through the actions and getting the basic info down on the page. At this point in time, the student is wasting their effort if they are drawing every fucking shoelace on the character-that sort of detail doesn't bring ANYTHING to the animation. Its a learned drawing habit that needs to be UNlearned.

I've come into class on a Monday morning after a weekend to find students in tears because they could not figure out a drawing over the course of the 2-3 day weekend--and they were completely stymied as a result.
The instructor sits down and whips out the solution in a GESTURAL drawing in about 15-30 seconds and the poor students realize then and there just HOW they have wasted their time.
Yeah, 15-30 seconds is how long it need take............and how long were those life drawing gesture drawings again?

Funny how that works out, eh?

I think part of the problem is that students can get intimidated by the entire process of animation, and all the myriad skill-sets that are called upon.
They may see themselves weak at perspective, for example, and thus shirk layout and composition--and in turn it affects their storyboarding because they cannot properly stage a shot, and in turn affect their directing choices.

See how this tends to fall into place?
YES, its daunting, its intimidating and challenging. Yes, you almost need to have a jack-of-all-trades approach to this, and YES you should approach is fearlessly.
The hope remains that students will understand the process as they go, and not after the fact, when the sting of reality and putting food on the table under the career choice can affect whether or not they actually pursue the career.

Again, ALL of this is just a process........and yes, a very common sense one too, and its often gained as a result of some experience or insight picked up along the way. The magic thing is that often a tiny sliver of insight is enough to open the door to the whole mindset behind it. There's no "guru-wisdom" to this.......its a craft with steps that have been refined and proven over time. The model is there for everyone to follow, and the means to identify that model is to just ask the question: "why do they do that".
And the ball starts rollin'......

"We all grow older, we do not have to grow up"--Archie Goodwin ( 1937-1998)

Finals are here

Sorry for taking a bit to reply. Jack of all trades, most definitely. XD I've seen many inspiring animators on the net and they always fascinate me but not in the sense that they are somehow mystical or beyond reach. They fascinate me because I know that I can be one of them, what's being done is not inhuman talent, just sheer determination meeting hard practice and good practice.
That's good that the animation should be gestured in a day or two because that's roughly what my animation looks like when I'm focused on it. XD My current animation is focused on breaking away from my older videos of my characters standing around and flapping their lips into more energetic and believable personas. As I get them to move more and more, my art, perspective, and backgrounds will improve with time, so no huge rush on it. I just got to get my characters to dance first, spin, kick, jump, run, and be active.
Thank you for helping me. When I can scrape two pennies together I'll definitely get the two books you recommended, right now I'm just busy budgeting keeping the house together. T_T Our pipes froze and broke and we just got that fixed, but we're still in the red for getting propane tanks for heating. In a short bit I'll be dawning my McD hat for the summer and my brother will also be getting a job to try and hold out for the next winter. It's been an unusually difficult year, but that's not here nor there. I just gotta keep working. My goal is to be able to market my skills by next year to help ease things here. I might be setting the bar to high for myself, but I'll have to make that call when next year comes. :D
And that was definitely a tangent. So, um, thanks, you've been very helpful, and I hope to be able to ask for guidance a bit every now and again.

But there ways to pick up the pieces: get a book like Richard Williams' Animators Survival Kit and it'll cover most of the animation timing principles for character animal. That and Elemental Magic, by my colleague Joe Gilland, for effects animation principles. Follow those principles and apply them to the software mechanics ( Maya, Flash, what-have-you) and you've just done what a 12-24 month animation course would mostly teach you. There's lots of other books out there too, you are not limited to the ones I have mentioned.

I agree with everything said, just a quick suggestion here based on my personal opinion:

Although Williams is the definitive book on animation technique, I find it very heady and a bit unstructured, meaning there are no chapters or a glossary for quick reference. (I don't own the Extended Edition so if it's different there please feel free to correct me.)
I'll give Williams that everything he talks about builds upon the previous topics but for a complete neophyte it should be almost impossible to digest it all reading it in one go.
That said, I've found Eric Goldberg's Character Animation Crash Course to be more concise and structured. Since Goldberg came out of Richard Williams' studio, he essentially talks about everything that's in The Animator's Survival Kit (albeit not nearly as exhaustive). However, Goldberg approaches everything more comprehensively. Plus, if bought new there's the CD with animated examples to go with the chapters.

Joe Gilland's book, on the other hand, has no parallel because to my knowledge it's the only animation book to date thoroughly dealing with sophisticated FX animation. Books on character animation will usually spare the topic a more or less superficial paragraph or chapter, but Gilland is a master of effects animation covering all aspects - art, technique, design and philosophy, all with extremely beautiful drawn examples.

I agree with everything said, just a quick suggestion here based on my personal opinion:

Although Williams is the definitive book on animation technique, I find it very heady and a bit unstructured, meaning there are no chapters or a glossary for quick reference. (I don't own the Extended Edition so if it's different there please feel free to correct me.)
I'll give Williams that everything he talks about builds upon the previous topics but for a complete neophyte it should be almost impossible to digest it all reading it in one go.
That said, I've found Eric Goldberg's Character Animation Crash Course to be more concise and structured. Since Goldberg came out of Richard Williams' studio, he essentially talks about everything that's in The Animator's Survival Kit (albeit not nearly as exhaustive). However, Goldberg approaches everything more comprehensively. Plus, if bought new there's the CD with animated examples to go with the chapters.

Joe Gilland's book, on the other hand, has no parallel because to my knowledge it's the only animation book to date thoroughly dealing with sophisticated FX animation. Books on character animation will usually spare the topic a more or less superficial paragraph or chapter, but Gilland is a master of effects animation covering all aspects - art, technique, design and philosophy, all with extremely beautiful drawn examples.

Yes, the critical advice here is to find the book or instruction that works for you. Some people may find Williams' book of use, others might find Goldberg's book to be better for them. Or it might be a Preston Blair book, or perhaps even Chris Hart's books.
Or it might be some OTHER book--SOMETHING out there has the answers.
The necessary thing is for the seeker to determine themselves what they need and what they can use out of the books to get any real value out of them.

"We all grow older, we do not have to grow up"--Archie Goodwin ( 1937-1998)

If you manage to scrape a couple of hundred dollars together.... I'd recommend Jason Ryan's online tutorials. Or buy individual tutorials. The videos are set up like you're looking over his shoulder as he's animating. And you can download a demo version of FlipBook (with watermark unfortunately) and work right along with him. For me at least, it took away some of the terror of sitting down to face the blank computer screen.

And then I jumped in the deep end and went for a postgraduate in animation, and here I am getting deadlines and sheer terror to keep me animating :D I'm going to show this off just because I finished it today. Not perfect by a long shot, and my cleanup line is really ordinary, but....it's done, I took a half-decent stab at applying the 12 principles, and there is *always* room for improvement. So:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FD3CoaGQys

curiosity

ive been animating with flash for almost a year now and im curious about how cartoon animation works. what is the system like to create a cartoon along the lines of the lion king or robin hood. i want to learn about animating actual cartoons instead of using flash.

ive been animating with flash for almost a year now and im curious about how cartoon animation works. what is the system like to create a cartoon along the lines of the lion king or robin hood. i want to learn about animating actual cartoons instead of using flash.

Dear Evergrimm,

If you've committed yourself to learning the art of creating an illusion of life, you can go for a formal structured curriculum and with the right attitude and determination cross the river in 2-4 years (crossing the river leads to a journey which starts from the banks). Alternatively, you can commit yourself to self-learning (which would be life diving into a river in a zeal to cross it, and you may arrive there safely in a few years extra or may never arrive at all depending again on your zeal). If you choose the latter, you can go through various threads on this site to know what to do and where to begin. And wish you the best from here..

http://www.3danimationtrainingstudio.com I still have not told my story! - Vineet Raj Kapoor

I recommend signing up on these forums. http://satellitesoda.com

They dish out the harshest unapologetic critique all budding artists need anywhere on the whole WWW. Far superior to Concept Art.

And even more insider advice on animation jobs and related.

3D Animation is popular in recent years, and many companies needs the 3D experts as designer, so i think you would be wonderful if you can do this work! And then, you should study it perfectly, or go to a training school to learn it totally! Come on!

What to expect?

Well.........you can expect to work harder and longer hours than in most other jobs.
You can expect NO job security, instead your skills and developed talent will become your job security. You can expect to travel to work in another city at some point.
You can expect competition from other people, both before and after you get a job.
Do not expect to make a lot of money, but you should be able to support yourself once work is steady.
Expect work to be seasonal, in the respect that projects ( games and shows) have starting and stopping times and there's not always another project following it up.
Expect to work for people that, at some point, will not know what they are doing--most do, but there's a few out there that do not.
Expect to really bust your ass in getting the best training you can, it developing your ARTISTIC skills as well as computer skills. Expect that mediocre skills will land you mediocre to no jobs--accomplished skills will give you better options. Do not shirk at talent.
Expect to get stiffed on pay at some point in your career--it might not happened for a long time, it might only happen once, but its VERY likely to happen.
Expect fear, frustration, sweat, accomplishment, elation, joy, devastation etc.--the gamut of human emotions.
Expect to love the job and hate the job at the same time.

OMG what a spot on post. The only thing I could add is that your computer will explode or freeze while doing never ending renders

wedding videographer | wedding video

There was a lot of post sometime back about what it takes to survive in the animation industry and the changes that animators need to go through to be more "realistic" and "pragmatic". I was wondering if anyone can offer some insight on how their passion/love for art changed to adapt to the harsh reality of the industry.

Specifically, I'd like to know where you see your love for arts/animation in your life today (do you draw/ animate? on or off work? maybe you work on some pet projects now and then, etc.) and how it compares to your passion when you entered the industry years ago.

There was a lot of post sometime back about what it takes to survive in the animation industry and the changes that animators need to go through to be more "realistic" and "pragmatic". I was wondering if anyone can offer some insight on how their passion/love for art changed to adapt to the harsh reality of the industry.

Specifically, I'd like to know where you see your love for arts/animation in your life today (do you draw/ animate? on or off work? maybe you work on some pet projects now and then, etc.) and how it compares to your passion when you entered the industry years ago.

Doing art professionally-- that is on demand and for pay--can be demeaning, frustrating, heartbreaking, terrifying, tedious, debasing, and exhausting.
There are times when it can be likened to prostitution, and all the denigrating aspects of that sort of thing. There is little wonder as to why a lot of cartoonists end up jaded and bitter.
The opposite is true too--doing art professionally can be uplifting, rewarding, thrilling, rapturous, deeply profound, exhilarating and exciting. It can be likened to a spiritual experience and something that can leave your soul quivering.
And still there is little wonder why a lot of cartoonists end up jaded and bitter, and why they STILL do this sort of thing despite being jaded and bitter.

When I started out I was VERY naive and wet-behind-the-ears. I did not know good from bad, I was "gosh/gee whiz" about everything. I leaned a lot, made a lot of mistakes but I kept jumping back at it because it was an adventure.

And it still is. But like any adventurer, you wince a bit when you remember the scrapes and the stings, and you don't don't look at the mouth of the cave with such daring or hubris anymore. The zeal is measured after a while, often replaced with a mix of resignation and trepidation because "once more unto the breach" means something different than it used to.
I have worked on a lot of stuff, invested my emotions into it, and seen my investment dashed to bits because those that followed up afterwards didn't have the same investment.
Nothing crushes the enthusiasm and inflames resentments like seeing something you put your feelings into being uncontrollably rent into shit.

Why still do it if its not as fun?
Its a job, like any others. Its a measure of control, perhaps minor in a ways, but control nonetheless. You still get paid, or perhaps acknowledged,for your "judgement" as much as your skills, so its not as mindlessly tedious as other jobs can be.
At the back of one's mind still lies the delusion that somewhere.........out there.......a little kid ( or not-so-little kid) my go gaga over the thing you work one and it might ignite the fire of passion within them and carry on the legacy.
What we do is akin to alchemy. The person-on-the-street doesn't understand the mysteries of our magic-they do not comprehend where "it comes from" in anything but the most superficial sense. Our routine can be where their dreams dwell.
There is something to be said for touching your pencil to a sheet of paper and having awe and wonder be the result.

That or the pay will keep you living in the same place for the next four months and you can eat something other than ramen noodles for half that time.

I exaggerate some though.

In my case the flame of creativity burns far dimmer than it used to. I seldom draw for myself anymore, because once you attach a dollar value to a once-joyous task, it loses a lot of its innocence. Money taints the reason to do things, and if they are emotionally draining it influences the doing.
Drawing them becomes a means to a monetary end, and it the drawing cannot be completed for whatever reason then drawing at all for oneself tends to feel pointless.

But not hopeless.

I still doodle. I still spent an inordinate amount of time thinking and slowly drawing out my own ideas and concepts. These are for......."later" ( I tell myself), and work interrupts or fatigue interrupts them all the time.

I admire and envy artists with boundless energy who still produce work for their own amusement outside of paying work. When I am not working, I like to spend my time with other things that mean more to me; family, friends and hobbies.
I will not lay on my deathbed and think " I wish I had done more drawing..." because my priorities in life are different that just drawing.

But still.......I continue to covertly work upon my comic book ideas. I see the new and unlimited frontier of publishing my work on-line--with no middle-men 'tween me and my audience.
I have secured an art show later this summer at a local comic shop-as a sort of leverage to get me back and creating all new works for a spell.
That kind of psychology can be good to spur the juices back into action.

I have a pragmatic approach to this. I don't gloss it over because the gloss is gone for me. But the gloss ISN'T the magic--its just a veneer. Its that bullshit that has not being paid for doing work right behind it. Its that lie that a unimaginative dumb-as-a-stump concept is worth working on. Its the exhaustion that just drains one's soul, the burnout, cold-shoulder, the despair.
The gloss tries to hide that.

The magic, however, is something else.

The magic is sitting in a dark theatre........for the first time........and seeing a giant robot soar into space, to save a little boy and a small town.....and just before, he closes his eyes.......and says......"Sssuuuppperrmaaaaaann".

Nothing in existence reaches into you like THAT feeling.

That is why I still do it.

"We all grow older, we do not have to grow up"--Archie Goodwin ( 1937-1998)

"I Want to become a 3D Animator but i dont know what i can come to expect in this career."
What's your expection? The money or the space of your improve yourself?
If you are interested in 3D, you will do it best! Good Luck!

Be sure a look over the sticky " So You Wont To Be An Animator", which is where you have posted. Also use the search engine and look up Ken posts. There are others but I can not remember their names at the moment.

So help me, I read through all of Ken's posts...and I'm currently four weeks into a one-year grad dip in animation :D I'm enjoying it, although I'm neck-deep in assignments, unemployed until the 5-week mid-year break, and probably can't afford to work in the animation industry on graduation. But that's OK, because I've spent the past 7 years drafting up kitchen benches and school bathrooms, and there's plenty more work where that came from. And it pays just enough to keep the concrete slab over my head and food in the fridge :p This is my metaphorical "year in Paris"...what comes after, I don't know. But I've crossed over to the wrong side of 30, and am getting progressively crustier and more cynical. So I figured if I didn't go back to school now, I never would.

If anyone's curious, here's the first two I've done so far in school. Both my efforts are, from the Disney-12-principles point of view, cringingly bad, but the only way out is forward. I'm aware of the flaws, e.g. morphing, "hitting the wall" with not exaggerating extremes enough, yadda yadda...but all things to keep in mind for the next bout of animating.

Group project, cutout silhouette stop-motion. My character is the bunny with the broom:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYR02KKqRZM

200 drawings, any style, subject or technique, with audio:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QL6l9jm1UqU

And I'm also blogging about my exploits (link in signature), as part of my assessment and also because I Can't Believe It's Animation School! :D

i am glad to hear someone be honest about the amount of thankless work that goes into the animaton industry, and getting the real deal is rare in this world. The amount of disillusionment in the books out there thanks for being honest and giving the heads up

Hi

I am only in High School and i have always been into animation. I take mostly advanced level art classes in school.

I Want to become a 3D Animator but i dont know what i can come to expect in this career.

I just need some advice on how to go about getting a job in 3D Animation

I am also in high school, I want to be animator too. I tried looking for internships but they do not give it to high school kids.. I know it take hard work, creative ideas and a bachelors degree.

Want some really useful advice?

If you are going to get into animation as a career, you'll work one of two ways most likely: freelance, or some kind of salary.

Do yourself a favour and learn THREE things:
Learn a bit about handling money and banking info--and about your taxation rights where you live. Oh, and learn about how accessible lawyers are to you.

Money: you are working for a studio, and you get a pay-stub, usually a cheque made out to you and often a stub citing the taxes and coverage you pay ( that the studio deducts).

Make certain that you check these stubs each AND EVERY time, to make certain that your pay is consistent and only the required amounts withheld for taxes etc, as per the laws of your land. In most situations, the ideal amount of deductions taken off at source account for the annual taxation amount you are obligated to pay.
If you get a paid a set annual wage, these amounts can be calculated in advance so that the portions deducted are averaged out over the course of the year. Usually, most tax agencies demand that statements be issued by the companies tabulating the amounts deducted from pay each year come tax time. In Canada we call these slips T-4's.
These slips MUST be tabulated correctly, as they are legal documents.

But, alas, its somewhat easy to defraud both workers and the government by submitting falsified and incorrect slips. This is where YOU need to be alert.
You pay stubs HAVE TO ADD UP to the tax slip. Its not hard to keep track of them......if you get paid every 2 weeks you'll only have 26 of them in a year.

DO keep them safe and accessible to yourself. This is where the advice here comes into play.....a LOT of people ( some in my own family even) have a tendency to treat these pay stubs and slips nonchalantly. They mean nothing.......until you have to prove that you got paid a different amount than what the tax man ( or the studio claims) you got paid.

Wanna be stupid? Throw them out, like some folks do........and when the shit hits the fan, well you can be out thousands of dollars more, potentially. Pay stubs and bank account statements are a paper trail that can save your financial ass, if it comes down to it. Without them, its your word against the studio......and you can BET they certainly keep records.
Don't shirk this, it can save you are lot of grief.

Alot of people freak out over stuff like this, thinking that its too complex or too much of a headache to manage. If you think that, great........send ME your money, I'll take great care of it. Not for you though....because if you cannot look after your dollars yourself, you might as well just hand it all over to some stranger and never see it, or them, again.

Taxes are the same way. A lot of people just go blithering fucking stupid when you say the word "taxes" to them.......as if its some kind of psychological block.
Well, it literally is with many people, and it need never be.
Take the time to learn about your tax system in your country. If its a fair and legal system, your should have access to info on how it works and what your rights are.

YES, it will be BORING research. Suck it up, deal with it. Do it just once and most of the info will hold you for years.

Do it with the aim of learning three things:
What your obligations are as a tax payer.
What your rights are as a tax payer, including info such as what your tax rate is at your level of income.
What kinds of deductions you can claim on your income, and how to structure your financial affairs so as to pay your tax obligations.
Finally, what you have to do if you have taxes owing, and what your rights are with regards to the tax man coming to collect from you, even if THEY make a mistake.
Look, don't take hearsay for this..........find it out for yourself. You will gain info that can serve you personally for years to come, can serve your family and friends even.
I'm also a big proponent of sitting down with an accountant at last once in your adult life and having them prepare your taxes. Ask them and learn about what kinds of deductions you can take as specifically related to your career/business. You will probably only have to do this ONCE as you can use the tax return as a template for many future years down the road.

Lawyers. Biggest myth going is that even just thinking about lawyers is expensive. A lot of people have it in their brains that access to a lawyer is only for the wealthy.

Bullshit.
An utter lie.
If you buy that nonsense, then you got it from someone who told you that garbage. Trust me, its a lie.
In many jurisdictions, a lawyer is there to serve the public good. Yes, some specialize in ONLY serving corporate interests, but a good number of lawyers are out there serving just you and me.
Understand that there's two things here........there's consultation and there's representation.
In consulting a lawyer, its often just a single visit--you tell them what the problem is, your situation and ask them what your rights and options are. Often they can guide you into the right direction and just KNOWING your rights can be a huge advantage in a "legal" spat with someone.
Typically the cost of a consultation is nil......its just advice. That or it MIGHT cost you a $100. Might be the best $100 you ever spend too ( AND it might qualify as a tax write-off)

Representation means having the lawyer actually follow through and do some work for you. This CAN get into the hundreds or thousands of dollars if you let the lawyer take the lead.....but it need not cost that much.

Look, let's say you are having a spat with the studio about getting paid. Your pay was shorted by their accounting and they insist nothing was done wrong. You know otherwise.
You consult a lawyer and simply ask them if they would write a letter to the studio on your behalf, asking for the pay to be made to you. The lawyer will type it up, and use all kinds of nifty legal terms and such. And they will send it to the offending party ( and you'll typically get a copy too. Cost will likely be maybe....$100, if that.
Now, what will happen?
Usually the recipient--the studio--will shit bricks. They will FREAK.
And they will freak because they now have in hand a letter FROM A LAWYER regarding your problem with them, and they don't know the depths of the legal representation you have now.
All they will see is that you have a lawyer on YOUR side.
In MOST cases, to avoid the cost of hiring their own lawyer.......they'll concede. You'll often get your pay owing and you can get on with your life.

THAT is the whole point here. Its not the power of the legal machine........its the THREAT of the legal machine.
Point blank, if you cannot afford the cost of legal representation, tell the lawyer. Often something can be worked out.
Remember, there is a concept in legal circles called "pro bono", which means "for the public good". Pro bono legal work is typically free of charge, or very minimal charge. Most jurisdictions abide by this principle of law. Sometimes the payment can be by barter; the exchange of goods or services instead of capital.
Hey, if you are an artist, offer to do a framed caricature of the lawyer for his office. Some of them appreciate talent and might go for that.

Pro bono work usually is intended to be forthright and speedy. The lawyer wants your case done and dealt with....so things can happen quickly. A letter can be followed up by a phone call, and or a fax--and again the intimidation of legal representation might be all you need. They lawyer can also be the sounding board on if and when to cut your loses, if the other side seems to intractable.

Be fearless in each of these three things--as you may some day need them.
Learn your rights and options because many people around you likely will not. Don't accept hearsay......get the EXPERT advice. Keep your paperwork--its not hard. It'll help you if trouble strikes....because its prima face evidence--not just word of mouth.

"We all grow older, we do not have to grow up"--Archie Goodwin ( 1937-1998)

So you want to be an Animator Heres what to expect

taking into account unforseen issues above
If it was a healthy maturing young one I would expect to get a horse back I could take out and do a fairly presentable low level test at a training show.
It also would depend on the level of rider that was to take over after the 60 days

The Disney way to swim

Lest that anyone gets discouraged, this industry is not about lawyers and lawsuits. It's about creative work most of the time. Sure you may get knocked around sometimes, but that happens with every boxer too! So, there's not much to worry. Well, if you're caught up in a legal tangle, you can go either the way suggested by Ken above, or alternatively you can choose to Disney your challenger. Well, Walt instead of getting into challenging (and showing the other party down) went ahead and put his energies into showing himself (up), and we all know where he got. I am sure Gandhi too appreciated that kind of response. But, yes they have had access to more refined thought process than most of us.

http://www.3danimationtrainingstudio.com I still have not told my story! - Vineet Raj Kapoor

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