Inspiration in Animation

Student Author: Marné Pool

Marné Pool is an AYV Scholarships recipient from San Jose, California. She participated in AYV at Willow Glen High School in San Jose. Marné is currently studying Digital Art and Animation at Cogswell Polytechnical College in Sunnyvale, California.

This semester I am taking my first animation class! Since I want to be an animator, I was really excited to finally learn about it. The class is focused on 2D animation so we use traditional techniques to create short animations.

When I first started, I had a vague idea of how the process worked. It was quite difficult at first! There were many techniques, like how to roll or flip the paper, which took a bit of time to get the hang of.

We started with a simple ball bounce to learn the most basic concepts and from there we worked up to more complicated assignments. I realized that one of the most important things to understand is timing. The timing makes an animation believable, which helps the audience connect to the story you are trying to tell. If the timing is off, the viewer will become distanced from the piece and lose interest.

Although I would like to do 3-D animation, knowing the techniques of 2D will help me a lot — all the same principles must be applied for a successful animation.

After the ball drop, we did all the standard tests like a leaf falling, flour sack drop, water splash and a brick drop. Each object reacts differently when dropped, some are hard and rigid, while others are smoother and organic.  Each assignment required that we shoot our own reference — it’s a very hands on kind of thing! These assignments take a lot of time and effort to get the right feel. After lots of hours and thick stacks of paper, we have a few seconds of animation finished!

After working on objects, we moved on to characters. Achieving a smooth, believable character walk took a few attempts, but I did find it more natural animating a human, since I’m more familiar with the way people move.

For our final project, we are creating 15–30 second shorts involving one character interacting with a 2 liter soda bottle. We must display a change in emotion as they interact with the bottle. It has to be an obvious difference from the beginning to the end of the sequence. This will require that I create storyboards, an animatic, and finally, the many passes of the actual animations.

Although the work can be tedious, this class is very inspiring. I look at the animated movies from my childhood with a new appreciation. I now understand the extent of the work that went into each scene. All the subtleties of the characters stand out to me. I love all the little details in the animation that give the characters a connection to the audience.  These otherwise cold, flat pictures come alive and tell beautiful heartwarming stories. I aspire to create the same kind of magic in my own work someday.