Since Toy Story emerged, I’ve been obsessed with computer graphics, 3D modelling and animation. I’ve always envied the remarkable artists and animators that bring these creations to life. I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m jealous of anyone who can sit in front of a blank screen and create an awe inspiring image. I wish I could turn on programs like Cinema 4D, 3Ds Max or Blender and make a movie.
In the old days, there were programs like Microsoft’s 3D Movie Maker that really ate up a ton of my spare time. I would have given anything for the skill set needed to pull of incredible animations.
At one point, I got my hands on a digital lathe and created some pretty fantastic table legs but that doesn’t count! Even landscaping or interior design software interested me. I would use them to plan out locations for movies I never even intended to write. Sadly, I can’t draw and I don’t understand all the complexities of computer generated images. I think that’s why Photoshop became an obsession. It’s the only software that gives me the tools to create images I can be proud of. I’ll never be able to create new character models or paint mattes but I’ve become pretty good at manipulating existing images.
I’m no artist but it helps fill the void.
I think I just love the idea of mastering a piece of software and creating my own cartoon or elements to blend into live action shots. Take Killer Bean for example. It took creator Jeff Lew nearly 3 years to complete. His last film was a tiny project called Transformers: Dark of the Moon!!!
Movies like ‘In the Rough’ by Blur Studios have always inspired me. It’s just fascinating to think about how much effort and dedication is poured into every frame.
Since Toy Story, Pixar has absolutely dominated the feature length animated world. With each film they push the boundaries of what computer animated films are capable of. I think what interests me about the entire industry is how it allows for so many unique and creative opportunities that 2D animation couldn’t provide.
However, that doesn’t mean that 2D animation has been forgotten by this wannabe animator. I still grew up creating stick figure cartoons and watching all the ‘making of’ documentaries I could find on VHS. I was particularly fond of the Disney docs where you could get a glimpse at an animator at work. Watching them flip through those pages as they illustrated a new frame was awesome. I’d get that amazing ‘pit of your stomach’ feeling where you simply HAVE to do something creative.
Somewhere in my parents home is a box full of old VHS tapes that are full of classic cartoons. It’s a box I’ll never allow to be thrown away. The ‘Pixar’ generation of children have grown up along side movies like Finding Nemo, Shrek, Up, Madagascar, Ice Age, Despicable Me & The Incredibles. I’m sure parents will also show their kids movies like The Lion King, All Dogs Go To Heaven, Beauty & The Beast, The Secret of Nimh, Alladin, An American Tale, Cinderella, The Last Unicorn, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, The Land Before Time, Pinocchio as well.
Beloved cartoons become family members. They are the traditions we remember growing up and the traditions we pass along to future generations. I consider it a privilege to have witnessed animation evolve over the years but I plan to show my children even more than the usual suspects. I want them to experience the entire history of animated films. Remember Silly Symphony?
Animated movies have inspired so many people around the world. It’s an art form that has evolved so much but through the years, it has always been about telling great stories. I love to write screenplays and short stories. It’s always been my passion. I’ll never be an accomplished animator but someday, I hope to realize my dream of producing my own animated film.
I don’t know when that day will come but until then, I’m happy to go back and watch some of my favorites and experiencing new films along the way. What truly makes me envy animators is the notion that somewhere there is a single artist working on a passion project.
Wherever you are, I’m extremely jealous of your talents… And I can’t wait to see it when you’re done!
PS: I’ve been messing around with Blender 3D lately and I don’t have a clue what’s going on. It helped me create The Athletic Nerd graphic above but that took me about 2 hours to create. I’ve got a long way to go.