Trail 02: ALL ABOUT THIS COURSE:

Throughout this course you'll find that every lesson contains my director's commentary on each of the scenes in "Endangered Species" - and how they are inspired by actual moments in animation's rich history. In this way I will explain to the best of my ability how each related scene was originally created, how some of the actually movements in the scenes reflect specific principles of movement, and how I re-created them in the context of my own film. Elsewhere I will suggest specific animation-based exercises, so that the more serious animation students out there might improve their skills by learning the secrets of the past.

In this way I hope that a greater understanding of traditional hand-drawn animation is created and students might get under the skin of the great films of the past by knowing more about how they were created. I hope too that by sharing the "making of" everything will give greater insights about films, rather than me just directing you to them and expect you to watch them uninformed. Now, whereas I cannot absolutely guarantee that my suggestions for the old production techniques are 100% correct - as in some cases that knowledge has been lost to time - I have nevertheless made a knowledgeable assumption, based on my own 5 decades of production experience. At the same time, I do sincerely believe that even educated guesses will go a long way towards providing you with valuable understandings on how things were done.

It is very tempting to believe that in our modern digital age, where animators have amazing digital tools at their disposal, that today's animators are more accomplished than their pencil pushing predecessors. However the reality is that digital computer technology is merely another tool for the genuine animator to work with, just as the humble pencil was in days gone by. At the core of the animation process - that is, the creation of plausible movement - very little has changed. The core principles were as true then as they ever will be. Consequently, today's animator may really know their way around technology, but so many are blindly ignorant of the "core principles of movement" that their predecessors discovered the hard way. A great number of animation courses are guilty of this failing - believing that in teaching the software they are creating the animator. Nothing however could be further from the truth, which is why main mainstream graduates suffer so badly when attempting to enter the industry! All of this merely underlines the fact that the "extra" in-depth material to be found in this course will be of as much value to the animators of tomorrow as it should be to the animation archiver or the die-hard fans of the medium.

It should also be remembered also that a century's worth of blood, sweat and tears has flowed under animation’s bridge since it all first began. Consequently it will be wrong of us to ignore - or neglect - the animated wisdom the giants of the past handed down to us. Indeed, this particular animator/author would passionately argue that some of the greatest character animation ever created has come from animation's "Golden Era" in Hollywood - and even now has NEVER been better, despite the slickly glassing-over of much lesser work using the far more advanced technical gizmos that our current digital age offers.

ADVICE ON USING THIS COURSE

The way you use this course will be pretty much determined by what your purpose in signing up has been. Essentially you'll find all of the main lessons are broken down into three sections - i) "Endangered Species" analysis, ii) the backup "academic material", and iii) the more practically based "animation exercises and suggestions" for the more serious student.

  • If you're simply a casual student then you'll probably get most interest out of the "Endangered Species" section - then picking here and there from the academic section, where there are many links to the great films of the past that I personally love watching.
  • If you're an educator or academic, then definitely "Endangered Species" and the academic sections in their entirety should be for you.
  • If you're a dedicated student, or novice professional animator and really want to stretch your skills, then all three sections will be relevant. The more you work at section "iii", the more your practical skills and know-how will evolve. (Note: Not every lesson will have an exercise for conscientious animators to participate in - but there is usually a special reason for the ones that do appear, and therefore you'll be wise to work with them and learn much as a consequence.)