Monday, November 5, 2007

The Proof of Concept


The Objective: Team Work

The Proof of Concept was an exercise in team work. Having taught for many years, I found that giving individual assignments just didn't represent the real production world of collaboration. In some circumstances, I observed that independent studies did little more than fuel the 'brillant artist myth' of one person doing it all. As animators, I think it's natural that we have this tendency to curl up in our little corners, slap the headphones on and shut the real world out as we create our own.

I also needed the students to experience what it was like to take an idea from the page and turn it into a 3d animation. My objective, was to accomplish this in a condensed 7 week project so that they could use this information to better plan their demo reels.

The Context: Kids Books

The students were broken up into small teams of 4-5 people chosen completely at random. Each team was given a page from an illustrated children's book. I would change the book every few terms to keep the material fresh. The guidelines were quite simple, use the original art work as a conceptual starting point and illustrate the meaning of the page through a 30 second 3D animation.

I chose kids books for the reason that the illustrations are often simple, straightforward and highly effective. I find that most 3D artist tend to over complicate things. I also wanted to expose my students to a different genre of animation. With many of my students pitching me large breasted heroine characters with over sized swords, I thought some good old preschool images would help temper the hormones.

The Results: Do they Matter?

Well that depends on who you ask, but to be truthful, I didn't expect much in terms of the final results. Experience wise, my students had only been in the program for two terms (4 months) and for the most part, had never put a complete project together. Add to this fact that term 3 has a notoriously insane workload, I would have been happy if they simply met their deadlines without killing one another.

The results have been nothing short of impressive, both in the work and the collaborations. Time and time again, the students have impressed me with their ideas, execution and ability to work together. But don't take my word for it, click on the projects too see for yourself.

Thanks to all my students for their work and dedication.