Friday, December 24, 2010

Overwhelmed with the learning material

Coming into a brand new program like ianimate I never expected to be overwhelmed with the amount of available learning material. I knew that Jason will be giving out his full set of existing tutorials and webinars when I join, but I completely underestimated the size of it all.

What's more is that the material is growing at a very fast pace. The main reason for that are the Q&A sessions. Sometimes they are just Q&As as the name suggests, but more often they take the form of lectures or shot analysis, simply the kind of stuff that is very hard to find anywhere and one you wouldn't want to miss. When you consider that at least two or three of these happen every week in groups other then mine, plus my own Q&A session, plus Jason's weekly two hour live demo/lecture/interview, I am looking at at least five hours of new lecture material evey week. Now, this may not sound like too much at first, until I have an off week and I miss on some of the stuff.

Being voracious as I am when it comes to these things, it is unsettling because I want it all but I can't have it. It is close to impossible to hear and see everything that is happening. Currently I am having a hard time of letting it go and accepting that I have to be more patient. Hence this brain dump, it helps me get over the issue. Thankfully, all the Q&As are recorded so I can always go back to them. There is also a few threads around the site discussing the content of Q&As and we even formed the "Cream of the Crop" group where the recordings of the best ones are posted. Anyhow, I feel really fortunate to have all this knowledge at my disposal.


  1. Rastko, thanks a lot for all the information you provided about iA and AM. I had some questions and doubts which were dispelled after a long reading. So, I'm very happy I found your blog.

    However I still have some questions you could answer.

    I'm getting into 3D animation just now. I'm using the basic of 3Ds Max and Maya, but my strong skill is drawing. I know DigiCel is available for students, but in order to work with Maya, do I really need to have strong knowledge of this software?

    What would you say are the important things to know, or be skilled at when using this software before I enter? I mean, the minimum requirements.

    I'm thinking of entering iA next time in April or later if I can't match what needs to be known. Best regards!

  2. Hi Martin, thank you for your comment.

    I would deffinitely not delay getting into a school, IA or others, just on the account of software familiarity. DigiCel is just a planning tool for us, if we choose to use it at all, and none but one person are doing anything more serious in it at the moment. Although animation is animation and none of the schools will prevent you from doing 2D work, the education you will be getting is heavily 3D biased. The differences are significant beyond the absolute basics and you will not be getting the most out of the courses if you decide to pursue a pure 2D approach. Regarding how much you need to know about Maya, not that much. It is not super hard to get to know the basics well enough to do your assignments. It is technical, it can get tricky and overwhelming at times, but it is definitelly doable within the school time.

    Here is a specific list of things that I think would be good to know how to do in Maya before you start your assignments:

    * Open/Save/Close the scene
    * how to change what the viewports are showing (pers/side/top/front) and how to "move" around in them
    * how to change display modes (wireframe/shaded) in the viewport and how to choose which types of objects are shown
    * Select/Deselect single or multiple objects
    * how to perform basic transformations on objects Move/Rotate/Scale
    * how to set keyes on attributes
    * what Channel Box is, where to find it and how to change the values in it
    * what Graph Editor and Dopesheet windows are and how to open them
    * how to change the tangent type on curves in Graph Editor
    * how to move the keys in Graph Editor and adjust the tangents
    * how to manipulate keyes in Dopesheet
    * what Outline Editor is and how to open it
    * what Attribute Editor is and how to open it
    * where to find the Layer Editor and how to change layer modes on different layers
    * how to create references (File > Create Reference) and understand the basics of what they do
    * how to create new cameras and change their attributes
    * how to play/stop the timeline
    * how to create a Playblast
    * how to open Preferences window and change Animation and Timeline preferences
    * what Script Editor is and how to open it
    * how to create buttons on shelves and how to edit them
    * how to set keyboard shortcuts

    These are not sorted out in any particular order. You can add a lot more to this list or take some away but if you know how to do these things you'll be able to do your assignments in Maya. I believe that all this is achiavable in a fairly short amount of time, maybe 10-20 hours of messing around and doing some basic tutorials. You may not like it, you may despair at times how far off traditional animation it is and how unintuitive it may seem to you, but you will know how to do it. Keep in mind that you don't have to know every little detail about all the things on the list, just the basics about each will do. Start with this and then build on top of it.

  3. Rastkos, thanks so much for such useful information. You have no idea!

    Fortunately, I know almost everything of what you listed here, so I'll keep using tutorials and practicing some stuff. I was just very concerned about what was needed as far as Maya is concerned, because I would love to use this software in the future in a professional way.

    Although I drew all my life, now I'm getting into Maya and this kind of stuff as I mentioned before and I'm loving it.

    Thank you again and good luck!

  4. Thanks for all the informaiton you've provided here. I'll start at iAnimate in May and certainly can't wait to get started after all you said. Best regards.

  5. Hey Luis, no problem, I hope you have found it useful. The issue has gotten even 'worse' in the meantime, there will be hundreds of hours of material at your disposal. Not all of it is of the same quality or relevance to what you will be interested at the moment but it is an endless source of information. You'd be able to figure out fairly quickly who's QnA's and lectures/demos you enjoy the most or who's workflow makes the most sense to you, so you'll be able to focus on their material. It'll make a lot more sense once you see it all. Good luck and see you there in a few weeks.