Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Getting Feedback at Animation Apprentice

One of the hardest skills for animation students to learn is how give and receive criticism.  We all tend to be shy about our work (especially when we are learning something new) and, when our work is criticised, that criticism can feel very personal.

There are a number of ways in which students at Animation Apprentice can get feedback and critique. First and most obvious is directly from me - I personally tutor all the students at Animation Apprentice.  But we also have a dedicated Facebook Classroom, where students post their work to get feedback.

The importance of criticism
Being able to take criticism ("notes", as they say in industry) is part of the process of creating great animation.  When you first show your work to a client, they will have comments, and they won't always love your first efforts. Whether you're working at a studio, or doing private client work, animators need to be flexible, and learn to incorporate criticism in order to make things better.

Notes being given at our Facebook Group
Online Classroom
Here at Animation Apprentice we have a dedicated Facebook classroom; it is a closed group; only our students can join. It's where our students post their work for critique, and ask technical questions.

Closed Group - members only
Because it's a closed group, everyone can post their work, safe in the knowledge that the only people who can see it are other students. It's a place to make mistakes in a safe environment.

Wisdom of the crowds
We all start off feeling shy about our work, but as we grow in confidence it gets easier to post test animation and get constructive feedback. When you post your work in a forum, you open up the problems to a broad range of solutions - you never know who is going to come up with a great suggestion for how to make the shot better.

In the Facebook classroom you'll find many voices, and not everyone will have the right answer. But many will - such as Animation Apprentice alumnus Marc Godfrey, former Blue Zoo animator, who often checks in with helpful tips and suggestions.

Learn to take criticism - and give it too
It is good practice for working in industry, not just to solicit comments, but also to learn to be able to give constructive criticism. Animators help each other out on production all the time by giving one another tips and suggestions, and your best resource at a new studio is often the person sitting next to you.

Just like in an animation studio, it's always a good idea to ask your peers for feedback. In a studio, you will likely ask your neighbour, or someone in the team whose animation skills you admire; someone with a good eye for animation - and how to fix it.  Learning how to receive critique - and how to give critique to your peers - is an important training for industry.

Bespoke video Feedback
Each week our students receive detailed video feedback on their work. If you need video feedback on your shot, send me the Maya file (don't forget to include the audio file if there is one) at alex@animationapprentice.org and I'll send you frame-by-frame video feedback.

To find out more about Animation Apprentice, click here for a link to Frequently Asked Questions. To sign up for our next classroom at Animation Apprentice, follow this link.

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