So far, so good with my studies at graduate studies at Quinnipiac. I am looking forward to my next class “ICM504, Designing for Motion Across Media” with professor Kent Golden. This course covers the concepts of motion design across multiple platforms. From what I can gleen, we will be storyboarding and creating our own animations starting next week with an animated .gif. Think I am going to do something for my favorite holiday: Halloween.
It is funny how each class makes you change gears mentally, in my foundations class, I was made aware of the power our devices, especially our smartphones, have on us and society as a whole. As I read the syllabus and view the first reference videos, I begin to reflect on the power of animation and how it has shaped my views and life. Childhood cartoon characters went beyond entertainment and represented heroes, villains, fears and aspirations. My generation grew up, technology evolved and the static drawings I came to love in graphic novels leapt off the page into increasingly more graphic and realistic CGI. Even little bits of Lego plastic I used to fit together got into the action.
Each generation had its own popular references. My parents would mention Popeye, Pluto, Betty-Boop. I was too young to watch the honeymooners every night, but the archetypes translated neatly into the Flintstones. And so, values were transferred from generation to next through the retelling of stories. Schoolhouse Rock taught us lessons, we learned empathy, how to be friends, how to relate to each other and dream together. Each new evolution in motion design pushed our understanding of what was possible. Animations marked time and the seasons. It didn’t feel like the holidays without Charlie Brown or Christmas without that stop motion Chris Kringle melting the heart of the Abominable Snow Monster. I grew older and the transformers met me after school every day, then Beavis and Butthead as a young man. I became a father and watched Shrek a thousand times and Cars and few thousand more.
Unlike my parents, animations were not something I outgrew, instead, they grew with me and my generation introduced cartoons for teens, young adults, 30 somethings and beyond through shows like Ren and Stimpy and the Simpsons. Adult Swim was born and animation wasn’t just for kids anymore. Animation is an expressive and respected medium. It is an extension of great design, great editing and great storytelling. That is what make these pieces timeless.
My DVD collection, yeah I’m old (Note to self: people don’t use DVDs anymore old timer!) is not just a collection of videos, it is the story of my life.
As I go about my daily activities, my mind drifts and I notice how animation is all around me. Flat screen tvs have made it possible to turn formally printed billboards into motion display advertisements. Projection technology has changed sidewalks and sides of buildings. Graphics displaying yardage and first down progress is splashed across football fields. We no longer have to look at the lower thirds to see what is happening in the game. Balloons float across texts on my smart phone screen with birthday wishes. Video games have elaborate cut scenes at every new level. Social media and emails are saturated with video, gifs and animation scripts. I am not used to seeing things still anymore, if something doesn’t move when I hit a button, I assume it must not be responding, frozen or broken. Making things move is certainly a valuable to skill to harness and master.
Maybe I am overthinking my relationship with animation, motion and perhaps a little overwhelmed by the idea of making anything move. I have had a little experience in motion design, but this class looks like it is going to be a lot of work and allot of fun and I am ready for both. Yes, forgive the pun, I couldn’t resist….. being “moved”. Yes bring out the corn chips!
Below is a slideshow of my personal animation history. Until I started pulling artwork, I didn’t realize how rich it was. I left quite a few out. The slides below just represent each “formative” period in my own journey. I would love to see yours.