Check out the great work by my Animation students at Saint Paul College!
The semester, I’m teaching a class at Saint Paul College called Blogging Applications. I’m pretty excited about it. For the first assignments, students will be required to look through the list of the top blogs found on Technorati and identify various feature of one of the specific blogs. They will also be required to leave feedback on this specific post about which blog they found interesting.
Had an amazing group of students this year in my 3D Animation Fundamentals class at Saint Paul College. Check out their work below.
Been teaching myself Processing and wanted to show off an example
What do you think?
“You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club” - Jack London
Success in the areas of web design, digital graphics and 3D computer animation require combination of both technical computer skills and personal creativity. Teaching students the features and abilities of the latest software packages is a fairly straight forward process. Teaching students to access their creative talents is a bit more difficult, since every student has different methods of accomplishing this task. However, tapping into your creative side is essential part of having a successful and enjoyable career in computer graphics. Below are a few suggestions to increase your own creativity.
• Write down your goals and set a deadline. A written deadline is critical, without it, most people end up putting goals on the back burner, when more immediate day-to-day concerns pop up.
• Buy a moleskin notebook (check your local Barnes and Noble) and carry it with you everywhere. Use it to jot down ideas, sketches, URLs of interesting articles, personal goals, to do lists, etc.
• Set aside a specific time each week as your own personal creative time. Use thistime to try out new software or explore ideas from your notebook.
• Look for inspiration outside of the classroom. This can come in many different forms such as music, sports, daily conversations, movies, recreation etc. “How To Think Like Leonardo DaVinci” by Michael Gelb can be a great starting point.
• Surround yourself with people who have similar interests and passions. Use these people to bounce new ideas off of and brainstorm new concepts together. Also, discuss your goals with them and ask them to hold you accountable the next time you meet.
• Get feedback on your work. Showing friends and classmates your projects and asking for honest feedback can show you what areas you need to improve as well as find out what you’re doing well. Feedback from various Internet forums can be useful as well, just make sure to filter out the legitimate critiques from the crazy rantings of anonymous users.
• Purchase DVDs with the extra features and watch the “behind the scenes” sections. I find this particularly effective with various Pixar and Dreamworks animated features to stimulate ideas a what I want to explore next.
• Look to “old school” animation for inspiration. Disney’s “Nine Old Men” created 12 principals of animation which are just as relevant in the digital world as they were in their time. The work of Chuck Jones in Tom & Jerry, The Road Runner and The Grinch can be equally inspiring.
• Visit your local comic book store and check out the latest artwork. Comic art can provide a lot of inspiration for both still image and video projects.
• Make use of tools like Google Tasks or Evernote to electronically organize your goals and record inspiring URLs and articles. Some people prefer to use a moleskin notebook only, others prefer to go completely digital, many use both methods. Figure out what works best for you. I sometimes get my best ideas while driving, so I often use Google Voice to send myself audio messages to record in Google Tasks later.
• Create your own Youtube Channel. Use this to showcase your videos, as well as to bookmark useful tutorials and inspiring examples of other peoples work. Searching youtube with the term tutorial (such as “3ds max texture tutorial” or “blender keyframe tutorial”) can provide a wealth of free and useful information.
• Search for and “Like” various Facebook pages which provide weekly tips and tricks for the software packages you are interested in. Two examples I like are facebook.com/vectortuts and facebook.com/blenderguru
• Create a free account on reddit.com and customize the subscriptions. Great examples can be found at reddit.com/r/blender, reddit.com/r/3dsmax, reddit.com/r/photoshop, reddit.com/r/graphic_design just to name a few.
• Create and constantly add to your online portfolio. Free web hosting services are available through tumblr, wordpress, weebly and carbonmade.
• Create a Pinterest account and collect articles, photos and clips which resonate with you.
• “What new software tools, techniques and/or projects do I want to complete in the next six months to a year?”
• “How did they accomplish that effect?” Ask this while visiting websites, watching animated shorts or feature films.
• “Where and when do I get my best ideas?” Know what situations and times of the day are most productive for you.
• “How can I apply this idea right away?” Try to act on new ideas as quickly as possible while the idea is still fresh and exciting.
Inspiration makes learning new software tools and techniques a lot easier. In my experience as an instructor, students with an exciting , compelling, creative vision will always find ways to learn what they need to know to accomplish their project.
The PDF version of this article can be found here. Please email me if you have any suggestions to add to this list.
I recently had a client, Doctor Dan Evanson from Hands On Health Family Chiropractic (HOHFC) who wanted to get his business more involved in “Social Media” but didn’t want to spend too much time blogging, tweeting and updating his Facebook page status. After doing a little research, I set up a simple procedure so that he can use the Facebook Pages App on his iPhone to update the Facebook page for his business and the status update will show up on his website, which is built using WordPress, and then send out a tweet to his Twitter account. I thought I’d share this procedure, in case anyone else wants to do the same sort of thing.
First, setup a Facebook page by logging into your Facebook account and navigating to http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php. A Facebook page is a little different than your personal private Facebook profile, which is usually only seen by individuals who have accepted your “Friend” requests. Facebook pages are viewable by anyone, even if they are not logged into Facebook and are often setup for businesses, bands, charities, causes or clubs/institutions. When other Facebook users “Like” your page, any status updates you place on your page will show up in their private profile status feeds. By setting up the page, you become the Administrator of the page.
When the page is initially setup , it will have a long number as a URL, like http://www.facebook.com/123456789012345. After you get a certain number of “Likes” to your page, you will have the option of changing from a randomly generated number to a custom name, like http://www.facebook.com/hohfc, which is a lot easier for people to remember. However, you will need the old random number to feed your Facebook Page updates into WordPress. If you did not write down the original random number assigned, you’ll need to do the following:
1 – Navigate to the desired Facebook Page. If you’re an administrator for this page, you should see an “Edit Page” pulldown at the top of the page. Click on it and choose “Update Info” from the dropdown menu. The URL should now look something like this:
Copy down this number.
2 – Create the Real Simple Syndication (RSS) feed for your page by typing the following URL:
replacing XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX with the number from step 1.
3 – Login to your WordPress site and install the FeedWordPress plugin found at http://feedwordpress.radgeek.com/. Once the plugin is installed, a new catagory should appear in the WordPress Dashboard called Syndication. Enter the name of the Facebook page here, then in the Feed catagory, enter the RSS feed from Step 2. Explore the various settings, including the scheduling setting to set the interval for checking for Facebook Page updates. Save the settings, create a new Facebook page post and then verify the WordPress blog shows the new updates after the interval time has been reached.
4 – Next, create a twitter account for your page and install the WP to Twitter plugin in WordPress found at http://www.joedolson.com/articles/wp-to-twitter/. From the Plugin page, modify the settings as desired and provide the OAUTH integration keys. Please check the joedolson.com website for details to setup the OAUTH integration keys with Twitter. Create a new Facebook Page update and verify the update is reflected in both the WordPress blog and on Twitter.
I hope this short guide proves to be useful. Currently, I do not know how to obtain the random Facebook Page URL (http://www.facebook.com/XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX) if you are not an Administrator for the page. If anyone knows a way to do this, please email me or post the procedure in the comments.
I would also love to hear from anyone who is using these tools in a different order, such as posting from WordPress to Facebook to Twitter or any other combination.
Had a great group of students this semester in my 3D Animation class. Check out their final projects:
The past year, we’ve been adding more 3D animation classes to our program at Saint Paul College. Many people have asked me what kind of employment opportunities are available for people with 3D animation skills. Here’s a short video which shows some great 3D animated logos:
Have to say, I agree with a lot of what is said here.
Darrens Corner is undergoing some changes. Please click HERE to visit the old site.