Just a personal post to get my thoughts in order and set out my goals for this year!
I am confident in the areas of academic research, ideation and critiquing/reflecting on my own work and the work of others. I think can handle presentations fairly well and I enjoy teamwork too. I also think I have good drawing skills, both traditional and also digital now that I have a tablet to work with. It is important to me that I develop and refine my drawing skills as they are one of my natural strengths and I very much enjoy it, but I do need to focus on getting better in the areas I struggle with. Namely, anything technical.
REFLECTION ON LAST YEAR
All through last year I felt like I was at a disadvantage to my classmates, like I was always behind and struggling to catch up. This was partially because I did not have my own computer for most of the year, and also lived out of town, so I didn’t have much time to spend getting to know people or working on learning Maya on the university computers. Still, I will not blame my failures completely on external factors, as I am fully aware that my own mindset was the biggest obstacle of all. I should have asked for help and pushed out of my comfort zone more. Instead I let the new situation overwhelm me, I procrastinated and I allowed myself to become distracted at times. As a result my mental health deteriorated over the course of the year and even though I still passed with decent marks let’s just say I do not wish to repeat the experience of feeling awful all the time.
AS FOR NOW…
I am trying to give myself a break more often, though I am yet to find the right balance between stressing about working all the time and being too lax. Already I am struggling with stress and anxiety, so I am thinking about looking for help with my mental health. At least now I have my friends and fellow course members. Not that I wish to rely on them so much as to become a burden, but still I am incredibly grateful for their acceptance and support. I really need to remember that even since last year I have changed and progressed as a person, even though often it is very hard for me to see that.
My situation has changed as well! I am now staying closer to the city centre in my own flat. Whilst I don’t have as much money as last year, the good thing is I do not have to travel in and out all the time and have a lot more overall control over my own lifestyle. I am very happy here. The financials are a little concerning but I will probably look into getting part time work if I can. I also want to start going to the gym and making other such lifestyle changes which will go towards improving my physical and mental health. I know time management will be a challenge but I think if I am sufficiently motivated I can make it work.
MY GOALS FOR SECOND YEAR
Aside from passing the course itself, the biggest goal for this year is to secure a good placement for third year. I’m looking into exchange options and Erasmus (the talk for which is on 6ht November) but I’m also very interested in these animation placement trainee schemes:
I found out about these from Mark Mullery of Cartoon Saloon, during a talk I attended in the Crescent Arts Centre. He also recommended this English language course in Denmark, saying many of their animators have studied there. Courses are apparently free to students from within the EU. I don’t know how Brexit is going to affect my eligibility for that, but I hey, have an Irish passport! As well as full time courses they offer some shorter courses of around 15 weeks which I may look into for placement.
I understand that we are also to work on ‘branding ourselves’ and put together a portfolio and demo reel. I will admit I am worried about this as I have yet to produce anything I would consider worthy of either. I guess I’ll have to work a bit harder than everyone else. At least it is easy to keep both updated as I learn and produce more work!
Obviously I need to work on 3D most of all. I’m alright with animation in Maya but still haven’t got the hang of modelling, let alone rigging. I did enjoy the sculpting project with Mudbox last year, so hopefully I can get ahold of ZBrush so I can really get good at it.
I also need to pick up editing and compositing while I’m at it. I have learned a little video editing and stuff in school which is a good basis but my skills are really very rusty. I’ve got my hands on Adobe After Effects and Premier Pro so I’ll have a go at those this year.
Something else I need to hone is my coding skills, especially Python. I have dipped my toes in these waters before as I attended a CoderDojo in high school but I don’t think I can make practical use of this skill at this point. I think maybe I will try it out a bit these year but I really want to focus on it during next summer. We’ll see how that goes.
I’m sad that we don’t have a life drawing class this year but I will definitely keep up observational drawings and go to life drawing classes in my own time. It is very important to me that I develop my 2D artistic skills.
Also, I really want to try my hand at making animatics and storyboards, maybe even short 2D animations while I’m at it. I also want to work on development and concept art for my own original ideas. Even though I know these are low priority with regards to this course it is what I am most interested in personally. I do believe I have the skill, resources and motivation to learn this stuff in my own time and I intend to make use of this work in my portfolio when appropriate.
Oh, and I would also like to learn Spanish, as I enjoyed it at school, but frankly if I can’t make it work alongside everything else then I won’t worry about it.
I didn’t mean to write such a long post about my sorrows but I feel better having done so! I want to stress that this is not me saying ‘wah wah wah, last year I was SAD!‘, this is me saying, ‘this is what went wrong, this is where I am right now, and here is what I aim to accomplish before this year is out’.
Overall, I’m doing my best at looking forward to this new year with a positive outlook. I will have a lot of challenges to overcome but I must remember that I am entirely capable of growing and learning no matter what the experiences I go through.
PS. I want to start including little doodles and comics like this in my posts for this blog. This took me like five minutes, I think I can do it. Show off my cartooning skills a little.