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Animation Articles

Animation Articles

Read up on a variety of animation and performance topics in these monthly articles. I cover all areas from workflow tips to industry trends. These articles are for everyone, but MEMBERS of kennyroy.com get to read the latest articles (these are two months behind the member releases).

If you want to get the LATEST content from kennyroy.com, then Sign Up today!

January 2013 Article - Networking
Our industry is a growing industry. As such, you never know how much a contact you've made in the business is going to help you in the long run. Here are some ideas for staying networked in animation. . . . more
December 2012 Article - Consider Supporting This!
VFX Soldier, and anonymous professional working in the VFX industry, has been thanklessly and tirelessly exposing the evils done in our industry for 3 years now. Now, his campaign to End VFX Subsidies has taken on a serious tone in the form of a crowdfunded legal effort to fight the subsidies in the courtroom. Consider being a part of this movement if you love your job, or even if you are trying to break into the industry. . . . more
September 2012 Article - Anomalia 2012 Thoughts
Kenny Roy
It was two weeks of both the hardest work and the most fun I've had in animation. This month I spent some time in Litomysl (pronounced Lit-o-mishell) with a multinational group of enthusiastic animators, all of whom took a risk on a new idea for an animation course; produce a short film together. Did the risk pay off? Read on... . . . more
August 2012 Article - Siggraph Wrap Up
Siggraph is always one of my favorite events of the year. Tens of thousands of like-minded colleagues convening in one place to celebrate and share this amazing industry we are a part of. I especially love it when it's in LA; high attendance, and I can still be in my pajamas at 7:45 and make an 8:15 session... . . . more
July 2012 Article - Make Yourself Indispensable.
I got my first job at a place called Title House. I'll never forget some of the memories I made while dustbusting a 2D feature: The owner trying to shoo me away when I walked through the front door because he thought I was selling magazines. The fearless attitude of their 3D artist when I asked him if he thinks he could learn Maya after knowing only 3dsmax ("They're all f*#&$! the same!") And most of all, the advice of the guy who hired me. "Make yourself indispensable." . . . more
June 2012 Article - Software Subscriptions: A Studio Revolution?
This month we saw the launch of Adobe's new subscription based software licensing system, Creative Cloud. For just $49.99 a month with a one year commitment, anybody can have full access to the entire CS6 suite. Does this mean a change in the tides? I think so. . . . more
May 2012 Article - Hardware Essentials - Tools for the 21st Century Animator.
I get asked frequently to chime in on computer specs by budding animators. While I have worked with computers all my life and can be helpful in some ways, the most beneficial advice I can give is also the most basic. Until you have taken steps to protect your work, you shouldn't spend another dollar on the newest, fastest PC. . . . more
April 2012 Article - Respect Your Audience
"Alright, he's gone too far," I thought. I had just finished reading the announcement from Michael Bay that in conjunction with making Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael ALIENS from ANOTHER PLANET, they are removing the words "teenage" and "mutant" from the upcoming "Ninja Turtles" movie. My childhood is unraveling before my eyes. . . . more
March 2012 Article - Video Reference - Your Best Friend or a Misleading Guide?
Animators are encouraged to do as much planning as possible before they start a shot. Indeed, planning ahead and putting effort into the beginning of a shot is the best way to ensure a smooth ending. So why is video reference so dangerous? . . . more
February 2012 Article - Why the MPAA Threatens Animation
Legislation designed to curtail copyright infringement like SOPA and PIPA and ACTA has turned a spotlight on the organizations that push them, revealing a seemingly sinister plot to invade our privacy and control the flow of information on the Internet. While these bills take policing the digital world too far, protecting the "old" Hollywood system is more important to animation than you might think. . . . more
January 2012 Article - Internships: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
Interning can be a great way to get one's foot in the door at at studio. You should know though that some companies take advantage of inexperienced animators, and some companies are downright devious when it comes to the issue of internships. Here's a brief rundown of when you should consider an internship and when you shouldn't. . . . more
December 2011 Article - The Digital Film
I saw TinTin at a screening with VFX veteran and oscar winner Joe Letteri last week, and about half way through the movie it dawned on me that I had forgotten to 'check out' the CG. What was going on here? Has the line, already blurred from the many previous attempts, finally been erased? . . . more
November 2011 Article - Non-Human Characters; The Spice of Your Demo Reel
I've chimed in many times on the state of the demo reel guide. In fact you can most likely find a very comprehensive, up-to-date, and accurate guide for what kind of shots should go on your demo reel with a cursory Google search. One thing that I do not see mentioned very often, however, is including some non-human characters on your reel. Not animals, but non-human characters going through some full-body ACTING. . . . more
October 2011 Article - Technology for Animators
The CG software industry is a very competitive market. There has been a fight going on for the better part of ten years as to who will dominate the CG market. Though innovation is always good, the advancement of technology becomes tricky for us as artists. While it's in the best interest for companies to make software more artist-friendly, too much broadening of the tools means that all of the specializing we've been doing may bite us in the butt later. . . . more
September 2011 Article - VFX Industry Bill of Rights
Recently, the VES-proposed "VFX Industry Bill of Rights" was brought to my attention over at the 11secondclub.com forums. You can read it here: http://www.visualeffectssociety.com/visual-effects-industry-bill-of-rights to see for yourself the points brought up by the Visual Effects Society. This list represents the unfortunate decay of working conditions for artists, and the difficulties VFX facilities face when dealing with the ever-increasing demands of studios. Many VFX artists are chiming in on their views of the document, so I though I'd offer my unique analysis on the State of the Industry from the perspective of a boutique VFX studio owner. . . . more
August 2011 Article - The Email Cover Letter
I receive between 1-12 applications per week from animators who would like to work at Arconyx. This is not a lot, certainly paltry compared to the hundreds or even thousands that major studios like Pixar and Dreamworks receive. However, even with my comparatively meager volume of applicants, I still am shocked by how many novice animators do not know etiquette for emailing a studio owner looking for work. . . . more
July 2011 Article - Making the Most of Your Conference Experience
In ten days, I'm heading out for Siggraph 2011, held this year in Vancouver, BC. I remember my first Siggraph fondly -- Siggraph '97. It was a partly cloudy summer day in Los Angeles, and when I walked into the exhibition (the biggest to that date), I almost fell over. I was home. This year, Siggraph acknowledges the feeling the thousands of artists and technicians feel when we arrive en masse at the conference with their motto "Make it Home." . . . more
June 2011 Article - Staying Motivated - Part 3
You've done the work. You have the reel. You may even have a job. How do you stay motivated after accomplishing all of your 'goals'? Make more! But what goals can an animator have? Plenty. . . . more
May 2011 Article - Staying Motivated - Part 2
So by now you've done a few small animation 'tests' and you've developed a habit of practicing animation instead of taking on more than you can handle. What is the next phase of learning animation and starting your career? Think bigger. But not too big... . . . more
April 2011 Article - Staying Motivated - Part 1
The question of how to stay motivated comes up so often in discussions among animators that there really is no doubting it anymore: animation, like anything else worth pursuing, is hard work that won't necessarily sustain itself. There are lots of tips out there for how to stay motivated, but I wanted to write a few part series in these articles focusing on a more long-term approach to staying motivated through the very distinct stages of your career. . . . more
March 2011 Article - Is There Ever A Time to Sacrifice Workflow?
I received an email from a member today asking the very simple question: "Is there ever a time to sacrifice workflow?" The short answer? No. Now for the long answer! . . . more
February 2011 Article - What Hobbies Improve My Animation?
Animation is truly the 'camel' of crafts, is it not? It combines so many aspects of art, that in taking up another hobby you don't have to look far to find one that will still improve your animation as you do it. What other things besides animation can you do to improve your work? Here's five ideas. . . . more
January 2011 Article - Why You Should Give Feedback
If workflow is the single most important thing to guarantee the continued growth of your animation, giving feedback on other's animation is the second. For one reason or another, we avoid critiquing other's animation when in fact, learning how to give constructive feedback is not only a great animation skill, but great on-the-job training as well. . . . more
December 2010 Article - Should I Make a Short Film?
This sounds like a straightforward question, and indeed one could answer this simply by saying, "If you have the time, why not?" But that doesn't answer the question for an animator. . . . more
November 2010 Article - The Return of the Junior
This is an exciting time to be learning animation. In the CG industry, never before have conditions been so perfect for aspiring animators to break into the field. Why? The "Junior Animator" is back. . . . more