Thursday, January 12, 2006

Fall Semester Summary
My first semester in the MFA for 3D Animation program at the Academy of Art program was OK

- I found it more fulfilling than I thought I would
- I'm pretty good at it
- I'm enjoying it

- the curriculum politics of grad school is to be expected but still sucks
- classmates on the whole are oddly not very serious about the work
- quality of the faculty is decidedly mixed

Classes I took:
Aesthetics in the Renaissance
It's both an Art History and Philosophy class. The first hour the philosophy professor teaches you about the thinking of the time. The second hour the art history professor teaches you the art of the time. You can see the relationships and influences back and forth. I was pretty resistant to taking this class since it wouldn't do anything for my portfolio but it was definitely worthwhile.

Principles and Pipelines
This was basically Animation 101 and we were working in 2D for the whole semester to get the basics down which was fine with me. The teacher had a lot of good experience (used to work for Pixar for a while) and gave excellent feedback on whatever you brought to show. But he was terrible at managing the class and for lectures he just showed us DVD extras which I found kind of lame. The final project was a 15 second rough pencil test animation. We started by pitching an idea, presenting it in storyboards then doing the animation scene by scene, all the while getting feedback. I was pretty happy with my final project which turned out to be 63 seconds and far too big to post on a website.

Figure Studio
Your basic figure drawing class in charcoal pencil. I have had a lot of experience in figure drawing but I really got a lot out of this class. The professor was excellent and pushed everyone very hard. During class I progressed a lot and did well. But I really floundered on the homework assignments which he expected us to spend a lot of time on.

Spring Semester Courses (starting Jan 30):
- Maya 1
- Preproduction
- History and Techniques of Animation
A Million Little Smoking Guns

I actually finished a book. Read it from start to finish. All by myself. It was A Million Little Pieces by James Frey and it had a sticker on it. The sticker read "Oprah's Book Club". This means the author made bank.

It was a good book. I recommend it to anyone who has ever gotten drunk, smoked pot, smoked crack, heroin or crystal meth. Interestingly just as I finished this book there was an expose on the author from The Smoking Gun about how he may have fabricated some parts of this autobiographically inspired book. I flipped through the article briefly and wasn't very disturbed with the allegations. Even if the parts of the book that The Smoking Gun has said are untrue really are untrue, it doesn't change my overall impression of the book or of the author. The sections in question are relatively minor to the story as a whole. Now, if the author really DIDN'T have a double cavity/cap and root canal with absolutely no anesthesia (because he's in rehab) and if the author never attended a rehab clinic at all then yeah, I could see the big deal.