What I tell myself everyday.

To all the people watching, I can never ever thank you enough for the kindness to me, I'll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask is one thing, and this is.. I'm asking this particularily of young people that watch: Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism - for the record it's my least favorite quality, it doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you, amazing things will happen." - Conan 'O'Brien

March 22, 2011

Visual discipline and training the critical eye. AKA I hate drawing! Why do I need to do it if I am doing 3D? Part 2

Continuing from this post

  The distinctive disadvantage that the average student in the local primary and secondary schools is that art is placed very low in priority in the curriculum compared to mathematic, science etc... And even drawing is also a repeated process of copying their favorite cartoon or comic characters. It is not a gripe but more of a reality check. The really driven ones will push themselves to educate themselves.

  The good and positive news is that I have seen that once they understand why and how they are drawing, most student's skills will dramatically improve over a few months. But it will take a few years of building up their visual instinct.

Visual Discipline

  No one is born to draw, even the most talented artists. They may pick things up faster then others, or their defination of form and structure is stronger then others. But it still takes time and dedication. You can only get better by doing it again and again.
  The word discipline is used is because you have shown discipline in committing to that line. The drawing u produced is the final result of a series of conscious decisions made by you the artiste. By creating that image, that picture, you have shown your ability and more importantly, your perseverance and willingness to dedicate yourself to accomplish it. And to the art director, to the potential employee, it says so much about you as an developed artiste. Rather then just a software user.

March 10, 2011

Visual discipline and training the critical eye. AKA I hate drawing! Why do I need to do it if I am doing 3D? Part 1

This is going to be a rather long post with a part 1 and 2. But it is not a rant for once. So bear with me. It should be worthwhile. There will be some iterations along the way to help shape it.

  A very simple but very crucial question posed by a student almost 1 year ago. Why do I need to do drawing if I am doing 3D? I can just model/zbrush whatever I want.

This is a question and bugged me for a very long time. I can understand why the question was asked and I understand the reasoning as I have experience it when younger before and since appreciate the importance of drawing. But I lacked the vocabulary to adequately explain the reasoning or justify it at that time. Except the lame answer that drawing is faster then modelling and also refining and helping you develop the hand eye coordination.

  This question keeps popping up when current students also complain about having to draw. And that it is tiresome. But all I could say was just stick with it, you will get better at it. But that isn't going to help the students easier to do life drawing. To them, its just repeating for the sake of repeating. And I hate to do something without knowing why.

  For those that love drawing, its not so much an issue but for the rest of the students who struggle, I could not motivate them to do it. How to present it in a logical and easy understand why they are doing it? And it sucks because I genuinely believe that you can teach anyone to draw. Even the weaker students who have trouble understanding or are slower in class. I was reading Betty Edward's Right side of the Brain and it reinforced how it can be taught but not really explain why should students have incentive to learn drawing if they are doing 3D.

local interview with Steve Wozniak at New Nation.

  Despite the rather misleading headline, this is an interview with Steve Wozniak. One of the co-founders of Apple who was in town to impart their knowledge and experiences on innovation solutions and applications for competitive advantage and business excellence” to eventually “build a more productive, high-performing work environment”.  (sic)

  Some excerpts.

" Ms Jose enthusiastically rolled out the reasons why Singapore should innovate, what the government is doing to help PMETs and why we should achieve innovation excellence.
Now you can start scratching your head. Innovation excellence? That’s like saying ‘creative best’ – and what marks the difference between innovation excellence and innovation mediocrity?"

March 6, 2011

Thoughts on the local animation industry in Singapore - For the Students

  I wrote a really really long post about the mental state of local students for the last few hours, About how pampered and sheltered we were/are. How gullible and lazy we were/are. How other countries' students are hungrier, that they have more to fight for, to live for blah blah. How this country and its education system caused the students to be this manner.

How much of what I just said was true or false. And that it was unfair to blame the local students. How the easing of immigration laws and foreigners not needing to do NS is causing a disadvantage to them.

  Then it started feeling like a damn lecture. And I hate lectures. Fucking fucking hate it.

conversation with a Student 2 about Visual Discipline

Short version of visual discipline after another conversation. Big ass long post coming up in the next few days.

hilscreate says:
 visual discipline
i was asking why learn to draw if you can model it in 3D.
 my boss told me today
 its visual discipline 

zs★ says:
 Can elaborate?

hilscreate says:
 Drawing is Interpreting a shape's form with lines and curves
 I.E Looking at a subject matter and Analysing it (Analysing is the key word here)
 After which you make a informed and educated decision by putting it down as a line. Whether you meant it or not, that line that you put down on paper, is a commitment to the decision that you are making. 
zs★ says:
 The way I see it is that it`s a kind of practice for your eyes to work
 seeing one thing and understanding what you see is two different things

hilscreate says:
Yes. The ability to analyse what you see, i.e shape, form, perspective and extrapolate from it.

Choosing a local animation school and the problems w solutions. part 2

continuing from here

DISCLAIMER (not the movie) : Most of these thoughts are gathered from my personal working/teaching experiences as well as talking to students, ex students, friends who run studios as well as friends who work in small and big studios as well as friends who have lectured. It is not based on published facts or figures. All comments are my own. No names of schools or companies are mentioned because I do not want a lawsuit and frankly I cannot be arsed to be sued.

  Having a chat with my ex-lecturer just now. And I think there are some more stuff to be said about the local education locally. Specifically animation.

  Fact. There is a HUGE gap in the quality of animation graduates that is coming out of tertiary education and the quality that is required in the industry to be hired. And that includes technical and artistic level.

Fact. You know Singapore love to blow its own trumpet. Number 1 in this, Best in that. As long as there is something that can be blown, it will be blown as long as it gets them paid and/or laid. (haha.....yes. innuendo intended.)

 That is why you will never see any published statistical chart being shown how many percentage of  graduates are hired DIRECTLY after graduation. Its grim reading and a huge lost in face.(Singapore is huge on surveys. Whether they get revealed to the public is another matter)

  Unlike Marketing or Business Administration, there isn't really a ready industry for graduates to step into. So there isn't really enough of a demand to have the luxury for all graduates to learn on the job.

  Or a pool of good and successful experienced professionals that you can tap into since they will probably be working overseas if they are.

  Funny thing is similar courses like Communication Design or Motion graphic graduates are getting hired and quality of work is actually every high. And salary is actually decent. Again because there is a HUGE genuine demand and market for it.

And there fore a pool of people that you can tap and harness. And to be honest, the amount of technical requirement isn't that high. Photoshop and AE.

  You will be hearing about how much politics and bureaucracy is going on in the institutes. And let me tell you this, there is fucking heaps. But then, no more then other govt sectors. Its the nature of the beast and it comes with the territories. Its not at a level that for animators/artistes a level that is not accustomed to or comfortable with. I am not saying you should. I am just explaining the rules.

March 4, 2011

My one and only post about unions in Singapore.

Anonymous says:
hilscreate says:
 sup Anonymous
Anonymous says:
 what are your thoughts of starting an animation industry union in singapore?
hilscreate says:
 u been reading vfxsoldier ?
Anonymous says:
 that too
hilscreate says:
 nvr ever going to happen
Anonymous says:
 you think so too
hilscreate says:
 govt will nvr allow it and they are da law.
Anonymous says:
 it might hurt our image of cheap labor too eh?

conversation w a student 1

zs★ says:
hilscreate says:

zs★ says:
 I ask you ah
 Are employers very discerning about like
 hiring people who have proper training
 like people who have proper design and art training
 as compared to software monkeys who can churn stuff out?
 I`m thinking, would a company pay, say 2.5k or 3k to hire a uni grad in animation[like me, if I graduate], compared to a software monkey who learned how to animate
 and can do all sorts of tricks, and is only asking like 2k?
hilscreate says:
 u say leh ?

Dealing with failure.

  I was going to write about this but i recalled an awesome post written by another local 3D artist know as "The Hand" a few years back that was working as a part time lecturer as well.

And I could not write it better then him so I would refer you to his post HERE.

Some excerpts

"And then there are the unlucky few who struggles for everything- people with so little innate talent that everything seems like a herculean task to them. Simple concepts which most students can grasp quite easily are usually next to incomprehensible to them. Its not that they are not trying hard enough, but sometimes even the best efforts may result in nothing. I can understand exactly how they feel."

 "I suppose it might be a good thing for me to simply advise them to drop out- after all the fees are really expensive and the their chances never did look good. Some had hardly picked up a pencil to draw since they were a toddler.
But I don’t. I never did and I never will- because sometimes you just never know. Some may be late bloomers who just need a little more time. I guess it might be a fool’s dream, but I think everyone deserves a chance, even a fool’s chance.
So I just teach them like I would any student. By advising them to drop out would have been the equivalent of me quitting on them. How could I, if I taught them not to quit on themselves. The only thing I will do is to warn them of the consequences of not working hard and and not putting their heart and soul into what they do. I don’t believe being a CG artist is something that one could do if his heart is not into it. I don’t sugarcoat things for my students but neither do I want to crush their dreams. The only thing I can do is to like them know the truth. Its a hard industry to be in, but the payoff is you get to do something which you have always dreamed about."