Specialisation Project: Research Blog Post

Hello everyone! I should have done this several weeks ago, but better late than never, right? Oh well, onto what I need to do.

An Indroduction to My Project

My specialisation project is focusing on improving my 2D animations, and to do this, I have decided to do many animation tests, and hopefully make at least one smooth animation loop, but also start animating more than just stick figures with basic attachments.

My before I started this project, my animations looked like this:

It’s blocky, and very simple, and there aren’t many attachments, like hair, clothes etc, and what attachments do exist are me guessing how they move and have no real research behind them. They are also very stiff.

By the end of this project I hope that my animations look something closer to this:

While chunky, it is spaced out really well. One of my favourite artists on DeviantArt is Aileen-Rose, who made the video, occassionally does a live stream, where we can ask her questions about her work. She also takes the time to respond to comments on her art and on her profile. The timing of this animation is great, and the expressions on the characters faces really emphasize the emotions and complement what is happening.

To reach these goals I needed to go back to the animation basics that I learnt back in my second trimester, and use the excercises that I was given then and work on my timing, my smooth in and smooth out, as well as my follow through. I also needed to research facial animation, and more to do with follow through. I also wished to start looking into lip sync and hair animation.

Ideas and Reference

The ideas that had at the start of this specialisation project were very ambitious and it was soon discouraged by my lecturer, who encouraged me to do something that would have been more obtainable. However, though I did listen to my lecturer, I shall share my original idea here.

My first idea was to try and animate a short scene from a book that has never been turned into a movie or tv series etc. And the book, well, books, that I turned my attention to for this were the “Black Magician Trilogy” by Trudi Canavan.

Black Magician Trilogy covers

I thought it would have been interesting to try, so I collected a few reference images to add to my pitch, as well as draw my own short concept.

BMT Ref Ideas

Black Magican Trilogy_The Novice_Arena Fight

However, with that idea being pushed aside, I had to find new ideas for my new project. So I found all the animation exercises that were given to me back in my second trimester and looked though those to see what I could attempt again, I also came up with a few new ideas that I could make.

exercisesSC

Ideas that I came up with were a small things like testing cloth animation, hair animation, and animating something from an old script that I wrote in Grade 10. I also wanted to test facial animation.

So I looked up reference for this. Here’s a few of them, so that I don’t fill up a scroll bar of images.

Workflow

All the artists that I have seen on DeviantArt have used the same workflow for their art, and I believe that I can convert that workflow from digital still images into animation. The artists that I have watched and asked will often draw the rough sketch, sometimes this is on paper, then sketch over that in a paint or photo manipulation program, such as PaintTool Sai or Adobe Photoshop. After they finish the sketch, if it is a commission for someone, then ocasionally send the sketch to their customer and ask their opinion. If the customer wants changes then the artist will do another sketch, then ask again, if not then they do the line art. I have seen some artists in their live streams colour the background before completing the line art. After the line art is finished then they will add the colour, then shading. Speedpaints on YouTube show this workflow well.

I use this workflow with my own images already, so I feel comfortable using it. I have improved on my workflow over the years by asking artists questions, watching speedpaints like the video above, and watching live streams where I can type questions and get them answered right away. Now I just have to translate it to work for animation. I believe it would look something like this:

– Block-out animation
– Rough animation
– Second rough animation
– Line-art animation
– Colour added
– Shading added

I do not think I will be able to complete the whole workflow, just the first few steps, during this project, but just as I did with my art workflow, I shall continue to improve upon my animation workflow.

Practices and Techniques

As suggested by my lecturer, I picked up “The Animator’s Survival Kit” by Richard Williams, and it has been my bible for animation for the past weeks. It has many tips and tricks in it that I have looked at and tried to follow, and others that haven’t really stuck yet. I’m sorry Mr. Williams, but I’m afraid that I am unable to work in the dead silence that plagues my house sometimes. I need that music, even if the volume is only at 4%.

This book shows numerous ways to do one movement in animation, such as three catagories of sneaks, a recipe to a walk animation, and the different key poses in a run animation. There is also four pages of the same two frames of animation with different breakdown poses inbetween to change the way the expression is interpreted.

One of the most useful pieces of information that I found in this book were the pages on flexibility. “A great way to get flexibility is WHERE we’re going to place the BREAKDOWN drawing.” (Williams, 2009) These pages include the four pages of the same two faces with different breakdowns. The journey from the face going from one expression to another is all dependant on what emotion the animator wishes to convey. Such as making the mouth flat and bringing it up closer to the nose is a gulp, showing fear or aprehension, or making the smile larger and turning the head up slightly before going to the sad expression would be a show of false confidence. “This ‘simple overlap’ gives us action WITHIN an action. More ‘change’ – more life.” (Williams, 2009)

Another page that helped was the page with the breakdown of the run cycle. It helped me block out my own run cycle, though it isn’t perfect yet, and it has shown me the positions that I needed to draw for my animation.

Run Cycle Test

I probably need to colour the arms to make their movement clearer.

This book has also helped my with my “Mr Amazing Invinci-Ball” skit.

Mr Amazing Inviciball

Though it has no squash and stretch on it yet, it works in the stage that it is in now. I will get the squash and stretch finished on this one before my next blog post.

“The Animator’s Survival Kit” has been very useful to me so far, and I’m glad I was able to borrow it from SAE’s library.

Another source of information that I used for this project was the old lessons back from my second trimester at SAE, going back over all the principles of animation. It was very useful going back over the basics again. I don’t know how to reference the lessons, but I can reference the the YouTube playlist that each lesson was focused on.

The “12 Principles of Animation” video series by Alan Becker is a very good series to watch if you want to understand these principles quickly. The videos are only a few minutes long, but explain the topic well and get the point across easily.

I made animation tests that explored more into the principles, looking more into follow through and arcs.

Falling Person

I was looking at follow through here, trying to imagine the way that long hair would flow if someone was falling. It seems to have worked somewhat. Perhaps it would flap more wildly. I’m not in a position to ask someone to freefall safely however, so other animations, such as anime or cartoons will have to do for future research.

When looking at arcs, I tried my hand at a head turn again, going for a creature this time.

Kukuri Headturn

I think I made it a bit too fast, I could extend the two ends of the head turn so that there is a nice pause, breaking up the speed a bit. That would make this animation better.

There was a bit of research done into little details as well, I looked into cloth animation, to see how to animate cloth movement around a body. For this I found this tutorial on YouTube, that showed how to draw out the frames so that the cloth followed through more naturally.

When I tried to replicate this tutorial I tried on flatter cloth, just to get a feel for it first, and not have to worry about folds.

Cloth Test

I don’t think I really succeeded here. It’s a bit stiff, and very unnatural. This requires a lot more research into the topic before I will be entirely happy. Though this is a good first attempt, it seems very surreal. I might have been restricted by having two separate animations in the same loop, hence limiting the fames I had to work with, since they had to match in length to make a complete cycle.

Another thing I looked at was facial animation, and I looked up several clips from different anime such as “Sword Art Online” and “Assassination Classroom”, where the characters faces are very expressive.

I also went onto Pinterest and found a board full of different expressions for animation. So with the help of a reflective surface, I found one of the expressions on the Pinterest board and twisted my face to look like it, then tried to animate the expression in a suitable fashion.

Crying Test

There’s something off about this animation that I can’t place my finger on, I think that generally in animation tears aren’t looped, and just run down once and stay, signifying an endless stream of tears.

Looking into expressions also closely ties into lip sync which I researched a bit. The expression on the character’s face can change the meaning behind a sentence, just as the tone of voice that is used. The “Animation Notes #9” page of the Center of Animation and Interactive Media website explains the importance of body language in a character as well, the unnamed author says ‘give your character something to do during the dialogue sequence.’ (“Lip Sync Animation”, n.d.) Even the smallest guesture can show something about the character’s personality while they are talking, accenting details that give life to the character. The author of this webpage also states that ‘the delivery of the dialogue during recording will often dictate where these accents should fall.’ As such, you wouldn’t give furiously spoken dialogue to a depressed expression, just as a cheerful grin doesn’t match dead toned lines.

One article that has really helped was “10 best animation tips & tricks” by Kenny Roy on the CreativeBloq website. These are very useful points, some of them I discovered first hand how useful they were, such as ‘a mirror is a dangerous thing’. Roy states that it is very dangerous to use in lip sync, but in any animation, I have discovered, it is dangerous, as when you slow down your movement to try and capture it, you are far more likely to overexagerate the movement or even underexagerate it, making it less natural.

The last tip on this list is ‘do more of less’. And it suggests doing more shorter shots for practice, and to practice the length of shot that you are most likely to encounter in the industry, which Roy says “will rarely be more than 10 seconds.” I find this is a very good piece of advice that I believe my lecturers and old teachers have been trying to teach me for quite a while. My apologies to them.

Different Animating Software

During this project I also started looking at different animation software that I could use, other than Adobe Animate, to work around some of the limitations in Animate, such as brushes with very few size options and no opacity on layers. The first thing I researched in this was animating in Adobe Photoshop, which is what Aileen-Rose uses to create her animations. I found a tutorial on YouTube that explained the basics to animating in Photoshop. Hamilton Cline, the video’s author, goes into detail about video layers in Photoshop. I did manage to find the timeline window in Photoshop, while experimenting with one of my images that I have many layers on.

Timeline Window

I haven’t experimented further with this however, choosing instead to look for more software that I could use, but since I already own Photoshop, this seems to be the most viable option.

Another program that I found was Moho (Anime Studio), for $69.99. This program, in the Debut 12 version, allows for 2D bone rigging, contains a window that shows every variation of a body part so that they can be changed between quickly between the different poses, and tools that assist in the freehand drawing. Anime Studio also has a setting to do automatic lip syncing. This feature apparently lets you load in a sound file and Anime Studio calculates the rest. Anime Studio has a review on the Top Ten Reviews webpage, where it praised for having both beginner and pro programs. “The beginner program has a collection of tools that are tailored to novice animators. It covers the basics and gives you what you need to build a foundation in the art of animation.” (“The Best 2D Animation Software | Top Ten Reviews”, 2017)

Top Ten Reviews’ second listed animation software is Toon Boom. “Toon Boom has a huge and versatile toolbox for animators that provides many choices to customize the look and feel of your project.” (“The Best 2D Animation Software | Top Ten Reviews”, 2017)

Toon Boom Harmony

Toon Boom Harmony has many different animation tools to use, and looks like it is a great program for animators. It has a 21 day free trial, which is a tad strange, since most free trials are either 7 or 30 days. Toon Boom, like Adobe, is a subscription based program, starting at $15 per month for the Essentials pack, $38 for the Advanced pack, and $73 for the Premium. In comparison to Anime Studio, Toon Boom has a much neater appearance and appears to be easier to navigate.

Of these programs, Photoshop still seems to be the easiest to learn, mainly because I already have it, and am paying for it. Though in future, these other programs will be good to look at, even recommend to others looking for animation software.

This has been a very long blog post, perhaps not my longest, but still long. I hope I haven’t killed your interest. I’m sorry that this is so late and so long, this blog was meant to be in two parts, but I chose to place both parts in one post due to it being so late. So I thank-you for reading this long post, and I’ll see you all tomorrow.

~Icetail~

Reference
 – Aileen-Rose. (2017). Survive the Shadows – Welcome to the Shadows Rough Animation. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p96PcnvFYe0
Aileen-Rose on DeviantArt. (2017). DeviantArt. https://aileen-rose.deviantart.com/
GIPHY Studios Originals GIF – Find & Share on GIPHY. (2017). GIPHY. https://giphy.com/gifs/studiosoriginals-3o7TKoHNJTWWLgljYQ
Scream. (2017). DeviantArt. https://fantasyheart.deviantart.com/art/Scream-26675995
– WalkingMelonsAAA. (2017). Ultimate Undertale Speedpaint – (Full compilation) True Pacifist ((special info in description)). YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WTkeNGtfYw
– Williams, R. (2009). The animator’s survival kit. London: Faber and Faber.
– Windy hair animation. (2017). DeviantArt. https://watchtehtail.deviantart.com/art/Windy-hair-animation-408051019
– Emotions & Expressions Animation. (2017). Pinterest. https://au.pinterest.com/blind3ddd/emotions-expressions-animation/
– How to Animate Cloth (Keyframe Animation Tutorial). (2017). YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHuzPA6a0Uw
– Roy, K. (2017). 10 best animation tips & tricks. Creative Bloq. http://www.creativebloq.com/10-best-animation-tips-tricks-6113065/3
– Lip Sync Animation. Minyos.its.rmit.edu.au. http://minyos.its.rmit.edu.au/aim/a_notes/anim_lipsync.html
– Cline, H. (2017). Hamilton Draws Episode 5: Animating in Photoshop CS6. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAb-URz6qvA&spfreload=5
– Moho (Anime Studio) Debut 12. (2017). My.smithmicro.com. http://my.smithmicro.com/anime-studio-debut.html
– The Best 2D Animation Software | Top Ten Reviews. (2017). TopTenReviews. http://www.toptenreviews.com/software/multimedia/best-2d-animation-software/
– Toon Boom Harmony. (2017). Toon Boom Animation. https://www.toonboom.com/products/harmony
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Meet the Team Project: Animation Research

In the first week of this trimester at SAE, in my Studio 2 class, we were told that our main assignment was to be a Meet the Team video that was to introduce new characters into am existing franchise. We were split into teams based on whether we had chosen to do 2D or 3D animation, and then we decided on a franchise to create these original characters for. My team elected the cartoon “Samurai Jack” as our franchise.

This blog post has been made to discuss how I am to be going about animating the shots I’ve been assigned, however to do that, I should first show and explain my character.

Samurai Jack MTT character model sheet FIXED

This is my character, she is an ice mage. Of our characters, she actually has the shortest screen time. In the video she will be the apparent villain. And though I have designed four different views, she will only ever be seen from front on.

One of the requirements of the brief is that we rig our characters so the group had to then research 2D rigging, or puppet animation. That required to break my character a bit, so that she could be rigged. Here is her sprite model sheet.

Samurai Jack MTT ice mage sprite sheet

Now she can be rigged. Currently, she is rigged in accordance to Robin Fuller’s video on puppet rigging, using the second technique mentioned; parenting.

It works for me, and is easy enough to use, and makes the most sense. The set up is easy to. At least, in my opinion, it is so. It does everything I need it to do for this animation. It most likely wouldn’t be the technique I would use if I had more scenes to do with my character, or if I needed to animate some more complex movements, however, and there are more efficient ways of setting up a 2D character rig. Like the Duik tool add on for Adobe After Effects, which contains many advanced tools to make for easy animating.

However, for this project, I shall just stick with my parent rigging, where I have attached all the pieces of my ice mage, in a hierachy, starting from the torso, working outwards to her hands.

Here we have some of my reference images of my own hand in the position that I was drawing my casting hand in. Twenty photos and two videos got me the movement and poses that I needed, to have the ice mage casing magic. I can’t embed my own video’s to my blog post however, so I can’t show you the video reference.

Another piece of reference I used, was Khadgar, from Warcraft, in the Warcraft movie, when the main characters have their first altercation with the Orcs.

khadgar-as-seen-in-the-warcraft-movie

Now that’s magic. It is a good example of the hand movements in casting, although with magic, it’s hard to come up with an exact casting stance, since it would rely on the character’s personality and the situation that which they are in.

And now that all of that has been adressed, I’d like to leave off here by sharing some of my thumbnails for a few of my shots that I will be animating. The order is up down, left to right.

MTT Thumbs

I didn’t feel like drawing the mage again, so I took her model sheet and reconstructed her in each frame. With the arrows, I think I’m going to have to discover a better way of representing the movement through the air.

Well that’s all I have to say on this. Thanks for reading! And I’ll see you all in my next post!

~Icetail~

Reference
Blackburn R. FrostieHeart on DeviantArt. DeviantArt. 2015. Available at: http://frostieheart.deviantart.com/
Duik – Rainbox. Rainboxprodcoop. Available at: https://rainboxprod.coop/en/tools/duik/
Fuller R. After Effects puppet rigging tutorial. YouTube. 2013. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsuOXXEo9qI 
Jones D. Warcraft. Universal Studios, Blizzard Entertainment, Atlas Entertainment, Legendary Entertainment; 2016

CIU211 – Self-Refection of Creative Project

The following is a critical self-reflection of my creative project in the module CIU211 in my Animation Bachelor’s Degree. I am not criticizing the work of my teammates of this project, and should they be mentioned, it is only to add to the reflection of the project and choices I made during it.

poster_ciu_by_frostieheart-db7djm9

The major project in CIU211 was to propose, and then create, a piece of media, that would then be shared online. The topic of this piece of media had to be related to one of the weekly topics in class, and we could chose any form of media to present it.

I proposed a poster, challenging stereotypes and self-image, having read the lecture on mainstream media. My teammates liked the idea, and we began writing out the proposal for this task. When it was first submitted, our lecturer told us that the plan was vague and needed to be fleshed out, with facts, not just ideas. I had trouble finding the information that I was told I needed from scholarly websites and other reliable sources, I simply had no idea what to search for. My lecturer did however send useful texts that helped a lot.

When it came to creating the actual project, I, as the one who originally proposed the idea, became the project lead of sorts, and I delegated jobs. One of my teammates offered to make the poster, and so I gave her that job whilst myself and our other team member would do whatever other research was needed as well as find images to be placed in our poster. On paper, this was a well thought out plan, however this didn’t work in practice.

I, and I’ve been told that my teammates as well, prioritized Studio 1 (ANI210) over CIU. The studio unit was the bigger one, where there was teammates relying on me for assets, lecturers reminding us of our learning outcomes that we needed to have completed, and the emphasis on doing our mini-specialization projects. As a consequence, there wasn’t as much effort being put into the poster, it had been pushed to the side for assessment in another class. Because of lack of effort, the poster was not as good as it most definitely could have been.

In the last lesson of trimester, the class presented all the projects made, and we all marked each others works. Common comments on this poster were about the lines being too thick, the text not being necessary, the subcultures that we were trying to show not being clear enough. And to this, I completely agree, the lines were too thick, we, my group and I, acknowledged this when it was first posted into our slack channel, but my teammate who was making it said that she couldn’t fix it. I also agree that we probably didn’t need the text there, and it covered up a fair chunk of the image that could have been used as more of the image to help in bringing forth the point. And yes, I agree that the subcultures, and subsequently our main idea, were too hard to make out, there should have been more diversity and difference in each image that was placed in the broken mirror.

One idea suggested in that last class was to create a series of images to help convey our message better. This idea intrigued me, and I believe that it is a good idea, and if we had of had the time, we could have created a series of posters, a set promoting the question of “who do you think you are?” instead of just the single image.

In future I shall try not to present forward half-formed ideas and try to have a more solid idea to work from, or help someone else with their idea and leave my half formed ideas for a later date, at which time they would be better developed.

This ends my critical reflection of my creative project this trimester in CIU211. I hope I didn’t bore you all with this.

~Icetail~

http://frostieheart.deviantart.com/art/Who-Do-You-Think-You-Are-677517201
Also here: http://missjiav.deviantart.com/art/Identity-677532164

Character Creation: The Design

Vague descriptions be gone with my newest character: Seraphina. She is a dancing elf with many styles of dance in her repertoire. Her design wasn’t easy to nail down but in the end I think I did pretty good.

So meet Seraphina:

Seraphina Ref

This wasn’t just improving my character creation skills, it was also me working on my proportions (what are those?) and hands (I can’t draw hands, I know).

Sera’s design was based around the blood elves of World of Warcraft, the belly dancers of the middle eastern countries, and the Shuvani Romani Kumpania whom I have seen at the Abbey Medieval Festival here in Australia. Her pose is a mix between Celtic river dancing and ballet.

ThumbsWhen I was thumbnailing Sera, I found myself leaning more into the ballet, ballroom and the long flowing skirt style of romani dance. They worked more with what I need for my story. I liked the way the skirts would flare out as well, creating opportunities for great dynamic poses. I played more with skirts than pants in my sketchings as well. Thought in the end I went with the poofy genie style pants. In the sketches you can see below, I also played around with the star design, trying to make it a part of her. I’m not entirely sure if I succeeded in doing so, but I tried hard to make it a part of Sera.

Sketches

A major design reference that I used during this stage was Olivia from Fire Emblem Awakening. I was inspired by Olivia’s outfit, and the way it fits the character perfectly, showing her personality and is a good representation of her role in game.

When I was typing Sera’s backstory, I was trying to think of something that was interesting but not cliché. I tried to get it to a point where I could continue in a story with a good reference to personality, who she is, and what she values. I hope that I did a good job.

Name: Seraphina
Nicknames: Sera, Nina
Stage Name: Starlight Seraph
Age: 18
Occupation: Travelling dancer/Master Dancer

Race: Elf/Álfur
Eye Colour: Cyan
Skin Colour: Golden Brown
Hair Colour: Dark Red
Height: 159cm
Weight: 56 kg

Seraphina grew up surrounded by the dancers and musicians of her father’s travelling group of entertainers. There she learnt and mastered many different styles of dance, her favourite style being Ballet. When her father retired, Sera took over as leader of the group, where she continues her family legacy in front of audiences everywhere.

In Seraphina’s group, your stage name is always given to you by your audience. When performing, she earned the name ‘Starlight Seraph’ from a band of pirates who described her as being as elegant as her namesake, the angels. This name became official when Sera was performing and the same band of pirates called her that, causing the other patrons to start calling her ‘Starlight Seraph’ as well.

Sera is bound by a marriage contract with one of the pirates whom are regular audience members. This contract guarantees the protection of Sera’s travelling group. Sera likes her betrothed, but refuses to show it, often giving her suitor cold glares as he tries increasingly extravagant ways of winning her over.

Seraphina’s sister, Rhapsody, chose music over dance, and often accompanies Sera as a master musician.

In this I also tried to iron out several story points that I will use. Such as Seraphina’s relationships, and who she works for/what she works as.

All up this was a fun experience, and I hope to continue improving my work and that I finally manage to finish a story. I shall do it! I will succeed.

Please leave a comment to tell me what you think! See you all next time!

~Icetail~

Research Blog
Seraphina Ref

Animation Bachelor Update + New Projects

Okay, so I’ve been wondering for a while how to post this, which do I talk about first? My animation degree or a new personal project I’m planning (and have started). Well I decided to start with my degree.

So hello everyone!

First off: my Bachelor in Animation. I am now in my fourth trimester and I have two classes, one of which is my first Production unit. I am required to post progress updates of all projects I do in this module on my blog, so you will be seeing some more of that soon. Another thing I am meant to do for this class is refining and developing my own skills, so I’m going do be working on my drawing skills, such as anatomy and character development. Leading of from this, I now have an excuse to continue a 100 theme challenge I started a while back where I restricted myself to one of my OC’s as to develop her character. So that’s what’s happening this trimester.

Now onto my own project, somewhat unrelated, but still somewhat relevant to my degree. I had this idea a few weeks ago to make a Hunger Games and Tales of Series crossover. So I did it basically. I used a Hunger Games generator to reap selected characters from the Tales of Series and then I just generated the events that happened and screencapped them.

Here is my reaping:
tales-of-hunger-games-reaping

First I’ll be drawing just an image with all my tributes. Personally; I’m rooting for District 1 or 6 here. I will post the arena events when I get up to drawing them. Here is the progress of my first image:
the-tributes-wip

To link you to their wiki pages, from left to right we have: Giselle Oslo, Jade Curtis, Zelos Wilder, Raine Sage, Rita Mordio, Yuri Lowell, Alfred Svent, Elize Lutus, Fylk Zadeya, Alisha Diphda, Uphim Welkps, Velvet Crowe, Leon Magnus, Ilene Remembrant, Reid Hershel, Farah Oersted, Cress Albane, Arche Klein, Saleh, Claire Bennett, Emil Castagnier, Marta Lualdi, Asbel Lhant and Pascal.

In future blog posts I will be using the names that are most said in-game, not their full names (or in the case of Seraphim/Malakim, true names). Comment below to tell me who your hoping to win.

That’s all I have for now, I will post again soon when I have more of the image above complete. See you all soon!

~Icetail~

Reflective Blog Task -Your Professional Identity

It is now reaching the end of the twelfth week of trimester, and next week, week thirteen, is last week of trimester. It has been an… interesting trimester to say the least, with two CIU classes and Production 1, insanity might be a good way of describing it all. And at the end of this twelfth week I find myself reflecting on the very first week of trimester. The quote “I open at the close”, from Harry Potter, comes to mind, but I suppose that isn’t exactly correct… more like I close at the ‘open’. Week one’s lecture was about an overview of our module for the trimester, as well as “your professional identity”. Barring the overview, I wish to reflect on my professional identity as well as what professional identity means.

In the first online lecture, it was made very clear that throughout the thirteen weeks we would be learning skills that would assist us in interacting with industry practitioners and future employees. The online lecture kept comparing all the disciplines of SAE Qantm, showing us how they were the same. One thing that really stood out to me in the lecture was the heading “no future”. Underneath this heading is a singular paragraph talking about how it is common for people working in new media to not be able to imagine their future. I must say, that I have no clue where my knowledge in animation will take me, nor do I know what I want to do with it. I enjoy animation a lot, and over the Christmas/New Year break, I know that I will be continuing to play around with Adobe Flash/Animate and Adobe After Effects. Eventually I hope to write a novel then animate the scenes in it, so the story may come to life, but for now that it but simply a dream.

For the classroom lecture for the first week, our lecturer asked us how we would respond to certain scenarios online. These questions were interesting and certainly made the whole class stop and think. One question, which I’m almost sure has been a recurring question several times in the past twelve weeks, was “what kind of person do you want to be seen as online?” My answer to this question? I want my online presence to reflect me and who I really am, I don’t want to hide behind false identities. My pen-names should just be an extension of me not an entirely new me.

frostieheart-logoWith this answer comes the question – how should I act? What is my ‘Professional Identity’? Hard question, and my answer is; I don’t know yet, at one point I might of said that my ‘identity’ is Icetail of WindClan – Meta-If (that is WAY too long) more recently I might tell you that FrostieHeart is my identity or perhaps I’d claim that my name is Renée Anastasia (comment to ask the meaning behind that name – interesting story how I came to use the name). Last year during my final term of grade 12 I would have answered with “FrostieHeart Design” and then proceed to tell you about my Media studies assignment, where we had to build a brand and website for ourselves. It was never of course published, though I did consider setting the logo I created as my DeviantArt ID. Most of these names do not have or are losing their connection to me and fading away from my identity. Reasons for this can be, in the case of FrostieHeart design, just an assignment and meant nothing to me in the first place, or just a name that used to mean something, but isn’t apart of who I am anymore. I did touch on previous pennames in my last blog post where I spoke briefly on how they were once related to me.

There are many things that I need to work out, both about myself and my art, before I can start to work out my Professional Identity. I am still a student in a Bachelor’s degree in Animation, trying out new techniques and improving my own art style. It is highly likely that my identity will change many times before I settle on one solid identity, and even after I find that identity, I know that it will continue to evolve.

This concludes my final reflective blog post, but that hardly concludes this blog. I hope you marvelous readers will continue to read and support my blog for as long as I post on it.

Until next time!

~Icetail~

Week 1: Overview & Your “Professional” Identity – Self-Directed Practitioners. Medium. Retrieved 9 December 2016, from https://medium.com/self-directed-practitioners/week-1-overview-your-professional-identity-d3037f34cb8e#.jp1pepvo8

 

Reflective Blog Task – Social Media

Social media is a big part of the creative industry. It practically drives the creative industry, as it allows companies to advertise new products they come up with, as well as communicate with employees, clients and job applicants. However, despite knowing this, I find myself hesitant to use social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and other sites like the two I have mentioned. If you haven’t guessed from the title, or from this paragraph, the lecture that I’m reflecting on was about social media. Week 3 of this trimester had much to say about the importance of social media to the creative industry.

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Before I get any further, I would like to make this note to readers; I noted in class last Friday that I should have elaborated more on my use of DeviantArt in my last reflective blog, however, as I sat in front of my laptop typing, the thought came to me that that information fits better in this blog post, instead of where I was trying to fit it.

Image result for we now return to our regularly scheduled program

What is social media? And more importantly, I think, what is social media to me? To answer the first question, I think that I need not go any further than a quick Google search of the definition.

Straight from searching “social media definition”, the result I get is this:

Related imageSocial Media
Noun
Websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.

This definition describes websites such as Facebook, Twitter, DeviantArt and FanFiction.net. I will get more into these sites soon.

To me however, social media is a complicated thing. I do not class Facebook or Twitter as the same kind of site as DeviantArt or FanFiction.net for the simple fact that the information shared on all these sites is different.

Image result for facebookI don’t like Facebook. The only thing I use Facebook for is it’s Messenger app, and occasionally looking at the Facebook page for one of mobile games I play. I got my Facebook account a few years ago, and when I first used it I thought it was cool, but eventually, due to people typing hate at each other and bringing drama from school into their status posts, I started avoiding the website, trying to use Skype to communicate with my friends, but I found that hard when everyone uses Facebook. Because I don’t like Facebook, I find myself hesitant to participate much on Twitter. I have been told many numerous that social media is important in the creative industry, as the lecture for week 3 said; it allows you to promote your work online in a place where everyone can view it. Despite knowing this, I still hesitate to rejoin the Facebook community or take part in the Twitter community.

On the other hand, I have no problem at all communicating with artists and authors on DeviantArt and FanFiction.net. I suspect that this is because I don’t know who anyone is, and I’m not hearing about their problems all day every day. Not that I won’t help people with their problems, but I can only do so much before it’s out of my hands.

On DeviantArt I am free to share my art, comment on other’s art and have my art commented on. The feedback from other artists is inspiring and is very often encouraging. On FanFiction.net, reviewers always make sure to make their feelings known, though those feeling aren’t always the nicest comments (most of the time they are), they will more often then not give you advice on how to improve, even if it’s not always worded in the most polite way.

frostieheart-logo

Logo designed for high-school assessment

In the lecture, there were two questions asked: what name will I use, and what are the pros and cons of creating accounts under an alias? These were interesting questions questions that made me question why do I use an alias? What purpose do the pen-names “Icetail” and “FrostieHeart” serve me? Icetail is actually the second pen-name I have had, the first being Meta-If (if you have ever been on my first blog or seen my FanFiction.net profile back in 2012-2013). The only place where the name “Meta-If” still applies is FanFiction.net, where it is apart of my current pen-name (which might or might not change…). The name Icetail is one of my original character’s names from my fanfiction stories, and doesn’t do much for me in a professional sense. The name FrostieHeart, I didn’t come up with until two years ago in grade 11 when I got my DeviantArt account. Instead of using the name Icetail again I used the name of one of my World of Warcraft characters; Frostyhart (who doesn’t exist anymore sadly). While I might like these names at this current stage, I cannot see myself using them as a professional alias, they are too detached from my person to be so.

Image result for what is in a nameBut still I have to ask, what do these mean to me anyway? The name FrostieHeart probably means the most to me as a creator at this point in my life, as my current pen-name, though it has no particular meaning in general. I just thought it was cool, and it is so simple to change when I get tired of it. My real name means so much more to me. Rebekah, in Hebrew means ‘to tie or secure’, but that is inconsequential to the fact that it is the name that my parents gave me. I have come to believe that you don’t really have a name on social media, not if it can be so easily changed, merely you type a name into a small box and it remains your name until you change it, whether you inform your watchers or not is a choice that you make.

While it remains so simple to change a name on social media it is almost impossible to retain a single name, where your followers start calling you something, you eventually set that as your name, then you continue on for a few months or years until you feel so detached from the name that your followers have given you and you change your name to the next most popular name you get called, because your followers have changed and evolved, as a consequence they come up with a new name for you. It’s a form of never ending cycle that happens until you settle onto one name, your identity and brand.

However what I am going to dive into next falls under my final reflective blog task topic, being week one’s lecture on “Your Professional Identity”. I do hope you are not too bored with my blog posts, I’ve been enjoying typing them so far. Leave a comment to ask me anything you like, I will endeavour to answer everyone.

Until next post!

~Icetail~

Week 3: Social Media and Your Career – Self-Directed Practitioners. Medium. Retrieved 8 December 2016, from https://medium.com/self-directed-practitioners/week-6-social-media-and-your-career-21ec52b2b003#.cyoowm686