The rise in popularity in using technology for animation has brought about a subsequent explosion in creative output. For decades, animation was the preserve of a few who had the right resources and location to do it. That’s all changed though, and while today anyone can create, produce, and distribute animated content, many offer only excuses as to why they’re efforts do not produce results.
As I prepare to produce a series of shorts, it’s become clear that the same stumbling blocks that others have encountered, I also must overcome. Naturally time, money, and enthusiasm all play a role. but it wasn’t until I read this list of free animation software over on the NYFA blog, did it dawn on me that many obstacles are illusionary, and self-inflicted.
Although the amount of free animation software is not nearly as developed, or as popular as I would like (see this post), it’s nonetheless come a long way in recent times, and if Blender is any indication, it can only get better. Despite this though, many animators complain about having to purchase expensive pieces of software, and often use it as a crutch or excuse for not advancing their own projects. The NYFA post illustrates just how many options are available to animators and artists if they are willing and able to seek them out and exploit them.
I look at someone like Elliot Cowan, who completed an entire feature film almost by himself (here’s my review), and I see a lot of things evident in him, that are missing in many others. The usual clichés like vision, dedication, determination, and pragmatism are all present, but in conversing with Elliot and hearing him talk about how he made his film, it’s clear that actions count far more than words.
In focusing the lens back upon myself, I ask myself how can I use his experiences to my own advantage? What lessons can I learn and implement? What mistakes can I avoid?
I sometimes wonder if other creators contemplate such matters. You see plenty of students and young artists craving for advice and critique in regards to their art, but rarely, oh so rarely, do you hear them ask about what mistakes did someone else make, or how their artistic hero screwed up that one time. This is partly human nature; you always hear about how the winners win, never how the losers lose. This is despite the fact that lessons learned from mistakes are far more valuable.
To put all of this into perspective, artists and creators need to stop making excuses. Like the NYFA post outlines, the tools are absolutely there for everyone to use. Whether you are capable of doing so is almost entirely up to you; just don’t make excuses to cover up your own lack of drive.