- Check out all the stuff on Animation Mentor
AM is filled to the brim with amazing videos and articles that will help
answer most of the questions you might have early on. Make sure you
go through all the items in the library and check back each week to
see if anything new has been added.
- Clear your browser cache weekly
While not always necessary, I have found that at times new items won't
show up on the AM site until I have cleared the cache. Now I make a
habit of doing it weekly so that I don't miss the new rigs or videos.
Here's a link on how to clear the cache for most of the current browsers.
Wikihow - Clearing your Browser Cache
- Get to know your fellow students
Animation Mentor is not just a place to learn about animation. It's also a
great community of people who all love the same thing; animating.
So take this opportunity to get to know your fellow students. Most
will be a wealth of knowledge and make your time in AM even more
spectacular. It's also a great idea to try to comment on people's
work as much as possible. Not only will it help them out and give
them a reason to comment back on your work, it will also help you
train your own skills by analyzing other people's work.
- Visit and subscribe to the AM Community Center
This forum is a great place to get news and tips for all sorts of things related to animation. It's also where you can find out where and when extra hangouts & Q&As are going on. These extra hangouts are an invaluable part of the AM experience where you can get to know people, have your work reviewed, and learn all sort of cool tips and tricks. To make it easier to keep up to date with whatever hangouts are going on, go to the "Community Hangout and Gatherings" page of the Community Center and hit the "Follow" button at the top right. That will allow you to get email notifications whenever a new hangout is posted.
- Ask your mentor what they want to see in the assignments
Each mentor is different and will want to see different things in the your
assignments. For example, my Class 2 mentor wanted to see a little
personality in the characters we were animating, whereas Cameron's
mentor only wanted to see the principles of the assignment, with no
personality added. Asking what the mentor wanted to see beforehand
kept us from going overboard with the assignments and also gave the
mentor more time to critique our work where it needed it since we were
already on the right track.
- Take notes
Don't just take a few notes in classes. Take a ton of notes! In class,
while reading a book, even while going out. (but preferably not when
driving. Notes are extremely helpful ways of remembering information.
Just the simple fact of writing something down seems to make it easier
to remember things. They are also a great way to keep track of what
you have to do next in an assignment.
Instead of keeping all the things you have to do in your head, I find
that writing them down then figuring out which ones I need to do first
and numbering them keeps me from bouncing between ideas and
helps to increase my productivity.
- Try to get something uploaded early
Probably the hardest tip to follow. (I still have trouble with it)
Getting things up early will of immense help. Not only will it allow more
time for people to comment on your work, it will also help keep the
stress down to a minimum when the deadline comes rolling along.
And don't worry if the work isn't perfect or not quite finished. The whole
point of getting critiques is to get other people's opinions and hope
they'll see something you missed. Waiting until the last minute before
uploading while trying to make the scene perfect will only make it harder
if someone notices something that needs to be changed.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help
AM is a wonderful community filled will people who want to help out. If
ever something is giving you problems or things just don't seem to
work, don't be afraid to ask someone for help, from your mentor, a
fellow student, writing in the forums, or by sending in a support
ticket. And don't worry if you feel your question is too simple or
basic. Almost every student has asked those same questions at one
point or another, and will gladly share the knowledge that was shared
- Keep it simple
This is probably the most important tip. And also one of the hardest to
follow. Almost everybody wants to flex their creative talents and try to
do something original, but that only hinders your learning . You'll have
plenty of time to get creative in the later classes.
For now it's better to focus on learning the principles of animation and
doing each assignment as best as you can. If the assignment asks for
a ball bounce, instead of having a ball bounce into the scene, then
hit a line of dominoes, activating a Rube Goldberg machine that
writes out "AM Rocks!", just focus on making the ball bounce as
convincingly as possible. If the assignment asks for the ball to be
a basket ball, use the extra time you save by keeping it simple to
study and research just how exactly a basket ball bounces. How much
energy does it lose in each bounce? How long does it dribble? How far
does it roll? These things will help make your work shine.
This also applies for rendering. You don't need to make the ball
photo realistic. In many cases, that actually makes it harder for
people to focus on the animation and give useful feedback.
You could also use the extra time you save to do the assignment over
again. It's amazing how much you can learn just by repeating the same
assignment over and trying different techniques.
learn lots of cool things, and make tons of new friends. It's going to be
an amazing adventure!