How do I become an Animator?

At SYF, we get a lot of emails from people wanting to know how we did this and that bit of animation in our films. In response to this we'll hopefully get around to posting up those much touted Behind the Scenes articles in the coming weeks.

'How do I become an animator' is another common question to SYF towers - and while we're all waiting for those articles I thought I would address it. It's a very broad question that could prompt any number of responses, but amongst the simplest and most charitable answers is watch stuff. It's common for animators to develop an obsessional enthusiasm for a particular moment of animation - a thrity second sequence, a movement of a single character, the motion of a single arm. I could list hundreds of such moments, that convinced me early on of my need to animate. What is even more inspiring, is when you discover that many of your favourite moments in different films, were animated by the same guy - and the connection you made between them wasn't just in your head.

Studying animation this way, identifying the sequences that really stand out from the rest of a film and discovering why they stand out, is hugely rewarding and will help you develop a steep learning curve. Its a school of study, however, that is hugely neglected. One guy doing his bit to redress the balance is Ben Ettinger, on his Anipages Daily blog.

I was inspired to write todays post because theres an article on Anipages looking at 3x3 Eyes, and in particular hilighting the work of Koichi Arai. It made my morning to discover that this one guy was responsible for some of the best vehichle work in Akira, the title sequence to Golden Boy, the bed escaping in Roujin Z, the arm-tearing moment and destruction of the tank in Ghost in the Shell, Sharon Apple's wings in Macross Plus and the rape scene in Perfect Blue.

That reads pretty much as a whats-what of the best bits from the best movies in anime! I can picture all of those moments with absolute clarity and identify exactly what impact some of them have had on me as an animator and a director, so big thanks to Ben for identifying the connection. I'm not ashamed to admit that I've watched Arai's work from Akira frame-by-frame, more than once.

Anyways, if theres any aspiring animators out there reading this, then give anipages a visit until we post those articles up. More soon...

SYF vs Wired

SYF have started a war against leading technology magazine Wired, on account of it amuses us to do so. It started when Wired shamelessly plaguerised an image from our ONE: A Space Oddysey, and used it in a double page spread in their February issue.

I responded on our behalf with this somewhat faceteous letter.

We have yet to reveive a reply from Wired, though in the following issue they did reprint the offending image at the top of their (fittingly titled?) 'Rants and Raves' letters page, accompanying an otherwise unrelated letter.

Bring it on!

DCA Magazine.

This is something we really should have reported on some time last year:

The SYF have featured in a fair few magazines over the years, but issue 21 of Digital Creative Arts really was the SYF issue. I provided the cover illustration and also a double page spread for the main article, which also features SYF graphics thoughout. Besides that we also get a mention on about eight other pages, including a company profile. And then, of course, there's a couple of our films on the cover disk.

It's published by Highbury and if you're interested I'm sure you can pick up a back issue...

Illustrations, Friday.

I did something like 680 drawings this month, but as is usualy the case with commisioned work, I can't really share any of it with you for legal reasons. Which is boring.

Somewhere along the way though I seem to have scraped together just enough down-time to do the odd sketch for meself. Below is a compilation of odds and sods from the last two months. Some are from magazines, and some were done around East Londons trendy coffee shops and booze hovels. Though I couldn't tell you which are which. More to come soon...

Oblogatory First Posting

Hello, and welcome to the official Spite Your Face blog. My name is Tony Mines, one of the Directors of SYF, and in these pages I'll be keeping you up to date with news of our activities. There might be behind-the-scenes info coming up, or it might turn into a production diary, with new projects in the works. We'll all have to wait and see.

At the same time, this will also be my own personal blog and I'll be posting up new illustrations, and some musings on animation in general.

So why blog?

People who know me are probably wondering "why on earth is he wasting his time blogging?", and people who don't know me are probably asking "who are you anyway?"
Of course, that's assuming anyone ever reads this at all.

I guess the answer to both of those is that it's an inevitability. Its inevitable because I'm an opinionated big mouth, and it's inevitable because the whole animation industry seems to revolve around blogs lately. I know that I, for one, read several blogs regularly - like Amid Amidi's excellent news source Cartoon Brew, Benjamin Ettingers AniPages Daily , and of course there's that bastard son of a thousand maniacs John K. This to say nothing of the blogs of good friends like David Freedman, Jay Smith and those crazy hipsters at Errorware. So who are The SYF to stand in the way of the blog revolution?