In-Depth Blog Post #3

A week after our first meeting, I had my second mentor meeting with D. Before this meeting, I talked to the animation teacher about borrowing the drawing tablet and animation software and he told me no. Apparently, lending the animation software is illegal and he can’t lend me the drawing tablet because he doesn’t have any extras. I understand his reasons, but I was slightly frustrated because he didn’t seem remotely interested in helping me or finding another way to assist me.

Because of this, D and I improvised another plan. I think this went well, because we adapted in the face of an obstacle. Since I can’t learn 2D animation, I will change my final product from a 2D animation to a 3D animation. Deon knows more about 2D animation than 3D animation, so we decided that she will teach me the general theoretical and artistic aspects of animation. In the background, I will use my online courses to learn more about the technical aspects of 3D animation. I will combine D’s knowledge with the knowledge I gain from the animation courses to create my final project. After I start working on my final product, D and I might spend some meetings working on smaller, 2D animations in the computer lab.

After recreating our plan for In-Depth, we jumped straight into learning. She taught me some theoretical aspects surrounding animation. Since we spent almost half the meeting talking about our new plan, she briefly taught me about camera angles, color palette, and lines/composition. A tool she used to help me understand during her lesson was a website called FilmGrab. Film grab is a database website that shows one picture from every scene in a movie. For example, Avatar would look like this:

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This website helped because we could see the movie’s color theme, and we could see common angles and composition through-out the movie. After explaining each concept, D would pull up a movie on film grab and test me on it. I had to think hard and test my knowledge, which allowed me to remember these concepts better.

D and I haven’t faced any relationship challenges in our meetings so far. Even from the first meeting, we got along really well. We aren’t cross gender or cross generational, so we can relate to each other and effectively communicate. I found that, because of our similarities, we could have a more casual, informal meeting, rather than a rigid structured one. With my popping mentor, we were cross gender and generational so when communicating online, we tended to be more formal with each other. An advantage with having a grade twelve mentor is that we go to the same school, and can host our meetings there, a safe location which we can both easily access. So far, we’ve met once a week, except the occasional week where D is busy with volunteering or other school related extracurricular. Our meetings usually take place after school, and we meet at the counselling area because it’s quiet and away from distractions.

When D was teaching me about the theoretical aspects of animation, I made sure to listen to her. Rather than constantly writing notes after every point she made, I would listen and then write one or two main notes every five minutes or so. Another communication strategy I used was repeating back what she said. If I was still slightly unsure after she explained something, I would paraphrase what she said so she could confirm whether or not I understood the concept. A strategy that D used to teach me was asking me questions. Even if she didn’t yet teach me the concept, she would ask me questions so I would have to think hard about the answer. For example, she showed me the film grab from Avatar, and asked me what I see in the colors. I made some inferences as to how the colors add to the movie, and afterwards she built off my ideas and explained to me how different colors convey different moods or add to the scene. When she asked me these questions, I had to take risks in my learning because I didn’t know whether my answer would be right or not.

We finished off the meeting by talking about our future goals. By next meeting, I will have a story idea for my final product, so that next meeting we can refine the story, characters, and any other aspects. Because next week’s meeting will be the last meeting before the break, refining the story will help set me up so I can work on animation over the break. I’m excited to continue working on In-Depth for the next few months 🙂

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