05 75,000 minutes and the Self Critical Eye – What everyone can learn from Character Animation

By Charlotte Knott, Senior Account Manager

Film, TV, Advertising, even brands on social media are using 3D animation and VFX every day.

In today’s world where the rapid development of the medium and its capabilities have become second nature, half of what we consume we probably don’t even realise is VFX, and if we’re honest, we probably don’t give a second thought to how quickly it has advanced.

But what actually goes into it? How has it developed and how long does it take to produce?

These were some of the questions addressed at last night’s inaugural TiltTalk curated by TILT and led by Max Tyrie, Character Animator. With over 20 years’ experience in the VFX industry, Max supervised animation teams on more than 25 major motion pictures whilst working at Sony Pictures Imageworks, including “The Amazing Spiderman 1 & 2”, “Alice in Wonderland”, and “Kingsman: The Golden Circle”.

Beginning his career when the art of animation was called ‘Electronic Image Making’ and Toy Story had just been released, Max compared the creation of film animation to snakes and ladders – with the approval of a shot moving up and down the animation hierarchy, with teams working in tandem to create the layers, shadows and textures.

Animation isn’t for the faint hearted. We learnt that every minute of Walking with Dinosaurs equated to 75,000 minutes of an animator’s work. That’s 1,250 hours, 52 days, over 10 working weeks. For just one minute (of admittedly, ground breaking animation) you consumed while eating your beans on toast in front of the TV.

Many of the skills essential to being a great animator can be applied to many industries – well-honed communication skills, an eye for detail and my favourite – a ‘Self Critical Eye’. Pre-empting criticism and observing your work from someone else’s viewpoint isn’t always front of mind, but really should be.

TiltTalks aim for their attendees to ‘arrive curious, and leave curiouser’.

And that, is exactly what it did. I will never watch an animated film in quite the same way again.

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