Wednesday, July 4, 2007

A bit of history

My interest in animation goes back to my childhood.

My mother bought Preston Blair's Animation book for the family in the very early 1970's and I still have that same book today, as well as another Blair book, How to animate film cartoons. My fascination with animation saw me experiment with building blocks and modelling clay using a super-8 cine-camera in the late 1970's.

Since then, my interest in the medium has remained but opportunities to indulge have been scarce. It's never really been an obsession but it's always lurked in the deep corners of my mind.

In 2005, being already accomplished in 2D graphics and fine art, I saw Victor Navone's Alien Song video which was fast travelling the world via email. I got the urge to have a go at some simple animation with the intention of one day having my own animation travel the world. Talk about ambition! I just wanted to draw some stick figures and use some software to put them together in a flip-book-style video. But what software?

I went searching to see if there was anything available for the Mac and that's when I discovered Blender. I ignored it at first - 3D was far too complicated for my simple needs - but it was FREE and a small download so I took the chance. Two years later and there's barely a day gone by where I haven't used, thought about, written about or discussed Blender. Now I am obsessed!

Bouncing Ball Animation
This was my first "real" animation and led to my first wiki tutorial.

I spend quite a bit of my spare time investigating and experimenting with the character animation capabilities of Blender and also drifting into other parts of Blender from time to time to see what else it can do. I've been a regular contributor to the Blender wiki tutorials, have some images in Tony Mullen's Introducing character animation with Blender book and also wrote a discussion chapter and tutorial on Shape Keys in the Essential Blender book recently published by the Blender Foundation.

My wiki tutorial contributions:
Bouncing Ball - Lip Sync with Shape Keys - Lattice

Interested in oil painting? See my fine art gallery here.

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