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Unleashing Creativity with Personal Animation Projects

ben marvazi 2020

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It's not the style that motivates me, as much as an attitude of openness that I have when I go into a project.

Herbie Hancock, Musician

Personal projects are a special thing. A personal animation project is a magical space in an otherwise literal and pressured world where success is achieved the moment you start and satisfaction is measured by input not gain.

Personal projects have many benefits both physical and quantifiable. They ad to your resume, they build practical skills, and they often lead you to network with people that would otherwise not have been on your radar.

Although the practical gains are wonderful, personal animation projects have a greater wealth to offer. Working on personal projects develops innate skills. It leads you down a path of discovering yourself. It breaks down barriers and builds creativity.

By re-learning the practice of doing something for the sake of doing it, through personal projects, you tame an unruly mind and that is an incredibly valuable, transferable, and rare skill!

In this blog, we will focus on how personal animation projects promote and develop creativity. As creativity is such an abstract concept we will discuss physical actions that will free up your mind and allow it to do what minds do … come up with creative ideas!

Personal Animation Projects: Practice Leads to Possibilities

boy bouncing a table tennis ball on a table tennis racket

GIF by kakoka1pro via Tenor

Technical artistic ability is the gateway to creativity. It is the nature of creativity to elude its seeker when the mind is strained. Once you free up the mind creativity rears its head. But don’t pay it too much attention or it will scurry away.

View yourself as an artist and your personal animation style as your medium. You need to master your medium, know how it behaves, and the rules it has to follow. When you struggle with animating, the very method by which you are trying to create, creativity will be hard to come by.

A drawing tool, animation software, and even your pen and paper must enable you, not constrain you. This is achieved through practice and practice alone. Any personal animation project is an excellent opportunity to practice your skills and technical abilities. 

When the process of animating and putting your ideas to the proverbial paper comes easy, the mind is freed up and now can wander. When you know the rules inside and out, you know how to break them in a way that works. You can iterate your ideas quickly running less risk of dousing your inspiration.

Completing personal animation projects is also practice for the entire product cycle you probably follow when working with a client. It refines your project management skills and builds up confidence in your set time frames.

Using time effectively will relax you and result in orderly, well-managed animation processes. This healthier state of functioning will undoubtedly be conducive to a creative mind.

Quantity Leads To Quality Animations

girl character standing with her hand open and all her personal animation works are coming out onto paper

GIF by Upamanyu Bhattacharyya via GIPHY

This might sound counterintuitive. We have been told time and time again how, in various areas of our lives, we should forego quantity and only focus on quality. In the case of creativity, this is inhibiting advice. Just as your personal animation skills need to be practiced. The act of being creative needs to be practiced too.

Many studies have been done on creativity and its origins and all point out that techniques can be applied to enhance and cultivate your creativity. In most cases, these techniques and practices work with your mind and so repetition is the key to success. You need to build up your creative thinking resilience. 

Personal animation projects are the perfect way to animate and animate a lot. There is no pressure on the output and you can animate simply to animate. Personal animation projects also do not have to be full-length animated stories. It can be one element doing one movement. It only needs to facilitate what you are trying to repeat.

Looney Toon's animator, Chuck Jones once asserted that you have to draw 100 000 bad drawings before you manage to draw a good one. We are fed so many ideas each day and without noticing it, get stuck in repetitive ways of thinking.

Animating, animating, and animating for personal animation projects, purges all these bad ideas. In the process, you develop an extensive animation portfolio but most importantly, it gets rid of all the noise and then finally you reach a creative gem.

Personal Animations are a Meditative Practice

creative colorful patterned person sitting cross legged and mediating

GIF by Trippyogi via GIPHY

We touched on a still mind creating space for creative thoughts but the subject calls for a lot more to be said.

Taking part in an artistic activity like animation can be a cathartic practice. It can serve the purpose of relaxing the mind, clearing the mind, and allowing you to enter a trance-like state. Before the word “trance” scares you off, trancelike simply refers to a way of being where you are not aware of any thoughts in your mind.

Approaching a personal animation project in this way positions the animation project as an act of meditation. The creativity you seek and which will surely be unlocked is not needed to help you with that specific project. 

This type of personal animation project unties knots you experience elsewhere in life, and probably more relevant, knots you experience in your work as an animator. 

Tibetan Buddhists have an art practice in which they design and layout massive, intricate mandalas with colored sand. At the end of very long prose, the sand is simply swept up. The act of creating a mandala is not to create a mandala but to engage the mind and our innate human nature differently.

By participating in a personal animation activity, which is remedial enough that it does not require you to actively think or problem solve, yet intricate enough to require complete focus, you can achieve those sparks of imagination and lightbulb moments.

Personal Animation Projects Unlock the Creativity you Already Have

girl lifting the top of her head and the universe explodes out

GIF by Fran Borzea via GIPHY

Creativity is a human condition. Unfortunately throughout our ‘growing-up’ we pack away our creativity to make room for sensibility. We exchange fun for practicality. The incredibly positive thing is that our creativity is never lost. It will always reside in us, dormant until we go and say, “I’d like you back”.

True creativity is about foregoing all conditioning. There are no do’s and don’t. This is why personal animation projects are so conducive to fostering our imaginative spirit and strengthening our creative muscles. 

Personal animation projects are exactly as the name suggests … personal. You are not expected to make sense of or explain yourself. You do not have to subject your ideas to criticism. You are under no pressure to execute any animation that does not set your soul on fire!

Approach this kind of project with no set anything! Allow the project to dictate the time it takes. Allow the project to tell you what it wants to become. Surrender all control and follow the impulses of your ideas. 

A lot of the freedom that personal animation projects allow for can also be obtained when you are your own boss. If this idea tickles your curiosity have a look at How to Start an Animation Studio or join our Business Accelerator program. 

If you need some more inspiration before you venture to become an animation studio owner, watch our free masterclass or download a copy of our free marketing handbook.

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