Me

Being Around Animation Artists

I am lucky enough to work with some insanely talented upcoming 2D and 3D artists. Seeing what they do and observing their thought process inspired me to come up with this entry.

Growing up, my favorite thing to do was watch cartoons. Still is. Scooby doo my favorite, looney toons, the old cartoon network shows. It was all for entertainment at first obviously, but later I came to be utterly intrigued by how they were created and as if the universe heard my cry of curiosity, I began working with animation artists.

I think of cartoons as a different world. A world with its own laws, inhabitants and its own creators (human beings).

Like everything else, there is a method to the madness.

 

  1. Story-line. The “When, Where, What, Who and How”. It is the most mentally involving and maybe the only one that happens throughout the production process.Changing this, adding that, getting rid of those. Etc. Once step one is done perfectly, everything else becomes a walk in the park.

 

  1. Design the characters and environment then put them together. From a short 1-2 minutes trailer (the one above), this took many days. It usually depends on the complexity of what is aimed for at the end. The longer you intend your film to be, the longer this step will take.

 

  1. Sound was introduced in animation by cartoonist legend, Walt Disney when Walt Disney studios produced SteamBoat Willie with a synchronized soundtrack in 1928. Since then, there are no more limits on sound in animation. Voice overs, background music, sounds from objects, etc. For instance, there are countless music and sound libraries on the internet used as the source for sound in animation. This has even become an industry on its own.

SteamBoat Willie

These are vague explanations on the steps that go on behind the scenes in creating animation/ cartoons.

I think this is probably the most creative field out there and the best part is that it is controlled by a person’s imagination. Meaning no rules or limits. It is also the fastest growing industry.

Technical details coming soon… Look out for the next article.

Animation Evolution

Till the next time. Xoxo

Writer’s Block and Overcoming It

I picked up my laptop 1000 times over the past few weeks and 1000 times I have put it away with blank pages for drafts. So today being a holiday, having a slow day and still in my pajamas, I thought I’d just pick it up and write whatever comes to mind. Writer’s block. The irony.

Writer’s block is staring at the blinking cursor on my blank page and becoming frustrated. Writer’s block is spending weeks looking for inspiration and coming up with nothing. Writer’s block is coming up with a topic for an article, getting two to three lines down then getting a brain fart and completely going blank. If you write, the you’ll realize it is the worst feeling a writer or an aspiring writer would experience. To be honest, it makes me dizzy.

I am picking up a few pointers on how to overcome it, or rather not let it take over my vibe. Here’s what I have on my list so far:

  • Go outdoors

I do not mean climb a mountain, just sit outside your house or office, go for a walk, walk to somewhere instead of driving. Be outside and not inside a building or vehicle. This clears my head and helps me think straight without any frustrations. When it’s raining do the next best thing, watch a nature channel like national geographic. It’ll make you feel like you are outside 😛

  • Read something

Could be anything relaxing. A novel, a comic, or if you’re not much of a reader, watch something. Ideas tend to pop up when your mind is in its relaxed state.

  • Write down your topics

Writing down ideas for topics you’d want to explore and number them according to which one you’d want to start with, then start researching and writing drafts using pen and paper. As this process continues, you won’t even remember you had writer’s block.

  • Exercise and eat healthy

No, I am not trying to be a health guru, but my mind works best when my body is healthy, and I think that’s how the human body in general works. I bet it would be good for anyone. A healthy body = a healthy mind = an endless pool of ideas.

  • Read related content

Get inspiration from other writers. Could be blogs, books, magazine articles or videos. We don’t know everything. A little inspiration goes a very long way.

  • Just write

Lastly, a wise person once told me to just write. Take your notebook or your device and just write away. Whatever comes to mind, get it out. This post was not premeditated, planned, or thought of. I just took my laptop and started typing my fingers away.

 

Goodbye writer’s block, till next time. Hopefully not.

 

 

BEING IN THE INDUSTRY

One day a few months ago I got an email about an interview I had taken for the position of software developer, I had gotten the job. I was thrilled, but only for a moment, then fear came over me. I had been used to the safe shell that was school, where all that was expected of me was only completed assignments and good grades. This was a complete change, and I was freaking out.

During these past few months, not only have I learnt a lot in programming, but also about myself. Still am.

To the person who is not familiar with it, programming may sound complex, complicated, convoluted, confusing, and any other word you can think of. Heck, I thought it was madness.

METHOD TO THE MADNESS

The long, endless, messy probably gibberish looking lines of code is only a means to an end. That end is finding a solution to a problem. Now that part seems familiar doesn’t it?

We face problems all the time in our daily lives. Problems are anything that need our attention. Like figuring out what to wear in the morning, or for an evening out, deciding what to make for your family for dinner, etc. The solutions to all these ‘problems’ are influenced by the circumstances and factors around at that moment. Dinner will depend on the ingredients that are available in the fridge and pantry. Our outfits this season are affected by the weather. In short, the solutions are the best and most efficient for that problem.

And that is basically  what programming is. Finding the best solution to your problem, with what you have.

BUGS AND PULLING MY HAIR OUT

 

Some days if not most, I hit wall after wall after wall trying to point out bugs (flaws or abnormalities in a computer program)  and to  be honest it makes me  feel like pulling my hair out then I remember that will be quite painful and unpleasant. Software development evolves around debugging (detecting and correcting bugs). Is it frustrating? Yes! But the feeling of accomplishment that comes after correcting that itty bitty error that caused your program not work is so satisfying. It even makes me smile for the rest of my day or night.

There are tools that are designed for finding the errors in your program for you. Like Eclipse Debugger, Firefox Javascript Debugger, Microsoft Visual Studio Debugger, etc. I have only used these while in school. but now I prefer doing it the old fashioned way. Finding out what my error is, asking everyone’s closest friend, Google, looking for the most effective solution, then going to my code and fixing it. I don’t know if other developers prefer this or something else, but I go for options that make my life easier and my process faster.

What I am learning to master to get me through a day of programming because for sure I will have to tear down some walls, is patience with myself. Sometimes we expect to know so much until we forget that we are human. Mastering your craft takes time. It took Leornado Da Vinci 2 years to complete the mural of the last supper, and 3 years to finish the Mona Lisa. No one can just wake up and expect to solve everything in a day. If you do, you will literally pull your hair out.

 

JOURNALING IN PROGRAMMING

I enjoy journaling. Writing down my thoughts, goals, reliving my day at night or just outright scribbling with no sense of direction. It puts my mind into perspective and makes me feel grounded.

It is so frustrating to go through someone else’s program that is undocumented. It’s like when someone asks you to meet them somewhere you have never been before and they don’t give you the directions. I would not want to put anyone through that, so I try my best to document my code to the point that anyone would understand and the fact that I enjoy journaling, this comes almost easily. No one programmer will work on one program for the rest of his/ her career. As it grows, you will probably have to bring in other people on board and since they were not with you from the birth of the software, they will not be familiar with almost everything. Explaining to your new team by word of mouth every single time is annoying and monotonous, so make your work easier by documenting it, and not just anyhow, but so that even non-developers can understand it.

Nobody would want to be left on a pitch dark road with no light and told to find their way home.

Documenting is the most important thing a developer would need to do. Think of it as a manual to a new device (though people rarely read manuals these days, anyway, it is the only reference I could think of.)

SMILE A LITTLE

Life is all about those little moments. Doing what makes you happy, feeling accomplished by the smallest of tasks like crossing off a to-do on your list. To stay in the best of moods while I am working, and even when I am not, I try to take note of every achievement. It may be irrelevant to my boss or any other person but it is of great significance to me. For instance I may be getting errors when I try to run a program and then spend hours trying to find what the problem was only to discover I had misspelt something  in my code. Fixing that will not mean anything to anybody else, but it will for sure be one of the things that will make my day.

You’d be surprised by how much noticing the little things would make you extremely efficient at your work and even increase your concentration. Other than that, you will enjoy what you do and walking into the office everyday. Try it. Your life will be extremely simple without putting any effort.

 

STRETCH

Lastly, put yourself out there in terms of wanting to grow. Learn as often as you can and for sure you will not be disappointed.

 

It has only been a few months, but I have never been happier. Can’t wait to see what my next major milestone will be.

Until next time!!

 

2018!!

2018 is here with us and this post is already long overdue.

I try making resolutions every new year but for some reason, (and I know I’m not the only one), I always forget about them, or lose the book I had written them in. This year however, I decided to do things a bit differently. I decided not to write them down and not to call them resolutions, but goals instead, because for me that reduces the pressures a bit 😀

One of my goals this year is to maintain consistency in my blogging which I found really hard to do last year. I used to think content is key to blogging, but then with consistency, content just comes automatically.

So definitely this year I’ma shift gears and work on my my consistency.

Cheers and happy belated 2018. 😛

Hello World!!!!!

Anytime I decide to try out something for the very first time, be it a new book, a new recipe or a new coding tool, I experience a whole bunch of emotions at the same time, more like an adrenaline rush actually because I’m not sure what awaits me. I even doubt myself sometimes, more times than I can count and yet I decide why not? There is always a 50-50 chance I might end up loving it or hating it but I’ll never find out if I curl up and stay in my comfort zone.

 

As a computer science student, I get to discover and try out something new everyday. Few times because I have to but most of the times it’s because I want to. I want to be the girl that changes the perspective of Computer Science from something that seems so complex and intimidating to an experience or a journey that is exciting, fun and jittery (in a good way). I want to share my Computer Science journey that has so far rocked me to my core, my perspective from where I’m standing (as a girl in the tech world); all the wonderful moments that come when I get to launch a website online, when an app I’ve been working on is finally working and even the frustrating moments that come when I can’t figure out where a bug in my code is.

So here’s to the beginning of a new tech blogging journey:)

Cheers!