Blue ribbon

This was my first animation in NID(I was just 18). It was made for Monsoon Fiesta(my college festival) Our Visual communication team's color was Blue, hence the color centric animation. 
With all my teenage energy I started making a promo just to make a contribution to the team, but this experience gave me a highlight as to what it takes to be an animator. I love talking about this and I have mentioned this story to anyone who brings it up, seldom with watery eyes and nostalgia. But since campfire conversations are a myth amongst animators as no one wants to listen or animators are busy making ends meet, I putting this story here and casting the bottle in the vast ocean called 'the world wide web'.

 Being a so-called 'Enthu cutlet'(Enthusiastic Freak) that I am, I started making this promo partly to contribute to the team and mostly to make my mark amongst my peers. We hadn't even completed our basic animation course so I had no clue as to what I'm supposed to do to make an animation promo. I just knew that animation is a complicated version of a flipbook. 
I picked one of my favorite uplifting track by Alberto Iglesias, made a rough storyboard connecting different aspects of the promo with simple transitions.  It took approximately 600+ drawings in a span of less than a month to make the whole promo. I never anticipated that this is the amount of work that would be required. (Later I made sketchbooks out of those pages which I used throughout my college years.) 
As a rookie, my first lesson was that 'Just animating something is not enough to make an animation'. Obviously seeing the ocean of work I was drowning in, my friends decided to pitch help with coloring and inbetweens. (Specifically Trina, Wrik, Pooja K and Jyoti).  
The next step after drawing would be scanning the drawings. The problem with the automatic scanner was that it would create an unwanted line in the center of the page. So my seniors advised me to do it manually. As that unwanted line would damage the work put into making the promo. The animation Department at NID was kind enough to let me use 3 available scanners to do so. The next thing you know I'm prancing around the animation lab to the 3 scanners placed across the room keeping a track of page numbers for each scanner (example scanner1 - 1,2, 3,4 ... scanner2 - 51,52,53... and scanner3 - 101,102,103... etc). Also stopping my count for any normal user to share the scanner when required. I had no complaints, not yet at least. Meanwhile, Delwyn Jude Remedios promised me that he would help me to edit and compile the promo. At this point in my life, I hade never seen an editing software up close. I finished scanning and we were 2 days away from the deadline. 
Lesson 2- 'Seldom the problems that hinder the progress of creating something have nothing to do with the act of creation itself.' I must mention that this is happening simultaneously with regular classes. Regular at NID is quite hectic but in a good way.  So the next day between my classes I went to the animation lab with a bulky hard-disk to collect my scans, I was informed that all the computers were formatted and yes my scans were formatted too. I don't remember how I reacted, which only means I was fuming with anger. I returned to class pretending as if everything is normal. I don't think I ranted about it to anyone, just told everyone that I could not complete it because it was over-ambitious. 
Lesson 3 - 'A good idea and foolish one are 2 sides of the same coin, it takes a fool to identify them.' That is something you gain by the experience of several mistakes. Luckily NID is filled with a number of great fools. Priyankar Gupta one of the friendly faculties of NID was taking our course then, heard about what happened and came to me and said 'You can skip class, but you have to re-scan all the pages again and your promo HAS to be screened tomorrow.' At this point, we are one day, 600+ scans, editing, and compositing away from the deadline. I think that was the only push that I needed. So again I was prancing across the animation lab scanning my sheets and this time nobody else was allowed to use the scanner. 
Lesson 4 - 'You can find a million reasons not to do something, but it takes only one good reason if you really want to do something.' As I was on my last stretch of scanning my sheets I messaged Delwyn that I was done with my scanning and we could start editing soon. Unfortunately, he replied saying that he was sick, but he knew what the stakes were and he had no intention of abandoning me now. As I was wrapping up the final few sheets of scanning, my mind was already wondering as to what my next steps would be. Just then,  simultaneously several cellphones buzzed in the animation Lab with a message as if the telecom companies had pushed one of their cheap cellphone plans messages. And one at a time everyone who received the message came to me and asked me if I needed help. Turned out that Delwyn had asked everyone who he thought were capable of helping to help me with whatever help I needed. It goes without saying there was no way that this promo would not be screened now. 
We finally finished the promo 2 hrs before the deadline. Below is the promo that was screened. Feel free to tell me what you think about 'my first animation'.
My friends were under the impression that my promo was not going to be screened because I did not update them about the last-minute development. I figured it would be a good surprise. Which indeed it was. The 2 minutes of screening followed by the crowd's applause is one of the best moments of my life. Seldom when I lack inspiration or motivation I relive those few moments to get myself back on track. I feel after making this I have joined the clan of NIDian fool who understands what it takes to create something. 

And finally lesson number five, the most important one, the one that in many ways defined the path that I have chosen in life - 'Only a creator understands that any creation is way bigger than its creators or anything that any one of its creators can imagine.' 


Popular Posts