Class went well yesterday. Teaching first semester Character Animation is oddly refreshing. Going back to the basics of motion and really breaking it down for the new students is gratifying so far. I like teaching the new crew coming in each year. Their fresh optimism and excitement for the material is infectious.

Afterwards I headed to Sheridan for my first Digital Painting class. Not knowing how bad traffic would be I ended up getting there about 45 minutes early and wandering around the old campus, awash in 9 year old nostalgia.

It was depressing. Let me rant a bit here…

Sheridan touted its “world-class” Classical Animation program in the 90’s and drew in tons of publicity for the school. They gathered tons of funding to create a new media building where Animation could thrive. The computer facilities shifted over to the new building but good ol’ Classical Animation, the bedrock that brought in the bucks and the kudos, is still in the exact same decrepit space it’s always been – looking dilapidated and uncared for. The Classical Animation wing looks like a broken down sweatshop. No posters are up, no inspirational materials on the walls – student desks look abandoned even though this is the busy Fall school season.

A notice on the wall mentions a meeting coming up in the auditorium to discuss the ‘problems with the 3rd year curriculum’, which didn’t really surprise me at all. Sheridan switched to a 4-year degree granting Animation program even after their industry advisors told them it was a pointless exercise. Animators get jobs based on their portfolios – a degree doesn’t make a lick of difference. Hell, most of the successful people I went to school with left the course early before they even graduated, forfiting their diploma for the chance to start working – it didn’t impede them in the slightest. What Sheridan doesn’t say is that Ontario has a cap on how much they can charge for diploma-granting courses and that their popular Animation program had already hit that ceiling. A degree accredited program has no such fee limitation in place. If hundreds upon hundreds are applying to get in, why not gouge them for thousands more each semester and stretch out the same learning material for an extra year? If they don’t like it, there’s always more unknowing students rotting on the waiting list willing to pay out the nose after they get in.

Of course the fact that a degree-granting program must, by law, be taught by degree-carrying professors didn’t sink in until they had to let go of many of their Animation teaching staff, quite a few of whom had graduated from Classical Animation back in the day with a diploma, not a high-falutin’ degree. How ridiculous and sad that their own experienced graduates can’t teach in the program.

Disorganized, disjointed and ghettoized – Sheridan’s Classical Animation program is not the same as when I went to school, and that’s not just nostalgia talking.

My first Digital Painting class went well. Most of the first class involved things I already knew, but I did learn a couple neat little Photoshop functions that will come in handy. An in-class sketch painting I did based on a photo we were given turned out pretty good. It took me about 40 minutes of puttering:

Afterwards, I drove up to the studio and planned Japan trip stuff with Erik. We chatted and laughed until deep into the night/morning. When I left I realized that the next time I see him we’ll both be in Japan. So weird.

Yesterday was long and filled to the brim – up at 7:30am but not in bed until 4:30am – leaving me feeling groggy, moody and unproductive today. I’m irritable about e-mails I’ve sent out to people that haven’t been responded to, probably more than I should be. I’m going to crash out early and try to get myself into a better headspace for tomorrow.

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