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Last month I had the opportunity to go back to my grade school, St. Agnes, and talk to the eighth grade art/computer classes about animation and graphic design. Having never formally presented or talked to anyone about what I do for a living, I found it to be a great experience. The kids are now learning basic animation and computer art programs during their computer classes. This is great because it gives them exposure to different creative mediums and technologies that they otherwise would have no idea about.

I first showed my demo reel from school. I figured this would at least grab their attention given that it had some funny character animations. They seemed to enjoy that and actually applaud me after. Then I showed them how I developed certain characters, the process of modeling, building a skeleton and controls for a character and planning out an animation. Next I gave examples of some of the work I have produced here at CurrentMarketing since I have been back in town and talked about how 3D modeling, animation and compositing can be used in the advertising industry. Being able to see some of the work for the Kentucky Derby Festival was a great way to show them a local use of 3D mixed with graphic design. They really enjoyed that.

I also wanted to let the kids know that the programs I use are available for free download to students and that there are countless resources online for learning these programs. I wish I had been exposed earlier to 3D software or even knew more about the industry. Being from Kentucky, we don’t have many companies or individuals that do this kind of work, so the likeness of being exposed to it is slim. With technology rapidly growing and more options of software available, kids in grade school and high school need the opportunity to get familiar with some of these programs if they wish to pursue this as a career. I only wish I had that opportunity or been told more about the industry as an early student.

Talking to the kids was great, but it was equally enjoyable to walk through the halls of my old school. My favorite teacher Mrs. Snyder came down to see me, and our librarian Mrs. Johnstone remembered me. She actually said, “you used to draw pictures at the most inappropriate times,” and added how fitting it was that I became an animator. Out of all the kids I talked to, there only seemed to be two that were possibly interested in learning more about animation and 3D. So I hope I was able to give them some information and motivation. I would most certainly go back next year and talk to the next class if asked and am now thinking about contacting my high school about doing the same there.

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