Paying Respect To The Animators Of The World From A Newhouse Entrepreneur

Paying Respect To The Animators Of The World From A Newhouse Entrepreneur

As a child, I primarily enjoyed watching cartoons on television. From Spongebob Squarepants to South Park, animated shows have always appealed to me, but I never truly understood what went on behind the scenes. Now with my news media startup DOodle the NEWS (follow us!) hitting the digital media landscape, I’ve seen myself taking a stab at animation, and I have to say it is incredibly challenging.

For me, I’ve always loved and respected animation, but always knew how time-consuming the process could be. Sure, crappy animation quality like South Park allows that production team to crank out episodes in about a week, but fine-tuned, 24 frames-per-second animation like the Simpsons can take upwards of a year per episode. The sheer amount of time these teams take to put these shows together astounds me, as I never realized how hard these people worked to enrich my entertainment growing up.

Now at Newhouse, I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to work with some brilliant animators. For instance, I managed to squeeze in a semester at the tail-end of Professor Larry Elin’s career in Syracuse (we miss you out here in the cold! I still use your laptop bag 🤜🏾🤛🏻). Although I took Industry Forces and not an animation course, he provided unforgettable stories detailing the intricacies of animation copyrights and distribution. If Professor Elin decided to stick around for the Spring semester, I would have had a class with him in TRF 600: Visual Effects: Compositing. I’m sure Professor Elin would have a strong command for the course, but I feel like I lucked out with his replacement.

Professor Jason Webb has done a fantastic job so far in TRF 600, as he’s even gotten someone as stubborn as me excited to dig deeper in the Adobe Creative Cloud. We’ve only met for class a handful of times so far, but I’ve learned so much about animation theories and techniques. Making an object appear as real by manipulating visual effects to match what a viewer’s interpretation of consistency is in a tooniverse takes time to learn, but the skills become readily available once practiced.

To be completely honest, this class scares me. Every time we’re in a middle of a lesson and I begin to fall behind, my anxiety kicks in and I disassociate. Professor Webb must have a sixth sense for students having a hard time, as he is readily available to help even when you least expect it. I almost gave up entirely on an animation lesson involving a clown fish being chased by a shark, but Professor Webb put me right back on track to complete the activity.

It humbles me to accept that I don’t have a natural understanding of this field. I typically sway away from things that pass a certain threshold of difficulty, but I knew diving deep into animation would do me some justice when developing DOodle the NEWS. I was afraid to enroll in TRF 600 from the very start, but I’m glad I’m pushing through so far. I was even inspired to throw together a minimum viable product that could be featured on the Orange Television Network very soon… we’ll see what happens, check it out below! (Please forgive me for the terrible audio quality, I’m really struggling with this animation gig and I wanted to get something out there.)

I have to thank Professor Webb for throwing together this puppet of my character Mazzie. It’s the perfect complimentary tool I can use to follow along tutorials on Adobe Character Animator, the software I used to record this quick newscast. Even after watching countless hours of lynda videos on After Effects and Photoshop (and a few other random topics like Microsoft Excel and WordPress because I’m a nerd), I still feel anxious every time I walk into TRF 600. But what’s a Spring semester without a little difficult work?

For what it’s worth, take an animation class with Professor Webb while you’re at Newhouse. He’s a mastermind in the craft and is good at teaching the subject matter. Syracuse University is lucky to have him on board.

P.S: Happy Black History Month!

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Tobenna Attah
Transmedia Entrepreneur
Tobe V. Attah is a multimedia entrepreneur with a mission to innovate in today’s new media landscape while making a meaningful impact in the world. He founded Doodle the News in October 2017, a mutliplatform hub for people to have their voices heard and help them become more civic minded through bite-sized journalism.
He has been published across a wide variety of media outlets, including Sports Illustrated, the Cornell Daily Sun, SportTechie, Clutchpoints, Cavs Nation, the Cornell Chronicle, and many more.
Tobe has a plethora of hobbies, including writing, athletics, drawing, acting, and collaborating with others about ideas and startups working in the multimedia space.