When I was a freshman in high school I had a teacher that showed our class a laserdisc of “The Mind’s Eye,” which was a collection of short 3D computer animations. I was captivated. I had always had an interest in art, which was unintentionally sparked by my mom signing my sister and I up for community art classes on weekends and over summers. My mom thought that that was what all mothers did, and maybe they do, but art particularly stuck with me. Animation seemed right up my ally.
Unfortunately for me computer animation was relatively new so I had a hard time finding resources. The high school definitely didn’t have an animation program, neither did the local community college or even UCSB, the state university in my town. Luckily for me, my grandfather saw how passionate I was about this and wanted me to pursue my dream, so he bought me a computer. I found some free 3D software that I used for a while but it was very slow and hard to use. Seeing that I hadn’t given up, my grandfather paid for a student copy of a professional-level animation software package.
This was great. I spent many days and nights learning and animating. I subscribed to the one 3D magazine that existed at the time. I read any books I could get my hands on and I kept on going and loving every minute.
Eventually I got married and started a family. The dreams were put on hold and I got a job that paid the bills. After a few years I realized that my job wasn’t making me happy. My wife and I decided that I should go back to school and pursue my dream of animating once again.
By this time computer animation had become more mainstream and the local college had an associates program in art that included some animation classes. I enrolled and took the few animation classes that they offered. I graduated but I still needed more training if I was going to do this professionally. I had found a university out of state that had a great bachelors program specifically in animation. I applied and eventually got accepted to the university and I moved my family out there, but I still had to apply to the program itself.
One of the prerequisites to applying was to take the intro class. I really enjoyed the class and learned a lot, but at the same time I saw that I was surrounded by people younger and much more talented than I was. I applied twice and was rejected twice.
So, that was it. That was a dream that I needed to stop chasing. I don’t regret it at all though. I learned a lot and I loved the journey. The journey didn’t take me where I thought it would, but it helped make me who I am, and I like who I am.
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