Guardian is an email based animation training program designed to turn the 12 Principles of Animation into HABITS for you.
Guardian also teaches you how to better manage your Personal Energy so as to be the most effective in your work and in general.

  • Guardian is for anyone who takes animation seriously. Whether you are just studying animation or you have been animating for years, we can all learn how to better manage ourselves.
  • Guardian takes only 5 minutes per day.
  • Guardian is a course that spans over 3 months or 12 weeks.
  • It will include basic exercises to really drive home the meaning and importance of the 12 Principles of animation.
  • It will also include tips on diet and lifestyle to insure that you are not robbing yourself of energy through your daily habits.
  • CAP is out Capacity for Animation Production. This is the amount of animation that we are able to produce in a certain amount of time. This is determined by both our animation Abilities and our Capacities.
  • We as animators do many things to try and increase our Capacity for Animation Production (CAP). Some things I have tried are pulling “all nighters” and even sleeping at work in order to meet deadlines.
  • These methods are not sustainable in the long term and lead to “Burn Out”.
  • Most Animators rightly work to increase our ABILITY.
    • Ability is made up of Education and Experience. Only by increasing both can we increase our Animation Ability and remain balanced.
  • We also MUST work to increase our CAPACITY
    • Capacity is made up of our Speed and our Quality. Only by increasing both can we increase our Animation Capacity and remain balanced.
    • The literal definition of Capacity is ENERGY, so whether we animate with great Speed or great Quality, we are using a lot of Energy; this energy can be Mental, Physical, Emotional, or Spiritual (don’t get scared).
  1. Physical Energy – or the amount or Quantity of Energy that we have.
    • Without proper rest and nutrition we will feel “drained” and unable to perform ANYTHING well.
    • Physical Energy fuels all of our other Energies.
  2. Emotional Energy – or the Quality of our Energy.
    • We know that our mood affects our performance.
    • If we had all the energy in the world but were in a bad mood we would not achieve anything “good”.
  3. Mental Energy – or the Direction of our Energy, our Focus.
    • Without enough Mental Energy, we will not be able to Focus on any task long enough to complete it.
    • Procrastination and Distraction are symptoms of low Mental Energy.
  4. Spiritual Energy – or the Purpose of our Energy, Meaning and Reason.
    • Having a definite Purpose while doing any task will instantly boost our Physical, Mental and Emotional Energies.
    • Doing things with “Spirit” or Purpose is the secret to being a “Genius” or an “A-Grade” Animator.
  • Guardian teaches you to Cycle all of your energies through their 3 states:
    1. Nutrition – or Feeding and Nourishing, Learning.
    2. Stress – or Exercising and using beyond our comfort zone.
    3. Recovery – or Rest and Repair, Digesting what we have learned.
  • By doing this, each of our Energies (our capacity to do work) us progressively fed, exercised, and developed. Over time your overall energy and capacity to do animation is increased.
  • Burnout is repeatedly over stressing ourselves until we fail.
    • RSI and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome are forms of Burnout.
    • Falling ill and catching a cold after a big project is a form of Burnout.
    • Losing the ability to focus (endless web surfing or email checking) is a form of Burnout.
    • Becoming short tempered and easily angered is a form of burnout.
  • We understand that “overdoing it” at the gym will leave us sore, but we ignore that doing the same at work will leave us “sore”.
  • By providing you with a custom designed training program to continually increase your Capacity for Animation Production.
  • Guardian continuously cycles all 4 aspects of your Personal Energy through:
    1. Nutrition – learning.
    2. Stress – applying what you learn.
    3. Recovery – resting and digesting what you have learned and experienced.
  • By doing this every day for 3 months, Guardian also makes this kind of continual improvement a HABIT!
    This is called the Band of Excellence.

AIM is our Animation Intentionality Map

  • By Taking your Ability Spectrum (Education – Experience) and crossing it with your Capacity Spectrum (Speed – Quality), where they meet in the middle is your current state.
  • You can also take the Ability requirements of a project and cross them with the Capacity requirements of the project to figure out exactly where you need to AIM to reach your deadline.
  • Comparing the two targets will tell you what areas you need to work on.
  • You can also AIM for your dream job by creating a Map of your prospective employer:
    1. What Speed and Quality Levels do they require?
    2. What Education and Experience Levels do they require?
    3. Comparing these requirements with where your levels are at will show you where you need to AIM to reach your dream job!
  • On the job training is where you pick up the skills and techniques required for your job as you perform them ‘on the job’.
  • I claim that on the job training is a myth, simply because learning something as you do it will obviously slow you down (reduce your capacity). While you definitely will learn on the job and grow as an animator with more and more experience, you should not limit your training to only what you get on the job.
    1. Only learning on the job will limit you to that particular job, you will find it difficult to work for other studios or on different styles of animation.
    2. If you don’t at least practice what you learn ‘off the job’ or at home then you will always be falling behind rather than leading ahead at work.
  • Many companies do provide additional training outside of the work you are paid to do, however this is not their responsibility. If your company does not offer this additional training, you MUST engage in this training yourself in order to become a truly professional animator.
  • A Professional Amateur is anyone who is employed as a professional, yet fails to practice their skills outside of their paid work.
    • If an athlete did not practice off the playing field, they would not be considered a professional athlete (and would not be a paid athlete for very long). The same is true for animators.
  • If you do not have a structured program of self improvement, YOU are a Professional Amateur Animator.
  • Unless you are a Professional Animator (regularly improving your skills) you will not reach your dream job, you will only be offered the ‘left over’ jobs that the top animators refuse.
    • When you are truly professional and at the top of your craft, you do not even need to look for work, work will come to you.
  • Natural Ability is when someone is said to be born with a specific skill or ability.
  • Natural Ability is a myth, because no human is born with any skill besides breathing and suckling.
    • Is Pole Vaulting a natural ability? How many babies are born as ‘natural’ Pole Vaulters?
    • What appears to be a Natural Ability is really just a developed skill.
  • Natural Ability is actually a combination of Purpose (spiritual energy) driving Confidence (positive emotional energy), Focused (mental energy) on your AIM.
    • When someone has what appears to others as a ‘Natural Ability’ for something, they are really just Focused, Determined, and Confidently striving after a Goal (a target or AIM).
    • Nothing seems to stop them, and they are tireless in their efforts to achieve their AIM.
  • If you approach Animation with :
    1. High Energy (physical)
    2. A Positive Attitude (emotional)
    3. Focus (mental)
    4. & Determination (spiritual)

You will appear to others as having a natural ability for animation. You will be called things like a ‘genius’ or a ‘whiz’. You will also never need to look for work, as work will be looking for you.

  • The Band of Excellence is a program of continuous self improvement where you cycle between your various capacities, never over exercising one nor neglecting one.
    • We know that if we hit the gym and focus only on one muscle group all the muscle groups that we are neglecting will weaken and atrophy.
    • The same is true of any skill or capacity we have; unless we continually exercise all of our capacities, we will lose them.
  • If you regularly train your 4 Capacities in pursuit of a definite AIM, these will eventually become your habits.
  • Once you have the habit of continual self improvement, you will develop what others will callNatural Ability!
    • These are not one time only big events, rather they are small yet regular actions that you will take to keep yourself on the upward Band of Excellence!
  • So we must design for ourselves a training program that focuses on one or two (no more) of our capacities every day, and cycles it through the 3 phases of:
    1. Nutrition
    2. Stress
    3. Recovery.

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