Frank speaking at the Inspired Word Café.
Frank Pollock is quite the character, just like the ones he hopes to animate someday. This 20-year-old from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan is currently attending a specialized school for animation. The school is called the Centre for Arts and Technology, or CATO, and is located in Kelowna, British Columbia.
Frank has been attending CATO for a year and a half now and is three months away from graduating. He will be leaving CATO with a degree in 3D animation and wishes to pursue a career in character animation. To him it’s the best medium he has to tell a story. It has also been something he’s had experience with since he was a boy.
When he was eight years old Frank started working on Claymation. What is Claymation exactly? According to Frank, “Its stop motion, which is taking a camera and capturing individual frames at a time, then moving the objects small amounts to produce animation.” He said that some examples of Claymation would be movies such as Wallace and Gromit, Corpse Bride and The Nightmare before Christmas.
His early experience with animation hasn’t meant school was a breeze for him. The one thing that he’s especially had trouble with was learning how to draw. “I’m not an artist, well not in the pen and pencil form. I am an artist in writing and in motion.” he said. “I can’t make anything look right on paper.”
For Frank the actual animation makes up for his struggles with 2D art. Getting to understand the programs that he is working with and how to solve a new challenge is something that he really likes. “Sure, it’s still a constant struggle to get things to work properly, but now I at least know how to problem solve and do things. It’s very different than having to stumble your way through it.”
Frank is currently working on a sequence where a character is being chased by a giant ball. It’s similar to the scene out of Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark where the main character is chased by the giant boulder. He chose a sequence like this because it is a good way to show the weight of a character.
“The biggest thing about actually being able to animate a character correctly is giving him that actual feel of physics being there when you don’t have them in that environment. Every bit of physics you see is hand done.”
Frank Pollock working on his Ball Run animation.
When Frank is done with CATO he will probably end up in another school. “I want to be a character animator, someone who animates one character specifically. Unfortunately the course I took handles everything in the 3D industry period. Although it gave me a great background and a wonderful foundation to start from, it didn’t give me the skills in character animation specifically.”
Frank wants to be a character animator. That means that he won’t be animating anything in the environment. He will be animating two or three characters in an entire film. Frank gave the example of the film How to Train Your Dragon. A character animator for that film would animate Toothless, the main dragon character, and one other character. It is a very specific field to go into.
Frank hopes go into character animation and really improve the skills he currently has. He hopes that someday he may be able to work for a big studio, such as Pixar or Disney. His overall goal is to start up his own studio and produce his own content.