The Forbidden Word in Animation
Hello there guys, what I want to talk about here is about a condition that most of people in the animation business do not talk about. A single word we rarely hear discussed, but one that SHOULD be.
The word is TIRED. We’ve gotten so used to seeing in blogs, podcasts and books that animation is an incredible journey, is a work full of crazy cool stuff and you’ll feel like you’re in heaven. And for me, it pretty much is! BUT, there is collateral damage in doing animation and it’s that we get pretty tired after some time. And that’s when you find yourself trapped.
Because it’s almost like a taboo, people do not talk widely about bad things in animation, but everybody here and there feels that they need a break. And the thing is, we do not accept the tiredness within so we try harder to focus. But as we focus more and more we get tired and it becomes almost impossible to get a good work done in a decent time. We start to procrastinate. Moving around the mouse on the screen, we take longer coffee breaks, we go more often to the bathroom and we get sicker.
It’s all because we don’t listen to our body that it’s time to relax.
And when I say relax, I’m not saying bursting out the door, quit the job and go to an exotic island and relax there for 30 days. Almost no one in the world can do this nowadays. But you need to find relaxing moments in your day to day life. For example, have lunch in a park, or do an outside sport. Lay down in the grass for thirty minutes while you feel the sun. Anything that makes your mind unplug. That’s the key really! You need to shut down your brain a bit. For me even playing videogames does not help because although I’m not “working” technically, my brain is pretty much excited about the game so instead of relaxing I’m actually getting more tired and mentally worn out.
And back at work I’ll produce even less in more time because of being mentally worn out. That’s pretty dangerous. We start getting lazy but we don’t see it that way, because since we’re tired we feel like we MUST be putting a lot of effort. How can you get “lazy” if you are working so hard and getting so tired?
So think about it. Every animator I know goes through this situation, once in a week, once in a month or once in a year, but it always happens. And the crazy thing is we do not talk about it. We fear that others will think that we don’t love the art after all because we are so well driven to think that we need to be creative, productive and inspired all the time that this ugly picture does not match. But no matter how hard animators try to hide it, it’s always there!
So relax, you are not the only one!
Bruno Monteiro is an animator and director from Brazil. You can find more of his thoughts on animation at his personal blog here. A big thanks to him for guest writing here at Animator Island!
Thanks for the article! This is a very important topic for every animator. The pressure to keep on working and to constantly do something creative just because we feel like everybody else is doing it, is insane. And this pressure doesn’t even come from the company or university where we animate, but only from ourselves.
For my last big project, I set the rule “no working at night” and I was much faster than in the project before, where I pushed myself to the limits every day.
I always intended to learn meditation to give my mind effective and regular breaks. A book “Meditation for Animators” would probably sell pretty well, and yet everyone would buy it secretly so that their oh-so amazing co-worker wouldn’t know about it. It’s a vicious cycle…
What a great article, I’ve found that at work when we go for a walk after lunch it helps me just relax a little, giving me some more oomph. Also getting into the habit of getting up and away from your computer at least every hour for 10 mins to just not look at the screen. I try do this by going outside to look at the mountains, since our office has no “view”. It’s also good for your eyes 🙂
Thanks for the post bruno, very insightful.
I’LL SLEEP WHEN I’M DEAD O*O
If I could just animate while I sleep then all my problems would be solved!
you posted this 8 years ago. barely out of obtaining your degree.
come tell me how tired you are after doing it for 20+ years.
Ill admit- it can brutal. Which means if you want this career, you need to be tough, otherwise this ain’t for you.