The first keyframe

Inbetweening — more often called ‘tweening’ — is an animation process, involving filling in the frames between two poses or ‘keyframes’, to create movement. Those inbetweening frames are a transition from one state to the next.

As I sit here writing this, I’m preparing to start a new learning journey. Two weeks today I’ll be moving from Sheffield to Brighton, where I’ll be starting an MSc in Computing with Digital Media at The University of Sussex. I guess you could say this is one keyframe at the start of one long tween.

It's me with a VR headset
Yep, that’s me.

I guess I should start with a little background. I graduated from my undergraduate degree in Graphic Design in 2011, having spent 4 indecisive years exploring animation and motion graphics, illustration, and interactive design. I was prone to creating briefs that were almost impossible to answer; huge challenges that were made almost to prove some kind of point, but rarely came to fruition. By the time I graduated, I had a scatter-gun portfolio of unfinished projects and ideas.

After a year-and-a-bit in a call centre, I managed to land a job as Careers Media Information Officer at The University of Sheffield. This was a nice job; well paid, comfortable. But it lacked any mentorship — there was nobody there more experienced than me in what I was doing (animation, graphic design etc.) and so I found myself slowly stagnating. I’m sure I could have stayed there, maybe moved up to a management position eventually even, but I needed stimulation, and I wanted to develop in an area I was truly passionate about. Whatever that was.

So when the opportunity came along to take redundancy, I jumped on it. In January I left the University and started working for myself. After 9 months, I’d be lying if I said I had a fully fledged freelance business; I’m definitely still living off the redundancy package, but it’s slowly starting to level out. Either way, producing cheap animations and on-demand graphics isn’t as rewarding as I’d hoped, and so it’s time to go back to school.

And that brings us to now. It’s been 10 years since I originally started university, and I’m a whole different person now with different priorities. I’m looking forward to learning new skills, and a deeper understanding of the ones I already have. Over the next 2 years (and beyond) I’ll be developing myself and my trade. But more importantly, this is about learning what it is I really want to do and what I’m the most passionate about. In animation, when you’re inbetweening you already have your next keyframe. I guess the purpose of this inbetweening is to find out what that next keyframe is.

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