FAQ

General Information:

What is Spungella Online?

SO is an online animation workshop where animators can show their animation clips and get feedback on it from either myself or other animators.

How many can participate?

A maximum of 14 animators can join at the same time.

Is it a school? Can I get college credits?

No, SO is not a school. You won't get any grades, no homework, no credits, there won't be any midterms nor finals and you can't fail the workshop. It is purely a get-together for animators in order to share feedback regarding their work.

How many times do you have those workshops?

The workshops are open all year, so you can sign up whenever it works for you for a 16 week session.

Finance

How much does it cost?

$500 per animator, paid in full prior to workshop start, for 16 weeks.


Why payments in advance?

It gives me time to reopen the sign-up window, in case someone can't pay or changes his/her mind.

What if I miss sessions?

It is your responsibility to follow up each week with revisions to your shots. If you happen to go on vacation during the workshop and are not able to submit work, I can stretch out the length of the workshop for a week or two during your break.

How do I pay?

Payments can be sent via check (if you are a US resident) or Paypal. Paypal is much faster.

1. Check

Send the check to:

Jean-Denis Haas
LDAC Shipping & Receiving Center
1110 Gorgas Ave
San Francisco, CA 94129

Pay to the Order of: Jean-Denis Haas
For: (Spring/Summer/Fall) SO Workshop

2. Paypal

Use

animate (at) jeandenis (dot) net

for the transaction.

Under the "Purchase" payment options (not "Personal"), choose "Services".

Do you accept student loans?

No, sorry.


Registration

How do I apply?

Send me an email to: signup (at) spungella (dot) com
Subject: SO Workshop sign-up
Body: "I'd like to attend the SO workshop" and/or whatever other information you want to give me.

More sign-up details will get posted here and on the Spungella blog on a regular basis.

How do I know I got in?

You will get a confirmation email for the initial sign-up. Sign up approval is on a first-come, first-served basis. You will also see your name on the list of the workshop (here) including your end date for reference.

What kind of feedback are you giving the animators?

Honest feedback. You might not always like what I'm saying but I prefer to tell you the truth (from my subjective point of view of course) so I can help you improve your animation.


Is a demoreel needed to qualify for the workshop?

Nope. Feedback is given to beginners as well as advanced animators.




So how is this really structured? Let's get to the juicy details:

____________________________
HOW IS FEEDBACK GIVEN?

Feedback is a mix of written reviews with screen captures (examples here, here and here) and video reviews. You can see more examples of both at the workshop feedback site.

The length of the video reviews depends on the complexity of the shot and what the animators wants feedback wise. Some submissions are about layout and therefore more about staging and camera work, so that feedback can be a few minutes. Others send in a few shots of their short and then it can be an hour. But both are rare. The usual feedback is around 5 to 15 minutes since most people send in only one shot. It's easier for everybody since they can keep working on other shots while I give feedback for one. Those who send in a whole sequence have to wait a while and won't work on anything else while they wait, so it's not a preferred method. Ideally you'll be able to work on another shot while you wait for your feedback.

Animators also have the option of sending me their Maya files so that I can illustrate certain points hands-on, if the written feedback or video review is not clear enough.

For examples in this shot, I concentrated the tweak on the hip:

(click image to play the movie)

 Whereas in this clip I tweaked the whole body and the camera:

(click image to play the movie) 

Sometimes I also just concentrate on one specific section of the shot for pose changes:

(click image to play the movie)


As mentioned, it's not a school, so you won't receive a general syllabus. Instead I tailor the workshop to each animator individually. I can help out on existing shots you're working on, or give feedback to your short movie or thesis, or come up with a series of exercises that will either strengthen specific areas you need help with or outline a step by step guide if you've never animated before.

The main focus is on giving individual feedback tailored to your skill level so you can get the most out of the workshop.

The length depends on the complexity of the shot and what the animators wants feedback wise. Some submissions are about layout and therefore more about staging and camera work, so that feedback can be a few minutes. Others send in a few shots of their short and then it can be an hour. But both are rare. The usual feedback is around 5 to 15 minutes since most people send in only one shot. It's easier for everybody since they can keep working on other shots while I give feedback for one. Those who send in a whole sequence have to wait a while and won't work on anything else while they wait, so it's not a preferred method. Ideally you'll be able to work on another shot while you wait for your feedback.

But I'm flexible and tailor the workshop to each individual animator's needs. 

 ______________________________
WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?

Someone was asking if I was going to hand out assignments. Nope, I won't. As mentioned before, this is not a school, I don't have a teacher's license, so there won't be anything resembling a school system during the workshop. I won't tell you what to do.

But I can suggest what you might be able to do if you are inclined to do so. I can give you my opinion. So can all the other workshop attendees.

So if you're not sure what you want or should do, just send me a link or a file with all your current work. I can take a look at it and suggest areas of improvement and offer exercise tips.

Speaking of exercise. Let me know if the shot you're working on is intended to be an exercise or a demo reel piece. The feedback will vary depending on your choice. Why? Read this post:
http://spungella.blogspot.com/2008/09/what-should-i-animate_24.html

And while you're at it, you might as well read this post for more shot ideas:
http://spungella.blogspot.com/2008/11/what-should-i-animate-pt2-exercises.html

If you feel that you've done a ton of exercises already and don't know what else to do, read this:
http://spungella.blogspot.com/2009/04/i-can-animate-now-what-pt-1.html

and this:
http://spungella.blogspot.com/2009/06/i-can-animate-now-what-pt-2_24.html

In fact, a list of things I recommend reading, if you haven't already, are all the links in this best-of section:
http://spungella.blogspot.com/2008/06/best-of-spungella.html

I'm not arrogantly saying that those posts are great, but they seemed to have helped a few people and it was suggested by third parties to start a best-of list for easier browsing, so there you go. :)

____________________________________________
HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO PRESENT MY WORK?

I would like to see Quicktime files for your shots. AVIs can have funky codecs every now and then, Quicktime is safer. I recommend the h.264 codec, it keeps the file size small. If your 5 second shot is 624MB big, then something's off. :) . If you work in Maya, write out a playblast using the default compression within Maya. Open that file in Quicktime and export it as an .mov file with the h.264 codec.

"Wait. My quicktime won't let me." You might need Quicktime Pro for that. "But that's $30!" Get over it. Eat a bit less, party a bit less, sell something, whatever. I'm sure everybody can get $30 together within a week. It's worth it.

I would aim for something like 800x600. No need to send me a super duper HD version, but it needs to be bigger than 160x120. :)

If you want even faster feedback, encode the file in an iPhone/iPad format as well. Do File>Export, then under Export choose Movie to iPhone.
The file size is small and you can easily email that with your other regular movie, just label it "something_something_iPhone". I always have my iPhone with me, so that way I can always check your work and send you feedback. For cycles, please present the different views (front, side, perspective) in one clip, with a few cycles built in. The video size is small though, so I still recommend a regular movie, I wouldn't just send the iPhone version by itself.

And please include a frame counter in your shots.

Please put week1, week2, week3, etc. in the subject line for each week's submission. It will help us track the progress. If you have questions for a current submission, you can reply to that specific week email so that each submission has its own thread.

Thanks!!

All feedback request has to be sent to feedback (at) spungella (dot) com.

______________________________
WHEN DO I SHOW MY WORK?

First off, I'm located in San Francisco. So if you live in another country there will be a time difference. When you're sending it I might be asleep and vice versa. So before you go "Cuuuurse you JDDDDDDDD!!!!!!!! WHERE'S MY FEEDBAAAAACK!!!!", there might be a reason for it. :)
I would say that the best times for me to look at your work is in the morning, so 6am - 7am (SF time), as well as in the evening, 10pm-12pm. But I will look at it whenever I can, early in the morning and throughout the day.

Judging by the on-site workshops, most people work all week and show me their updates on the day of the workshop. I highly recommend you do the same. Have one day a week as your deadline for shot updates (I will assign a day to you). If you need feedback between each week, that's no problem of course. If you need two weeks, that's your call. But again, try to work on a weekly basis.

I also recommend working on two shots at the same time. If you get tired of one you can work on the other one in order to keep the momentum and motivation going. Or while you're waiting for feedback on one clip, you can work on the other, that way you don't waste time.
Usually animators send me one shot per review. If you send me two shots or more, then it will take a bit longer to get feedback. 
It would be really cool if you'd let me post your work+feedback on the Spungella Feedback site. That way other people can learn from it and you guys can leave feedback amongst yourselves as well. But I understand if you prefer not to share your clip, no pressure, all up to you, just let me know.



I think that's it so far. As always, if you have any questions, just let me know and I'll update the FAQ! And of course, check out Spungella or follow me on twitter.com/jeandenishaas for all the latest news and updates!

Cheers
JD

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