Two Skills a Month Challenge 3 Report- Learning the basics of Animation and the art of meditation

Written by Arindam Dawn

Sep 30, 2019

Takes about 4 minutes to read ⏱

“Your will, in other words, is not a manifestation of your character that you can deploy without limit; it’s instead like a muscle that tires.” ― Cal Newport, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

September is my favorite month primarily because of several reasons. It’s my birth month, it’s the month of having pre-festival happy vibes in India, it sparks the autumn season in India and for many other trivial illogical reasons it remains my biased favorite! Anyways I tried familiarizing myself with some animation concepts and getting into the habit of meditating.

TL;DR : - I have learnt some basic animation concepts and started fiddling with Blender(a 2D/3D open source animation program). I found myself sloppy at it to be honest. On the contrary I have made it a habit to meditate for just few minutes everyday and the immediate result I noticed is better sleep!

Learning Animation Basics

Taking cues from my interest in design and art, I got myself motivated towards learning some animation 101. The idea was to understand some basic concepts of animation and gain some key insights as to how those high quality life-like movies are made by Disney and other animation studios. I enrolled for a free course on Khan Academy which goes by the name Pixar in a Box. It is very insightful and explains fundamental concepts of the science of animation. Examples of such concepts are Lightning, Color Science, Virtual Cameras, Environment Modelling, Character Modelling, Rendering and many more.

After spending couple of weeks on the course, I got a bit overwhelmed by the amount of Mathematics it involved. So instead of binge watching the entire course, I viewed few concepts such as environment modelling, animation, color science etc an decided to switch to doing something on an animation program itself. I came across Blender and starting taking video lessons from a Youtube channel Blender Guru.

I had earlier watched a very inspiring talk by the creator of Blender on the habits of Effective Artists. You can check it out here.

The beginner tutorials are very simple and fun. I am still on my way to make a donut and a cup of coffee in 3D! It will probably take me few months to get a hold of Blender. I am amazed by the idea of this powerful animation program being completely free and open source!

My donut currently in progress 😋

My donut currently in progress 😋

The art of meditation

Being mindful

Being mindful

Whenever I used to think about meditation, pictures of people sitting alone on a hill top or a saint came to my mind. So it seemed impossible for me to get into the habit of meditation. It seemed like it requires a lot of effort to put in. After reading the very popular book ‘An Autobiography of a Yogi’, I thought of trying to spend some time being mindful.

I decided to spend some 15-20 mins of time prior to sleep meditating and being in solitude. Well it literally took no effort and I have been able to practice it everyday. I will be honest that it is very difficult to keep one’s mind focussed for a long period and it takes perseverance to achieve that. It’s the reason I chose to meditate at night before going to bed as I find it the appropriate time to be mindful. I plan to expand my time as I get more habituated with it.

There are lot of good resources and videos on how to meditate as a beginner and there are guided meditation apps such as headspace which can be helpful as well. I personally watched view beginner lessons from mainly to see the basic postures and techniques.

I have realized that I have able to sleep much better now. I don’t find myself dragging myself from bed in the morning anymore 😋. Meditation currently, to me is a way of being in solitude and making myself isolated from any kind of information and input from others. It makes me relax within a very short span of time and have a nice nap. Probably my definition of meditation would change in the upcoming months.

I would highly recommend spending some time in solitude. Meditation can be sitting with eyes closed or even a lonely walk in the streets. It’s about stepping away from the clutter of information overload we are often subjected to and spending some time with oneself.

Will be posting about my next set of challenges early next month!

Have a great one!

Relax and keep calm

Relax and keep calm

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