Learning the basics of Animation and the art of meditation

Written by Arindam Dawn

Sep 10, 2019

Takes about 5 minutes to read ⏱

“Remain calm, serene, always in command of yourself. You will then find out how easy it is to get along. - Paramhansa Yogananda”

I am already late posting my monthly challenges for this month which I am supposed to share within the first couple of days of the month. However my laptop fell sick and refused to support me with my daily work. My carefully planned work schedule took a toll giving me some minor setbacks. I observed my emotions and realized how hard it to how difficult it is to remain calm and serene and in command of yourself when things go out of order only for few days.

This month I am challenging myself to learn the basics of animation and chalking out some time for practicing meditation on a regular basis.

Skill 1 - Learning Animation 101

I have a strong inclination towards arts, specifically the art of drawing. Though I spend most of the time sketching portraits, I like drawing characters as well. I am also easily flattered by stunning animations and visual effects and storytelling through animated movies. Animation is something that imparts life to static lifeless characters conveying emotion and feel. On the professional side, I work on designing and developing websites and doing digital designs. A webpage or an app’s user interface can be taken to a whole new level by introduction carefully crafted subtle animations that can increase the overall user experience.

Every animation has a story

Every animation has a story

What’s the goal?

To be able to understand the fundamentals of animations in general and be able to create simple animations by the end of the month digitally as well as using plain pen and paper.

Resources that I am using

I recently came across a great and free online course on introduction to animation on khanacademy.org. The course is named Pixar in a box and it demonstrates the fundamentals of animation in Pixar movies and is taught by employees of Pixar. The course is basically designed for kids so it is very interactive and easy to understand. Mathematics plays a significant role in building animations and the course helps to refresh some mathematics basics as well. Khan Academy is a popular online media for learning and this is a specialized partner content course to give a behind-the-scenes look at how artists at Pixar work.

I shall also be trying to learn the fundamentals of blender(https://www.blender.org/) which is a free and open source tool to create 2d and 3d animations and various other complex stuffs. My goal would be to be able to create simple objects such as a ball and try to do animate it.

Here is a small short film made completely using Blender. The possibilities are endless!

Animation is a very broad and diverse field but a basic understanding of how it works can be very beneficial and with practice and patience, I believe anyone can create wonders with the power of animation. I hope to bag this skill and explore the endless possibilities and make my work more lively and full of motion.

Skill 2 - Embracing the art of meditation

I had the privilege to read the book ‘An Autobiography of a yogi’ by Paramhansa Yogananda. The book has been chunked into several interesting short stories about the life of the Yogi himself and it showcases the vast knowledge and preachings of some of India’s greatest personalities. Shree Yogananda emphasizes on the power of Kriya Yoga and how it is one of the hidden gems of our culture and has transformed the lives of many people.

“Kriya Yoga is an instrument through which human evolution can be quickened. The ancient yogis discovered that the secret of cosmic consciousness is intimately linked with breath mastery. This is India’s unique and deathless contribution to the world’s treasury of knowledge.” -SWAMI SRI YUKTESWAR, QUOTED IN AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A YOGI

Well I found some of the context to be overwhelming and a bit too religious at first but then I read articles and watched videos of several eminent personalities illustrating the benefits of meditation even for a short duration.

I also happened to watch a very unbiased and highly informative interview (the language is a mix of Hindi and English). The interviewer asked some very relevant questions to one of the monks.

Initially skeptical, I decided to try considering meditation and spend some time regularly and try to control my thought process. I have already experienced the benefits of regular physical exercise. With meditation, I believe, it will rejuvenate my thought processes as well.

What would be my objective and resources?

I have explored many things such as guided meditation apps and other techniques, but I have decided to keep things simple. I have started spending 10-15 mins everyday (one to two times a day) sitting and observe my breathing while meditating. It is almost impossible controlling one’s mind.

“The mind can be controlled by constant ‘practice and detachment’.”(—Bhagavad-gita, 6.35). Wherever and whenever the mind wanders, due to its flickering and unsteady nature, we must bring it back under the control of the Self” (—Bhagavad-gita, 6.26) - Lord Krishna

There are numerous kinds of meditation and every cult has their own unique way of defining it. The important part is spending some time with oneself detached from worldly responsibilities.

I hope that I was able to provide some insights about the skills that I am trying to pursue this month. I will share more details at the end of the month regarding my experiences and progress.

I slightly went off track this month and was not able to maintain my daily practice streak. I am still learning to learn!

Let's break obstacles

Let's break obstacles

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