Student Spotlight - Daniel Dillon
"I left the corporate world and joined iAnimate to pursue animation. That decision continues to influence all aspects of my life, pushing my perspectives of the world around me."
Student Spotlight features Daniel Dillon, an Autodesk Maya trainee with an emphasis in CG Animation. He is currently enrolled full-time online with iAnimate. He also completed Maya, Modeling, and More workshops 1 and 2 and Feature Animation workshops 1, 2, 3, and 4.
Daniel said he couldn't honestly tell his daughter to follow her dreams when he hadn't indeed followed his own. In 2020 Daniel saw an animation documentary with iAnimate alumni, Malerie Walters. He asked her through LinkedIn where her journey began. Within a few weeks, he decided to leave the corporate world and joined iAnimate to pursue his career in animation.
Daniel gained a solid foundational knowledge of Maya with Sean Callan in Maya workshops 1 and 2. Stephen Melagrano was my first exposure to the art of animation in Feature 1. Jim van der Keyl gave veteran advice in body mechanics during Feature 2. Lastly, I took Feature 3 and 4 with Angie Jones, who has been an ideal ambassador of the animation community. Angie continues to give to students well past their time at iAnimate. An overall desire for student success was evident in each of my workshops.
Student Animation Journey
- Feature Workshop 1 with Stephen Melagrano (Steamroller Studio)
- Feature Workshop 2 with Jim van der Keyl (VDK Animation)
- Feature Workshop 3 with Angie Jones (Spicy Cricket Animation)
- Feature Workshop 4 with Angie Jones (Spicy Cricket Animation)
- Maya for Animators with Sean Callan (Hasbro Studios)
Daniel knows that his best animation comes with good planning and reference. That’s what Daniel did in his iAnimate assignments. Storytelling is one of the powerful strategies in animation planning because it helps the flow and helps to understand the feeling and character preferences.
References are also a significant factor in the success of any animation. Acting it out and giving the character's identity, emotion, and feelings will make it more believable and appealing. These foundations enable Dillon to work as a professional animator on his student journey.
Daniel’s animation journey is at his own pace. He had to learn to question his former biases, perspectives, and experiences to help define his voice. However, all his instructors repeatedly told him that the journey is the prize and to be present in each assignment.
Daniel Student Reel
Student Spotlight Q&A with Animator Daniel Dillon
iAnimate: What do you think of your Instructor(s), and how did they help you?
Daniel: Besides gaining knowledge of the software, I have also gained invaluable industry advice to be honest with yourself and others when it comes to your work. And that the ability to accept and evaluate shared criticism will elevate your work.
iAnimate: How did iAnimate help you to evolve as a character animator?
Daniel: I have no formal art degree. I knew nothing about Maya or what it was. My enduring passion for art and animation, along with my eclectic life experiences, was all I brought with me. The instructors at iAnimate really pulled back the curtain of the animation process. I'm confident I'm ready because of their confidence in me.
iAnimate: What kind of animator do you consider yourself after taking your workshop?
“As an animator, I consider myself to be open-minded, always wanting to know more. The foundational skills I've learned at iAnimate will give me the ability and confidence to be malleable throughout my animation journey.”
iAnimate: What kind of animation project do you want to work on?
Daniel: I believe storytelling is how we further our understanding and empathy for others. I want to be a part of that, be it in Film or Game cinematics.
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