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Sophomore turns passion for animation into major

POSTED AT 10:58 PM ON Apr. 6, 2011  (UPDATED AT 10:58 PM ON Apr. 6, 2011)

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Animated movies by Pixar and Disney have now taken a new meaning for sophomore Sydni Gregg.

“As a kid, you don’t realize that it is an art form, and it’s something I still love,” she said. “I am a huge geek for Pixar and Disney and all of those traditional big-name studios, so I just figured that this is what I wanted to do.”

Gregg created her animation major through IU’s Individualized Major Program. Her focus is on 2-D animation.

“I am not quite as interested in computer-generated stuff,” she said.

Because animation draws from both the Department of Telecommunications and the School of Fine Arts, Gregg has two sponsors instead of the required one.

“You find your sponsors and with their help, you start planning your curriculum because you actually have to plan out four years,” she said.

After presenting her major proposal to a committee, Gregg received approval.

“It all built up and then it was, thank goodness, they accepted me,” she said.

While IU doesn’t have specific animation classes, digital art classes and telecommunications production classes are offered and teach necessary programs, Gregg said.

“There is a lot of self-exploration and self-teaching,” she said. “The stuff I learn in those classes, I can really apply directly.”

Drawing classes have been the most rewarding so far, Gregg said.

“One of the most important things about character animation specifically is having a really clear and really good foundational understanding of the human anatomy and the human body,” she said. “I love my drawing classes. I feel like they are the basis of everything that I plan to do. Not only do I probably enjoy them the most, I feel like they are the most rewarding.”

While traditional drawing is still her favorite, Gregg said the film class she is in now is exciting because her drawings come to life.

“I have done my first couple short stop-motion films, and seeing the drawings actually move and begin to tell stories was sort of that ‘aha’ moment where it was like, ‘This is really possible,’” she said.

Because of the limited number of classes offered, Gregg is considering graduate school.

“The IMP itself is a great opportunity,” she said. “Just the fact that this is available is awesome, but it still feels a little bit difficult at times because there are classes that I would like to take that I don’t have time for or that just don’t exist that I wish did. There are definitely some shortcomings, but that is what gradually led me to want to go to graduate school because I feel like this is a great start and IU will be a perfect platform and basis for learning. But I would like to go on and be more specific in the future.”

Gregg wasn’t always planning on studying animation at IU.

“Originally, I came to IU as a biochemistry major and after my first semester freshman year, it was just really clear that wasn’t what I wanted to do forever,” she said. “I planned to do biochemistry as a double major with fine arts, but I just decided to shift and focus entirely on fine arts. I spent a little time trying to figure out what my niche was in the fine arts, and I settled on animation.”

After attending graduate school on the West Coast, Gregg said she plans to be a part of a creative team.

“The dream would be to be part of a creative team that works for one of those studios, whether it is actually having a hand in animating or in character development or overall visual development,” she said.

All IMP students have to make a final project as a culmination of what they have been doing during their time at IU, Gregg said.

“Hopefully by that time, I will have the skill set to make a short animated film,” she said.

Gregg said while at IU, she is trying to get an understanding of the different aspects of animation.

“I am trying to get a broad understanding of a little bit of everything from the design to the actual animation itself frame to frame,” she said. “It is nice to get a feel of a little bit of the entire production pipeline.”

 

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