Acclaimed Animation Workshop by Ed Hooks Held at Cogswell

Ed Hooks (center) demonstrates the concept of power centers with student, Evan Clover (right), and alumna, Paulette Trinh (left).

Ed Hooks (center) demonstrates the concept of power centers with student, Evan Clover (right), and alumna, Paulette Trinh (left).

On Saturday, November 14, actor and author, Ed Hooks, offered his world-renowned class, Acting for Animators, to Cogswell students and invited guests.

Today’s character animators must do more than move pixels around the screen. They need to understand the motivation of their CG actors and bring a sense of realism to the resulting behaviors. In Ed Hooks’ class, students explore how to turn emotion into action. Making a character look sad or happy does not move your story forward but how your character reacts to the happy or sad does.

“This was an incredible event! Ed Hooks was able to take the things I’ve learned about animation over the years and present it in a very simplified and easy to understand way. The main point he taught was the action, objective, obstacle concept – that to carry the story, you need to make every action in animation interesting. Actions only change if there is an obstacle and objectives only change if there is a new objective. The emphasis that Ed put on this concept’s importance was very poignant,” said Evan Clover, a Senior Animator on Project X and a Senior in the Digital Art & Animation program, Animation concentration.

“During the presentation, he had Paulette and I demonstrate power centers – the place where people’s center of power lies depending on their status or attitude. Most power centers are right below one’s belly button. Nervous people have a high center of power as Paulette was demonstrating. I was demonstrating one in the hip, which is a power stance. He also had us experiment with different power center locations such as the lower back or the foot. Some made for very awkward walks.

For anyone who missed it, they missed an unbelievable event. This will absolutely help me out with my animations!”
“The experience was very enjoyable. I wish I had seen him 10 years ago. It’s this kind of thing that will really put CPC on the map!” said Geoff Clark, Cogswell alumnus.

Ed Hooks, a theatre professional for three decades, pioneered acting training specifically for animators instead of stage actors. His books, Acting for Animators and Acting in Animation: A Look at 12 Films, are standard texts at animation schools all over the world.

He has taught Acting for Animators at most major film and game studios including: Disney, Blue Sky, Sony, Valve, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Animal Logic, Microsoft, Blizzard and Epic Games. He has also presented the course internationally in Germany, Singapore, Brazil, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Australia, Canada, China and the UK. Twice, he has been a featured speaker at SIGGRAPH and the Game Developers Conference. Mr. Hooks is on the Board of Advisors of FMX in Stuttgart, Germany and has been a regular presenter at Animex, an International Animation Festival in Teesside, England and Swansea Animation Days in South Wales.

Cogswell was pleased to offer this rare opportunity to our students and alumni.

-Bonnie Phelps, Dean of Institutional Advancement

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