"Laws" of Animation

Law of Save Entropy

The probability that Maya will crash increases exponentially the longer you work on an unsaved file. It's going to be precisely when you are putting the finishing touches on four hours of animation work when it will kick the bucket. Moral: Save early, save often. Maya never runs out of new and exciting ways to crash.

Law of Quantum Observation

For any given problem that you encounter in Maya, there is a 50% chance that you will not be able to actually reproduce the problem when a TA is watching. Moral: Ask for help from the TAs, sometimes their mere presence fixes problems.

Restart Paradox

Restarting Maya will always solve your problem. Restarting Maya will never solve your problem. You may find that at some unspecified point, that it shifts from the first case to the second. Moral: When you have strange problem, try restarting Maya. If that fails, ask for help.

Law of Effects

The amount of time it takes to produce an effect is exponential in the awesomeness of the effect. It is postulated that a purely awesome effect would essentially take forever to produce. Moral: Effects take time. Plan accordingly.

Law of No Man's Land

Files saved to the Desktop are volatile. Once you log out of the computer, they might be saved and they might not be. Moral: Don't save files to the Desktop. Anything important should be on the network where everyone can access it. Photoshop has an annoying bug that prevents you from saving directly to the network. In this case, save to your Desktop and then immediately copy the file to the network.

Event Horizon Paradox

Nothing is ever final. Changes will always be made. Moral: Always save in iterations named by a number. Never, ever put the word "final" in a file name. Eventually it will not be final and you will just increase confusion (Or will result in files called "final_final_really_final_this_time").

Law of Inherent Imperfection

Nothing you create will be perfect the first time it is submitted or, in all likelihood, ever. You should always expect to iterate your work. Art is never finished, there's just a point you stop working on it. This law is a corollary of the Event Horizon Paradox. Moral: Don't take it personally when either the TAs or director ask you to make revisions to your work for the betterment of the film. This is inevitable and does not reflect on the quality of your work.

Uncanny Valley Paradox

As your character approaches photo-realism, it has the tendency to look extremely creepy and unnatural. It is only with a great amount of effort that you can escape this "uncanny valley" and get something that is convincingly human. This is because human beings are accustomed to looking at other humans day in and day out. If something is even slightly off, you will notice and it tends to be disturbing. Moral: Computer animation lends itself to a simplification of character and an exaggeration of movement. If you are looking to create photo-realistic images, find a camera — it will save you a lot of effort.

Law of Time Elongation

Your animatic will be longer than your story reel. Your motionmatic will be longer than your animatic. Your rendermatic will be longer than your motionmatic. And your final film will be longer than your rendermatic. Moral: Timing in 2D does not always translate well into 3D due to the lack of motion. Expect your film to become longer as the timing is refined and story holes are filled.

Law of Nonconformity

For any given artistic decision, unanimous agreement is generally impossible. Moral: There will be decisions made by the director or by the group that you will not agree with. The best thing you can do is accept these decisions and move on without them affecting your outlook negatively.

Difficulty Paradox

No technical problem you will encounter can be as hard as dealing with other people. Moral: This class is a melting pot of people with different backgrounds and talents. Being able to effectively communicate and get along with your fellow collaborators is essential for a successful film. Stay positive, get your work done, check your ego at the door, and everything will go smoothly.