AnimSchool would like to introduce, Animation Program student, Ala’a Hanish. Can you tell us a little about your background? What brought you to AnimSchool?

Well, before animating I was programming. During my second year at a university I took a Computer Graphics class, I remembered the first lecture when the professor showed us examples of CG! My feeling at that moment was as if you take a child trip into space for the first time! Then the professor played a trailer that I hadn’t seen before, Disney’s Dinosaur, and told us that all the animation was done on a computer, this is how my dream was born.

I started learning animation by myself by reading a lot of books, watching hundreds of animated movies and practicing everyday. I downloaded free rigs from the internet and started animating. I was always looking for appealing characters with great instructors living under same roof, a place where I could fall in love with the characters that I’m animating and an instructor who would guide me through it all! I found all this at AnimSchool.

 Ala’a Hanish’s test from AnimSchool’s Class 5, Character Performance

What inspired you to get into animation? What do you enjoy about animating the most?

The idea of bringing a character to life. I remembered when I animated a character for the first time and saw it on my screen, I screamed out: He’s alive, He’s alive! You don’t know how beautiful that feeling is, unless you’re an animator. I always try to build a relationship between me and the character to become real or “alive,” not just a file or pen on paper anymore.

What are you thinking about when choosing dialogue for you animation test?

I’m Always looking for challenging and deep dialogues, something different than my personality. I try to live the dialogue. I love the silent moments in the dialogue where the character is listening to somebody or thinking of something; in my opining these areas are where the animator shows his capabilities as an actor.

So far you’ve done 2 tests with AnimSchool’s female character Marnie, How did you make each character feel so different from one another in your tests?

Before I start animating, I always put myself in the place of my character and get inside their head as much as I can. I believe knowing your character well, will help you cross half of your animation. Even if I have 5 or 10 seconds of dialogue, I always try to come up with a story staring my character. This always leads me to knowing my character  very well. I think this is the best thing that I learned at AnimSchool. Also, the critiques that my instructor gave to me about the character itself, not about animation or Maya, not at all, it’s about performance.

Ala’a Hanish’s test from AnimSchool’s Class 6, Facial Performance

How has your experience been at AnimSchool? What is your favorite thing you’ve learned?

 Wow, that’s a hard question, my experience at AnimSchool has been amazing, learning from the top animators of the industry. This in itself is a great opportunity. I mean, one term left for me, and until now, I cannot believe that the Instructors who teach me are the same animators who animate my favorite movies. And once the term is done it’s not over, the instructors continue to see your work and give you feedback. They always push you to the next level. What’s the best thing I’ve learned from AnimSchool? Well, believe in myself and feel confident.

What advice would you give other students that are just starting out?

Practice, Practice and Practice, don’t be afraid of changing your whole animation. Take advice from everyone, and learn quickly how to take it well and make it your own. One more thing that I find very helpful during critique time, is to look at your classmates’ critiques carefully, not only yours because maybe the instructor gives them some feedback that could help you to improve your next animation.