A Week with Visiting Animator: Barbara Benas

By Jesse Cutrell

BB

This past week, the animation department had the chance to listen to a CCAD alum, Barbara Benas. Barbara is a former animation student of CCAD who now has worked with many animation studios (such as Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon) and is currently located in New York.

Starting on Monday, September 21st, Barbara would meet with students in Kinney Hall at 7:00 pm to discuss both her work and the industry. At the same time on the following dates of Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday; Barbara held workshops on animating in Adobe Flash. The available seats for participating in the workshops filled up quickly, but anyone was welcome to come and watch and observe.

BB2 Barbara Benas's student film "Always, Only, Ever"

I attended Barbara's Thursday workshop where she covered Lip Sync techniques in Flash using a series of symbols and other pre-made mouths that she used to reorder into a sequence for a dialogue scene with the most efficient use of drawings possible. It was really inspiring to watch an animator that is both a professional and an alum from CCAD animating so well and so efficiently. Especially since she animates primarily with Adobe Flash. Flash was the software that I learned to animate in first, but then most 2D animation classes here use ToonBoom now instead. As good as ToonBoom is, I still have a large affection for Flash and use it regularly.

Then, after the workshop, I spoke with Barbara about animation and CCAD and it was really cool to hear about her experiences in animation.

On Friday, the coolest thing ever happened. The ASC was having it's first Animation SmackDown and shortly beforehand, I got a message saying that Barbara wanted to animate along with everybody! The members of the ASC had a great time animating their own work while a visiting artist was also working on the same prompt.

BarbaraBenasSmackDown

 At the end of the competition, during our screening, we had a special guest artist screening of the animation that Barbara made. It was an incredible experience for everyone there and I hope that it might be replicated in the future.

Jesse Cutrell is a Junior Animation major at CCAD who enjoys making video games, playing other people's games, and sleeping in.