Don't share your work

Sharing your animation online can be really beneficial but it's not for everyone.

I recently wrote about the benefits of sharing your work and suggested doing this for two key reasons. First, to seek critique to improve your work. Second, to put your work on display in order to help obtain employment or other opportunities.

Whilst all that I said remains true, not everyone seeks to turn animation into a career so I want to offer an alternative perspective on sharing your work.

A different perspective

Outside of animation, one of the other creative pursuits I enjoy is photography.

I’ve had cameras for as long as I can remember and have amassed a vast collection of photographs. Over the years I’ve mainly focussed on landscape and nature photography but I also enjoy taking photos to document my various travels.

Despite enjoying photography, having invested in expensive cameras, and taken it quite seriously over the years, I’ve never felt compelled to share my work online.

The process of taking photos, and the images that I create, give me pleasure and offer a creative alternative to animation. Since I’m happy with the work that I’m creating, I neither seek critique to improve or the external validation that may come from social media ‘likes’.

This may seem an alien attitude in a world where it is normal to share every aspect of our lives across a slew of social media platforms, but I don’t feel my approach will change any time soon.

The social media effect

Before the rise of the internet, and social media in particular, people used to create solely for the pleasure of creating. Obviously, some would turn their hobby into a career and others would share their work with family and friends but, on the whole, the work was rarely shared widely.

Sharing with the wider world is now not only easy but is considered the normal course of action.

This ability to share your work widely can be fantastic but it also comes with downsides. As much as we may pretend not to care, or try to ignore it, the ‘like’ button, ever present across social media, causes problems.

If few people like something that we post, we are likely to view it as less valuable, even if it was enjoyable for us to create or helped us to learn something new. Equally, a high number of likes can persuade us that something is of greater value. Over time, this skews the work that people create.

The truth is, there are reasons why your work may perform better or worse on social media beyond the quality of the work itself. For example, a portrait image in which the subject is clearly visible in a small thumbnail will always fare better on social media than a landscape image in which the subject is smaller in frame.

Over time, this effect leads to a reduction in new or unique work as everyone starts to cater to the current trends.

Amateur vs professional

The word amateur can be defined in a couple of ways. Whilst it can be used to describe someone who lacks ability in a certain skill, the other definition is simply someone who engages in something as a pastime, rather than a profession.

I would describe myself as an amateur photographer with no desire to become professional.

If your goal is to make animation your profession, I would still argue that the benefits of sharing your work online outweigh the downsides but, if animation is something you are pursuing for your own enjoyment, if you identify as an amateur animator, don’t feel compelled to join the masses and share everything that you create.

Either way, if you choose to share your work online, simply be mindful not to fall into the trap of doing the same thing as everyone else simply for the ‘likes’.

Inbetweens by Into Animation

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