Introduction to Animation

by Anna Hainline

Anna Hainline, junior Animation student sitting in front of a computer that she is using for animation.
Anna Hainline, junior Animation student.

I would recommend Introduction to Animation taught by Professor Kevin Mercer to all art students, not just animation students. It has been one of the most helpful animation courses I’ve ever taken. I was taught how to make animations in various styles including pixel animations, frame by frame, animatics, and 3D animation using Unity. At the end of the course, Professor Mercer had us put everything together in a demo reel that we could later use in our portfolios if we wanted.

Professor Kevin Mercer teaching his Introduction to Animation class about the animation program Unity.
Professor Kevin Mercer teaching about the animation program “Unity. “

A Unique Experience

In this class, I learned the basics of several different aspects of animation, including some that are not typically taught in a college classroom setting such as pixel animation. Pixel animation actually ended up being my favorite project we did. It was different from anything I had ever done up until then, and it was fun to branch out and broaden my horizons. I was not the only one who enjoyed the pixel animation portion of the class the most either. It was a fan favorite amongst my classmates as well. 

“I definitely had the most fun experimenting with a medium that is not as touched on in other basics courses. Kevin really knows how to keep things interesting,” my classmate Emanuel Blackwell said about the pixel animation portion of the class.

Professor Mercer writing instructions on the white board for his Introduction to Animation students.
Professor Mercer writing down instructions for a demo.

A Caring Professor

It’s Professor Mercer who really breathes life into the class. He cares about all his students equally and sets them up for success in his classes. He’s fun, engaging, and makes learning the not so exciting bits of animating more engaging for students. He really knows how to challenge your skill set while also making sure that you reach your full potential. 

Overall, it’s an amazing course to take if you are an animation student, or if you are interested in learning how to animate at all. Professor Mercer is an amazing teacher who sets you up for success, while still making things challenging and engaging.

If you’re interested in studying animation, check out SIU’s TV, Radio, and Digital Media program.

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