Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Circles, Ovals & The Brain

Part of a seminar I attended discussed two parts of the human brain: The Neo-Cortex and The Limbic System.

Have you ever "zoned out" while driving to work, only to find yourself pulling into the parking lot and wondering how you got there? You can thank your Limbic System. This is the part of the brain that allows you to do things by rote while concentrating on other matters. This is the result of having done something the same way so many times that it is hard-wired into your noggin.

The Neo-Cortex is the part of the brain that gets a work out anytime you learn to do something new. For instance when you were first learning to drive that above-mentioned car, this chunk of the brain was on constant alert. "Take your foot off the gas! Apply the brakes! Hit the turn signal! Look in the rear view mirror! Turn! Turn!!! Turn now, stupid!!!"

Now imagine you've been doing the same thing over and over so that it is burned into your limbic system, only now you have to re-learn to do it differently! The brain-sparks start a-flyin' to be sure! The example used in the seminar was what would happend if you moved your coffee maker? The first morning, you'd be sure to walk to where it was, despite the fact that it was you who moved it to the new location. Over the course of the next few days you'd keep walking to where it used to be until you had re-programmed your Limbic System via the Neo-Cortex. I tried it and it did, in deed, work out that way.

Now why do I bring this up?

Animation legend-guy, John Kicfalusi, has offered to guide willing participants through the drawing lessons offered up by the Preston Blair "How To Animate" book. I've had a copy of this book for twenty-five years and never seriously went through the exercises. I've started another blog to document my efforts (I was going to say "progress" but that remains to be seen!

Mr. Neo-Cortex and Mr. Limbic System will have much to talk about as I try to erase 48 years of accumulated scheme and reprogram my pencil!