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One need not accept or agree with previous conclusions, but it is the height of parochial arrogance to assume that no one before has ever considered the problem under investigation.
  --   Alan Dundes, Cinderella: A Case Book

We know very little about self-development. But we do know one thing: People in general and knowledge workers in particular, grow according to the demands they make on themselves. They grow according to what they consider to be achievement and attainment. If they demand little of themselves, they will remain stunted. If they demand a good deal of themselves, they will grow to giant stature -- without any more effort than is expended by the non-achievers.
  --   Peter Drucker, The Effective Executive

In fact, all the talk of the "whole man" or the "mature personality" hides a profound contempt for man's most specific gift: his ability to put all his resources behind one activity, one field of endeavor, one area of accomplishment. It is, in other words, contempt for excellence. Human excellence can only be achieved in one area or at the most, in a few.
  --   Peter Drucker, The Effective Executive

If there is any one 'secret' of effectiveness, it is concentration. Effective executives do first things first and they do one thing at a time.
  --   Peter Drucker, The Effective Executive

If you want a creative organization, inaction is the worst kind of failure - and the only kind that deserves to be punished. Researcher Dean Keith Simonton provides strong evidence from multiple studies that creativity results from action. Renowned geniuses like Picasso, da Vinci, and physicist Richard Feynman didn't succeed at a higher rate than their peers. They simply produced more, which meant that they had far more successes and failures than their unheralded colleagues. In every occupation Simonton studied, from composers, artists, and poets to inventors and scientists, the story is the same: Creativity is a function of the quantity of work produced. These findings mean that measuring whether people are doing something - or nothing - is one of the ways to assess the performance of people who do creative work. Companies should demote, transfer, and even fire those who spend day after day talking about and planning what they are going to do but never do anything.
  --  Robert I. Sutton, The Weird Rules of Creativity, Harvard Business Review

Where observation is concerned, chance favors only the prepared mind.
  --   Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), address given on the inauguration of the Faculty of Science, University of Lille, 7 December 1854

Constant effort and frequent mistakes are the stepping stones of genius.
  --   Elbert Hubbard, _The Philosophy of Elbert Hubbard_, comp. Elbert Hubard II, 1930

I have no ambition to govern men. It is a painful and thankless job.
  --   Thomas Jefferson

The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.
  --   Hubert H. Humphrey, speech in Madison, Wisconsin, 23 August 1965

The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.
  --   Theodore Roosevelt, 26th U.S. president

The test of a vocation is the love of the drudgery it involves.
  --   Logan Pearsall Smith (1865-1946), U.S. writer.

The most useful investigator, because the most sensitive observer, is always he whose eager interest in one side of the question is balanced by an equally keen nervousness lest he become deceived.
  --   Wm. James, The Will to Believe

A very high standard, again, involves the possession of rare virtues, and rare virtues are like rare plants or animals, things that have not been able to hold their own in the world.
  --   Samuel Butler, The Way of All Flesh

Everyone has a mass of bad work in him which he will have to work off and get rid of before he can do better -- and indeed, the more lasting a man's ultimate good work is, the more sure he is to pass through a time, and perhaps a very long one, in which there seems very little hope for him at all."
  --   Samuel Butler, The Way of All Flesh

But so long as men are not trained to withhold judgment in the absence of evidence, they will be led astray by cocksure prophets, and it is likely that their leaders will be either ignorant fanatics or dishonest charlatans. To endure uncertainty is difficult, but so are most of the other virtues.
  --   Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays

The opinions that are held with passion are always those for which no good ground exists; indeed the passion is the holder's lack of rational conviction.
  --   Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays

The reason why consciousness exists and why there is an urge to widen and deepen it is a very simple one. Without consciousness, things go worse.
  --   C. G. Jung, Psychological Reflections

It was a lesson I have never forgotten; that animals confronted with severe continuous pain and the terror and shock that goes with it will often retreat even into death, and if you can remove the pain amazing things can happen.
  --   James Herriot, All Things Bright and Beautiful

The play of children is determined by their wishes -- really by the child's one wish, which is to be grown up, the wish that helps 'bring him up.'
  --   Freud, The Relation of the Poet to Daydreaming

Roper: So now you'd give the devil the benefit of law! More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? Roper: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! More: Oh? And when the last law was laid down, and the Devil turned round on you -- where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast -- man's laws -- not God's -- and if you cut them down -- and you're just the man to do it -- do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'll give the Devil the benefit of law, for my own safety's sake.
  --   Robert Bolt, A Man for All Seasons

A failure (in research work) makes one inventive, creates a free flow of associations, brings idea after idea, whereas once success is there a certain narrow-mindedness or thickheadedness sets in so that one always keeps coming back to what has been already established and can make no new combinations.
  --   Freud, in Ernest Jones' Life and Work of Sigmund Freud

The learning of the gentleman enters his ear, clings to his mind, spreads through his four limbs, and manifests itself in his actions. His smallest word, his slightest movement can serve as a model. The learning of the petty man enters his ear and comes out his mouth. With only four inches between ear and mouth, how can he have possession of it long enough to ennoble a seven foot body?
  --   Hsun Tzu, Basic Writings, translated by Burton Watson

Human nature is such that if we waited to do anything until we felt like it, we would do very little at the start, even of those things that give us pleasure, and would do less and less as time went on. One of the common experiences of people who regularly do hard work that they enjoy is to find that they begin to 'feel like it' only after the task is begun. And one of the chief uses of discipline is to assure that the necessary work gets done even when the worker doesn't feel like it.
  --   Wendel Berry, Discipline and Hope

With a range reaching 300 yards and a rapidity, in skilled hands, of ten to twelve arrows a minute in comparison to the crossbow's two, the longbow represented a revolutionary delivery of military force. Its arrow was three feet long, about half the length of the formidable six foot bow, and at a range of 200 yards it was not supposed to miss its target.... Preparing for the challenge to France, Edward had to make up for the disparity in numbers by some superiority in weaponry or tactics. In 1337 he had prohibited on pain of death all sport except archery and canceled the debts of all workmen who manufactured the bows of yew and their arrows
  --   Barbara Tuchman, A Distant Mirror, p 70.

Tactics on the continent were simply the calvary charge of knights followed by hand-to-hand fighting on foot, sometimes preceded or supplemented by archers and infantry, both of which the knights despised. In the Scottish wars, however, the English had found that foot soldiers equipped with the longbow and trained to keep a disciplined line could, by aiming at the horses, throw back a charge of mounted knights. A really useful discovery of this kind will take precedence over class disdain.
  --   Tuchman, p. 85.

My research suggests that good ideas generally arise out of prior experience. Successful ventures solve problems their founders have personally grappled with as customers, employees, or bankers. Ventures like Federal Express which reputedly grew out of founder Fred Smith's senior thesis in college are rare.
  --   Bhidé, Developing Start-up Strategies

To understand how long ago something occurred requires us to fill time with events.... We may say that time has flown, that 20 years seemed to have passed by in an instant, but we are easily able to set straight our internal sense of how long ago something happened by thinking about intervening events. Time in one's own life is kept from collapsing into an undifferentiated lump by the events that fill it.
  --  Charles Murray, Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950 p 8

Every educated adult can write, and many, with reason, think they write pretty well. It thus crosses the minds of many that they could write good fiction if only they put their minds to it. This offers a direct way of testing out my "Here, you try it" thought experiment. There is no better way to appreciate the difficulty of creating even minimally adequate art, let alone great art, than trying to write a paragraph of fiction. A daunting gulf separates the stringing together of words into good sentences from the creation of stories and characters that speak to people across time and cultures.
  --  Charles Murray, Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950 p 55

Even though he had been instrumental in creating the modern concept of intelligence, Galton argued that intelligence alone was not enough to explain genius. Rather, he appealed to "the concrete triple event, of ability combined with zeal and with capacity for hard labor."
  --  Charles Murray, Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950 p 93

If on his journey the pilgrim meets with any ogre of superlative powers, you must attempt to convert this ogre and make him the scripture-seeker's disciple. If he resists, the pilgrim is to put one of these fillets on his head, reciting the spell that belongs to it. Whereupon the ogre's eyes will swell and his head ache so excruciatingly that he will feel as if his brains were bursting, and he will be only too glad to embrace our faith.
  --   Journey to the West (tr. Authur Waley), Buddha to GuanYin

...Creativity researchers agree that motivation is the key ingredient in creative contribution and creative genius.... By "motivation" they mean just what we have been talking about: the ability to commit to a valued goal, the ability to sustain that commitment over time -- even in the face of obstacles -- and the ability to enjoy the effort and engagement."
  --  Carol S. Dweck, "Beliefs that Make Smart People Dumb"

There is no strict rule as to how many sketches are required for a film. It depends on the type, character, and content of the project. A rough guideline is approximately 100 storyboard sketches for each minute of film. If, however, a film is technically complex, the number of sketches could double. For a TV commercial, more sketches are produced as a rule because there are usually more scene changes and more action than in longer films.
  --  Whitaker & Halas, Timing for Animation, p 14.

The basic question which an animator is continually asking himself is: 'What will happen to this object when a force acts upon it?' And the success of his animation largely depends on how well he answers this question.
  --  Whitaker & Halas, Timing for Animation, p 26.

The animator's job is to synthesize movements and apply just the right amount of creative exaggeration to make the movement look natural within the cartoon medium.
  --  Whitaker & Halas, Timing for Animation, p 28.

Refining the animation is a process of working from general to the specific:
* Nail down the scenes, layout, and major transitions. Get the timing right.
* Place the final backgrounds.
* Get the final character art in place for all the scenes.
* Animate the major poses and gestures.
* Work in between the main poses and get smaller gestures in.
* Put in 'lip flaps' to roughly correspond to the dialog track.
* Do the final lip sync.

  --  Galore & Kelsey, Flash MX Design for TV

Much of the modern demand for individualism -- including John Stuart Mills' On Liberty -- is a plea for exemption from social feedback from those negatively judging individual behavior. Such an exemption is especially inconsistent when it emanates from those actively criticizing the rest of society. However democratic the language in which it is phrased, it is not a demand for equal rights or a general freedom, but for a nonreciprocal special privilege.
  --  Thomas Sowell, Knowledge and Decisions, p 107

When you're in the studio painting, there are a lot of people in there with you. Your teachers, friends, painters from history, critics... and one by one, if you're really painting, they walk out. And if you're really painting, you walk out.
  --  Audrey Flack, from a talk w/ Philip Guston, quoted by Don Hahn in Dancing Corn Dogs in the Night

Animation or the character should always be the top priority in the mind of the layout artist. Whether you're watching a live action film or an animated cartoon, the first thing you look at is always the character's eyes. Next you look to see what it is doing, and finally you look at the background elements to see where the character is. This all takes place within a very short period of time, about one second.
  --  Brian Lemay, Layout and Design, p 156

Pose and timing are KING. Every other aspect of animation is secondary to pose and timing. No amount of follow-through or anti-twinning or secondary action or fancy flesh simulation and dynamic fat jiggling is going to overcome bad poses and poor timing. With pose and timing you convey emotion, weight, power -- the very core of animation is locked up in pose and timing. So until we're happy with these two things, we don't do anything else.
  --   Keith Lango (online article)

If you can make your piece work without the benefit of any audio, bank on the fact that it will be even more powerful once your sound has been added. A truth whispered among animators is that 70% of a show's impact comes from the sound track.
  --  Kit Laybourne, The Animation Book, p. 85

Behind the intellectual's feeling of commitment is the belief that in some measure the world should be made responsive to his capacity for rationality, his passion for justice and order: out of this conviction arises much of his value to mankind and, equally, much of his ability to do mischief.
  --  R. Hofstadter, Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, p 29

Dead belief systems are difficult to bury, for in doing so we enter a world we do not recognize; we watch the carefully crafted towers of our understanding crash down in ruins; and we lose an integral piece of the only reality we have known, reinforced and imprinted on our minds by a thousand voices, internal and external.
  --  J. Perazzo, The Myths that Divide Us, p 17

What chiefly characterizes creative thinking from more mundane forms are (i) willingness to accept vaguely defined problem statements and gradually structure them, (ii) continuing preoccupation with problems over a considerable period of time, and (iii) extensive background knowledge in relevant and potentially relevant areas.
  --   Herbert Simon, quoted by E. O. Wilson in Consilience.

We know for certain that sight is one of the most rapid actions we can perform. In an instant we see an infinite number of forms, still we only take in thoroughly one object at a time. Supposing that you, Reader, were to glance rapidly at the whole of this written page, you would instantly perceive that it was covered with various letters; but you could not in the time, recognize what the letters were, nor what they meant to tell. Hence, you would need to see them word by word, line by line to be able to understand the letters. Again, if you wish to go to the top of a building you must go step by step; otherwise, it will be impossible that you should reach the top. Thus I say to you, whom nature prompts to pursue this art [painting] if you wish to have a sound knowledge of the forms of objects, begin with the details of them and do not go on to the 2nd step till you have the first well fixed in memory and in practice. And if you do otherwise you will throw away your time, or certainly greatly prolong your studies. And remember to acquire diligence rather than rapidity.
  --   from the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci

We estimated that it took a year and a half to learn the basic fundamentals of animation and another five or six years to be at all skillful.
  --   Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, The Illusion of Life.

In a 1999 interview with the National Law Journal, which named him Lawyer of the Year, [David] Boies summarized his philosophy, ``You want to have a consistent, coherent set of themes that you establish and stick to, and that's particularly important the more complicated the case is. The more complicated it is, the more important it is to define what your simple truths are.''


Quotes from Ericsson, Drampe, & Tesch-Romer, The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance

"In their classic studies of Morse Code operators, Bryan and Harter (1897, 1899) identified plateaus in skill acquisition....Keller (1958) later showed that these plateaus in Morse Code reception were not an inevitable characteristic of skill acquisition, but could be avoided by different and better training methods. Nonetheless, Bryan and Harter had clearly shown that with mere repetition, improvement of performance was often arrested at less than maximum levels, and further improvements were required for promotions and external rewards.

On the basis of several thousand years of education, along with more recent laboratory research on learning and skill acquisition, a number of conditions for optimal learning and improvement of performance have been uncovered....The most cited condition concerns the subjects' motivation to attend to the task and exert effort to improve their performance. ...The subjects should receive immediate informative feedback and knowledge of results of their performance. The subjects should repeatedly perform the same or similar tasks. ... In the absence of adequate feedback, efficient learning is impossible and improvement only minimal even for highly motivated subjects.

In contrast to play, deliberate practice is a highly structured activity, the explicit goal of which is to improve performance. Specific tasks are invented to overcome weaknesses, and performance is carefully monitored to provide clues for ways to improve it further. We claim that deliberate practice requires effort and is not inherently enjoyable. Individuals are motivated to practice because practice improves performance.

However, maximization of deliberate practice is neither short-lived nor simple. It extends over a period of at least 10 years and involves optimization within several constraints. First, deliberate practice requires available time and energy for the individual .... Second, engagement in deliberate practice is not inherently motivating.... Finally deliberate practice is an effortful activity that can be sustained only for a limited time each day during extended periods without leading to exhaustion (effort constraint).

The central claim of our framework is that the level of performance an individual attains is directly related to the amount of deliberate practice....according to teachers and training instructions, it is necessary to maintain full attention during the entire period of deliberate practice.
  A number of training schools in real life have compared the efficiency of practice durations ranging from 1 - 8 hours a day. These studies show essentially no benefit from durations exceeding 4 hours per day and reduced benefits from practice exceeding 2 hours. Many studies of the acquisition of typing skill and other perceptual-motor skills indicate that the effective duration of deliberate practice may be closer to 1 hour a day.

A necessary precondition for practice, according to Auer (1921) is that the individual be fully attentive to his playing so that he or she will notice areas of potential improvement and avoid errors. Auer believes that practice without such concentration is even detrimental to improvement of performance. On the basis of an extended study of Olympic swimmers, Chambliss (1988, 1989) argued that the secret of attaining excellence is to always maintain close attention to every detail of performance 'each one done correctly, time and again, until excellence in every detail becomes a firmly ingrained habit.'

Improvements [in long distance running] resulting from training appear to be more a function of intensity (as close to maximum as possible) than of the total distance covered.

When completing a novel, famous authors tend to write only for 4 hours during the morning, leaving the rest of the day for rest and recuperation (Cowley, 1959; Plimpton, 1977). Hence, successful authors, who can control their work habits and are motivated to optimize their productivity, limit their most important intellectual activity to a fixed daily amount when working on projects requiring long periods of time to complete.

Without the goal of improving performance, the motivation to engage in practice vanishes.


"Surgeons, as a group, adhere to a curious egalitarianism. They believe in practice, not talent.... To be sure, talent helps. Professors say every two or three years they'll see someone truly gifted come through a program -- someone who picks up complex manual skills unusually quickly, sees the operative field as a whole, notices trouble before it happens. Nonetheless, attending surgeons say that what's most important to them is finding people who are conscientious, industrious, and boneheaded enough to stick at practicing this one difficult thing day and night for years on end.... Skill, surgeons believe, can be taught; tenacity cannot..... "And it works. There have now been many studies of elite performers -- international violinists, chess grand masters, professional ice-skaters, mathematicians, and so forth -- and the biggest difference researchers find between them and lesser performers is the cumulative amount of deliberate practice they've had. Indeed the most important talent may be the talent for practice itself. K. Anders Ericsson, a cognitive psychologist and expert on performance, notes that the most important way in which innate factors play a role may be in one's willingness to engage in sustained training. He's found, for example, that top performers dislike practicing just as much as others do. (That's why, for example, athletes and musicians usually quit practicing when they retire.) But more than others, they have the will to keep at it anyway."
  --   Gawande, Complications pp 19 - 20.

"To be effective is the job of the knowledge worker....Yet people of high effectiveness are conspicuous by their absence in knowledge jobs. High intelligence is common enough among knowledge workers. Imagination is far from rare. The level of knowledge tends to be high. But there seems to be little correlation between a man's effectiveness and his intelligence, his imagination, or his knowledge. Brilliant men are often strikingly ineffectual; they fail to realize that the brilliant insight is not by itself achievement. They never have learned that insights become effectiveness only through hard systematic work. Conversely, in every organization there are some highly effective plodders. While others rush around in the frenzy and busyness that very bright people so often confuse with 'creativity,' the plodder puts one foot in front of the other and gets there first, like the tortoise in the old fable."
  --   The Essential Drucker, p 191

"The imposing system of measurements and tests that we have developed for manual work -- from industrial engineering to quality control -- is not applicable to knowledge work. There are few things less pleasing to the Lord, and less productive, than an engineering department that turns out beautiful blueprints for the wrong product. Working on the right things is what makes knowledge work effective. This is not capable of being measured by any of the yardsticks for manual work."
  --   The Essential Drucker, p 193

"The person of knowledge has always been expected to take responsibility for being understood. It is barbarian arrogance to assume that the layman can or should make the effort to understand the specialist, and that it is enough if the person of knowledge talks to a handful of fellow experts who are his peers. Even in the university or the research laboratory, this attitude -- alas, only too common today -- condemns the expert to uselessness and converts his knowledge from learning into pedantry. If a person wants to be an executive -- that is, if he wants to be considered responsible for his contribution -- he has to concern himself with the usability of his 'product' -- that is, his knowledge."
  --   The Essential Drucker, p 212

"Most people think they know what they are good at. They are usually wrong.... There is only one way to find out: the feedback analysis. Whenever one makes a key decision, and whenever one does a key action, one writes down what one expects will happen. And nine months or twelve months later, one then feeds back from results to expectations. I have been doing this fro some fifteen to twenty years now. And every time I do it, I am surprised. And so is every one who has ever done this. "Several action conclusions follow from the feedback analysis. "The first, and most important, conclusion: Concentrate on your strengths.... "Second: Work on improving your strengths.... "Of particular importance is the third conclusion: Identify where intellectual arrogance causes disabling ignorance.... "An equally important action conclusion is: Remedy your bad habits -- things you do or fail to do that inhibit your effectiveness and performance.... "The final action conclusion is: Waste as little effort as possible on improving areas of low competence. Concentration should be on areas of high competence and high skill. It takes far more energy and far more work to improve from incompetence to low mediocrity than it takes to improve from first-rate performance to excellence. And yet most people -- and equally most teachers and most organizations -- try to concentrate on making an incompetent person into a low mediocrity. The energy and resources -- and time -- should instead go into making a competent person into a star performer."
  --   The Essential Drucker, pp 218 - 220