Chad Troftgruben is the author of Real-Time Animation with Adobe Character Animator; we got the chance to sit down and find out more about his experience of writing with Packt.
Q: What are your specialist tech areas?
Chad: 2D Animation
Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey. What was your motivation for writing this book?
Chad: I wrote a book for Packt in 2014 for Anime Studio (now known as Moho) and was offered to author this new book due to my experience in the software.
Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?
Chad: I built the Chaz and the Alien project before writing any content. By building a scene from scratch, I was able to learn new features as well as brush up on old ones. This process probably took 2-4 weeks when you account for researching new features and tools.
Q: Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?
Chad: I adapted the book from an old video course I recorded. Early on I realized the flow of the course doesn’t necessarily translate when written. Trying to find the right balance of new items, and when to introduce new content while building a consistent scene through 12 chapters. I adapted as I saw and felt these issues occur. My proofreaders helped in this task, as well.
Q: What’s your take on the technologies discussed in the book? Where do you see these technologies heading in the future?
Chad: I see animation becoming easier and more accessible for other audiences and businesses. Character Animator, while useful for traditional productions, lends itself well to streaming platforms. Being able to create an avatar you can act as in real time with audience participation is big now and will probably only continue to grow.
Q: Why should readers choose this book over others already on the market? How would you differentiate your book from its competition?
Chad: I try to be as detailed as I can with any tutorial or book I author. I also try to approach the subject so that almost anyone can jump in, understand and start creating. I began my animation journey being self-taught. Given I come from that background, I feel my content can relate to those who may be apprehensive or unsure if they want to pursue animation.
Q: What are the key takeaways you want readers to come away with from the book?
Chad: That you can make animated stories or business presentations without much knowledge of the subject. There is no right or wrong when it comes to the creative path: if something works, use it. And to always keep your mind open, as the creative process can be just as frustrating as it is rewarding.
Q. What advice would you give to readers learning tech? Do you have any top tips?
Chad: Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. If something isn’t working right, it could come down to a minor detail. Or perhaps a tag is missing. Whatever the case, you will hit walls. There are always ways around the walls. Just remember to maintain your patience and soon you’ll be creating animated scenes.
Q. Do you have a blog that readers can follow?
Chad: I have a blog on my personal site. You can check by clicking here.
Q: Can you share any blogs, websites, and forums to help readers gain a holistic view of the tech they are learning? What are the key takeaways you want readers to come away with from the book?
Chad: YouTube has a wealth of knowledge on Character animators. Also, the Adobe community is good at answering questions you may have.
Q. How would you describe your author’s journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?
Chad: I’ve enjoyed my journey with Packt. I’m someone who has a lot of ideas, and can create content, whether it be written or recorded, and so on. But it’s easy to get lost in the weeds when working on these things. And since I know less about writing books than recording tutorials, it’s great to have a team to not only keep me on track but offer helpful tips and hone in on things that may need editing. I would recommend authoring for Packt.
Q. Do you belong to any tech community groups?
Chad: Another animation app I use a lot is Moho (Anime Studio). I check out different Facebook groups and the official Lost Marble community on occasion when using this app. Beyond that, I am a bit of an introvert and keep to myself. But these communities have a wealth of knowledge.
Q. What are your favorite tech journals? How do you keep yourself up to date on tech?
Chad: I try to keep up-to-date with the apps I use through the developer’s websites, Facebook groups/pages, and other social media forums.
Q. How did you organize, plan, and prioritize your work and write the book?
Chad: Given I am a freelancer, I can choose how much time to devote to a project. So work interfering with the book wasn’t such an issue. I do have a three-year-old son and it has taken some effort to adapt to his needs, as well as make sure I am on task with the book. Ultimately it came down to communicating with my partner and setting up a schedule so I could write without interruption. Overall, I think it worked out!
Q. What is that one writing tip that you found most crucial and would like to share with aspiring authors?
Chad: If you are planning to build a project with the book, make sure you have everything locked down before you begin writing. I had to make some changes later on due to an oversight, and it caused a little bit of a headache. And along with that, make sure to keep your images organized and properly labeled. You may find if a section needs to be rearranged, so will the images.
Q. Would you like to share your social handles? If so, please share.
You can find Chad’s book on Amazon by following this link: Please click here