Like I wrote last week, I did other animations that had nothing to do with my The Unicorn With An Attitude series. The vast majority of them I did as class assignments.

Back in the early 2000’s I made another stab at taking art classes after my earlier foray into taking classes at the Maryland College of Art and Design (which has since merged with Montgomery College) part-time while working full-time didn’t pan out. This time it was through a local community college. I began my first class in the fall of 2001 just a week or two before the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

Despite that timing, I took another class in the spring of 2002. It was an introduction course on Flash which, at the time, had become the standard for animation. (Prior to that, I used various cheap software, such as Disney Animation Studio for the PC, to create my animations with. Later I used Adobe ImageReady, a software specializing in file compression that also had animation features as well. ImageReady was originally a separate package, then Adobe started making it available only if people also bought Photoshop. Then Adobe added ImageReady’s features to Photoshop in an upgrade, which resulted in ImageReady no longer being available as a separate software package.) Since my Unicorn series failed to get attention from anyone who could give me a professional shot, I thought it was because I didn’t use Flash. In addition, many hi-tech companies began to require knowledge of Flash for various jobs so I thought that taking a Flash class was the smart thing to do. (Ironically Flash is now hyped as being on the verge of becoming irrelevant and obsolete but that’s another story.)

I pretty much enjoyed the class I took and I learned a lot. In fact, I even took my new-found knowledge and decided to start creating my Unicorn With An Attitude animations using Flash. I did so on the “Buy American Now!” episode, which turned out to be the last episode I did in the series because that one failed to generate much interest or attention. That one was a last gasp that didn’t turn out well for me so I pulled the plug on the entire series.

The first Flash animation we did in class was a bouncing ball, which is the standard first-animation exercise in any basic animation class. We were free to design the background so I decided to create a city street. My instructor thought it would be cool if I had the buildings bounce up when the ball hit the sidewalk then the buildings fell down when the ball bounced up again.

For our second Flash animation, we had to do an entire motion cycle of a character either walking or running. I did a girl who was loosely based on one of my own childhood photos when I was between the ages of 7-10. I wore my long hair parted on the side at the time (which was held in place by a barrette) and I actually had blonde hair. (It was mostly medium blonde. When I used to spend my summers outdoors at the local neighborhood pool, the chlorine used to interact with the sun and my blonde hair would become even lighter. There are some late summer photos of me that exist where I had platinum blonde hair because of all the time I spent at the pool. My hair gradually turned darker when I was in middle school and I had light brown hair by the time I was in high school.)

Except I didn’t do such a hot job at rendering myself as a child. That girl looks like she could’ve been a character on Beavis & Butt-head. (Heck, she could pass as Beavis’ younger sister.)

As for the background, I don’t remember if it was based on one of my digital photos of the woods near my home or if it was some royalty-free photograph I got off of sites like FreeStockPhotos.com. I don’t remember when the flying bees came in—either my teacher suggested that I added something else and I thought of bees or it was something that I decided on my own.

Each semester the community college held a Student Art Show demonstrating the best of the students’ work that semester. One of the teachers who helped to organize that show wanted to feature computer animation as part of the 2002 Spring Student Art Show. When I showed that teacher the animations I had completed in class to date, the teacher felt that my animations were too short. (It was still early in the semester when I tried to submit my animations.) The teacher suggested that I combine at least two of my animations so I combined the bouncing ball animation with the running girl into one animation called The Running Girl. (At that point I had also become a fan of the movie The Running Man so my title as in homage to that one.) It was accepted into the show and I was proud of it.

I’ve re-mastered it into HD and added a new soundtrack (most of which came from YouTube’s free music and sound effects—except the bee buzzing sound, which came from an open source audio file site called SoundBible). So, without further ado, here’s The Running Girl.

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