Tools of the Trade

Working in computer animation, It’s hard to know exactly how many hours we spend in front of the screens on our desks, but with the occasional evening or weekend shift, it easily gets into thousands of hours every year.  Scrutinising detail in product animations, finessing timing on motion graphics projects, we spend an inordinate amount of time fixating on bright panels just a few feet in front of our face and in the long term, this will inevitably have an effect on our eyes.

That not only degrades one of the most important physical tools that us digital creative types have, it also affects the rest of our day to day lives.

To help combat that, here at Distant Future Animation Studio we like to take care of ourselves.  Everyone here has a gym membership, that gets used regularly, we have an app that beeps every hour whereupon everyone gets up and gyrates any and all body parts for a few seconds to help loosen up a bit, and importantly we blink.

That last tip came from an episode of the brilliant FX Guide Podcast where they talk to Batool Jafri, MD, the Assistant Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at UCLA and get tips on what artists can do to take care of their eyes.

Some of the main tips are….

  • for every 20 minutes of work, look away twenty feet and blink twenty times
  • drink plenty of water
  • good diet
  • wear sunglasses
  • don’t smoke
  • do 30 minutes of physical exercise at least 3 times a week

If you work with screens all day, it’s well worth a listen –

Also, if you are into visual effects and enjoy hearing some of the most experienced, talented and influential people reflect on the cutting edge of their field, you should also check out The VFX Show at


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