This is gonna be a bit of a bittersweet post.
So this is almost five years ago, I stumbled upon NewGrounds during one of my classes, and played some games. Then I watched some animations. I thought "wow this is really cool" and then thought "well this is something i'm probably not gonna have a chance to do, I have no idea what they're doing here. It just really looks cool."
Fast forward a month and my class is doing a week on, wouldn't you know it, flash animation. I got so excited over it that I worked hard and had arguably the best animation in the class, by technical standards. Others had better stories and humor but mine had the drawn movement down that others were just tweening. It was funny, I actually failed that class because I would ignore every future project and work on my own little animations. I made a NewGrounds account and started posting stuff (that mostly got blammed). I thought I was so clever and funny and I was in grade 9 and 14 and I didn't know shit. I also wasn't funny.
So I continued animating throughout the year. This wasn't like a serious pastime or anything, it was just something to do when the video games got boring. However, this changed a bit when the next year came along. In February of 2009 my father passed away in his sleep. I don't know if any of you reading this have ever had a close loved one die while you were young (I was 15 at the time and a very emotional teenager) but even so, i'm sure you can imagine this wasn't very easy to deal with. Before he died I was offhandedly working on an animation called No Frame By Frame, which was inspired by the countless experimental fbf animations that had been plaguing the portal at around that time, so when my dad died I needed a distraction. I needed something I could put all my time into and therefore avoid the rest of my family for the time being, as it's really depressing being around your family when a loved one dies. I put my time into finishing No Frame By Frame. It was the first animation I had actually considered finished since the year beforehand in class, and when I finished it I felt amazing. I got hooked on that amazing feeling and I decided to put more time into animation.
Over the next few years I spent my time on countless animation experiments, failed projects, completed projects, and researching how to animate better. In this time I started actually drawing and improving that side of me as well, and my animations only improved. It has now been almost five years since NewGrounds inspired me and four years since it gave me that first real motivation to finish an animation. I now have animation school and a job in television under my belt, and things are really only looking up from here. I have never been happier than I am when i'm animating or drawing. This never would have happened without NewGrounds, and I am extremely appreciative.
However, this is where the sweet ends and it gets bitter.
Don't expect too many posts from me here. I haven't completely abandoned this site but there are many things about this site that i've grown to dislike and it has caused me to stop bothering so much. While I used to check on NewGrounds multiple times in a day, I now maybe check it once every few weeks just out of curiosity. Here's why I believe i'm not so interested in NewGrounds anymore:
1: The art portal size restrictions. As most of my time spent working on animations is really study and experiments, anything I would post here is art. I do most of my drawings in high resolution, so when I go to upload to the usual places (deviantart, tumblr, newgrounds), my piece gets refused and I don't feel like re-sizing the picture just for NewGrounds. I have other things to do, if people really want to see it they can check out my Deviantart Edit: this has changed but this really was just an excuse anyways)
2: The userbase. While I feel like this is mostly a maturity thing, i've grown to dislike a lot of the users on NewGrounds. Honestly I kind of see myself in them. I see the kid who's eager to become everything he dreams of but who doesn't want to wait for it, or I see the kid who thinks he's cool but is really making a fool of himself, or I see the kid who just doesn't know what he's talking about but wants to feel important. I did all those things when I was younger, and unlike deviantart and tumblr where these types of people are easily avoided, in NewGrounds I see these people everywhere. There aren't as many of these here as there are on deviantart and tumblr, but I don't see them as much there and it doesn't bother me.
3: This is honestly the most important one for me. The content has changed, and yet it has not. Earlier in NewGrounds' life we saw greats like Oney and HappyHarry and Egoraptor and hotdiggedydemon and so many others constantly creating new interesting animations, all their own. They had built their own style and were amazing people with them, but then they slowly left NewGrounds for other places, mainly YouTube. I do not believe they have completely abandoned this place (I haven't kept up enough on NG news to know that), but I do know that when I do check on the NewGrounds front page I don't see any of these people. What I do see instead bugs me in a way that it shouldn't. When these people left NewGrounds they left room for others to rise up in their place, but instead of finding their own path and creating their own voice, they took what they knew was successful and copied it. Now when I look at the NewGrounds front page I see nothing but copies of the old NG greats, with the same joke styles and same art styles but with none of the pizzazz. Those old NG greats were great because they constantly wowed us with new and exciting content! Not because they showed us old re-hashed jokes. The reason this shouldn't bug me so much is because we all start copying. Art is theft, in a sense. We all develop our style by taking pieces of what we see and like from other people and attaching them to our style until we get this frankenstein-esque monster that we then refine through study and practice. I guess the reason it bugs me so much is because it feels like there's no talent on the front page any more. I don't like that. It's all cyclical, i'm sure it'll come back again, but it feels like we're in a low period at the moment.
When I was younger I always told myself that I would love NewGrounds forever. I told myself that NewGrounds is the best place on the internet and I doubt anything better would spring up. While I still doubt that anything better than NewGrounds of old will spring up, I really just feel like it's degraded to a point where I don't feel like contributing that much any more. If my art posts are small enough and I bother I'll still post those here, but for now It seems that i'm done.
I never thought I would make a post like this. I'm sorry everyone.
P.S. I don't know if anyone noticed, but that drawing down there is a throwback to how I originally drew my characters when I first came onto this site. Similar colors, same clothes
edit: Since some people are getting confused, i'll clearly list my intent here. This is not a "NewGrounds sucks" post, but rather a post explaining why Newgrounds is not the place for me right now, how I don't like what i'm seeing, and that my focus has changed. I'll hopefully be back eventually but for now i'm out. Thanks for everything!