• Setting it in Motion

    Found this really great little short film on how Michael Arnt started Toy Story3. Beginnings… Very cool and educational. Every student should watch this!







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  • Composition is King

    Here’s a great write-up on the beautiful, creative, and bold compositions in the recent Foreign film IDA (Poland). Shot in Black & White and with a 1:33 framing, the director and his crew created some stunning imagery.

    In the link you can find a nice array of screen shots from the film, all worth studying and taking in. I highly recommend seeing the film if you haven’t yet, one of the ‘Best Foreign Film’ nominees for the upcoming Oscars in a few weeks.



    - N. Stanton


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  • Visual Storytelling

    Happy New Year out there ! I hope this post finds everyone starting a new creative endeavor.

    I wanted to focus on what we all look for when watching a film – great ‘Visual Storytelling’. Whenever I get a sequence I always ask myself –  How can I ‘show’ what is on the written page, and not rely on dialogue to get the action or  emotion across in the sequence ?  This is the Holy Grail that I seek when I put the pages down, and start drawing.

    There are many great examples out there in cinema that show this, and I was very happy to find this post recently breaking down the opening sequence to ‘MAD MAX 2 : The Road Warrior’ which has no dialogue at all, but full of  vital character information.  Very enlightening, and worth the watch. Enjoy !




  • 2015!

    Happy New Year!

    Some exciting things happening this year!

    • New Podcasts

    • New Doctors (story specialists and more)

    • Masterclasses!

    • A new look for our 10 year anniversary!

    Thanks for the support as always and please tell us what you want to hear.


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  • The Toy Story That Time Forgot

    I had the opportunity to be a Directing Animator on the TV special “The Toy Story that Time forgot. I thought I would share a few things that I learned on that special.

    • The world of Toy Story really requires a different style of animation in that the characters we animate need to look like toys not people in Toy suits. What does this mean? It was very much the same idea on Ratatoullie. We wanted Rats to feel and move like Rats, not like people in Rat suits… Toys have limited ranges of motion. This is important to sell how they are constructed. John Lassiter likes to talk about the truth of a material. Plastic needs to behave like plastic, metal like metal. It was the same for this world.

    •  For the Battlesaur characters, we wanted to set them apart in terms of there acting and locomotion. The animation needed to be heightened in order to achieve the idea that these characters were in the genre of the 80′s cartoon. Their lore and history needed to come through in the animation. One great example in the design of the animation was the character of Reptillus Maximus, whom I helped develop. For Reptillus, we wanted to create the classic Hero. We looked at a lot of reference of leading men i like Eryle Flynn in Robin Hood. Reptillus needed to always feel like he knew how to look best on camera. We tried to have him lead with his shoulder and gesture in such a way that was a bit theatric. We did try to design a specific way of moving for all the toy characters. In terms of the facial performance, we wanted to have a believability that it was a toy. We were always stripping out animation. We always wanted it to feel like a toy and not organic. We also pushed that sense of design in areas like the brows.

    • Trixie was our leading female character. It was difficult get a range of expression since she is a pretty simple character. Her mouth has a very limited range of expression and her legs are meant to look pretty stiff. The challenge to squeeze a performance out of a limited rig. This was done by pushing in the right places such as the eyes. A great example of this is a shot that animator Becki Tower did of Trickie trying on the battle gear. When she prances out it was pushed in such a way that gave trixie a confident demeanor. We were always asking how we could push an expression or a moment to read better.

    All in all, I really enjoyed working on the short.  The animation team did an amazing job bringing these characters to life. These days, its working with really great people that is the most rewarding part of my job.