• Adam Burke – A Pixar Legend

    Adam Burke passed away on October 8th 2018. I was a close friend to Adam over the years at Pixar Animation studios. When Adam showed up on the film Incredibles it was a breath of fresh air to have someone else that was from “back east”. The industry is small and we knew alot of the same people. Adam was always a guy that I could go into and chat with about life. There never was a day when I remember him being negative. It really was amazing because I was sometimes jaded by this or that and Adam would set me straight, telling me.. “Gordon, I’ve been on the outside” I aint ever leaving this place.” He was right. He was right about so many things. He did so many things for the animation department at Pixar and people in general. He started the hospital visit program at Pixar. He was the resident Bar keep. A guy who would always pour a drink or make you laugh. He had a voice that would shatter the earth…Singing at the stage on a Friday. He was always there on working Saturdays cooking breakfast with his son or making the best bloody Mary’s for the crew even if he was not on the film!  He and I taught the interns at Pixar one year and he made it one of the most fun experiences ever. He and I had a famous war at pixar where we would trade photoshops and fake shots in dailies. He went through the trouble of having someone model me so he could put my face on a cup in Finding Dory. These are the types of things that really are the stuff of legend. He added so much to the culture of Pixar and that culture is part of what makes the films so great there. He took an interest in teaching and even helping me with this site that used to be sucha beacon for so many people that wanted to learn about animation. One our best “Spline Casts” was with Brad Bird and Ed Catmull. Adam helped line those legends up. http://splinedoctors.com/Podcasts/BradBird.m4a

    another interview with Adam and Ed:   https://www.dix-project.net/item/1623/spline-cast-the-original-spline-doctor

    Adam was also a spectacular animator, animating scenes that you remember in the many films he worked on. I hope to post a link to his amazing work. Adam also was the keeper of my old secret room the Love Lounge. He hosted so many people through the years and kept the lounge in tact. I could not have thought of a better person, because he was a gracious host. When I think about the animators that we read about in the old books about Disney and Warners, Adam is one of those “characters” that made me want to become an animator. His attitude was that he was the luckiest guy to have his job and all the things he did for people made it show. I will miss you so much Adam. If there is a heaven, then I know Adam is sitting by some sort of Tiki Bar up there, having his favorite drinks, a martini with a twist. May we all raise a glass to a person that affected so many. I miss you buddy.



  • New Chapter!

    Happy New Year! I wanted to thank everyone for following this site, if anyone does ever still go here… Most likely some may come to dig into the old articles from years gone past when we were all younger and had the time to post tidbits of learning about animation. Well, I am writing to ask if anyone is interested in taking over this site and passing on the knowledge you have gleaned to the next generation. Splinedoctors has been a great way for me to meet people and also I have heard many people talk to me about how it helped them. If it was only one, thats enough. Its all about continued growth. If you are interested, please contact me at splinedr@gmail.com

    I am starting a new chapter in my life. After 20 amazing years and 4 months at Pixar, this year I decided to leave and take on a new position at a new animation company. More on that later. Thank you as always for visiting this site and stay tuned for some news and again thank you.   -Andrew





  • Creating a fun place to work…

    Its really no secret anymore that I have had a few offices that had secret rooms at Pixar… I’ve never really talked about it much, mostly people have told their own version of the story…Mostly mythology. In the next couple of posts Ill try to speak on why it happened and what the real reasons were…

    Well, it all started when I was a kid, as most stories do… Something imprinted with me… My brother Ken, always had the most amazing club houses…One was in a old ice shed out back. He had fur up there, a drawer of baseball cards, a chest of toys and trinkets.. Of course I was never allowed. I did sneak up when he was away, but I loved it there. Being in a place I was not supposed to be was the key. A hiding place… When your a kid, you make forts, you try to construct things, well because its fun! My brother had the shed, the attic, a bush that was a three story apartment etc…Why should it be any different at work? My brother inspired me , or rather as he would say it, I copied him. Copy Cat, he would often call me… I’ll admit, I did like what my older brothers were doing. A kid makes the kid version of what the older kids do…

    So The Love Lounge, was the place at Pixar I “found” When I moved in, there was simply a key in an air vent and I crawled in as any kid would do… Ironically, on the other side of the building there is the same door, but for some reason it never was seen as a place to have drinks and hang out… Animators are a special breed. Basically people that still somehow wanted to keep playing with their action figures…and make them come alive… The natural thing was to do the same thing. I strung up some lights, Bought some airplane bottles of liquor and the next thing I know, Im sending out invitations to my fellow animators to have a drink… Posters start going up…I was inspired by Shawshank redemption. The character in that film had a really cool Cell with a poster of Raquel Welch… The place started turning into a 50′s lounge…We were all so young and it was fun trying to hide from the Brass. One day, while on the Film Finding Nemo, I was supposed to be in a review. They came to my office and was coming out of the door… Caught red handed by Director Andrew Stanton. He looked inside and noticed that I had a sort of Snoopy Dog house. Snoopy’s dog house was also something that as a kid I always wondered about.. He had so much stuff in there… I knew I wasn’t going to be fired, but maybe get in trouble for having a chocolate martini in my hands while a bunch of animators crawled, or rolled out laughing… The next thing I know, John Lassiter is coming by, Then with Steve Jobs… They pretty much loved it… Steve signed the wall: This is why we built this building…The next year or three I met too many famous people to count. Some of my hero’s, So many actors, Musicians, Billionaires, Princes, you name it.. I met them… And had some pretty interesting conversations inside of an airvent.. hey would sign  the wall and crawl out. That part was always awkward… If I had only had a butt cam…

    One of the big things I learned, and that we all learned.. Don’t force fun. Its up to the employees to push on the culture to make things happen. Don’t wait for the HR team to set up a mixer. The people are who the company is. What I love about Pixar is that people are always trying to outdo each other. Whether its their office, a talk, a party, tools, anything, this is the stuff that makes things interesting.The big issue with a lot of companies out there is that you become afraid of asking… You start thinking that if you ask, they will say no.. Most of the time they may… Most of the great things that happen are spontaneous…Built on some crazy perception…

    Next week Ill continue some of the story of the Love Lounge and talk bit about the Lucky 7 and some other things that may be of interest…

    Thanks for listening..feel free to ask questions…





  • Great short

    A former Pixar animator and Academy award winner, John Kahrs did a really cool short for Lyft.

    Check it out. It is a stunning piece of work that has a nice story and a really great look and feel.

    Congrats on such great work.

  • Gesture here, Gesture there, but don’t Gesture everywhere….

    Gestures have always been facinating to me inside and out of the animation industry. I remember the lightbulb going on in my head when I first heard Glen Keane talk about how he looked at gestures. Never before did I put two and two together in the way he did. Now, with the advent of so many classes, online schools the info is out there. I recently did a class on Lynda.com. Its part of a series of classes where I will cover the craft more than software specific tools. Many of the learnings are free. Here are a bunch of clips for your viewing pleasure. Thank you all for still reading Spline Doctors. Please suggest things for the future and I will try to get them up. I heard people are interested in a Finding Dory Round Table.

    Welcome Video

    Cliche Gestures

    Over Gesticulation

    Weight and Physics