• A Great Cast of Characters

    As you know, Splinedoctors are Pixar Animators by day and Teachers by night in SF at the Academy of Art. We have been teaching there for quite a while now. Our students have been doing great and getting jobs at all of the top studios. We are almost done with the semester, so I wanted to showcase some of the students work. This particular assignment is a one person dialog test. The students take the model and work with a line from a movie or tv show. We focus on character, acting, facial animation, polish and so forth. Thank you to Morgan and Leif for creating the new model for this semester.

    Life animation by Ian Wilson
    Billy animation by Adrian Sairin
    The Second Road animation by Ken Kaiser
    Christmas Is Coming animation by Johnathan Mangagil
    This Isn’t Spain animation by Albert Hass
    A Great Talent animation by SungJin Ahn
    Gorgeous animation by Jae Hyung Kim
    I Was Fun animation by Guilherme Jacinto
    The Truth Is animation by Thomas Zach
    Purgatory Lounge animation by Miko Coedel
    History animation by Timothy Reardon
    Who Loves Youanimation by Yoon Hee Kim
    Don’t Touch Those!animation by Denis Tong

    More to come…Stay tuned.



  • Thinking about a shot

    Billy and I get a lot of questions about how do you get good acting. Well we can’t really answer that it’s subjective and also relates to your inherent ability to act. But there are tips for how to help you come up with acting choices.

    Here is an example of the things you might want to be thinking about when approaching a shot.

    The Shot
    Character at a bus stop and he just missed his bus.

    All the stuff you need to know to animate this shot.
    • What is the story point of this shot?
    • Why does this shot exist in the film?
    • What is it you are trying to tell?
    • Who is this character?
    • What was the character’s emotional state before he/she got to this shot? In the Sequence and film?
    • How does the character feel about missing the bus?
    • Where did he/she come from and where is he/she going?
    • What time of day does the character arrive at the bus stop?
    • What is the weather like; cold, hot, windy, rainy etc?

    Answers to questions like these will help you start to understand the character and their appropriate reactions to situations like a character missing his bus. These answers start to help you build your performance, the character’s acting. You start having things you can act out that make sense rather than just hitting a bunch of standard poses that don’t relate to the character’s current emotional state and situation.
    The first thing I do, which I think is super important, is I try to capture all of the above questions in one frame. I create my story frame or my KEY, Golden drawing, whatever you want to call it, and then determine what else needs to be in the shot to get the story point across. Less is more.
    There are a million more questions you can ask yourself about any shot these are just a few to help get started. What questions can you come up with?

    Dr. Stephen G.

  • More Milt Thumbnails…

    Here is another amazing page of Milt Kahls thumbnail drawings for his work on The Rescuers…
    When I think about how good these drawing are, it makes me really want to plan my work out as much as he did.



  • Clip Of The Day

    “The Power of Old People”
    If you haven’t seen this clip you’re missing out. Great performances all around.

    Google Video Rocks.


    Dr. A

  • Watching what’s around you

    Animators by nature really have to notice how things move and how people act. What are some really good ways to access good “reference” For one, I think an animator should be building a digital morgue of clips that inspire them. Make a set of folders and just start putting stuff in them. Takes, walks, runs, facial reference, sad, happy, heavy light etc etc etc… The point is, you are putting stuff away, so that you can reference it for later. So how do you get the clips. I used to use a dazzle, but I am looking into Tivotogo. As soon as the software becomes available for a mac, I can hook my tivo up to a network and start building a good library. Aside from capturing clips, what are some good things you can do to get interesting mannerisms into your work. Here are a few:

    1) family – Everyone has that crazy Aunt, or creepy uncle. Looks for interesting manerisms
    2) Everyday people you know
    3) The Airport – Its a great place to people watch. All the people coming and going and greeting each other
    4) Look at people reacting to things
    5) Zoo – for the animals and the humans…
    6) Weather – look at how forces affect things and study the footage.
    7) Focus in on a topic when getting footage. Maybe you want to film how people gesture down in Little Italy or how someone walks on a cold day as opposed to a warm one. Notice the details of how they hold themselves
    8) Film yourself, but don’t get tied down by it. Always look for other choices….

    Happy thanksgiving,