• Avatar –


    I have to say, a group of people from work just got back from Avatar in Imax digital 3d…. We were blown away. Hats off to all the amazing artists that were involved with making that film. You guys really set the bar high. I was immersed in the story and characters. The animation/motion capture was superb. You could tell every frame was touched by an animator, mocap or not. I have not felt like that since I was a kid… The facial animation was so believable… Every eye dart, every movement of the brows communicated things so clearly. The world was so lush. I can’t wait to see it again!  Some of the guys saw it in 2d and liked it just as much. The way to experience it in my opinion is 3d Imax. Cameron really knows how to push and pull the depth. Also, I hear that Imax digital 3d has the least eye fatigue because of the large format and because they use two projectors. Anyway….. Hats off again to the crew!!!! Finally!


  • Successful Traits of an Animator


    At CTN Animation Expo I spoke on the topic of the five successful traits that an animator should have. Here is a recap. I hope to expand on this soon and post some of the video I shot for the lecture. In short they are:

    1) Attitude. Its probably the most important thing you could possess. A lack of Ego, someone who has a natural drive and can communicate with others. I know, this sounds corporate, but it really is important to have a good work ethic. Being an organized animator is of equal importance.

    2) Good Choices. When I say good choices I’m talking about good ideas. Acting ideas or ideas that are not the norm. Its so easy to fall into the camp of just animating to a piece of dialogue. Coming up with original ideas is the hard part. I struggle with it everyday. How do you keep your work fresh? I always fall back on what inspires me. A great film, an interesting piece of animation, a drawing, a comic strip whatever…. The point is to really push yourself to make good interesting choices.

    3) Entertainment Value. What is it that makes something entertaining? Adding entertainment to a scene that is funny is one aspect, but making any shot have entertainment value is the key. How can you find the aspect of the shot which makes it different from the rest. The way a character walks, or how they gesture. I always am inspired by Mr. Bean for pure pantomime entertainment.

    4) Physicality. Obviously your characters need to feel like they belong in whatever world they are in. Having a sense of weight and balance is so important. Many times the rig will look hollow. your characters must have that specific weight. I remember how hard it was trying to make Sullivan look heavy. We went to a UC Berkeley lab and tried on these huge fake arms in order to see how it might feel to have heavy arms. It helped, but mostly I took away the idea that there is an aspect to each character which sells the weight. In Sully’s case it was the arms, belly and weight of his head and his overall mass.

    5) Caricature. When I asked around about what people thought was the most important trait, this always came up. The ability to see something in real life and know where to push it. This is what makes great animation. Taking an aspect of something or someone and boiling it down to the essence. The Big story is a great example of caricature in design and movement.

    In the next posts we will try and delve further into each of these traits. Thanks for reading. Also, this is my opinion and just some thoughts about the subject.


  • site is clean

    Some of you have been complaining that the site had a virus. This site is totally clean and google needs to update thier records. Someone did compromise the site and my provider and site admin took care of everything. Sorry for the confusion.

    Stay tuned for new stuff soon.


  • CTN Animation Expo

    I had a great time at the CTN animation expo. I am sorry that I did not get the change to finish my presentation. 20 minutes is not much time and I will try to post some of the notes and the closing video. Thanks again for all the support. All inquires regarding masterclasses check out the site for updates or email me at splinedr@gmail.com

    Some of the things I really liked about the expo were how open everyone was about sharing information.  To have access to all these amazing people is unreal. There were some really great panels as well as demos. I wish I had the chance to participate more. I’d love to here more about what people liked and what they thought could be better. Its exciting to see something like this happen and my hats off to the CTN team and Tina Price for making this happen.


  • The Stuff That Hangs on Your Wall

    When I started as an animator at Warner Bros. 15 years ago, my mentor Frank Molieri gave me a list of things to keep in mind when I’m animting. I kept it pinned up on my board and its hanging on my board at Pixar. I think it came from his days at Bluth. Alot of these lists have been passed on from one animator to another. The other list that I posted was given to me by Chuck Harvey, who is a great old Disney Animator who used to work with the great Milt Kahl. The scan is a photo copy of an original that was sitting in a box of amazing work that was done by Milt which he had. As you can see, it has the stains of time on it. Feel free to print them out and hang them on your wall. What they say is Gold.  I think its a great idea to surround yourself with inspiration like this. Things that keep you in check. These days, I have more pictures of my daughter and wife, but I still like to have things around me that really do inspire me. I remember being in Glen Keanes’ office at Disney. He had so many great works of art up that were inspiring him for his work on Rapunzel. On every production. I think directly or indirectly it can influence your work. I like to clean off my board and put up stuff that gets me excited about the character or work I’m doing. I wanted to know if anyone else had any things they had hanging up that keep them going… Please write it in the message box or email me an image of something you think might help another animator… A list, An Image, a poem… etc etc… It all can help.