• New Blood Coming Soon

    Yes its been a while since I have posted anything. I am sorry to say that Adam Burke, will be taking a break from Spline Doctors. The good News is that we possibly will be getting 3 really great new Spline Doctors. They are:

    Mark Walsh - Mark has been working at Pixar a little longer than me (almost 11 years) He was directing animator on Finding Nemo and Supervising Animator on Ratatouille. He also just finished up some amazing animation on Doug Sweetlands new Short film. He is currently teaching animation at the Academy of Art
    Travis Hathaway – Travis came on around the time finding Nemo and has become one of Pixars best animators. He did some of the best stuff on Ratatouille and is a great teacher. He and I ran the Pixar intern program last year. I am really happy that he wants to post on Spline Doctors.
    Michal Makarewicz – Michal started on Incredibles. He then did some really great work on Cars and most recently Ratatouille and Wall E. He won an Annie award for his work on Ratatouille. He was one of my best students at the academy of art in San Francisco. I am looking forward to reading some of his posts.
    Some other stuff thats going on
    New Site Coming soon. We have a redesigned web site that is being done by Ben Lew. Its looking good. We may even get sponsored by someone. Anyway, hopefully it will be easier to find old posts and have a better overall look. Suggestions will be welcome. We will go live within a month.
    Spline Casts:
    I am going to get the ball rolling again with a fresh batch. Hopefully the next big one will be with Doug Sweetland.
    Over and Out….
  • Coming Soon…. Spline Cast Vault – John Kahrs

    Its been a while since we have done any podcasts. In the next few days I’ll post some or all of an interview I did with former Pixar veteran animator John Kahrs. The interview is focused mainly on polish. Its super ghetto quality, recorded directly on an ipod. Look for it soon! Sorry for the time its taking. We don’t have any fancy sponsors…. :)


  • Spline Doctor Q&A Answers

    Sorry, about this post I was suppose to post the answers last week. I got really busy, I’m leaving for Europe and New York for a month, and haven’t had time to edit it together. I promise I’ll post it as soon as I get back. There were a bunch of great questions and I want to make this a great splinecast that will be informative as well as interesting, unfortunately that takes time. If you want you can post some more questions in the meantime if you have any. QA@splinedoctors.com

    see you all in a month!
    -Dr. Stephen G.

    1 Comment |
  • Updates and other news…

    Sorry its been a while since our last post. Ratatouille is finishing up. Animation has wrapped and we are all taking a breather. Adam and I are planning to do some more Animation Roundtables as well as some new Spline Casts… Stay tuned.

    As for other stuff going on, I will be teaching an animation workshop at a school in Italy on June 15th. The class will focus on all kinds of Animation Techniques including acting, design, facial animation, blocking and planning and so on. I am also going to be Guest Artist at CSU summer Arts program for the 5th time. The class is Character Development for Animation. CSU Summer Arts is a great program. Check it out. I will be attending Annecy Animation festival. I am set to give a short talk on the subject of animation on Ratatouille. It will be for the Renderman group.

    Keep your eyes open for some new posts and upcoming podcasts.


  • The answers aren’t in the animation.

    I was hoping to post some student work but I’m still waiting for some files from a few folks, and where I promised Andrew I’d post something this weekend I figured I’d follow through on my promise and cover a topic that has come up quite a bit recently.

    Our director was in dailies with us this week and the subject of the difference between contemporary animation and that of the classic golden age came up. It was observed and generally agreed upon that the largest shortcoming of present day animators is the ability to reference past work as a means of problem solving. Unfortunately, it’s very easy to do. How can you not watch Bagheera and Mowgli struggling to get up that tree, or the dwarves sadly approaching Snow White’s casket, or Stromboli tearing Pinnochio a new one without thinking that you’ve found the answers to everything you need to make your work great? The flaw in that reasoning however becomes apparent when you remember that the talents that generated that work did not have the luxury of such reference. I believe our generation easily forgets that and from there we develop movement and performance cliches that can make modern animation unsatisfying, if not down right annoying to watch. The answers to our problems are not in the work of our gifted predecessors, but in the same place they found theirs. In life.

    It is nearly impossible to do this job well without a keen sense of observation. Your job as an animator does not stop once you get up from your desk. When you’re strolling through a mall it’s your job to notice certain things. It’s your job to notice the look on the face of a husband following his wife around the store when there is only 15 min. before the game starts. It’s your job to notice the body language of a mother with a stroller full of twins being followed by her four year old who is screaming for a toy in a shop window. Perhaps even pausing a moment to see the the way someone scarfs down a Hot Dog on a Stick. These observations will provide you with what you need to make those interesting and unique choices that will reach out and touch the audience watching your work, and separate it from the person who has ripped off the the ol’ Baloo-rubbing-his-hand-on-his-neck-while-he’s-thinking bit for the millionth, freaking time.

    The work of the pioneers who have blazed the trail we walk on now should continue to be enjoyed and will always be a source of inspiration. However, in the interest of pushing the medium to be as great as it can be requires that we not use their work as a means to solve our problems. Frank and Ollie didn’t write the “Illusion of Animation”. It was “The Illusion of Life”. Make the effort to take a good long look at it and let it strengthen your work.