Monday, December 20, 2010

Fall SOS Workshops #1 and #2 are DONE!

Well well well, two more workshops are done! There were some room confusions this time around, but all in all, you guys rocked as always! Super patient and always ready for 3 hours of laughter. :)
Can't believe 16 weeks went by already... Wesley Snipes would turn around and go: "WTF?" Good luck to everybody and some of you I will see in Spring!


- pic source

Animation Mentor Newsletter - December 2010

If you haven't signed up already, I'd recommend you do it, there's always good info to be found. This month you get:

- The Gruffalo Magic
- Be the First to Hear What's New!(I believe sweet AM news are coming!)
- Chili Bandit: A Short Film by Animation Mentor Alumnus Phil Barnard
- Featured Mentor Jeff Joe, Senior Character Animator at PDI/DreamWorks
- Featured Alumni Alison Sanders, Animator at Tippett Studio
- Useful Tips for Animation Tips & Tricks with Peter Kelly

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Contest Ending Tomorrow

... meaning: Wednesday, 11:59pm. :)

Good luck!!!


There's a new site up, called VFX Law and it's an interesting source of information. I'll add that to VFX Soldier and TAG.

Rango Trailer

firstshowing is quoting:

animating using "cutting edge techniques" that "allow [them] to capture and translate every aspect of Johnny's performance, using it to drive the computer-generated character in a way that has yet to be seen."

That's right. Cutting edge keyframe animation. SPOILER! :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

How to build your animation team - by Keith Lango

No budget exists that will allow you to build a team of 100% 15yr+ pros to get your film done. Every animator on a film needs to contribute footage, but not all footage is created equal. Many shots frankly don't need a superstar, and other shots can't be done by anybody less than amazing. You build your team in sections accordingly. The percentages may fluctuate some, but in general here's how you build a team, going from most expensive to least expensive team members--

Read the rest of Keith Lango's breakdown, very interesting! Thanks Ting for the tip (took me a while to post this...).

Ice Cream - by N. Pinet

Love the new winning clip by N. Pinet. Watch the November 11secondclub winner here!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Arthur Christmas - Trailer

Watch the trailer @

Awesome dog reference

Dog biting shark? Backflip at 2:15? I think there's reference for everything...

Thought of You

So good! Thanks Bernie and David for the tip!

Thought of You from Ryan Woodward on Vimeo.


Thought of You - Behind the Scenes Preview - ROUGH CUT from Cambell Christensen on Vimeo.

38th Annual Annie Nominations

Best Animated Feature

* Despicable Me – Illumination Entertainment
* How to Train Your Dragon – DreamWorks Animation
* Tangled – Disney
* The Illusionist – Django Films
* Toy Story 3 – Disney/Pixar

Animated Effects in an Animated Production

* Andrew Young Kim "Shrek Forever After" - DreamWorks Animation
* Jason Mayer "How To Train Your Dragon" - DreamWorks Animation
* Brett Miller "How To Train Your Dragon" - DreamWorks Animation
* Sebastian Quessy "Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole" - Warner Bros. Pictures
* Kryzstof Rost "Megamind" - DreamWorks Animation

Character Animation in a Television Production

* Nicolas A. Chauvelot "Scared Shrekless" - DreamWorks Animation
* Savelon Forrest "Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III" - ShadowMachine
* Elizabeth Havetine "Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III" – ShadowMachine
* David Pate "Kung Fu Panda Holiday" - DreamWorks Animation
* Nideep Varghese "Scared Shrekless" - DreamWorks Animation

Character Animation in a Feature Production

* Mark Donald "Megamind" - DreamWorks Animation
* Anthony Hodgson "Megamind" - DreamWorks Animation
* Gabe Hordos "How To Train Your Dragon" - DreamWorks Animation
* Jakob Hjort Jensen "How To Train Your Dragon" - DreamWorks Animation
* David Torres "How To Train Your Dragon" - DreamWorks Animation

Character Animation in a Live Action Production

* Quentin Miles - Clash of the Titans
* Ryan Page - Alice in Wonderland

Head over here to check out the rest of the nominations. Congratulations to everybody!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

When Failure Becomes a Good Thing

Awesome analysis of "How to Train your Dragon" at

Not every story needs to work out for the best. In fact, one could argue that greater truth can be found in stories that closer approximate the bittersweet moments in life.

In How To Train Your Dragon, things don’t quite work out the way Hiccup had intended. While smiles abound and the music swells, there still seems to be a sense of loss. The reason why this is goes far beyond the obvious physical changes: something quite meaningful has transpired.

Head over there and read the rest.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Paths Of Hate - trailer

PATHS OF HATE long trailer from Platige Image on Vimeo.

- found @ Cartoon Brew

Ted Lister - Fall Anim Contest Winner

Here a bit more information about the recent Fall 2010 - 100 Frame Anim Contest winner, Ted Lister:

I had a lot of fun with this competition. I'm a big fan of old airplanes and it was fun to incorporate that into an animation. The silhouetted aircraft is supposed to be a Supermarine Spitfire by the way. I didn't keep an incredibly accurate account of the time spent, but I'd say about 28 hours over the course of five days. I was out of town over the weekend, so I used that time to brainstorm ideas. I started thumb-nailing and animating on Monday, worked through the week, and then finished it up at about 10pm that Friday night.

So... a little about me. I graduated in 2006 from the Art Institute of California - San Francisco, where I got a degree in animation and met my wife, Sarah. I have since worked at a number of small companies, doing animation and a fair amount of generalist work. My most recent gig was as an animator at Offset Software working on "Project Offset." I was there for nearly a year and got to work on both in-game and cinematic animations. Since then I've been working on continually challenging myself and doing new and different kinds of animation in order to land my dream job at ILM. Thankfully, God has blessed me with many wonderful and supportive people around me. Above all is my wife, Sarah, who is always pushing me to be better.

When not animating (which is every now and again), I enjoy developing and executing short films with Sarah (live action and animation), catching up on the latest movies I likely missed in the theater (I try and get the important ones, I really want to see Tangled in the theater), yelling at our cats (they just won't get off the table) and playing the occasional video game well after everyone else has already traded it in.

KUNG FU PANDA - Holiday Special 2010

(Thanks Josh!)

Youtube doesn't allow long enough video's so here's part 1 and part 2

part 1:

part 2:

WB's Coyote Falls

Thanks Deepu for the tip!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New Animation Contest!

Alright! Let's do a second Fall 2010 contest! The last round can be seen here.

Tomorrow a new round will start and the details are:

- Start: December 1st - End: December 15th
- 100 frames, not more
- 2 weeks to complete the animation
- $50 Amazon prize for the winner
- 1280x720 is a good size
- include a frame counter

And the topic is: Switch

850 METERS teaser

Check out the teaser and learn more about it here.

850 METERS teaser from THURISTAR on Vimeo.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fall Animation Contest Winner

And the winner of the Fall 2010 Spungella Animation Contest is...

Ted Lister!!!!

Great entries, overall really solid work! Thanks for participating! Here all the entries:

Spungella Animation Contest - Fall 2010 - "Flying School" from Jean-Denis Haas on Vimeo.

Tangled was awesome

Congratulations to everybody involved! The movie was really good and the animation was absolutely out of this world and, to me, set a new standard (the horse Maximus... holy moly). Everything was so appealing, the poses were great, the designs fantastic, it was just all in all a Disney movie how I remembered it yet still new enough. And it was great as a CG movie. I read many comments where people would have preferred a 2D version of it (and I admit I often say the same thing, especially after going through art-of books, where I long for 2D versions), but this time I have to disagree, I absolutely loved the look and style. I want to see the movie again and I would love to see many more like this. And it's great to see that the box office numbers are high as well, it's so deserved.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

For those who celebrate this day, Happy Thanksgiving! And even if not, I just wanted to say thank you to all the readers who visit this site, the people who send me tips, who comment on posts, etc. etc.

Thank you!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

CTN Animation Expo 2010

CTN 2010 was absolutely fantastic! I had such a good time! The panels were great, meeting old friends and meeting new ones was a lot of fun and being part of the AM Creature panel was so cool! Hats off to the Animation Mentor staff who organized the event and of course everybody involved who made CTN possible. Can't wait for next year!!

'Tangled' Hair Demo with Kelly Ward

Check out this clip about the hair in "Tangled". Some of that footage was shown at this year's CTN Tangled panel.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Anim Contest, CTN and 11secondclub

Busy week! Definitely more slammed with work than usual but it's very exciting!

First, a reminder that the Spungella Animation Contest ends this week on Friday. You can submit your work via email up until Friday midnight!

Second, I will be at CTN this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with the main event being the Animation Mentor "Animals & Creatures Animation Breakdown Panel" on Saturday. So if you're there, come on by!

And last but not least, you can check out my first 11secondclub eCritique for the October winner! The winning clip is really cool!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Awesome! Check out the new site! Looks there will be a ton of great material available! Big reveal on November 19th!

CG Studio Map

Head over to and look for studios!

And there is and as well!

Friday, November 12, 2010

New Animation Contest in progress! Topic: Flying School

Reminder, contest starts today and ends 11/19/10.

Topic: Flying School
Length: 100 frames (include frame counter)
Email me your clip (quicktime or link to your movie)
Prize: $50 Amazon purchase

Good luck and have fun!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fall 2010 Spungella 100 Frame Animation Contest

That's right everybody, let's do another contest!! This week we will narrow down the topics. So if you have any cool ideas, leave a comment!

As always, 100 frames, 1 week, $50 Amazon prize! Include a frame counter!

Let's do this thing!!

>> Looks like CTN is cutting into the time frame (there is ALWAYS something around screwing up the schedule, hahaha!)

So let's do Friday to Friday.

START: Friday, November 12th
END: Friday, November 19th

Flying School

Email me your clip (or link to your clip - quicktime preferred) end of day Friday.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Demo Reel Review via AM

Check out the CTN specific site for all things AM and CTN!

Among all the cool stuff that's going on at CTN you can now enter the AM Facebook contest and win a Demo Reel Review by yours truly! Oh boy, picky Swiss animator dissecting a reel, who's in??!?! :)
Bonus points for those who include a Kakaaa moment! ;)

Encore - ILM - Industrial Light & Magic: Creating The Impossible

Kung Fu Panda 2: The Kaboom of Doom - Teaser

Hope it's as good as the first one!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fox on Trampoline

Cute reference!

The Letter by Jamie Gallant

I'm always a big fan of masking an "exercise" shot. For instance, character sitting down. Sure, you could just focus on the mechanics and go through the motions. But it's more interesting if you give the character a reason, where the action in the shot is driven by a situation, emotions, so that the focus is not just on "sitting down".

Found this cool clip @

The Letter from Jamie Gallant on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Scared kid reference - Tesla Roadster 2.5 Acceleration

I remember my godfather doing the same to me in an old Ferrari when I was a kid. Scary as hell but so much fun!!!

Animation Mentor at CTN 2010

Animation Mentor will be at CTN holding a really cool Animals & Creatures panel with Tippett animators Jim Brown, Brian Mendenhall and ILM animators Peter Kelly and yours truly! From what I've been told it's going to be on November 20th at lunch, so come on by!!

Jim was at ILM for a bit and he did awesome work and Pete is amazing. Can't wait to meet Brian and all the other awesome artists at CTN!

Tick Tock Tale

Head over to for a sneak peek at "Tick Tock Tale".

An animator’s approach to Disney Epic Mickey

- found @

Stepped to Smooth Key Tutorial

Head over to and check out the multi-part tutorial on how to take your stepped keys to polished smooth ones. Found via bclark_cgchar and animtip tweets.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Animation Mentor Newsletter - October 2010

New month, new Animation Mentor Newsletter! For October you get:

- Web Enabled: How Two Animators Used the Internet to Gain Fame
- Pixel 5 Conference in Vienna, Austria
- Animation Mentor @ CTN in November
- Online Campus Tour
- Paper Plane: A Short Film by Animation Mentor Alumnus Margherita Premuroso
- Featured Mentor Serguei Kouchnerov
- Featured Alumnus Jess Morris (go Jess!)
- The Process of Polishing a Shot: Tips & Tricks with Michal Makarewicz (watch this!!)

Cars 2 Teaser

Sure is a teaser!

For artwork, go to pixarplanet and follow the link.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chuck's New Tux

How to train your Dragon bonus feature and pencil test

Quick reminder for those who own the Blu-ray version of How to Train Your Dragon. From highdefdiscnews:

“Finding The Story” (52:32 – 1080p HD) is a BD-Live EXCLUSIVE feature that will be streaming online for users on release date. The studio was kind enough to provide us with a burnt BDr (recordable Blu-ray Disc) of this entire “making of” style featurette. Again, this featurette is NOT included on the actual disc itself, it will be streamed via BD-Live and requires the user to be on a “Profile 2.0” capable Blu-ray Disc Player with Internet connectivity. This features Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound.

That making-of is really cool, check it out!

Then, via Mike Stern's twitter, check out Matt Williams' super sweet pencil tests for the bonus short, The Legend of the Boneknapper:

HTTYD PT 3 from handdrawn on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tips and observations of bird flight

There's a fantastic tutorial about flight dynamics related to animals (thanks Ting for the tip!). It's by Brendan Body and you can check it out here. Go check it out, it's really in depth.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Clifford Stoll: 18 minutes with an agile mind

Reminds me a bit of Emmet Brown and Ledger's Joker? :)
I like how he calms down around 3mins which really emphasis his point. Fun guy to watch!
Thanks Atle for the tip!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

You're going to Hollywood! - by Cameron Fielding

Please take a moment and read Cameron's post about his experiences of leaving his home country and the journey he took on in order to follow his dreams. The pieces of advice are great and recommended reading!

You're going to Hollywood!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

iPhone StopMotion Recorder

For those who have an iPhone you can now get a Stop Motion app. Head over to Gizmodo for more info!

New Tangled Trailer

First this one. Looks great, but I'm still not a big fan of the music choices...

This trailer on the other hand is awesome:

All in all, can't wait for the movie!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Good Bot, Bad Bot

Funny short by Marcus Ng and Nick Matthews. Is that a little CSI reference at the end? :)

Good Bot, Bad Bot from marcus ng on Vimeo.

Megamind Theatrical Trailer #3

Uhm, spoilers?????????

New Tangled Preview

- via Malcon Pierce

New Tangled publicity images

(Thanks Ting!)

Head over to Malcon Pierce's blog and check out the latest Tangled publicity images:

Kenny Roy's Animation Lectures

Head over to Kenny Roy's site and check out the lectures he's offering! There is "Cartoony", "Contact" and my favorite "Secondary". They are all good but I really liked the "Secondary" lecture. There's a lot of food for thought in that one but I would recommend all of them.

Sym-Bionic Titan Trailer

Sorry for the lack of updates. I was enjoying the rest of my vacation and the beauty of doing nothing. :)

But now let's continue with anim posts!

New series by Genndy Tartakovsky [Dexter's Lab, Samurai Jack], first episode airs Friday, September 17th.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dying - Animation

See post update below!

Dying from Jean-Denis Haas on Vimeo.

Another exercise (following Here and there, Collision Alarm and No no no clip). This time the focus was on gear changes and more subtle acting. The clip is very long but the actual audio was even longer. So edited it together a bit so that there is this gradual emotional shift throughout the shot.

- The rig is again by Nino Aniceto. Thanks a lot!
- Audio is edited together from an episode of "24"
- used Maya 9
- time spent on clip: 3 days (3x 10 hours days - spread out over a week or so with an hour here, an hour there and week-end work)
- acted shot out, shot reference, initial blocking in linear keys for both characters at the same time
- quicktime and youtube version


And here, for those who are interested, more info on the shot.

First the compilation of reference footage that I kept. Be warned for some naked shoulder action here. It was a hot day. :)

With that as a starting point I started to block out the shot. This is the version I sent out to fellow animators for the first round of feedback. It's very rough, but the ideas are in place.

And if you want to see the whole progression, and it's very boring towards the end as I go through detail stuff (the clip is over 13mins long, 130MB), then continue on below. It's a compilation of each major maya file that I saved. Some versions I skipped because I didn't see any difference (must have been some backup saves), but otherwise it's there from finish to the end.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Newt artwork

Love concept art and the artwork for Pixar's Newt is no exception. Head over here to see 27 more!

- found via pixarplanet

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Summer 2010 SOS Workshop is DONE!

And BAM! Another Workshop is over! This one got us the now classic Spoon Killer, Hong Kong guy and Who's-in-Vegas? moments among many other classic sessions. You guys rule and once again it was a laugh fest for three hours. Thanks for participating!


Here and there - Animation

Here and there from Jean-Denis Haas on Vimeo.

Another exercise after the Collision Alarm and No no no clip. I wanted to do a two person dialogue clip with a bit broader action.

- The rig is again by Nino Aniceto. Thanks a lot!
- Audio is from "Chocolat"
- used Maya 9
- time spent on clip: 3 days (3x 10 hours days - spread out over a week or so with an hour here, an hour there and week-end work)
- acted shot out, no reference, initial blocking in linear keys for both characters at the same time
- youtube & quicktime

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gaston Lagaffe

We gave my parents an iMac in Switzerland so that we can iChat (videoconferencing is so good for people living apart) and of course my mom has rediscovered the web. Before it was slow dial-up (which you pay per minute), now it's 24/7 broadband speed. Needless to say, she loves it, rediscovering old songs, books, looking up where she used to live on Google maps, etc. etc. Well, one other thing she's finding on youtube are clips of Gaston Lagaffe. From wiki:

Gaston is a comic strip created in 1957 by the Belgian cartoonist André Franquin in the comic strip magazine, Spirou. The series focuses on the every-day life of Gaston Lagaffe, a lazy and accident-prone (his surname means "the blunder") office junior. It is very popular in large parts of Europe (especially in Belgium and France), but except for a few pages by Fantagraphics in the early 90s (as Gomer Goof), there is no published English translation.

Gaston was, amongst Lucky Luke, Spirou, Marsupilami, Asterix & Obelix, Le Scrameustache, Les Schtroumpfs, etc. etc. etc. one of my favorite comics. So now my mom found these youtube clips:

And one image that made me laugh out loud (yes, I LOLed), was this one:

The ENERGY of that ass kicking! So good! :)

And Louaye adds this in the comments section, a collection of really strong poses with a clean silhouette:

click on image to embiggen

There is some cool timing in this clip:

Waiters who are Nauseated by Food

I found that via dynamicanimator's tweet, who wrote:
Performing an action in pursuit of an objective while overcoming an obstacle. An excellent example:

And yes, great example!

Animation Mentor Newsletter - August 2010

This month you get:

- Silver Is Gold: A Look at Character Designer Stephen Silver

- Graduation Rocks with Pixar's Lee Unkrich. Plus, BBQ Fun!
and if you're part of AM you can watch the complete 2 hour graduation ceremony including Lee Unkrich's speech (which was awesome btw.)
- Trading Punches: A Short Film by Animation Mentor Alumnus Eric Grajo
- Featured Mentor Mike Stern
- Featured Alumni: Justin Segal
- Tips and Tricks: Walk Your Rig Before You Run By Glen McIntosh