Thursday, April 24, 2008

Chuck Interview

This is a great interview with Chuck Jones. He talks a lot about his life and career at Warner Bros. There are a ton of nuggets of wisdom in this interview.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Some sketches from "downtime" at work:

Inspiration ! Nocturna!

I just stumbled upon this film today and I'm wondering why I haven't heard of it before. I really like the character and environment designs. The animation in the trailer looks pretty good as well. I'm still trying to scrounge up some more info on this film so I'll post more later. Until then check out the film's website and trailer (unfortunately it's all in Spanish):


Animation Legend Ollie Johnston Passes Into History

The news of Ollie's passing swept the animation dept here at IMD pretty quickly yesterday. Ollie had a profound influence on many generations of animators. His devotion and passion for animation will live on for many generations to come.

The official studio press obituary is posted on Cartoon Brew here:

The Disney Company on Ollie Johnston

Disney Family Album:

Ollie Johnston Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Check out Frank and Ollie's website:

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Eye Movement Explained

I found this article yesterday on Kevin Koch's website. He explains in scientific detail (pretty heavy stuff) about the various movements of the eye and why they move the way the do. Here is an excerpt of definitions from the article and you can read the whole piece here:

Eye Movements 3 - Saccades and fixations

Eye movements can be classified into seven different types:
is a motion of both eyes relative to each other that ensures that an object is still foveated by both eyes when its distance from the observer is changed. The closer the object is, the more the eyes point towards each other. This movement can be voluntarily controlled, but is normally the result of a moving stimulus.
are the principal method for moving the eyes to a different part of the visual scene, and are sudden, rapid movements of the eyes. Saccades can be initiated voluntarily, but are ballistic: that is, once they are initiated, their path of motion and destination cannot be changed. Visual input is suppressed during a saccade.
Pursuit motion
is a much smoother, slower movement than a saccade; it acts to keep a moving object foveated. It cannot be induced voluntarily, but requires a moving object in the visual field. One frequent failing of thoughtless animation is having the eyes demonstrate pursuit motion when there is no object being followed by the character’s eyes.
is a saw-toothed pattern of eye movements that occurs as a response to the turning of the head (acceleration detected by the inner ear) or the viewing of a moving, repetitive pattern (the train window phenomenon). It consists of smooth `pursuit’ motion in one direction to follow a position in the scene, followed by a fast motion in the opposite direction to select a new position. This is an eye movement that has probably never been animated, and if it was, it would probably get rejected by the supervisor or director because it would look so odd.
Drift and microsaccades
occur during fixations, and consist of slow drifts followed by very small saccades (microsaccades) that apparently have a drift-correcting function. These movements are involuntary, and their function is in question.
Physiological nystagmus
is a high-frequency oscillation of the eye (tremor) that serves to continuously shift the image on the retina, thus calling fresh retinal receptors into operation. Physiological nystagmus actually occurs during a fixation period, is involuntary, and generally moves the eye less than 1°. As with microsaccades, you’d need to be in an extreme close-up for this to register, but it’s another reason the human eye looks ‘alive’ in live-action extreme close-ups.
of the eyes is a rotational motion around an axis passing through the fovea and pupil. It is involuntary, and is influenced by among other things the angle of the neck. Although this is also something we can safely ignore as animators, some rigs will automatically provide this when using the ‘eye-target’ controller.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Actors Strike Looming for Summer 2008?

This could be pretty bad news for the VFX industry. Check out the news article here on the LA Times website:

Key actors unions split

AFTRA severs its ties with SAG just as contract negotiations are about to begin, raising fears of a strike

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Hand Poses Galore!

One of the most over looked parts of a character's body when animated are the hands. Our "phalanges" can convey just as much emotion and intensity as our faces. You can also think of hand gestures as the punctuation of a character's body language. That's why the hands need careful thought and consideration but remember...simplicity is key!

Also check out Disney story artist Mark Kennedy's blog post on the importance of drawing hands:

// Hands 

Here are some excellent references for hands:

SPA Klaus - model sheet by Animation Sup Yoshimichi Tamura 

Milt Kahl hand poses

Batman Hand Poses

Mickey Mouse Hand Model Sheet by Les Clark ca. 1932

Preston Blair hand poses

Spline Doctors - Thoughts on hand poses (toward the bottom of the page)

Hogarth hand poses from Iron Giant (more middle of page)

Check out Toby Shelton's hand examples on his blog - Stuff I Did

Gobber Hand Poses via Ben Balistereri's blog

Merlin hand poses via Deja View

Andreas Deja hand study via Deja View blog

Nice simple tutorial by D Helmer

More hand reference

Lilo and Mama Odie hand poses via  //  Deja View blog

The 10 illustrations below are from Joshua Taback. Checkout more golden drawing tips like these over at Drawniversity.

More hand pose studies by story artist Toby Shelton

From Deja View

Hunchback of Notre Dame - Hand sketches by Ron Husband

Great anatomy reference on pinterest

Some nice poses by illustrator J.C. Leyendecker 

Hands by Griz and Norm

Hand studies by Dave Bardin

Pablo Navarro hand diagram sheets