Friday, December 14, 2012

Designing An Animated Short Film with Kathy Zielinski

Former Disney animation supervisor and current DreamWorks animator Kathy Zielinski talks about the development process of her short film 'Hide And Seek'.  (the interview starts at the 1:30 mark)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Performance Reference: World Champion Magician Yann Frisch

This is a fantastic  performance by new magician Yann Frisch! The character he has created for this piece is great! The timing, pacing, and body language is superb!

'FISM award winner and French magic champion Yann Frisch is one of magic’s freshest talents. Yann has been creating a sensation wherever he goes with his unique take on classic magic, an absurdist take on the cups and balls. Cool, clever, stylish and oh so artful. We are proud to have one of France’s top performers at EMC.' via Essential Magic Conference

Monday, December 10, 2012

L.A. Times Roundtable Discussion: Animation

Animation directors Mark Andrews, Peter Ramsey, Chris Butler, Rich Moore and Genndy Tartakovsky talk with Los Angeles Times reporter Rebecca Keegan about the challenges of making feature animated movies and the future of animation.

Monday, December 03, 2012

TAG Interview with DreamWorks Animator Kathy Zielinski

Here's a great interview with former Disney animation supervisor and current DreamWorks animator Kathy Zielinski via the TAG blog.

Interview with Kathy Zielinski

Part 1

Part 2

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Iain McCaig Drawing Demo

This is a great live drawing demo with concept artist Iain McCaig.

'Acclaimed concept designer Iain McCaig transforms an unsuspecting fan into a Sith Lord at Gnomon Workshop Live 2008 in Hollywood, CA. Ian's credits include Star Wars Episodes 1, 2 and 3, The Avengers, John Carter, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and more.'

Thanks Jes Tuya for the heads up!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Eric Goldberg at CTN Animation Expo 2011

'Animation is never easy' - Impromptu interview with Eric Goldberg at CTN. He talks about his personal experiences working in animation and gives some general advice about the industry.

Charlie Rose Brain Series: The Creative Brain

Charlie Rose Brain Series Episode Twelve: Creative Brain, a discussion about creativity with artists Richard Serra and Chuck Close, neurologist Oliver Sacks, Ann Temkin, chief curator of painting and sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art and Eric Kandel of Columbia University

Chuck Close website: CHUCK CLOSE

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Armand Serrano - The Power of Thumbnails

Visual Development Artist Armand Serrano shares why he uses thumbnails and why they are so powerful in the creative process.

Also check out Armand's website here: ARMAND SERRANO

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bill Plympton on Creativity

I this short interview Bill Plympton discusses the creative process, having the mind of a child and drawing for 12 hours a day.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Kon-Tiki / VFX Breakdown Reel

I don't post many vfx reels but this one is jaw dropping! ILP's (Important Looking Pirates) work on the upcoming Norwegian film Kon-Tiki is just stunning! The animation on the parrot and sharks is also top notch! The film looks like quite an adventure! Looking forward to seeing it!

Check our more of ILP's work here:

Charlie Brown: A Tribute to Charles Schulz (2000)

 This is a fantastic documentary about Charles Schulz! If you're ever in Northern California be sure to check out the Schulz Museum!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Muppets on Puppets (1970 Documentary)

'Jim Henson and Rowlf the Dog explain the art and history of puppetry, and let the viewer in on some of the secrets in performing his own act, the Muppets.' via IMDB

And for those who didn't already know - the term "Muppet" is a combination of the words marionette and puppet.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

Art of Storyboarding with director Terry Gilliam

Here's a great set of interviews with director Terry Gilliam.

One on One with Terry Gilliam

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Interview with Disney writer/director Ron Clements

The TAG blog posted this great interview with Disney director Ron Clements a few months ago. It's an extensive interview covering Ron's early days as a TV animator in Sioux City, Iowa to his influential career at Disney.

For more interviews checkout the TAG blog and the  Animation Guild YouTube Channel .

Also you can follow TAG on Twitter @AnimGuild

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

USA TODAY: Interview with DreamWorks Jeffrey Katzenberg


'At the 14th USA TODAY CEO Forum, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg regaled listeners with stories about Hollywood and offered advice on careers in film. via USA TODAY'

More info about the interview here
// USA TODAY: Interview with DreamWorks Jeffrey Katzenberg

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sunday, October 21, 2012

2d Draw Tool For 3d Face Rig Ctrls

Oscar Medina has posted a cool vid demonstrating his 'Mr. Drawing Animator' tool. It looks super awesome and could be very useful! I really like the idea of being able to sketch a pose that controls the face rig! Rock!

Thanks Bryn Richards for the heads up!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Self Publishing – DIAY (Doing It “All” Yourself)

This talk at CTN has some great info about self publishing!  More info about the panelists here CTN: Self Publishing - DIAY

'Description: Today the roles of author and publisher have combined and are very much apart of the DIY (Do It Yourself) movement that include online animation media channels, blogs and self-publishing outlets. Hear about the journey and the world of the creator/self publisher who has chosen this DIY route and who proudly wears the multiple hats of Author, Illustrator, Layout/Design, Printing, Publishing, Marketing/Advertising , Sales and “Creator”.  Listen and gain first hand the knowledge, the rewards, the nuts and bolts, ups and downs reasons why these great talents choose to DIY and publish without a third party company.'

Kevin Dart and Chris Turnham
Sean Galloway
David Colman
Stephen Silver

Thursday, October 18, 2012

100 Masters of Animated Short Films

This is a great compilation of filmmakers many of whom you'll recognize and some you might not. For the full list of films and artists check here:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Friday, October 12, 2012

'KING KONG' Live On Stage (2013)

Ok, this just made my day!! I think I might have to make a special return trip to Australia next year just to see this show!! Amazing! Take a look at the vids below to see a rough prototype of the KING KONG puppet created by Global Creatures! Wow!

More info here: 
KING KONG Live On Stage

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Ray Harryhausen Interview (1974)

This is a great classic interview with Ray Harryhausen. The hydra puppet is just amazing! Thanks for the heads up Chris

Also check out the 'Ray Harryhausen 90th Birthday BAFTA Tribute'

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

'Paperman' 3D/2D breakdown

This 3D/2D breakdown vid of 'Paperman' is really great! The 2D morph process is pretty awesome! Amazing how much freedom the software gives the artist!

Paperman Breakdown via

The Making of Paperman via

Also check out these character design sheets over on the Character Design blog

Paperman Character Designs

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012

Aaron Blaise and Chuck Williams on the development of 'The Legend of Tembo'

Directors Aaron Blaise and Chuck Williams talk about the early development of 'The Legend of Tembo' at Digial Domain's Tradition Studios.  It's such a shame that the studio closed last week. Ugh, so depressing. I heard nothing but great things about this project. I mean just listen to Aaron and Chuck's story pitch! Hopefully we'll see 'Tembo' again down the road.  And to all my friends and the rest of the DDFL crew I wish you all the very best. 

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Ray Harryhausen 90th Birthday BAFTA Tribute

I know this video has been around for a while but I just saw it the other day. It's a great reflection/celebration of the life, work and creative influence of  Ray Harryhausen. The Ray Bradbury interview is especially awesome!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Special Screening of 'James and the Giant Peach' by SF Film Society

For those in the San Francisco Bay Area this is a great opportunity to see 'James and the Giant Peach' on the big screen. Plus a Q&A afterwards with some of the artists who worked on the film. (Sat. Aug 11th)

 // James and the Giant Peach via SF Film Society

'The screening will be followed by a Q&A and show-and-tell with artists who worked on the film—and some of the puppets and props they used—and are currently working with Henry Selick on his next stop-motion project.'

Friday, July 27, 2012

Interview with Pixar Story Artist Derek Thompson

Check out Derek Thompson's blog here


Also check out this great list of books recommended by Derek Thompson via the SplineDoctor's blog.

// Story Book List via SplineDoctors

- considered one of the best books on structure...period.  andrew stanton 
says this is his " most dog-eared book " written in the 30's and 
pertaining primarily to PLAYWRITING, it's a truly eye opening read. 
also deemed a STORY must by Joe Ranft, Andrew Stanton, Alexander 
Mackendrick, and many, many more.

2)  ON FILM-MAKING by Alexander MacKendrick
- Ealing studios writer/director ( ladykillers, sweet smell of success and more ) 
and CalArts legend Alexander MacKendrick's book of teachings and insight is 
the culmination of many years of DOING and TEACHING about it...absolute gold.

3)  ON DIRECTING FILM by David Mamet
- a lean, mean series and course work on the craft of FILMMAKING by the 
great David Mamet.

4)  IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE by Walter Murch
-  a literally eye-opening work about the craft of FILM EDITING.  a book that 
can be read over and over again that continues to be useful for developing your 

by William Goldman -  two wonderfully insightful and anecdotal books by 
screenwriter supreme, William Goldman (all the presidents men, princess bride, 
misrery etc...).  He tackles many subjects that the 
film scenarist has to deal with, using his personal experiences as the basis 
for deep insight. his discourse on the challenges and pitfalls in ADAPTATING 
material for the screen is particularly amazing.

6)  TRUFFAUT-HITCHCOCK by Francois Truffaut
- a book length series of conversations between film giants.  a book unrivaled 
in it's depth and analysis of the mind of the filmmaker. the discourse between 
these two ( mostly recorded in the 60's ) will teach you more about great 
storytelling than many other 'how-to' books.

- a useful examination on the 'archetypal' plot structures that MOST films follow. 
a reminder that while there are any number of ways to tell a good story, there are 
always foundational guidelines to buttress them.

by Bruce Block - Block's examination of iconography, motifs and rhythm in 
Visual Storytelling is a MUST for any Story Artist, and his techniques and practices 
are in heavy use throughout our work.

- formal and foundational study of the nuts and bolts of the scene mechanics, 
shot design, staging and execution for aspiring filmmakers. dry, 
but essential reference.

10)  INVISIBLE INK by Brian McDonald
-  with keen insight and some surprising revelations, Brian's book on the 
UNDERSTRUCTURE of story is a must read!

 10b) THE GOLDEN THEME by Brian McDonald
- the sequel/companion to Invisible Ink, this time the emphasis is on the underlying 
and universal notion of the GOLDEN THEME.

11)  MAKING MOVIES by Sindey Lumet
- step into the mind of the great director as he breaks down the DIRECTOR's process. 
If you've never seen any of Lumet's films, put them on your PRIORITY ONE list! 
(network, the verdict, dog day afternoon, 12 angry men...)

- another excellent dialogue between two filmmakers that gives you the kind of 
insight into Wilder's work that you may not find anywhere else.

- an absolutely stunning book that peels back the curtain on major film studio 
United Artists and the film that sank it, Michael Cimino's HEAVEN's GATE. 
Written in an amazingly frank and insightful way by Creative Executive Steven Bach, 
this book offers unfettered access to moviemaking from both the creative and 
financial sides of the coin.  it also delves deep into the history of the studio 
and the way the the system has changed and mutated...nearly impossible to put down, 
and you won't need to see Heaven's Gate to enjoy it.

14) COMICS and SEQUENTIAL ART by Will Eisner
- The definitive Study by the Grand Master of Graphic Storytelling, Will Eisner, 
this book is a MUST for anyone involved in VISUAL STORYTELLING.

- award winning examination of the function and practice of visual communication 
in COMICS. a keen and surprisingly unique book that is another essential for 
Visual Storytellers.

16) CINEMATIC MOTION by Steven Katz

17) THE 5 Cs OF CINEMATOGRAPHY by Joseph Mascelli

18) FILM EDITING by Karel Reisz

19) THE CONVERSATIONS: Michael Ondaatje and Walter Murch

-This one is integral for a lot of reasons, but mainly because it helps define 
character archetypes and really explores sets of rules you can use to keep 
characters "in character". ( note: this one is dense and academic...but amazing )

21) A SHORT HISTORY OF MYTH by Karen Armstrong
-Very unique breakdown of myth and WHY myths are created, laid out in a historical 
timeline of where and why myths evolved culturally. What's great for story purposes 
is that it helps give a sort of blueprint of how to develop plot through character 
stakes, a key to why myths are timeless and relatable to the masses.

22) ON WRITING by Stephen King
- surprising, personal and practical, here is a book on the craft from one of the 
master's of his art.

23) THE CREATIVE HABIT by Twyla Tharp

24) USES OF ENCHANMTMENT by Bruno Bettelheim.

25) THE WRITER's JOURNEY by Christopher Vogler
- Vogler applies the teachings of legendary Mythology JOSEPH CAMPBELL to Film 
Structure in this rewarding book.  In addition to covering all of the parts of 
the journey from a practical standpoint, he applies the breakdown to a number 
of familiar films. Very helpful for STRUCTURE.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Drew: The Man Behind the Poster

I'm really excited about this documentary 'Drew: The Man Behind The Poster' featuring Drew Struzan. He is pretty much the genius artist behind all my favorite film posters. The man is a legend!

Comic-Con DREW STRUZAN Panel "Drew: The Man Behind The Poster"

A Conversation with Drew Struzan

Short documentary 'Drew Struzan: An Appreciation Of An Artist' (2008)

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Genius Puppetry Behind War Horse

My wife and I just saw 'War Horse' the play here in London! The puppetry and acting performances were amazing! Every animator should go see it! Check the website to see when and where the stage production is playing: War Horse on Stage



// Handspring Puppet Company: The genius puppetry behind War Horse 

// Making War Horse - The Puppet Factory

// War Horse London 2011 company in rehearsals

// Making War Horse - Working the ears

// Making War Horse - Creating The Legs

// Making War Horse - Puppeteers Lecture at The New School

The puppets for War Horse were created by Handspring Puppet Company

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ed Catmull on How to Be “Brave” in Today’s Hollywood

A great lecture by Ed Catmull. He talks about his contributions to 3D animation and the early days of Pixar.     (try to ignore the moderator)

View the interview here All Things D: Ed Catmul Interview 

Another great lecture:

// Ed Catmull Lecture: Keep Your Crises Small




Thursday, May 31, 2012

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

'Supper' by Bird Box Studios

Bird Box rocks! This short is so great :) Love the energy and character! Check out more awesome shorts by Bird Box here:

// Bird Box Studios

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Animation Supermodel Mannequin?

*Update from a previous post from last July

Interesting article over on c|net about a hands-on input device that could be useful for illustrators and animators. It's scheduled to hit the market in a few months (only $850).

Thought this quote was a bit to presumptuous though  'the foot-tall Qumarion mannequin could radically simplify the process of creating realistic movement in 3D computer-generated models.'

// Meet Qumarion, an animation supermodel via c|net

//Qumarion mannequin input device for intuitive 3D manipulation via diginfo

Last years post about this new tech:

// Pose Your 3D Characters With Your Hands

The Development of the Digital Animator (hightlights)

For those of you (me included) who missed this lecture here are some of the highlights.

//  The Development of the Digital Animator

Panelists Jeff Kleiser (Visual Effects Supervisor: X2, X-Men: The Last Stand), David Em (Digital Artist), Rebecca Allen (Media Artist/Designer/Director) and Diana Walczak (GC Animator: X-Men, Fantastic Four) share how they got started with digital animation at The Academy's Development of the Digital Animator at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater on May 21, 2012. Panel moderated by animator and historian Tom Sito (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Little Mermaid).

Monday, May 21, 2012

'Leap Motion' Future Animation Tool?

Can you image posing your 3D character with your hands?! Or sculpting a model in zBrush with this thing? How awesome would that be eh?! 

More info over on Engadget // Leap Motion 3D

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Motion Reference for Animators and Artists

Stumbled on this motion library today. Might be handy for some basic tests and cycles. But as you know it's always best to shoot your own reference! Ca-ching!