THE 12 PRINCIPLES OF ANIMATION


Becoming a good animator involves a TON of things. Research. Studying. Practice. Research. Studying. Practice. A good place to start, at least the technical side of understanding how to actually make things move properly, is laid out her for you in these awesome gif animations. If you understand whats happening here AND you can replicate it, you're well on your way to becoming a great animator.

See THE 12 PRINCIPLES OF ANIMATION HERE.

MICKEY MOUSE SHORTS BY PAUL RUDISH

"I only hope that we don't lose sight of one thing — that it all started with a mouse." --Walt Disney

These new Mickey Mouse shorts by Paul Rudish are injected with the right amount of high-energy Saturday Morning fun to make Mickey and his pals cool again. I am really digging the retro/contemporary style. It took 85 years, but Mickey Mouse is finally funny!!! All of the new Mickey Mouse shorts can be viewed in the playlist below!

DC COMICS CELEBRATES 75 YEARS OF SUPERMAN

It's no secret, I am a huge Superman fan. This year celebrates 75 years of the Man of Steel. Let me just say, what DC has released almost every month this year related to Superman has not disappointed. Zack Snyder's Man of Steel was all I hoped it would be and more. Scott Snyder and Jim Lee's Superman Unchained is just that- "off the chain!" And Zack Snyder made everyone's mind explode when he announced Batman vs. Superman at Comic-Con earlier this summer. And now, just this past weekend Zack Snyder has come through again, this time teaming up with the one and only Bruce Timm for this 2 minute animated short showcasing some of the most memorable moments and takes on the Last Son of Krypton over the past 75 years. Awesome!

ALEX SNOW - CLOUDY 2 REEL

Alexander Snow - Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 Reel from Alexander Snow on Vimeo.

The very best part about a career in Animation is having the privilege of working with some of the greatest people in the whole wide world. And among all of the great, amazing, wonderful friends I have made along the way, Alex Snow is easily among the top of my list of Best-est Animation Buds Ever! We haven't worked together in quite some time now, but that doesn't mean I don't miss him or stop rooting for him. We got to work together on some cool projects. His dream was to be an Animator on The Amazing Spider-Man. That dream came true. Then his dream was to work on Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2. That one came true too. I'm so proud of him. Check out his awesome shots from Cloudy 2! I miss your face Alex!!!

THE SCARECROW


This is a beautifully crafted short by Moonbot Studios called The Scarecrow for Chipotle Mexican Grill. Moonbot is an exciting up-and-coming studio in Shreveport, Louisiana with a lot of promise.

Moonbot Studios are the same people responsible for the Academy Award winning Best Animated Short Film The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore in 2011, directed by William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg.

Keep your eye on these guys. They're going to be Big-Time!

Shout out to my Character Animation homies Jason Behr and Kevin Koch! Great job guys!

TEMBO :(


Various Tembo Tests from Chaz Williams on Vimeo.

In the past year, many great studios here stateside have closed shop. Rhythm and Hues specifically comes to mind. I loved working there. Not because of the location, or the building, or the technology, or the projects (although all of those things are great), at the end of the day it's the people that make a studio great. When a studio is forced to close down for whatever reason, you feel for your friends who are suddenly out of work.

The thing that sucked the most about Digital Domain Media Group going bankrupt was the hope of what they could have become was never realized. These FANTASTIC Animation Tests for their first fully-animated feature film clearly prove that and it just makes the situation that much more depressing. Their location was great. My sister lived in Port St. Lucie when DD opened up down in Florida and the cost of living there was so affordable. My experience in this industry has required my wife and I to move quite a bit and we were excited about even the possibility of me moving down there to live closer to family. Their new facility they constructed was state-of-the-art. My sister literally lived across the street and sent me pictures of their new studio as it was being built. On top of all that, Tembo seemed like such a great idea. I've talked to a few people who had been hired to work on that film and the story for the film seemed to have a lot of heart and character. Elephants are my FAVORITE animal!!!

So much excitement. So much anticipation. So much disappointment. I really wanted Digital Domain Media Group to succeed.

MAN OF STEEL TRAILER #3



WOW!!! Less than 2 months to go. It can't get here fast enough!

THE 22 RULES OF STORYTELLING, ACCORDING TO PIXAR

1.) You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.

2.) You gotta keep in mind what's interesting to you as an audience, not what's fun to do as a writer. They can be v. different.

3.) Trying for theme is important, but you won't see what the story is actually about til you're at the end of it. Now rewrite.

4.) Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

5.) Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You'll feel like you're losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.

6.) What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?

7.) Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.

8.) Finish your story, let go even if it's not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.

9.) When you're stuck, make a list of what WOULDN'T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.

10.) Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you've got to recognize it before you can use it.

11.) Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you'll never share it with anyone.

12.) Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.

13.) Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it's poison to the audience.

14.) Why must you tell THIS story? What's the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That's the heart of it.

15.) If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.

16.) What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don't succeed? Stack the odds against.

17.) No work is ever wasted. If it's not working, let go and move on - it'll come back around to be useful later.

18.) You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.

19.) Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.

20.) Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d'you rearrange them into what you DO like?

21.) You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can't just write ‘cool'. What would make YOU act that way?

22.) What's the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.

MAN OF STEEL

I am so excited for this. Can't wait for June 14, 2013!

Official synopsis: Next summer, “Man of Steel” is coming to the big screen. The film is from director Zack Snyder and producers Charles Roven, Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas and Deborah Snyder. The screenplay was written by David S. Goyer from a story by Goyer & Nolan, based upon Superman characters created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster and published by DC Comics.

AMAZIN'


It's a shame baseball isn't this exciting. It used to be for me when I was a kid. Well... maybe not THIS exciting!

Most summers of my childhood were spent down at the ball field. I wasn't really that great, but I have fond memories of being with my friends, collecting baseball cards, watching and going to the games, and rooting for Darryl Strawberry and the New York Mets. For that reason alone, there is a certain nostalgia motivating me to post these clips. That 7 year old kid inside me is jumping up and down imagining what the future of baseball might be like rooting for the Amazin' Mets combined with my love for animation. This succeeds in getting me excited for the Mets and the MLB in general... which hasn't happened for a very, very long time.

'Directed by Marc Dominic Rienzo, he and his team at the recently closed Digital Domain Media Group, first crafted the original film “Amazin’.” The Mets loved it so much, they asked Marc and the team to make two more vfx-induced shorts targeting a younger audience, hence the birth of "The Ball Unleashed" and “Heads Up Display.”'

LIVING LINES LIBRARY COLLECTION OF ANIMATED LINES


Living Lines Library Collection of Animated Lines has got to be one of the TOP 5 greatest animation resources EVER! What an unbelievable treasure trove of information and inspiration. Go there now. What are you waiting for? Stop reading! GO!!!

BAD DAYS

I love these so much! They do what all great cartoons should do... the make me laugh, and in turn, that makes me feel like I'm having FUN!!! The genius of these shorts are in the simplicity of the character designs matched with the insanity of the posing and timing. It's very difficult to teach this kind of animation. I wish coming along I had learned to animate like this. I guess it's just one of those things that comes with a lot of study, practice, and experimentation. One of the things I learned working on Hotel Transylvania (and still in the process of learning) is how much you can get away with a held pose and smear frames... or "ugly drawings" as I like to refer to the them.

One of the biggest slap-in-the-face notes I ever got from Genndy Tartakovsky on Hotel Transylvania was, "It looks too Disney!" I understood what he was saying. It was like he was saying, "Snap out of it MAN!!! You must unlearn what you have learned!" He actually told me the animation was nice, but it didn't fit the style of the film he was directing. This for me was one of those animation light bulbs that never really got checked to see if it was working properly, but they've already been strung up on the tree. For something so stylized, there are times you feel like you're getting it, and other times it's hard to make sense out of what seems like pure anarchy and chaos, but there is a formula to it. For more on this, just look back to the days of UPA. Sometimes we forget our job as animators is to entertain audiences. One of the best ways to do that is with silly poses and timing.

Anyway, I love these shorts by Junaid Chundrigar! I am definitely a fan!

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH THE CHARACTERS OF HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA


This is fun! I've always been a fan of outtakes and character interviews in animated films. Sure it's overdone and cliche, but I don't know, there's something I find charming about it. Here are some interviews with Dracula, Johnny, Mavis, Murray, Frank... and a special "appearance" by the Invisible Man at the end.

THE ART & MAKING OF HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA


I've never worked on anything that released a book on "The Art and Making of" before. This is so cool! Finally, I can add this to my collection! There is no doubt that Genndy Tartakovsky is an animation genius and the character designs for this film are beautifully captured in this book. Hotel Transylvania was originally supposed to be one of Sony Pictures Imageworks' first fully-animated films. It went through a number of directors and story re-writes for nearly a decade. It's cool to see some of the early character designs of Dracula and how different they are from what ended up in the film. Very inspiring! Also, you get a real sense of some of the crazy poses we were challenged to animate for the film. You can order The Art and Making of Hotel Transylvania at Amazon.com HERE.

'BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES' PREMIERED 20 YEARS AGO

It's hard to believe, but Batman: The Animated Series premiered 20 years ago this month. I can vividly remember racing home off the school bus as a 13 year old kid to watch it before I did my homework. I also remember fiddling with the VCR to find a blank VHS tape so I could record every episode; "What is this? My sisters' Dance Recital? No one wants to watch that. RECORD!" There had never been anything like it before. It wasn't Super Friends. It wasn't a guest appearance on Scooby-Doo. It was the freakin' Batman!

I remember immediately falling in love with Bruce Timm's character designs and it wasn't long before all of my book covers and notes for school were covered with my feeble attempts to draw these characters. I loved this show as a kid! One of the best things about that first season was everyday a new episode premiered. I forget how the story goes, but I think Warner Bros. had like 80-some episodes completed before the first one ever aired on FOX. To this day Kevin Conroy IS still the voice of Batman (sorry Christian Bale). I will never forget the day I found out Luke Skywalker was the voice of the Joker. Heath Ledger gave an amazing performance as the Joker, but for me no one will ever be able to outdo Mark Hamill.

Simply put, the show was awesome, and more than anything, it gave me one more reason to want to be an animator.

Check out the first 2 episodes:

"The Cat and the Claw, Part I"


"On Leather Wings."