Get the inside scoop on digital animation history and future

Tuesday, March 15, 2011
One of my fellow AM peeps posted a great link to a video of a talk with some of the digital animation pioneers from Pixar.  It is an investment of about 2 hours of your time and well worth it.  In some ways, it reminds me of reading The Illusion of Life (link below), as you get a chance to hear from the people who have invented and pioneered 3D animation.  They'll be in the history books of animation, no doubt.

I'm kind of a "mid-ager" (vs. "old-timer") in the the computer tech world and spent a good deal of my career at Apple and SGI seeing the technology first hand being used by some great artists.  And that seems to be the general point of the panel of speakers.  The technology is not why 3D films from Pixar and others are so popular.  The artists and story tellers make the movie great.  Technology is just another tool.

I jotted down a couple of notes while watching it for those who are interested:

  • Tell stories
  • Observe - see what is happening in life.  Don't get stuck only observing other animators' work.
  • 2d animation is not dead
  • Real is bad - believability is what engages audience - hyper real.  If a scene looks too realistic then the hyper real characters seem really out of place.  People want to see the hyper real of our imaginations
  • Passion.  This is one of my personal mantras - passion is key to success. Next is people.  Great companies are built on those two principles.  With great people who are passionate about a common goal the sky is the limit - just ask Apple and Pixar.
  • Technology is just a tool and not the reason animation resonates with people.  Good animation fades into the background and people stop noticing that they are watching a 3d animated movie, for instance.
  • Great communication helps tell/ animate a story.  If you can communicate your ideas through your animation you'll likely be a better animator
  • Practice drawing, sculpting, etc.  Don't just stick with computer based work all the time.  Get out and touch things. SEE things.
  • Animation skills - observation, timing, story telling - not software make an animator.  These skills will always be in demand.
  • People are key to a great movie (see above)
  • Make mistakes - don't get stuck by not trying (waiting to get something perfect) - be like a shark - always be moving (sharks die if they don't have water flowing through their gills (which is the analogy I think they were making)
  • It is the story that makes the movie.  They kept hounding on the fact that other studios time and time again blame their failures on lack of the latest tech and not on their bad story telling.  Lots of Pixar copycats think it is their 3d technology that makes them successful.  It is the story.
  • Don't just watch or copy other animation/animators - go out and observe.  Use your own experience and observations to build your animations - just like original animators.  Watch movies, actors in plays, friends and family, etc.
  • Animators (people) will never be replaced by tech.   

Definitely worth a watch.  Below you will see a link/ad pointing to Amazon for the Illusion of Life.  If you are so compelled and would like to order the book, please use this link.  It gives me a minuscule referral fee which will go to support my animation addiction :)


Adam said...

Great post West! some really useful points youve noted there. Im going to have to find time to watch the video :) - Adam

p.s 2 weeks to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Max Gariépy said...

Awesome post West!!! Like you said, passion is the key in everything!

p.s: Adam, you're wrong, it's not 2 weeks, it's 12 days!

Post a Comment

Copyright © Reanimation
Blogger Theme by BloggerThemes Sponsored by Busy Buzz Blogging