Rethink Animation…

The other evening a few friends of mine and I were watching classic animated films in order to get inspired. At the end of the night, not only was I inspired but I was to the point of completely rethinking my approach animation. We watched films such as The Little Mermaid, The Land Before Time and Runaway Brain. embarrassingly enough I will admit that I have never watched Runaway Brain prior to that night. All I can say is WOW. I have NEVER seen a film, or short that has inspired me as much as this one. The acting choices, the timing, the appeal of the poses, the smear frames… everything about this short is so well done that you could frame by frame the entire movie and still feel like its the first time you’ve seen it. This film is astounding.



Anyway if your an animator and you haven’t seen this short then you have to check it out. watch for the timing, when the animators switch from 2’s to 1’s and how they use the smear frames to plus the motion. Its truly genius animation. If I produce one shot that can compare to this animation in my career I’ll be more than happy. simply inspiring animation and raw talent at its best. Runaway Brain should be in every serious animators personal library.




An animators demo reel is a key player in getting into any animation studio. Putting together a solid demo reel that shows your strengths, and shows that you are unique can be priceless when it comes to finding a job. Alot of times reels are packed flashy menus and house music. This can really hurt your viewing time and could cost you the chance for a position.

Keep your demo reel simple. If you can set your DVD up so that it automatically plays when it is inserted into the dvd player, that’s better than a huge custom DVD menu that is hard to navigate through. If you do have a menu, make sure there is a big play button that is easy to read so that the employers view your reel can easily start your reel. Remember that studios get many demo reels and when viewing them, the last thing they want to do is have to figure out how to play the reel. If the reel is to complicated just to play, you run the risk of just getting skipped.

Also, be careful about putting in music in your reel. Remember that not everybody likes house music, or country! This can hurt your reel.. it is very detracting. Let the animation do the talking.

Don’t worry about textures and lighting etc in your reel. If your applying for an animation position, don’t get caught up in texturing and lighting your animation. Playblast can work just fine. If you have an animation that is loaded down with bad texturing and bad lighting, it can hurt the animation. So play it safe and just worry about the animation. The people looking at your reel can see right through all the fancy rendering. Spend your time on the animation, that is whats going to get you hired.

When choosing your animations to put in your demo reel, make sure you put your best work forward. A reel usually plays for about 10-15 seconds.. if the animation is not what the studio is looking for, then its time for the next reel. These people viewing your reel have work to do.

I was talking with a Co-worker and he said that “It is better to have 2 great pieces of animation on your reel, than to have 49 great pieces of animation, and 1 ok piece of animation.” He was talking about how that 1 borderline piece of animation could reflect your “true identity”.

Another thing he was talking about is that how studios are looking for unique animations. Dialog shots are the best. They aren’t really looking for fundamentals in the demo reel. fundamentals like, picking up a heavy box, a walk cycle, or a bouncing ball. While those animations are very important and can be quite amazing, they often show that the person is a beginner, and may not have much experience.

If you can grab the studio’s attention with your 2 great pieces of animation, and you do something unique, they will most likely want to see more and you may get a call back. Having unique animation and standing out from the crowd is the fastest way to get noticed.

Make sure nothing in your reel is offensive. I have seen reel with racial jokes, and curse words. You dont know who is going to be watching your reel. There are people from all over the world in the industry, and the last thing you want is to offend somebody. The industry is very small, and everybody knows everybody.

Here is a little list that reviews what I have said

1. Make your reel easy to access, no complicated menus. The faster your animation can be seen, the better.

2. Put your best work first. “saving the best for last” doesn’t work…your reel may get ejected before the “finale”

3. Don’t have loud and annoying music playing through the reel. You don’t want to distract from your animation.

4. Don’t get caught up in texturing and lighting the reel. If done poorly, this can hurt your chances, by detracting from the animation, or hiding good animation.

5. Less is more, don’t put animations in your reel just to make it longer.

6. Good dialog animations are great for your reel. Try not to have to much fundamental animation.

7. be unique

8. Make sure nothing in your reel is inappropriate or offensive.

Good luck with your Reels! I hope this has been helpful and provided some information.

There many more places on line to find more information about this.

Carlos Baena, (co-founder of did an amazing webinar on this.

You can watch these videos if you go to

and view the past webinars.

have fun and happy animating!

Art of Kung Fu Panda

amazing book

amazing book

The art of books have become a little more mainstream than they have been in the past. These books are great for inspiration and also a great way to understanding the design and functionality of characters, or anything else thats being put into the movie…or not being put in the movie. I just pucked up my copy of the Art of Kung Fu Panda and i must say it’s one of the best art of book I’ve seen to date. There are tones of pages and every page is full of beautiful drawings, sketches, and paintings. It doesn’t have that “well what can we shove in the art of book” feel. If you dont already have this book, I suggest you go to you local library and check it out today! see you real soon!

or amazone has great prices.