Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Disney lecture

An interesting week so far, between GDC and animation lectures.

Last night, I went to a recruiting meeting/Tangled presentation for the Academy of Art, which was hugely inspiring. I’m always impressed by speakers that make animation seem like a grand adventure you’re on for your lifetime. Clay Kaytis spoke, and having listened to his podcasts for years, I was really impressed with how down to earth and open in his approach to working with others. He did an amazing sell job for the studio, because he portrayed it as a place where you go into dailies with the intent of helping your colleagues rise to new heights.

I really enjoy and admire that approach to collaboration. I’ve been in environments where you’re ‘cast’ on your strengths, which happens, but the idea of being helped to grow beyond your current capabilities is the one thing that really makes animation worth it to me…being on that journey. It also stressed how important it is to work with people better than you are. For the students out there, pay heed! Keep getting critique from the best animators you can find. He showed some Glen Keane pencil tests in which a bunch of squiggles felt like weighty, solid hair. He also showed some of Glen’s sketchover frames onto shots, and it was amazing to see how even in some quick transitions, he really pushed the breakdowns. Apparently there was a Glen Keane drop folder to put your shots into to have him sketch onto. I want that drop folder!

The other thing I took from it was that they didn’t have a character lead on Rapunzel, but let her evolve through collaboration. Of course they had early tests and a solid start, but it was clear that they embraced the idea of animators riffing off of each other, something that when I’ve been in environments like that, I’ve really got a lot out of.

Thumbs up all around. It made me really think whatever setbacks Disney Feature animation has had over the years, they’ve evolved past them into something pretty great, certainly in attitude and approach. When a talk has me going home and sketching and animating until 2 am, you know they’re on to something.


cod said...

Really nice blog.
It’s best to have clear full-body posing in your phrases at the expense of smooth transitions, especially early on. Animation follows beats and phrases, each with its own purpose. For a scene in which a store clerk is helping a customer, one phrase might be him waving as the customer enters; the next might be him putting his hands in his pockets as he listens to the customer.

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