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leigh
07-01-2005, 04:53 AM
http://www.cgnetworks.com/cgtalk/meettheartists/victornavone/header.jpg

Victor Navone
Animator
Pixar Animation Studios

Victor Navone is a traditional artist and computer animator. Following his B.A. in Studio Art from the University of California, Irvine, he worked in various jobs ranging from graphic design, DJ’ing, and comic book colouring, and was eventually introduced to 3D graphics when he started working in architectural and engineering visualisation.

After learning some AutoCAD, some 3D Studio, and various video-editing and paint box packages on the PC, he applied for a part-time designer internship at a small game developer, Presto Studios, in San Diego in June of 1994. He received the internship despite a nebulous portfolio and no practical design experience. He was initially hired to assist Phil Saunders in the design of the adventure game Journeyman Project 2: Buried in Time. As the game's scope snowballed, he found his responsibilities and opportunities increasing exponentially. He went from sketching furniture and props to designing entire time zones, including Da Vinci's studio and the "final" alien time zone.

Once he took on a fulltime position at the studio, his role as a designer expanded: he learned Photoshop and created a lot of interface graphics for the game, as well as retouched some graphics and added special effects; he acted in some of the game's video sequences; and he even did a little writing for some of the in-game text.

Next he was given the position of Creative Director on Gundam 0079, Presto's anime-based title for Bandai. His responsibilities included: game and environment design, storyboarding, assisting in story writing, and general artistic direction. Before Gundam was even finished he started working on the next title, Journeyman Project 3: Legacy of Time, where he once again assumed the role of Conceptual Designer, this time under the direction of Tommy Yune. Once the design phase was finished, he helped with textures and then moved onto video-compositing, retouching and special effects.

He went on to Art-Direct the graphics for John Saul's Blackstone Chronicles and Creative-Directed Star Trek: Hidden Evil. On these projects he also took on the role of 3D artist using the production skills he had acquired along the way. Meanwhile he began teaching myself character animation on my spare time, which led to Alien Song .

He left Presto Studios in November of 1999 after five years to search for new challenges and hopefully work in films, moving to the Bay Area and taking on some freelance visual effects work for the movie Titan AE as well as some other projects.

In December of 1999 he was contacted by Pixar Animation Studios (the president had recieved a copy of Alien Song by email) where he now works as a full-time animator. So far he has worked on Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and Cars, as well as various projects in Pixar Shorts.

Victor is also an instructor with the incredibly popular Animation Mentor, an online animation school taught exclusively by working professionals.

Related links:
www.navone.org
Animation Mentor (http://animationmentor.com/)


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http://www.cgnetworks.com/cgtalk/meettheartists/victornavone/2.jpg

http://www.cgnetworks.com/cgtalk/meettheartists/victornavone/3.jpg

http://www.cgnetworks.com/cgtalk/meettheartists/victornavone/4.jpg

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nineinchneil
07-01-2005, 04:05 PM
hey victor,
you are the man. i have nothing more to add to that. . .

on to the question:
as a character animator myself, i'm constantly debating with myself as to what type of rigging to use on characters. using premade skeletons (like bipeds in max) tend to be too restrictive to me, even though i know that with enough tweaking i could probably use it to my liking. i tend to do some 'guerilla' boning:D ; i always make the rigs from scratch, without putting any sort of restrictions on it's rotations. this goes for the skinning precedures as well; i never use envelopes, but rather assign vertex-by-stinking-vertex to a bone.
what are you most comfortable with in terms of rigging your characters, provided that you do indeed rig characters (i'm know that some people have rigging as their job)? is it wise for me to always do my rigging from scratch? thanks. take care

-neil benjamin

AJ
07-01-2005, 04:07 PM
Hello there!

1. In regard to your Big Bang project, have you found that you've had to move it further and further onto the backburner with your commitments to work/family & of course now, Animation Mentor?

2. Given that you have possibly the strongest internet prescence of any Pixar animator, do you ever find yourself biting your tongue or double thinking any comments you might have normally made online?

3. Is there any project or part of a project at Pixar that you wish you'd been a part of?

4. Have you ever hidden food/livestock in a colleagues cubicle?

elvis75k
07-01-2005, 04:12 PM
whooa! Victor.. damn man it's you!! you are guilty!! You are the one that make my life change into 3d... Good old days with aliensong.. I have a bunch of question for you, but as usual not at the moment, exept..

How about you new wip short?

-elvis

studiomaxer3d
07-01-2005, 04:14 PM
first off I love in one of your reels, at the end where you did some bloopers and different tests- the different versions of the guard getting hit in the head with a rock was a blast.(from the incredibles)

It would appear that you are a self taught animator. How did you go about working and teaching your self something as complex as animation? What teaching or training methods and/or books did you use?

Do you have any tips for someone with a full time job who is trying to learn animation on his own?

My Fault
07-01-2005, 04:17 PM
Victor, craziest of crazies!

1) What is your process for developing a character and getting in to their head?

2) Since you have become fairly well know for having a more, shall we say, warped sense of humor, are you given crazier shots to work on at Pixar?

3) What would Oscar say about your overall body of work? :)

penartist26
07-01-2005, 04:20 PM
among the list of animations that u've created' sorry for my bad english' Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and Cars and others who do u think is the BEST for you' who do u like the most i know lots of pixars animation stuff are realy really awesome! hows ur experienced with other talented animators / artists of pixar? :) any good advice for an aspiring artists. more success
to ur career! :)

- nards

arts&rats
07-01-2005, 04:28 PM
thank you for been here at cgtalk with us, is a total pleasure to meet u.


After reading a little bit about your history i find interesting the fact that u find a job at Presto Studio with a nebuluos portafolio and no practical design experience,

.what did u show at that time in that portafolio? why u think they hired u?

i work mostly with editing and composing in after effects but i do some 3d modelling in max as well.

I would like to know if u give classes at animationmentor.com, what recomendations would u give to a person that wants to get involved in characther animation and dont know anything at all? What books should i buy, what things should i pay attention?
I would love to be good character animator and i found that usually animators are laughing and having fun, is that true at all?

Sorry for my english
thank you for taking the time to read my question

mmkelly011881
07-01-2005, 04:28 PM
Hey Victor...
WOOO awesome that you're doin this man..

1.) What was the toughest critique you've ever gotten... how did you stay on target and get back to work

2.) What did you study to create such a slimy portrayal of Syndrome..(is there an inner slimeball alter-victor?)

3.) Can i have Ed Catmull's email address

entity
07-01-2005, 04:35 PM
Hey "Mr. Navone",

I had no idea you'd been working sooo long in the industry, before "Alien Song". I have no experience in graphic art or animation/modeling... How does one "break" through the tidalwave of new artists and animators to make themselves "hot" for hire animators or even graphic artists?
Is the portfolio/reel necessary, or is it possible to make good enough with just an all out dazzle 'em animation short- what do TDs and ADs look for?
I know you made "Alien Song" with Animation Master... Do you think that the 3D package a person uses has a big impact on getting a job in the 3D industry?

Thankyou... ALL of your work is very inspiring to me and always has been!! KEEP ON SPLININ!

mberrynk
07-01-2005, 04:40 PM
it's great to have this opportunity, the work you do, along with others like Carlos Baena, is inspiring a whole generation of 3d artists much like the old disney masters did before you.

One of the best pieces of advice I've gotten is to always push the envelope, especially with dailogue, because so many animators look back on their shots and wish they'd pushed the expressions, etc. just a little more. This often adds life to your scene, but my question is with all your experience, how good have you become at judging when you need more and when you should pull back a little? How often do you look back at a shot once it's on screen and wish you'd pushed it more?

Thanks again, look forward to working with you some day :buttrock:

Shortricci
07-01-2005, 04:42 PM
I'd like to be similar to you. How would I acheive this?

Thank-you in advance..

artman50
07-01-2005, 04:42 PM
hi , Pixar , this is so BIG! i wana know where you study ? or how you get all the knowledge to get into pixar .

Tom N.
07-01-2005, 04:42 PM
Howdy Victor!

Quick question about your Incredibles gags/bloopers - It seems like working at a studio like Pixar there would be lots of long days and tough deadlines, how do you make time to do things like make those bloopers? Am I under the wrong impression about how crazy it must be there as far as deadlines, or are you just really quick?

-Tom N.

Grgeon
07-01-2005, 04:43 PM
Wow, cool! I'm another one of those that got into animation because of alien song.

You're my favorite pixar animator :love:

Ok, enough Mushy stuff...

1. What is your favorite part about working at Pixar every day?

2. Will you be at siggraph this year?

3. your daughter's birthday is coming up, anything special planned?

That's it, that's all I got. Many greeting from your hometown, San Diego. Remember, Comic Con starts on the 14th :D

God Bless,
George Castro

Porridge
07-01-2005, 04:52 PM
Hey Victor,

If you were to sift through a multitude of demo reels, what would you look for, personally, in an animator's reel? Is there any advice that you would like to impart?

StevenBHS
07-01-2005, 04:52 PM
Wow! First off I just want to say ,like everyone else, that you have created some amazing pieces, and have a crap load of talent. One quick question though, which 3d package do you feel most comfortable with? I'm not asking you to dis others or anything, I noticed on your site that you use so many programs.

oddguy
07-01-2005, 04:56 PM
Ok, I watched the extra material on The Incredibles and need to ask: how was it working with Brad Bird? He seems "intense". What directing style works best for you, do you prefer the no-holds-bar straight on approach when someone is critiquing you work?

Anyway, love what you do and use it for inspiration and reference all the time. Thanks for doin' the forum.

Smartypants
07-01-2005, 05:00 PM
Hi Victor!

Here are my questions:

1. Do you (or your colleagues) see a difference between the type of animation that's done for live-action films (example: the creature work in Harry Potter) and the full CG-feature animation that's done at studios like Pixar? I'm wondering if a studio like Pixar likes to see animation for live action films on a reel, or if they'd rather see more cartoony work.

2. How easy/difficult do you think it is for an animator to move from the game industry into animating for full cg features? Is that sort of move common? I'm wondering if it's difficult for an animator to build a good portfolio of performance-based animation at a game studio, or if a gig like that will just produce a reel full of cycles.

I'm curious about the sort of work that studios like Pixar like to see on a reel. Do they like to see work from live action films? From games? or does it not matter, as long as it's fantastic performance animation?

3. Do you see a lot of animators at Pixar who come from a 2D background?

Thanks for your comments!

Julez4001
07-01-2005, 05:11 PM
Fantastic to have another Animator. Your work is very inspirational.


1. For your arms, do you like animating with FK or IK. Describe why you like whatever techique you use.
2. Whats your average day at Pixar .. do you guys devote days or weeks to concepting a scene out (acting it out).
3. Do you animate without reference?

ryusen
07-01-2005, 05:11 PM
hi victor

my questions would probably have been asked or will be asked so i won't ask any. i just want to say that i've been admiring your work and my aim is to do something close to those.

when are you coming to singapore? :D

Strang
07-01-2005, 05:17 PM
I want to say THANK YOU for The Journeyman Project 2 and 3. these games were soo important to me in grade school. i loved the concept, the design, the execution, and gameplay. its bringing back memories :) other than that good luck at Pixar, i have nothing more to say..

ilasolomon
07-01-2005, 05:25 PM
Hi Victore,

just one Q:

- Normaly, How many seconds of quality character animation (1 char) - in pixar style - do you animate per day (an 8 hours workingday)?
If you cant estimate the avarage you can name a sample shot of - for instance - 'The Incredibles' which you worked on and the time you spent on it.

Thank you very much.




And a mini-question here: Do you have time to watch & crit a tiny 'short animation in progress'?

Nedved
07-01-2005, 05:29 PM
this company with wich softwares using?

Maya just?

Suricate
07-01-2005, 05:31 PM
Hi Victor, great to see you here ! :thumbsup:

My questions:

1. What is the general working method for animators at Pixar ? I watched the 'The Incredibles' DVD and in the commentaires Brad Bird mentioned 'this scene was done by that guy' and so on, so I conclude that each animator gets assigned a few scnes that he should work on. If so, how long do you work at a certain scene? Are you in full control of that scene then, i.e. do you animate all characters of the scene, or are there multple animators working on one scene ?

2. Recently, on a German music channel I accidentaly saw a (I'm sorry to say that) pretty crappy teen band, performing a pretty crappy song. Suddenly, in the video, the Blit Wizbok character appeared. I understood that you sold your rights on Blit Wizbok a few years ago, but what do you think when seeing a video like that: 'Dang, I sold my soul, I shouldn't have done that' or do you rather think 'Well, I was young and needed the money ...' !?

3. When you are animating and have reached the creative flow, what is your reaction when out of a sudden the program crashes and hours of work go out of the window ? No app bashing intended, but since you are doing your private work in Animation:Master you might have encountered a crash or two ...

Looking forward to your future work !

Rob T. Miller
07-01-2005, 05:35 PM
Hey Victor thanks a ton for doing this!

As any animator knows planning a shot is essential before actually animating...and at the same time every animator approaches planning a different way.

-How do you like to approach planning out your assigned shots and how much time do you typically spend planning vs. animating?

-Also at what stage when working on a shot will you start showing your ideas or the work you have done to your director?

Thanks a ton Victor keep on rockin! I also want to say I just loved the guard fall variations you did in "The Incredibles". It must have been fun animating those!

-Rob

Romero
07-01-2005, 05:39 PM
Hi Victor big fan of your work! My questions for you are:

1) What was your favorite feature you have worked on thus far, and why?

2) What has been the most challenging aspect of your career until now, and how do you stay focused under extreme presures when the going gets tough and deadlines are on the horizon?

3) Who are some of your favorite artist?

4) Advice you would give junior artists that wanna get into feature film?

Thanks a lot for your time Victor, keep up the great work!

JSW32
07-01-2005, 05:42 PM
Hey Victor,
First of all great stuff. You are really an inspiration. I like to think that I could accomplish what you have. I just graduate from a 4 year program with a B.A. in Psychology (I'm 21 now) and I want to be a character animator. Obviously what you have shown us is that you don't need to go to school to learn it but I just had a few questions. I am currently interning at Curious Pictures in NYC where we are working on a 3D animated Barbie movie. I haven't been able to do animation at all on the project yet but I am teaching myself Maya and I am taking a traditional animation class and basic drawing for animation class at Pratt, and I also draw daily. So my concern is what step I should take next. I have looked heavily into Animation Mentor (which I think is awesome) I just then worry about is it the best choice for ME. Thing is my parents are willing to support my education, so basically if I could get into CalArts, or any school like that or any grad school in Cali, or Canada, etc they would pay for it. So do you think that coming from a 4 year undergrad program I should do that if I have the money? I know how involved the mentors are with the students but my parents question whether or not it would be better to be in a 'physical' school with 'physical' contact with students. Bottom line I want to receive the best education possible, and money doesn't seem to be an issue. I also have heard that studios dont really look as to whether or not one received a degree or not but rather more importantly a demo reel. But bring that I don't have too much experience from taking classes in design, composition color theory, would it be a mistake to take animation mentor? I want to be a character animator and I will do whatever it takes to achieve that. All I want to do is just have the right resources and education. If my internship allows me to continue in the fall, then it would probably be a great idea to do Animation Mentor, but if it doesn't continue my parents feel that maybe I'd be better at a full time school, so I'm not online all the time sitting at my computer, which comes to the next point, isn't it a disadvantage that it is an online school and you don't have too much contact with your mentor? Anyways sorry that this is long, and if you want to foward this to any of the founders, or any other mentors to get their feedback I'd appreciate it too. My e-mail is JSW32@aol.com Thanks so much Victor and keep up the amazing work.
-Justin

ivanisavich
07-01-2005, 05:47 PM
Wow. Never thought I'd see someone like Victor in this Q&A forum! Great job on snagging him Leigh ;)

Anyways...huge fan of your stuff (like pretty much everyone else)...Alien Song was one of the very first 3d animations I EVER saw...and it was definitely a huge inspiration that got me kick-started into the animation field.

Here are some questions that I would be forever grateful if you answered :)

1) Are you happy at Pixar? It's pretty much the Holy Grail of animation studios to work at...so are you content with it?

2) With the enormous number of reels that get sent into Pixar, what are the chances of ACUTALLY getting your reel seen and considered?

3) Who is YOUR favourite animator, and why?

-Tyson Ibele

robcat2075
07-01-2005, 06:10 PM
Congratulations on your success!

Is there anything you would like to change about the world of CG animation?

eight272
07-01-2005, 06:15 PM
Hi...

What more is there to say, sorry...slightly star struck...

Being pretty new to the world of 3D, I am really keen to follow the path of animation for personal and, if it comes to it hopefully professional means. I love modelling and it’s a path I will always pursue to better myself...but my really love is animation in all forms.

My question is, what advice you could give to someone in my position who is taking his first footsteps on the road of animation...areas to concentrate on and possible software to use???

At present I use Zbrush for modelling and have dabbled with Maya 6, but haven't got into any animation yet. I have been reading up on Cinema 4D and a couple of other packages. Any advice for learning and possible software use would be most appreciated...

Keep up the jaw dropping work...

:S

k4k
07-01-2005, 06:17 PM
Hi Victor!

1.What made you to do ALIEN SONG??

2.How was your experience doing ALIEN SONG that time?

3.Have you reached what you expected to be??

Wilson-3d
07-01-2005, 06:23 PM
Hi Victor. Thanks a lot for the Q. and A. I am sure we will all get a lot from it. I have really enjoyed your work over the years.
Can you please give me a critique of the linked movie.
It is my June entry for the 10 second club and any advise or critique would be really appreciated.
Thank you
Chris Myers

Chris Myers animation Quicktime 2.2 megs (http://www.chrismyers3d.com/10sec/cmyersjune6402.2.mov)

baandersnatch
07-01-2005, 06:33 PM
I've got one question for ya:

It seems like you had a hand in some of the complex action scenes. I was watching the big fight scene in spiderman 2 (the one just after the bank robbery) and thought to myself: geez, animation is hard enough, but coreographing a huge complex fight like that would just be crazy! This feeling was reflected when I saw your Incredibles showreel. How do you animate a crazy scene like the one you did with Mr. Incredible holding on to buddy? Do you just do it strait ahead? I'm curious how you would undertake such a complex scene with so much motion going on.

Greetings from CalArts!

jig
07-01-2005, 06:36 PM
hey~!

first of all i really envy your work as a animation student.
the question i would like to ask is, how much thought do u think i should put on classical 2d animation? do u think it would be the best to master 2d animation then go on to 3d ?
thanks a lot!

fakey
07-01-2005, 06:50 PM
Bad question. Just delete this post moderators.

tevih
07-01-2005, 06:55 PM
Hi Victor!!

I remember when you first posted "Alien song" on the A:M mailing list http://cgtalk.com/images/smilies/thumbsup.gif I was just a wee-lad back then and if definitely made an impression on me!

Just wanted to say I love your stuff! Looking forward to the end of Big Bang, as well.

Now my question: What was the wierdest experience you've ever had at Pixar?

DarrinH
07-01-2005, 07:01 PM
Thanks for doing this.

Obviously you would not want to diss another studio, but...Having just had JS do a Q&A I was wondering...

What was your take on Madagascar if you saw it?
I personally enjoyed it much more than say Shrek or Sharktale because of its wackiness and style. And those penguins rocked - However sometimes I thought it was pushed too far. Would you have liked to have worked on something so crazy?
Finally - do you prefer the slight "Realism" of Incredibles animation or the crazy over the top stuff?
Then on another note, what is your take on Fan Art? I remember a poor guy getting flamed for copying Blit and another for parodying "For the Birds" with some toilet humour in a little animation short over at CGChar, but what do you think of somebody "idolising" something enough to put his/her own spin on it or represent it in their work? We ( the viewers) all know the origin but realise the Fanboy/girl is just having fun...
Thanks
D

FloydBishop
07-01-2005, 07:08 PM
Hey Victor. Thanks for taking the time to do the Q&A. This new thing is a great addition to CGTalk, and it's only with artist cooperation that it happens at all.

Anyway, here are a few questions, in no particular order:



What's the worst thing about working at Pixar? Often people focus so much on positives, it's as if there are no negatives. Maybe because of the size of the studio, face to face time with the director is at a premium? Things like that.
Can you talk a bit about the process of taking a shot from the initial sequence kickoff meeting (or whatever they're call at Pixar) to the final stage where the director says "approved"?
What's up with that (not so greatly animated) music video that featured the Alien Song character?
When can we expect to see more of your personal short with the little yellow guy?
That's it for now. Keep kicking out those great scenes!

THECLYKE
07-01-2005, 07:20 PM
PIXAR..........WOE

:applause:

VICTOR

Just like alot of CGtalkers here I only dream to have a rep and resume like you have.
This may have been asked and said already dude....but you give us struggling digital artist somthing to beleive in. I know how you got in to the strongest animation firm in the world. What I want to know is did you ever lose your head when you where looking for work starting out in the begining?....and I love drawing and colouring comics. The big problem is reloction...is that a good idea. I've been contimplating it as far as my career in the industry...(which is non exsistint rite now) and being a the poor guy (:shrug:lol) I can barley get food let alone a job in the industry.......if you can respond.

P.S. MY FAMILY AND I THINK ALOT OF NORTH AMERICAN FAMILIES LOVE YOUR WORK BUT ME AND MY YOUNGER SIBLINGS ADORE IT....CHEERS TO YOU AND THE REST OF THE PIXAR TEAM

:thumbsup:

Redspective
07-01-2005, 07:22 PM
Hey Victor!

Thanks so much for coming onto this board to do this Q&A session. It's an honor to get a chance to shoot some questions your way and to be graced with your infinite wisdom!! ok ok I can't help but kiss butt to you pixar guys!

So on to the questions.

1. I was wondering what your opinion is on cheating in a shot. Being an animator for 5 years doing TV series, I've grown accustomed to cheating when ever possible. But is this something I want to avoid when I decide to make my jump into feature films?

2. On the topic of feature films, I was wondering what animation methods you prefer. Like do you prefer "Straight Ahead" for action and "pose 2 pose" for acting? or vice versa?

3. Do you have any tips for animating eye brows? When it comes to facial animation, I'm quite confident in every aspect but the brows. Finding the right time to do a brow shift from say sardonic to confused etc can be very tricky. Especially when you try to do this without a blink. At least that's my experience.

4. Just wondering if you've ever seen the 3D series Dragon Booster (http://www.cbc.ca/dragonbooster/) (Shameless Plug :P) and I wonder what your thoughts are on the series.

Thanks for your time man!!! and I think I speak for everyone when I say you're an inspiration to us all.

Cheers!
Fredrick

patconnole
07-01-2005, 07:29 PM
Thanks for doing this!

Could you go over the process Pixar/You use for facial shape animation? The shapes in the Incredibles were great, and I can't figure out the process. The characters' entire heads seemed to be squashing/stretching, along with their faces, etc. Is it just a simple layering of shape deformations? i.e., mouth shape over face shape over head shape....

Because it looked so good, it's hard to figure out what's actually going on.... Good for storytelling, bad for me!

thanks,
Patrick Connole

Obraxis
07-01-2005, 07:36 PM
Hey Victor,

Firstly thanks for doing this Q&A - no doubt u'll have a lot of replies ;)

My question is about education & reels. Would you reccomend people educate themselves and/or get education somewhere to produce a kick-ass reel in the learning environment, or simply send out as many 'OK' reels as they can to as many places as possible in order to get their first gig?

Hope that made sense! :blush:

Thanks for all your great work, & inspiring us all to make our dreams come true.

DaddyMack
07-01-2005, 08:24 PM
Hi Victor, I haven't got any q?s that haven't already been asked but I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for inspiring me so many moons ago with alien song, if not for that piece (as well as other timely stuff by Anzovin and Lew) in the late 90s, my career path would've led into engineering *yawn*... Which I'm so far from now thanks to you! So, quite simply, Thanks a mountain good sir:bowdown: for the invaluable inspiration!

May the force be with you

ReBootedOne
07-01-2005, 08:51 PM
First off, thanks so much for doing this.

I don't really have any questions Mr. Navone, I just want to say that as a self-taught 17 year old animator, that you are the true animation success story in my eyes. I started animating stuff when I was 7, and it's stories like yours that make me want to pursue it 'in the real world'. It sounds all gushy and stuff, but what you have done is what I want to do, (including the 'be a character animator at Pixar bit' :D)...

SO.

Actually, I do have a question regarding schools, colleges, whatever... (Actually, it's more my parents' questions, as they are worried about me going to an art school versus a film school...)

-Do you feel that it is important to have a degree in film to at some point direct an animated short/feature film in an industry pipeline like at ohhh, I dunno, Pixar? :D (I've been taught to shoot for the stars :)) In other words, does a degree in animation restrict you to just that in the eyes of people in hiring positions?
-On a similar line of thought, once you are a character animator in said industry pipeline, does that mean you will always be a character animator and/or in the animation department, or is there still room to be able to get into the story department or wherever in that same group?

Please excuse my 17 year old naivete, but the 'choosing a college' thing is scaaaary. :arteest:

Thanks again, Victor. Good luck with 'Big Bang,' (I WUUUUV your main character for that!) and who knows, I still got lotsa future ahead me, maybe I'll run into you someday. :D

-Eric Stirpe

ghZaaaRK
07-01-2005, 09:10 PM
It's sad about Animation Mentor by choosing Flash as technology.

Java would have been smarter, especially when this is multiplatform.

Infographists have to care about technology, especially for Online exchange, it should be a reflex, usual.

go back to manual "computer history".

anaway, cheers Victor

aliasali
07-01-2005, 09:12 PM
Hi Victor,thank u so much for doin this,its really great! was it the Alien Song that let u IN,for Pixar?
thx.

gra7
07-01-2005, 09:13 PM
u re the mannnn :buttrock:

nothing more to say..

Ramteen
07-01-2005, 09:23 PM
Hi victor . I have a question from U , and I`ll be happy if U answer .
I am an animator and have character animator skill s . How can I do any work to pixar meetting
with my works or in the next step work with Pixar animation team ?

in the end pleas excuse me cuz of my bad english .
Good luck ...

RobW720
07-01-2005, 09:39 PM
Hey Victor.

Thank you for comming on here and answering the questions we all have.

my biggest question isnt so much about how to get into pixar or too many tricks of the trade, but I am wondering what advice you would give to a student about to graduate in animation. Should a reel focus more on motion and simple acting or have a short story. Does fancy schmancy editing and music make a better impression than a nice, simply cut demo reel? What can a student expect while looking for his or her job, based on your experiance and stories you have heard.

Thank you very much for your time.

Love your work. :thumbsup:

-Rob Wilson

Rumr
07-01-2005, 09:58 PM
First off congrats on all your hard work and completed projects.

This is a Q and A post so lets get started.

I noticed alot of studios using MAYA, I personally am a all out XSI user. Does it matter what program your rockin when you enter the field of 3d/CG. Maybe you can give me some feed back to prepair myself. Like I said im a XSI user, but know the basics in many other 3d programs.

When your a modeler or animator do you ever get the chance to create the charecter? Or do you mainly animate and model someone elses charecter[s]?

What degree [schooling] would be the best choice for someone wanting to be a perfectionist in CG.

seespotmove
07-01-2005, 10:42 PM
Hey Victor,

It goes without saying that your work is outstanding. I have been a fan for some time. I have been trying hard to pump up my own animation portfolio and I would really appreciate any comments you may have. I know you're a busy guy so I won't take up too much of your time.

www.seespotmove.com (http://www.seespotmove.com)

later,

vnavone
07-01-2005, 11:06 PM
Wow, so many questions so fast! Thanks for the warm reception. I'll try to answer as many of these as I can over the next week. I probably will NOT be doing any animation critique as my time is limited and it might conflict with my AnimationMentor.com work.

vnavone
07-01-2005, 11:11 PM
what are you most comfortable with in terms of rigging your characters, provided that you do indeed rig characters (i'm know that some people have rigging as their job)? is it wise for me to always do my rigging from scratch? thanks. take careHi Neil, at Pixar I have nothing to do with rigging since we have Character TD's to handle that for us. The animators do provide feedback to the TD's during the modeling and rigging stage, but I'm not usually involved in this. As for my personal work, I use Animation: Master for my rigging and I tend to be pretty nit-picky about sculpting all my joint deformations. I use many different techniques that I wont bore you with here. As for building your own rigs, that's fine as long as the models do what you need them to do. It's great to be able to build rigs that suit your style of working.

vnavone
07-01-2005, 11:17 PM
1. In regard to your Big Bang project, have you found that you've had to move it further and further onto the backburner with your commitments to work/family & of course now, Animation Mentor?

2. Given that you have possibly the strongest internet prescence of any Pixar animator, do you ever find yourself biting your tongue or double thinking any comments you might have normally made online?

3. Is there any project or part of a project at Pixar that you wish you'd been a part of?

4. Have you ever hidden food/livestock in a colleagues cubicle?Hi AJ,
1. Yes, Big Bang is really hard to get to these days. I have taken it off my site for various reasons right now, but it will definitely return sometime in the future. It's too much in my head not to make, but I have very little time to devote to it these days.
2. I think I've been pretty good about self-editing my internet response re: Pixar. I'm always aware that I'm an unofficial representative of Pixar whether I want to be or not, and I don't want to risk my job or make them uncomfortable. They're really cool about letting us participate in the CG community and I don't want to abuse their trust.
3. There's a short film in development right now that I can't talk about (not One Man Band) that I tried REALLY hard to be involved with it. Because of my commitment to Cars it just didn't happen. It would have been nice to work on the original Toy Story as well, of course, but I shudder to think of the primitive CG animation tools they had to use back then.
4. No, but there is a giant inflatable monkey that gets passed around, as well as the occasional tasteless drawing.

vnavone
07-01-2005, 11:23 PM
It would appear that you are a self taught animator. How did you go about working and teaching your self something as complex as animation? What teaching or training methods and/or books did you use?

Do you have any tips for someone with a full time job who is trying to learn animation on his own?Hi Justin, I learned a lot from books such as Maestri's "Digital Character Animation" and of coures "The Illusion of Life". I also talked a lot with an animator coworker (Mike Brown) and I frequented CG-Char. My background in art and acting helped a lot, I'm sure, as I was already accustomed to posing and performing. In addition to this I can also recommend AnimationMentor.com if you willing to pay for instruction. Most of our students have day jobs, and the quality of the training is top notch. Okay, so I'm a little biased...

vnavone
07-01-2005, 11:33 PM
1) What is your process for developing a character and getting in to their head?

2) Since you have become fairly well know for having a more, shall we say, warped sense of humor, are you given crazier shots to work on at Pixar?

3) What would Oscar say about your overall body of work? :)Hi Brian,
1) Usually when I work on a film at Pixar the characters are pretty well developed by the time I get to them. Watching other animators' work and the dialog recording session helps flesh things out for me. In a case where the character is not as developed, I will discuss him or her with the director to try to find out what they have in mind and possibly recommend some live-action actors to look as for reference. With Syndrome, for example, I looked at Jack Black, Jack Nicholson, and of course Jason Lee.
From there it's a lot of exploration, experimentation and back-and-forth with the director. As for getting into their heads, I have to think about the arc of the story, the arc of the scene, the arc of the shot, and how the character fits into these. What does he want? How is he feeling, and how much of that is he letting show on the outside?
2) There are plenty of "warped" animators at Pixar, I just get more attention on the internet. Still, I have developed somewhat of a reputation for being able to do slimey characters. Hey, you animate what you know. After I did that gag shot of Syndrome licking Mirage I have been cast in a lot of shots where characters are being lecherous. I'm often called upon to do tongue-imation, and sometimes I'll add some tongue into shots that don't need it! Usually I get cast to do physical gag shots or shots that are technically complex because I'm pretty good with that stuff. I've been lucky enough to get some more serious acting stuff on Cars.
3) Oskar and I aren't on speaking terms right now.

vnavone
07-01-2005, 11:34 PM
among the list of animations that u've created' sorry for my bad english' Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and Cars and others who do u think is the BEST for you' who do u like the mosHi Nards, my favorite Pixar film in all respects is The Incredibles. It was the most fun (and most difficult) to work on, and it's my favorite of our films to watch.

Abhimation
07-01-2005, 11:39 PM
Its great to have you in Q&A Session Mr. Navone.. You are a BIG BIG inspiration to make the Animations look better. Here's a couple of my questions, will be greatful to c ur replies.

1) As you get your story board for a particular scene and may be you come up with some nice gag or acting idea in it :
Whats preffered ?? Ur idea or the Storyboard.
In Short > How much an animator is free to put in his creativity to make the scene look better?

2) Every animator has got his own preferences when it comes to Rigs and many Animators must be working on the same character. So the Animators make themselves comfortable with the Rig or Animators change or get the Rigs changed according to themselves ?

3) What do you prefer when it comes to acting out your scene .. Thumbnails ? Video Recordings ? Basic Blocking of the Poses ?

4) And yaaa... who animated that little boy on the tricycle in The Incredibles with a bubble gum in his mouth and who watches Bob lifting his car high ? That was just cooooooooll !! :)

Thnx for taking out your precious time....

vnavone
07-01-2005, 11:40 PM
.what did u show at that time in that portafolio? why u think they hired u?My demo reel consisted of Alien Song, my other two alien animations and some of my effects work that I did for games at Presto Studios. I also showed some of my life drawing and digital paintings, all of which you can see on my web site. I think they hired me because they saw my potential, not becuase any one thing I showed was particularly great. It also had a lot to do with timing. I doubt that I would be hired at Pixar today with the same demo reel. I was in the right place at the right time, and Alien Song got me in the door for an interview.
I would like to know if u give classes at animationmentor.com, what recomendations would u give to a person that wants to get involved in characther animation and dont know anything at all? What books should i buy, what things should i pay attention?
I would love to be good character animator and i found that usually animators are laughing and having fun, is that true at all?I don't teach the courses at AM but I give individual critiques on the students' assignments and I speak with them live in our Q&A sessions. I've compiled lots of advice and links on my web site for those interested in becoming animators:

http://www.navone.org/HTML/3dadvice.htm

We animators have a lot of fun at work, but we work hard, too.

vnavone
07-01-2005, 11:45 PM
1.) What was the toughest critique you've ever gotten... how did you stay on target and get back to work

2.) What did you study to create such a slimy portrayal of Syndrome..(is there an inner slimeball alter-victor?)

3.) Can i have Ed Catmull's email addressHi Matt,
1) It's hard to narrow it down to one. Usually the worst is when I show a shot in dailies that is supposed to be funny and no one laughs. I have to pick myself up, crawl back to my office and start over again. It's a blow to the ego, but I look at the work and the people around me and convince myself to try again and EARN my job.
2) A lot of it just came naturally.
3) No, but you could probably figure it out on your own.

vnavone
07-01-2005, 11:48 PM
How does one "break" through the tidalwave of new artists and animators to make themselves "hot" for hire animators or even graphic artists?
Is the portfolio/reel necessary, or is it possible to make good enough with just an all out dazzle 'em animation short- what do TDs and ADs look for?
I know you made "Alien Song" with Animation Master... Do you think that the 3D package a person uses has a big impact on getting a job in the 3D industry?There are no simple answers to these questions, no "magic bullets". You need to come up with a great demo reel and be willing to work long and hard to reach your goals. There is no gaurantee that you will be able to make a living as an animator. If you want to be an animator then focus on animation and don't worry about models, lighting, etc. The software doesn't usually matter, though some studios would prefer not to have to train you to use their software.

vnavone
07-01-2005, 11:52 PM
...my question is with all your experience, how good have you become at judging when you need more and when you should pull back a little? How often do you look back at a shot once it's on screen and wish you'd pushed it more?Hi Mike, good questions. The ability to judge your shots comes with experience, and I think I'm getting better at it. Of course it helps to be surrounded by people who are better than you so you learn faster. Still, it's hard not to get tunnel-vision when slaving over a shot for days at a time, so it's important to get frequent feedback from the director and other animators. I very frequently look back at my work and wish I would have pushed it further.

Headless
07-01-2005, 11:55 PM
Hi there Victor, I know i'm just repeating what everyone else has said but i'm really in awe of the animation that you and everyone else at Pixar are able to produce. But anyway, on with the questions. :)

1. From listening to the animators commentary on the DVD for The Incredibles, many Pixar animators noted that they animated in 1's and 2's, where whenever I animate I just place keys down where I need them, so the keys for my arm movements may be spread out in a completely different way to the keys for my leg movements. Besides the economy of it, I tend to find that I get jitter in my motion if my keys get too dense. Is the decision to animate in 1's and 2's on a computer, a continuation of techniques learnt from traditional animation, or is there some real benefit to this method that i'm missing?

2. When animating characters do you do the body motions first, then the facial motions, or the other way round, or both at the same time?

3. Can you give any tips on coming up with good body language, especially in the case of matching to dialogue. When animating I try to think about the character's emotions, their motivations, and their internal dialogue, and I try to make sure that I don't just go for unnaturally obvious actions to match their dialogue (like having a character wave when they say 'hi' or pointing to themselves when they they say 'I'), but sometimes it's tough to come up with body motions that have that believable subtlety. Even if I act the scene out, my motions are still affected by how conscious I am of what i'm doing. Any advice?

4. Do you make sure that your animations always work no matter what angle you're looking at them or do you animate just for the camera? Related to that, do you animate in less detail if you know something's going to be really tiny in the shot?

5. To what degree do you iterate animations? If you see an issue with an animation will you usually start fresh, or tweak the animation until it's right?

Anyway, cheers for doing this Q&A session and i'm really looking forward to hearing your responses.

- Dan Lowe.

vnavone
07-01-2005, 11:55 PM
I'd like to be similar to you. How would I acheive this?

Thank-you in advance..This would require loads of plastic surgery and psychotropic drugs. Or you can just send $750,000 to my PayPal account.

vnavone
07-02-2005, 12:00 AM
Quick question about your Incredibles gags/bloopers - It seems like working at a studio like Pixar there would be lots of long days and tough deadlines, how do you make time to do things like make those bloopers? Am I under the wrong impression about how crazy it must be there as far as deadlines, or are you just really quick?.Hi Tom, it really depends on the animator and the state of production. I tend to work pretty fast and I did those bloopers when we were not yet in "crunch" mode. The falling gaurds I whipped out in one afternoon, and they actually scolded me a little for it. I still hit all my deadlines, though, so they can't complain much. The schedule on Cars has been really easy. I've hardly worked any overtime and we're almost done. Incredibles was much different, partly because the film was so demanding and partly because the animators were all so into it. We worked a lot on that film, though the hours were never unreasonable. A 55-60 hour week was probably the extreme for me, but again, I work pretty fast.

Bentagon
07-02-2005, 12:02 AM
Oh goody goody goody! Another Mentor! Boy, I can't wait to join in Fall!

I've definitly got some questions for you. Some of them are picked from an interview I did with Bobby Beck, and since I got some awesome answers on those, I'm asking them again :)
It's quite a list, though, so feel free to skip one or two if I'm being too demanding ;)

1. How do you feel you have grown as an artist during your carreer path?

2. There's this statement "Genius/Art is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration." Do you think this is applicable to character animation? Why?

3. Working at Pixar, you're actually helping other people complete their visions, tell their stories. When doing so, don't you feel you are creating kitsch, rather than real art?

4. Animation is a way of communicating, so how important are people's reactions to your scenes, to you?

5. How important is reference and planning to you? Do you thumbnail, videotape, use x-sheets...?

6. To you, what's the most important thing in animation? And what's the most important thing that you've learned?

7. Apart from your Pixar work, AM Online mentoring and Big Bang creating, have you got any other artistic hobbies you like to do?

8. Where do you draw most of your inspiration from?

9. Do you still go out and sketch people, as a way of observing, like the AM Online students have to do? How do you observe?

10. What do you strive for in animation?

11. Have you tried other media than 3D, such as 2D or stop-mo? If so, what have you learned from it?

12. Who in the animation world is your "idol"? Anyone from the Nine Old Men? Maybe Tex Avery or Chuck Jones or anyone from their crew? Or guys from the new Disney Generation, such as Keane, Deja, etc? Or maybe someone your work with, or for? Yourself :D?


Hope you've still got time to sleep after this :D

Thanks a huge lot! It's absolutely awesome that you're willing to do this!

- Benjamin

vnavone
07-02-2005, 12:03 AM
You're my favorite pixar animator :love:
Aw shucks! Why couldn't you be a girl?
1. What is your favorite part about working at Pixar every day?

2. Will you be at siggraph this year?

3. your daughter's birthday is coming up, anything special planned?
1. Probably the atmosphere. All the cool, fun, talented people, the casual workspaces and the cushy treatment.
2. No.
3. She's only going to be 1 year old, so I can't imagine she'll really appreciate or remember anything we do. We'll give her some cake and take some photos.
See you at Comic-Con, George!

vnavone
07-02-2005, 12:05 AM
If you were to sift through a multitude of demo reels, what would you look for, personally, in an animator's reel? Is there any advice that you would like to impart?Hi Derek, we look for good acting ability, a sense of humor, and the ability to communicate thought and emotion through body language. Originality helps, too. Show us characters and situations we've never seen before in animation. And only show your BEST work. Keep it under 3 minutes long.

vnavone
07-02-2005, 12:07 AM
Wow! First off I just want to say ,like everyone else, that you have created some amazing pieces, and have a crap load of talent. One quick question though, which 3d package do you feel most comfortable with? I'm not asking you to dis others or anything, I noticed on your site that you use so many programs.Hi Steven, thanks! For character animation I like to use Animation: Master. It's got great animation and rigging tools. I like Cinema 4D for solid surface modeling and rendering. I haven't used Maya a whole lot but I'm sure I'd like it more if I knew it better. As for 2D I use Photoshop and After Effects constantly.

vnavone
07-02-2005, 12:10 AM
Ok, I watched the extra material on The Incredibles and need to ask: how was it working with Brad Bird? He seems "intense". What directing style works best for you, do you prefer the no-holds-bar straight on approach when someone is critiquing you work? Brad is intense, but his passion really inspired us to work hard and fulfill his vision. He inspires great loyalty and I would work with him again in a heartbeat. He is an animator himself so he gives amazing notes. We learned so much from him over the course of the film and all the animators improved. He was never harsh in his critiques, but if you asked him to he would really tear your work apart for you. I asked quite often...

vnavone
07-02-2005, 12:16 AM
1. Do you (or your colleagues) see a difference between the type of animation that's done for live-action films (example: the creature work in Harry Potter) and the full CG-feature animation that's done at studios like Pixar? I'm wondering if a studio like Pixar likes to see animation for live action films on a reel, or if they'd rather see more cartoony work.

2. How easy/difficult do you think it is for an animator to move from the game industry into animating for full cg features? Is that sort of move common? I'm wondering if it's difficult for an animator to build a good portfolio of performance-based animation at a game studio, or if a gig like that will just produce a reel full of cycles.

I'm curious about the sort of work that studios like Pixar like to see on a reel. Do they like to see work from live action films? From games? or does it not matter, as long as it's fantastic performance animation?

3. Do you see a lot of animators at Pixar who come from a 2D background?Hi Kat,
1. There are stylistic differences because if you're playing against a live actor then the performance has to feel consistent. Still, a great performance is a great performance. Take Gollum, for example. His animation blew us away. We like to see a variety of styles from an animator, but good acting is most important.
2. I can imagine it would be hard to get good acting performances for your demo reel if your working at a game company. Run cycles and physical actions only go so far. You may need to do additional work on your own time to produce a good reel for character animation. Again, acting is king.
3. We've hired quite a few. Just a year or so ago we hired 5 animators who were laid off from Disney and had little to no 3D experience.

vnavone
07-02-2005, 12:20 AM
1. For your arms, do you like animating with FK or IK. Describe why you like whatever techique you use.
2. Whats your average day at Pixar .. do you guys devote days or weeks to concepting a scene out (acting it out).
3. Do you animate without reference?Hi Julian,
1. I ALWAYS use FK for the arms unless I need to attach a hand to something like a doorknob. It's just too hard to get convincing animation and good arcs with IK in the arms. IK is okay in the feet if your going to be walking and standing, but if the feet are going to be off the ground for an extended time then FK is the way to go.
2. If I have the time I like to spend at least a day planning and thinking about my shots before I start in the computer. I my act in front of a video camera, do thumbnails, or just run it through in my mind.
3. Sure, especially if it's a short, simple shot. Generally I try to come up with a couple of different ideas, though, and pick the best.

vnavone
07-02-2005, 12:21 AM
when are you coming to singapore? :DHi Dwida, I'll be there at the end of October.

vnavone
07-02-2005, 12:22 AM
- Normaly, How many seconds of quality character animation (1 char) - in pixar style - do you animate per day (an 8 hours workingday)?
If you cant estimate the avarage you can name a sample shot of - for instance - 'The Incredibles' which you worked on and the time you spent on it.Hi Ila, I think I average about 100 frames per week (about 4 seconds). This is a very rough estimate and depends greatly on how complex the scenes are and how many hours I'm working.

vnavone
07-02-2005, 12:23 AM
this company with wich softwares using?
Maya just?Hi Joseph, Pixar has its own proprietary animation software. We use Maya for some modeling, but the rest of the software is custom made.

vnavone
07-02-2005, 12:32 AM
1. What is the general working method for animators at Pixar ? I watched the 'The Incredibles' DVD and in the commentaires Brad Bird mentioned 'this scene was done by that guy' and so on, so I conclude that each animator gets assigned a few scnes that he should work on. If so, how long do you work at a certain scene? Are you in full control of that scene then, i.e. do you animate all characters of the scene, or are there multple animators working on one scene ?

2. Recently, on a German music channel I accidentaly saw a (I'm sorry to say that) pretty crappy teen band, performing a pretty crappy song. Suddenly, in the video, the Blit Wizbok character appeared. I understood that you sold your rights on Blit Wizbok a few years ago, but what do you think when seeing a video like that: 'Dang, I sold my soul, I shouldn't have done that' or do you rather think 'Well, I was young and needed the money ...' !?

3. When you are animating and have reached the creative flow, what is your reaction when out of a sudden the program crashes and hours of work go out of the window ? No app bashing intended, but since you are doing your private work in Animation:Master you might have encountered a crash or two ...Hi Christopher, you ask the hard questions!
1. Depending on how many shots are ready to animate we usually are assigned blocks of shots in sequence. On Incredibles we often got to animate all the characters in a scene but on Cars we more often share shots and work on a single character at a time. Sometimes when inventory is low we will just animate single shots out of context.

2. I was wondering if this would come up. The clips you saw were created about 5 years ago by some German company who wanted to market Blit as a virtual pop star. I needed the money and figured nobody on my continent would ever see it. Needless to say it didn't catch on, and luckily their rights to Blit expired in 2001. However, they can continue to use the clips they created until 2007, and so now they've repurposed the animation for use in this crappy music video. Unfortunately it seems to be getting popular in Germany so I get a lot of emails asking about it. I do feel a little dirty for selling those rights. Ah well, live and learn.

3. No one likes crashes, and I am always very diligent about saving often and saving numbered versions. I have a little ap for A:M that does this for me automagically so I never lose more that 5 minutes of work.

vnavone
07-02-2005, 12:33 AM
Okay, hands are getting tired. I'll answer more later.

jtuulos
07-02-2005, 12:43 AM
Hi Victor

As a young (17 yrs old) self-taught 3d-artist (not just animation artist) I'm of course worried about how I can get a job in the industry. Here in Finland 3d-modeling/animation is mainly limited to advertising work and the companies are very small. That's why it's better to know everything about 3d (the whole pipeline) so you can be just the "3d-guy" doing everything related to 3d.

Ok, my first question is is: Is there any limit on what you should put on your demo reel? You mentioned earlier in your answers that you put some of your life drawings and 2d stuff in the reel. Was that only because Pixar or do you recommend it for everyone? Of course there are some rules on how to do "the perfect demo reel" (put in only the BEST stuff, cut the first version in half and edit again etc.), but I'm concerned whether or not I can be "off-topic" when applying to a specific job. I hope that makes sense... :)

Other questions: How much should I concentrate on editing and creating the overall mood for the reel? What kind of a part does bg music play in a demo reel in your opinion?

Thanks in advance, it's great to have people like you answering our humble questions :D.

PS. Any good tips/tutorials/sites about AfterEffects?

marciowski
07-02-2005, 01:33 AM
Hi Ila, I think I average about 100 frames per week (about 4 seconds). This is a very rough estimate and depends greatly on how complex the scenes are and how many hours I'm working.

Hi Victor,
Can you give us an example? Tell us a special scene you worked on and the time you needed to delivery it.

Thanks

Marcio Bukowski
Rio de Janeiro
BraSil

Zoox
07-02-2005, 02:06 AM
Hi, like every one else has said before me you make some amazing shots, keep up the amazing work :thumbsup: as for my question, I was wondering just how important is going to a animation school? right now I have a great computer and have maya 6 on it and I have been trying to build a portfolio that way. I have lot's of art experence and acting. so is building my porfolio at home like this a good way to go or should I get my self into a animation program some were? I do have lot's of experence with a few differn't apps, just wanted your thoughts on it :)

thank you for reading this, and any comment would by great.

hopefully one day I'll maybe work with you on a movie :)

cosmonaut
07-02-2005, 03:31 AM
Hey Victor, longtime reader, first time poster. A few questions:

1. How do you like being a mentor so far?

2. Do you ever do much in the way of "traditional" art now? Your site has a lot of real great paintings and drawings on it (lots of great resource links on there btw - found several really great links on there over the last few years). I was just wondering if you ever find time to do that with all your other responsiblites and if not do you miss it at all? How much did having such a strong traditional background help out in getting your job at Pixar? With your self training were you sufficiently prepared for the job at Pixar?

3. Of all the shots you've worked on at Pixar, which would you say was your favorite?

I still remember lurking on the old AM mailing list seeing message titles like: "Does my alien need more diva?" Who knew it would turn out to be such a fantastic piece of animation/internet history. Keep up the amazing work :thumbsup:

Kevin Waldron

vnavone
07-02-2005, 04:52 AM
-Also at what stage when working on a shot will you start showing your ideas or the work you have done to your director?Hi Rob, I try to show as soon as the ideas I have a clear in the shot. It could be a simple pose test, or in the case of an action shot, a layered animation with the rough timing and root animation worked out. Once or twice on Incredibles I showed Brad thumbnails of stuff for approval before I started to work on the computer.

vnavone
07-02-2005, 04:57 AM
...So my concern is what step I should take next. I have looked heavily into Animation Mentor (which I think is awesome) I just then worry about is it the best choice for ME. Thing is my parents are willing to support my education, so basically if I could get into CalArts, or any school like that or any grad school in Cali, or Canada, etc they would pay for it. So do you think that coming from a 4 year undergrad program I should do that if I have the money? I know how involved the mentors are with the students but my parents question whether or not it would be better to be in a 'physical' school with 'physical' contact with students....Hi Justin, I'm not about to make a recommendation to you between AM and CalArts. Both have their pro's and con's. A degree is great but ultimately it's your demo reel and interview skills that get you the job. I can't make a recommendation about your education without seeing your current reel. I suggest you pop on over to the animationmentor.com thread right here on CGTalk and talk to some of the students and prospective students there.

vnavone
07-02-2005, 04:59 AM
1) Are you happy at Pixar? It's pretty much the Holy Grail of animation studios to work at...so are you content with it?

2) With the enormous number of reels that get sent into Pixar, what are the chances of ACUTALLY getting your reel seen and considered?

3) Who is YOUR favourite animator, and why?
Hi Tyson,
1) Are you kidding? Pixar is the best. My only complaint is that the location is too expensive (Bay Area)
2) I have no way to answer that question. Sorry
3) Milt Kahl. Watch Shere Khan in Jungle Book for the answer.

vnavone
07-02-2005, 05:01 AM
Is there anything you would like to change about the world of CG animation?Hi Robert, interesting question. I suppose I'd like to see it take more risks with aesthetics and animation styles. Usually the experimentation is relegated to short films. I'd like to see some more inventive features. I want to see a look that is completely unique and unprecedented. Realism is boring.

mberrynk
07-02-2005, 05:29 AM
any advice for those of us who are making short films on our own, either on the side or while in school, that hopefully will have the same effect as Alien Song did for you?

ODoul
07-02-2005, 05:40 AM
Does it ever bother you guys that you're listed at the end of the movie at hyper speed while the voice talent gets all the glory?

vnavone
07-02-2005, 05:55 AM
1.What made you to do ALIEN SONG??

2.How was your experience doing ALIEN SONG that time?

3.Have you reached what you expected to be??Hi Karthik,
1. It was an animation exercise. I was learning lip-synch
2. I guess you could say it was fun. I was working on my own time for the shear sake of learning.
3. I've never had any real expectations of what I would be. I never wanted to be an animator until I started to animate. I try to keep myself challenged and take opportunities as they come.

vnavone
07-02-2005, 06:11 AM
How do you animate a crazy scene like the one you did with Mr. Incredible holding on to buddy? Do you just do it strait ahead? I'm curious how you would undertake such a complex scene with so much motion going on.Good question. That was indeed a very difficult sequence, not only becuase of the complexity of motion but also because I didn't have any kind of reference material. Thunmbnails were only somewhat useful. We had great storyboards for all our sequences which gave me a general idea of what they were after. It mostly came down to me animating a pass, showing it to the director, him saying "make it wilder", rinse, lather, repeat. It was very tedious, and I'm not really satisfied with the end result.

vnavone
07-02-2005, 06:13 AM
how much thought do u think i should put on classical 2d animation? do u think it would be the best to master 2d animation then go on to 3d ?
thanks a lot!It could take you a lifetime to "master" 2d animation, so that's probably not the best route to 3d animation. There's no reason you can't study them concurrently. The two mediums inform each other very well. If you don't have the opportunity to do much 2D I would at least try to do a lot of figure drawing and thumbnailing.

vnavone
07-02-2005, 06:15 AM
What was the wierdest experience you've ever had at Pixar?Hi Tevi, that would have to be seeing the King of Jordan and his massive entourge touring the animation department.

vnavone
07-02-2005, 06:26 AM
1. I was wondering what your opinion is on cheating in a shot. Being an animator for 5 years doing TV series, I've grown accustomed to cheating when ever possible. But is this something I want to avoid when I decide to make my jump into feature films?

2. On the topic of feature films, I was wondering what animation methods you prefer. Like do you prefer "Straight Ahead" for action and "pose 2 pose" for acting? or vice versa?

3. Do you have any tips for animating eye brows? When it comes to facial animation, I'm quite confident in every aspect but the brows. Finding the right time to do a brow shift from say sardonic to confused etc can be very tricky. Especially when you try to do this without a blink. At least that's my experience.

4. Just wondering if you've ever seen the 3D series Dragon Booster (http://www.cbc.ca/dragonbooster/) (Shameless Plug :P) and I wonder what your thoughts are on the series.
Hi Fredrick,
1. We cheat all the time at Pixar. As long as it looks right in the camera that's all that matters.
2. The method I use will depend on the shot and the characters I'm working with. I did a lot of pose-to-pose on Incredibles for the acting shots, and I would work in a more layered approach for the action stuff. On Cars I've been doing some straight-ahead work because the models play back in realtime and I can get instant feedback. It's a wonderful way to work! I tend to animate lip-synch layered or straight ahead, but I do eyes and brows pose-to-pose.
3. Try to keep the two brows connected so they look like a continuous line. I usually have the brows lead the eyes by a frame or two. Make sure the brows relate to the lids, too. Try to mirror the angles of the brows in the eyelids, and have the lids open and close subtley in reaction to up and down brow movement. Facial muscles, especially around the eyes, are very short and quick, so I usually wouldn't take longer than 5 frames between extremes.
4. Sorry, haven't seen it!

vnavone
07-02-2005, 06:32 AM
Could you go over the process Pixar/You use for facial shape animation? The shapes in the Incredibles were great, and I can't figure out the process. The characters' entire heads seemed to be squashing/stretching, along with their faces, etc. Is it just a simple layering of shape deformations? i.e., mouth shape over face shape over head shape....Hi Patrick, I can't go into the nuts and bolts of this too much. We don't use large blend-shapes, but rather we have lots of small controls that we layer together to get just the right shapes. I.e. there's no "smile" control, but you have controls to move the corner of the mouth Up and Down, Left and Right, In and Out, etc. and you can overlap these to great effect. We also had squash & stretch controls over larger parts of the body, like the head, jaw, neck, torso, limbs, etc. There were probably about 200 controls for the face on hero characters.

Nedved
07-02-2005, 06:32 AM
Mr Victor navone
can i konw
you are working with wich software?
and
how long you have been work with 3d?

tntcheats
07-02-2005, 06:41 AM
Hi there, Victor.
I haven't seen The Incredibles yet, but I really liked TitanAE--well, music setting the mood a bit better would have made it a little less dull IMHO but that's not your field.

I just want to know a few things:
1. How would you say (if you can) Animation:Master adds up versus Pixar's proprietary software? Is Pixar's software extremely good, or just about average for animation?
2. You're a very skilled artist, I can see from your portfolio. So I wonder: how did you learn to draw/paint/whatever like that? Did you use tutorials, just practice, do you use your brain or reference objects you can see?
3. Do you look around Pixar and see that everyone's about your skill level, or do you see everyone else as being a superior animator and you're in over your head, or do you see yourself as the Zeus of Pixar, or do you just not ever think about that?
4. So often I see people asking everyone about the hardest things they've had to do, so I figured I'd throw this one into the mix: What was the easiest project or scene that you've had to do for Pixar.
5. Are the computers at Pixar nice? Do you ever find yourself angered by how slowly they run? Do you think they should upgrade them?

Thanks, and keep rocking the boxx.

vnavone
07-02-2005, 06:45 AM
Hi Victor, I haven't got any q?s that haven't already been asked but I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for inspiring me so many moons ago with alien song, if not for that piece (as well as other timely stuff by Anzovin and Lew) in the late 90s, my career path would've led into engineering *yawn*... Which I'm so far from now thanks to you! So, quite simply, Thanks a mountain good sir:bowdown: for the invaluable inspiration!Thanks for the nice post, Robert. I'm glad to have been of some inspiration!

vnavone
07-02-2005, 06:51 AM
-Do you feel that it is important to have a degree in film to at some point direct an animated short/feature film in an industry pipeline like at ohhh, I dunno, Pixar? :D (I've been taught to shoot for the stars :)) In other words, does a degree in animation restrict you to just that in the eyes of people in hiring positions?
-On a similar line of thought, once you are a character animator in said industry pipeline, does that mean you will always be a character animator and/or in the animation department, or is there still room to be able to get into the story department or wherever in that same group?Hi Eric, I really don't have any good answers for you here. I don't know what you would need to do to become a director, or if there even is a clear path, and I'm sure the qualifications vary from studio to studio. At Pixar it happens occasionally that an animator will do a tour in Story and vice versa, but I don't know if that happens at other studios. Again, no gaurantees!

vnavone
07-02-2005, 06:55 AM
Should a reel focus more on motion and simple acting or have a short story. Does fancy schmancy editing and music make a better impression than a nice, simply cut demo reel? What can a student expect while looking for his or her job, based on your experiance and stories you have heard.Hi Rob, the most important thing on your reel is to show good acting and understanding of the traditional principals of animation. Editing, music, etc. doesn't matter. Keep it short (under 3 minutes) and only show you BEST work. And don't use copyrighted characters or mimic existing animated performances. You don't need to have a complete story, but do show emotional changes and clear beats. What can you expect when looking for a job? Lots of competition! Good luck, Rob!

vnavone
07-02-2005, 06:58 AM
I noticed alot of studios using MAYA, I personally am a all out XSI user. Does it matter what program your rockin when you enter the field of 3d/CG. Maybe you can give me some feed back to prepair myself. Like I said im a XSI user, but know the basics in many other 3d programs.

When your a modeler or animator do you ever get the chance to create the charecter? Or do you mainly animate and model someone elses charecter[s]?Hi James, I'd like to say that a reel is all that counts but I imagine there are studios out there who don't want to have to train you in there software. It's in your best interest to maintain some familiarity with Maya. As for building characters, at Pixar the animators just animate. We have character TD's to do the models for us.

vnavone
07-02-2005, 07:27 AM
1. From listening to the animators commentary on the DVD for The Incredibles, many Pixar animators noted that they animated in 1's and 2's, where whenever I animate I just place keys down where I need them, so the keys for my arm movements may be spread out in a completely different way to the keys for my leg movements. Besides the economy of it, I tend to find that I get jitter in my motion if my keys get too dense. Is the decision to animate in 1's and 2's on a computer, a continuation of techniques learnt from traditional animation, or is there some real benefit to this method that i'm missing?

2. When animating characters do you do the body motions first, then the facial motions, or the other way round, or both at the same time?

3. Can you give any tips on coming up with good body language, especially in the case of matching to dialogue. When animating I try to think about the character's emotions, their motivations, and their internal dialogue, and I try to make sure that I don't just go for unnaturally obvious actions to match their dialogue (like having a character wave when they say 'hi' or pointing to themselves when they they say 'I'), but sometimes it's tough to come up with body motions that have that believable subtlety. Even if I act the scene out, my motions are still affected by how conscious I am of what i'm doing. Any advice?

4. Do you make sure that your animations always work no matter what angle you're looking at them or do you animate just for the camera? Related to that, do you animate in less detail if you know something's going to be really tiny in the shot?

5. To what degree do you iterate animations? If you see an issue with an animation will you usually start fresh, or tweak the animation until it's right?Hi Dan,
1. Every animator works differently. Some of our guys work in stepped mode down to one's and two's, others work in a more layered approach, as you suggest. One advantage to working in the former method is that if forces you to really think about every breakdown and inbetween! But hey, animate however works best for you.
2. I tend to block the facial stuff along with the body. Especially on Cars, where the face IS most of the body.
3. Observation. Watch actors. Watch real people. Watch yourself. Take an acting class if you can.
4. Generally we only worry about how it looks in the main camera. There are times when we have to worry about reflections and shadows giving away our cheats.
5. Once I've got blocking approved I just keep tweaking it. If my blocking is not approved I save the parts that are working and rip out the stuff that doesn't and do those parts fresh.

vnavone
07-02-2005, 07:34 AM
1. How do you feel you have grown as an artist during your carreer path?

2. There's this statement "Genius/Art is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration." Do you think this is applicable to character animation? Why?

3. Working at Pixar, you're actually helping other people complete their visions, tell their stories. When doing so, don't you feel you are creating kitsch, rather than real art?

4. Animation is a way of communicating, so how important are people's reactions to your scenes, to you?

5. How important is reference and planning to you? Do you thumbnail, videotape, use x-sheets...?

6. To you, what's the most important thing in animation? And what's the most important thing that you've learned?

7. Apart from your Pixar work, AM Online mentoring and Big Bang creating, have you got any other artistic hobbies you like to do?

8. Where do you draw most of your inspiration from?

9. Do you still go out and sketch people, as a way of observing, like the AM Online students have to do? How do you observe?

10. What do you strive for in animation?

11. Have you tried other media than 3D, such as 2D or stop-mo? If so, what have you learned from it?

12. Who in the animation world is your "idol"? Anyone from the Nine Old Men? Maybe Tex Avery or Chuck Jones or anyone from their crew? Or guys from the new Disney Generation, such as Keane, Deja, etc? Or maybe someone your work with, or for? Yourself :D?
Aw, jeez.
2. Sure. Michelangelo said something like "if you new how hard I had to work to achieve this mastery you wouldn't think it was wondeful at all". Animation takes a lot of hard work and practice. It's not about divine inspiration, it's about making a lot of mistakes and doing a lot of crappy work before you get to the good work.
3. Huh? I get to work with directors who are telling a personal story that means something to them. There's nothing kitsch about it. Except for the occasional fart gag.
4. If the audience doesn't react the way I want then I haven't done my job. Back to the drawing board!
7. I try to draw a lot. I'm doing caricatures of the other animators these days. I'm also learning guitar.
9. No, I don't do that, but I do take gesture drawing courses, which helps a lot.
11. I haven't tried any other mediums, aside from those flip-corner animations in my school books. 2D and stop-mo scare the hell out of me, frankly.

ReaperXVIII
07-02-2005, 07:42 AM
First of all I would like to say that I love your work and I am really looking forward to what you guys are going to be doing in the future. So far I have not seen a single Pixar movie that I haven't liked, and they just keep getting better.

That being said, I am currently shooting for a career in game design, but I would love to do animation too. I have little to no experience in 3D animation and little experience in animation in general, unless you count drawing stick figure animations on the pages of notebooks or a few simple flash animations. I was wondering if I should get a firm grasp of just modelling scenes or characters first before I try my hand at trying to learn to animate something like the bipeds in 3ds max. I do have a modelling class next quarter but I can't wait until then to get started. :D

Thank you so much for your time. I am looking forward to Cars. :D

owenshire
07-02-2005, 08:07 AM
Just another thank you for you and the artists at pixar for inspiring me to be where i am today. I am sure I will be working there within the next 5 years so I'll see you there if you are still with them. But, ultimatly, it will be taken as a learning experience. I will open my own studio and do things with cg people have never seen before. You are totally right, realism is boring, with all the possibilities, I don't think people are taking advantage of animations full capabilities. Not a question really, just sharing. Thanks again.

Okan
07-02-2005, 08:43 AM
Hey Victor,
No Questions. Just wanted to say hi as always. It's gonna be fun to read your answers. hope you remember your Turk fella :P
Take care.

dobermunk
07-02-2005, 09:39 AM
Hi Victor, you said:

I'd like to see (aniamtion) take more risks with aesthetics and animation styles. Usually the experimentation is relegated to short films. I'd like to see some more inventive features. I want to see a look that is completely unique and unprecedented. Realism is boring.

I'm curious:
Would the chance to work on something like this be motivation enough for you to leave Pixar, or is this something you'd just like to see happen?

David

sphere
07-02-2005, 09:58 AM
Hi Victor,

I hope this hasn't already been asked. I didn't see this thread til late.

Are you allowed to hide any 'easter eggs' in the projects you work on and are there any examples of this in any feature films from Pixar?

HellBoy
07-02-2005, 11:08 AM
Hi Victor

I can tell my question is going to be long way before it gets answered, but I got hopes :)

1- How did you feel when pixar was interested on you when you joined?

2- Today, how tallented do you have to be to join pixar?

3- From you expeience, how long does it take you to produce a 5min animation?

4- I've seen a clip inside pixars studio, (this is when monster inc was out), theres was a mirror which acted like a motion capture but without the suit, it was a mirror. How does it work?

5- Finally, who's the youngest in the studio, their age would do fine!

Thanks Victor, wish you the very best of excitements

Trident_2K5
07-02-2005, 12:11 PM
Hi!


What do yo like (and hate) most about being 3D animator?

(Sorry for my english...)

JBoskma
07-02-2005, 12:41 PM
Good stuff Victor, keep it up :) I got a few questions,

- Do you know the Vancouver Film School? www.vfs.com (http://www.vfs.com/) If you do, what do you think of their
3D Animation program?

- Would a VFS diploma, own 'talent', some freelance jobs and a good portfolio open doors for
somebody at an animation studio as Pixar?

- What do you find more important for finding a job at a quality animation studio? A good
resume (schools / previous jobs) or a good portfolio?

- Do you like your Dutch Pixar colleagues?

Thanks for your time, good luck with everything. I enjoyed the Big Bang storyboard btw, looking forward to the short ...and oh we both have an eye as our avatar, isn't that great? :rolleyes:

greyface
07-02-2005, 12:54 PM
Hey Victor, nice seeing you here! I have three questions for you:

1. Do you use walk/run cycles as a base for creating more complexe animation? or is each shot animated from scratch? Do you even create cycles?

2. Are you familiar with non-linear animation, like most of the high end animation packages have? If so, what are your views on this compared to the standard way?

3. You said you roughly create 4 seconds of animation per week, that sounds very little to me, considering some short movies with good animation are created within a year, including modeling, rendering, rigging, lighting and texturing, by only a few individuals, part-time. 4 seconds per week would mean only ~3 minutes over a year, full-time? Could you clarifly what takes the most time maybe, in a sequence?

Thanks a lot for reading,

Alex-

wazim
07-02-2005, 01:03 PM
HI

I was wondering are the lip synch software of any help or is it better if we use our normal software morphing and a little bit of observation what works the best.

Please reply

Fuchur
07-02-2005, 01:56 PM
Hi Victor,
I have to thank you, too. In 2000 I watch Alien Song and Killer Bean(from Jeff Lew), I stared at my PC and I just thought: "WOW, I gonna have to have that software and do something equal). Today I am wiser and know, that I have to find my own style but in the end you and Jeff brought me to Characteranimation and to Animation:Master and even if I am not the most talented one and not famous for any animations, I've got sooo much fun with it...

Thanks for being such an inspiration.
*Fuchur*

Headless
07-02-2005, 02:04 PM
Hey Victor, thanks for answering my earlier questions. I just thought of one more quick one.

How complete is the audio track when you get it? Obviously you'll have dialogue, but I wondered whether you animate to sound effects or not. It seems like some scenes, like the little crab doing praying-mantis in Finding Nemo (which I adore, by the way), would really benefit from having the sound beforehand.

supergrover
07-02-2005, 02:34 PM
Hi Victor,
As Computer animation is still in it's infancy I'd be interested to hear about whether you think you'll stick with it until retirement age ( and after! ). Do you picture yourself as a Director somewhere down the line if the opportunity arises? Also How does family life suit a character animator? ie. is there enough time for the wife and kid(s) when you're in crunch?
Matt

PS. Keep up the great work on Animation Mentor!

KenH
07-02-2005, 03:02 PM
*Edna voice on* Love your work Victor dahling. :D

I've just one question: Which gives you more satisfaction.....to design/script/build and animate your own short or work on a little piece of a superb Pixar short? Excluding the getting paid aspect. ;)

I didn't read all the questions so this may have been covered already.

Marius_F
07-02-2005, 03:57 PM
WOW Victor Navone! What a pleasure it is to see you doing this Q&A.

I have just 3 questions for you if you don't mind :)

1. Do you ever use pre made cycles when you're doing a shot that requires the characters to either walk, run, climb etc.? Just wondering if you'd do this to save time or is every shot done right from scratch?

2. It sounds like you prepare yourself quite a bit before going to work on the computer. Have you've ever had a shot where you knew exactly what you wanted to do and forego say recording yourself or even drawing thumbnails?

3. I was just wondering if you know any animators at pixar who can't draw a thing to save their life yet still be a really good animator? Seems like I keep hearing "thumbnails thumbnails thumbnails" but the reality is not everyone can draw like you. I guess Im asking so that I dont feel alone being an animator and be limited to stickmen :P

Thanks so much for your time! I can't wait to see your work on Cars later next year!!!

Marius.

jerry123
07-02-2005, 04:06 PM
hi.

- this have been bothering me for a while now,so now i have my chance...
i have a kinda strange question,lately ive ran into a 2d/3d animation problem.
im trying to kind of mimic the style u see on old disney movies,where everything is
very flexible and over streaches,its just so fluid and flows really beautifully,eventhogh
not verry phisically correct.

problem is when i transfer the concept to 3d,instead of all that,it just looks wrong
u get this very liquid unconvincing feel to it.
i found it happens on everything,starting from just primitives,to full characters,the 2d
way just doesent work...

have you ever ran into that problem?or is it just me.
any idea why doese it happen?or ways to solve it?

- i noticed the front page image...was that your scene,i liked it,it was very good,kinda
creepy,are you responsible for all those slightly pcycotic syndrom scenes,or those are
different animators?

thank you.

ps. emmm,lets hope he doesent see this,but your buddy just moved back here,and
hmmm...please,please take him back there,tell him you really miss him and all color and
joy ran out of your life ever since he left or something...hes taking over all my animation
contracts....took them all...the horror,man,the horror
im just kidding of course,hes a nice guy,but he took over my nisch...and im scared to
death of him...take him away,man..pleeeease....

vnavone
07-02-2005, 04:53 PM
1) As you get your story board for a particular scene and may be you come up with some nice gag or acting idea in it :
Whats preffered ?? Ur idea or the Storyboard.
In Short > How much an animator is free to put in his creativity to make the scene look better?

2) Every animator has got his own preferences when it comes to Rigs and many Animators must be working on the same character. So the Animators make themselves comfortable with the Rig or Animators change or get the Rigs changed according to themselves ?

3) What do you prefer when it comes to acting out your scene .. Thumbnails ? Video Recordings ? Basic Blocking of the Poses ?

4) And yaaa... who animated that little boy on the tricycle in The Incredibles with a bubble gum in his mouth and who watches Bob lifting his car high ? That was just cooooooooll !! :)Hi Abhishek,
1) Usually we will stick with the gag in the storyboards, but sometimes we will come up with additional gags or gags where there were none before. As long as we meet the emotional and story requirements of the scene the directors are usually open to new ideas.
2) As animators we can't change the rigs, and the rigs are standardized so that all the characters have the same basic controls. We just learn to use them as is and we work with the riggers to get the important features we need.
3) I may use any of these methods, depending on the scene. Or I may use none and just go straight from my head into the computer. I guess thumbnailing would be my "favorite", but it's not always the most effective.
4) I believe that was Rob Russ. He also did the shots of Helen turning into a parachute with the kids, and crawling on the beach. He works closely with the tools people and riggers to improve our models.

vnavone
07-02-2005, 04:56 PM
Hi Victor,
Can you give us an example? Tell us a special scene you worked on and the time you needed to delivery it.I really can't remember any specific times. I do so many shots... I remember some of the hard ones, like the shot of Helen and E walking down the hallway, took me about a month. I don't know if I had a deadline on that, or if they just said "keep going untill it's done".

vnavone
07-02-2005, 05:00 PM
1. How do you like being a mentor so far?

2. Do you ever do much in the way of "traditional" art now? Your site has a lot of real great paintings and drawings on it (lots of great resource links on there btw - found several really great links on there over the last few years). I was just wondering if you ever find time to do that with all your other responsiblites and if not do you miss it at all? How much did having such a strong traditional background help out in getting your job at Pixar? With your self training were you sufficiently prepared for the job at Pixar?

3. Of all the shots you've worked on at Pixar, which would you say was your favorite?Hi Kevin,
1. I'm really enjoying it, especially now that I have fewer students. I've always been interested in teaching and AM makes it easy and convenient for me, which is crucial now that I have a kid. The students are great and really enthusiastic.
2. I try to draw a lot, but that mostly happens while I'm waiting for a shot to render at work. At home I don't have a lot of time to draw. I've got a bunch of half-finished Photoshop paintings that I hope to finish some day. I really want to improve my 2D art. I think my traditional art training definitely helped my portfolio.
3. Probably some of the Syndrome stuff, like when he's walking to the plane, or the stuff of Dash running on water in the cave.

vnavone
07-02-2005, 05:01 PM
any advice for those of us who are making short films on our own, either on the side or while in school, that hopefully will have the same effect as Alien Song did for you?Keep it simple and short! Focus on one idea and good acting.

vnavone
07-02-2005, 05:02 PM
Does it ever bother you guys that you're listed at the end of the movie at hyper speed while the voice talent gets all the glory?I don't think that's the case at all. The voice talents in our films aren't featured all that prominently. They're usually after the director, producers, and supervisors.

vnavone
07-02-2005, 05:05 PM
Hi there, Victor.
I haven't seen The Incredibles yet, but I really liked TitanAE...James, go rent The Incredibles right now. I will answer your questions after you've seen it and reported back here. This is for your own good.

vnavone
07-02-2005, 05:07 PM
I'm curious:
Would the chance to work on something like this be motivation enough for you to leave Pixar, or is this something you'd just like to see happen? Hi David, I think the only thing that would make me leave Pixar right now is if an earthquake knocked it into the Bay. Or they fired me.

vnavone
07-02-2005, 05:08 PM
Are you allowed to hide any 'easter eggs' in the projects you work on and are there any examples of this in any feature films from Pixar?Hi Shane, we don't put secret messages in our shots, if that's what you mean. But sometimes we do gags that get included on the DVDs as easter eggs.

webhead
07-02-2005, 05:08 PM
Hello, Mr. Navone. I've been a fan of your work since Alien Song. Thanks for taking the time to answer questions.
I remember reading about Disney animators who occasionally were assigned to work on characters that they felt were boring or not that interesting for one reason or another.
Have you ever had to work on a character for any period of time that you didn't really like?
How do you approach an uninteresting assignment?
there are so many 3D animation films coming out nowadays. How do you think the enormous amount of 3D animated films out there will affect the industry in the long run?
One other question: What kinds of rivalries go on between animators in the 3D animation world?

vnavone
07-02-2005, 05:11 PM
4- I've seen a clip inside pixars studio, (this is when monster inc was out), theres was a mirror which acted like a motion capture but without the suit, it was a mirror. How does it work?

5- Finally, who's the youngest in the studio, their age would do fine!Sorry to disappoint you, but we have no magic mirrors nor motion capture devices. We do have regular mirrors that are good for reference and observation. As for ages, I don't think we have any employees under 20, but I could be wrong.

vnavone
07-02-2005, 05:35 PM
1. Do you use walk/run cycles as a base for creating more complexe animation? or is each shot animated from scratch? Do you even create cycles?

2. Are you familiar with non-linear animation, like most of the high end animation packages have? If so, what are your views on this compared to the standard way?

3. You said you roughly create 4 seconds of animation per week, that sounds very little to me, considering some short movies with good animation are created within a year, including modeling, rendering, rigging, lighting and texturing, by only a few individuals, part-time. 4 seconds per week would mean only ~3 minutes over a year, full-time? Could you clarifly what takes the most time maybe, in a sequence?Hi Alex,
We will usually create cycles for characters as we are developing them and these may end up being used as the basis for shot animation. Usually we will tweak them for the particular scene and try to disguise the cycle by adding subtle variations. More often we animate everything from scratch. Background characters such as crowds probably get more use from cycles.
2. I have some familiarity with non-linear animation but no real opinions of it yet.
3. I'm curious to what productions you are referring to. We produce short films within a year as well. But features take much longer. It takes about 4 years for our features from story development through layout, modeling, animation, lighting, shading, rendering, effects, etc. The animation portion takes about a year with 50+ animators. We take more time to give you the best quality!

vnavone
07-02-2005, 05:39 PM
How complete is the audio track when you get it? Obviously you'll have dialogue, but I wondered whether you animate to sound effects or not. It seems like some scenes, like the little crab doing praying-mantis in Finding Nemo (which I adore, by the way), would really benefit from having the sound beforehand.We usually have the final dialog and sometimes rough sound effects if they are important to the shot. The sound fx will ultimately be replaced and may need to be retimed to match our animation. Sometimes we add extra time in the dialog as needed to get an idea across.

vnavone
07-02-2005, 06:57 PM
im trying to kind of mimic the style u see on old disney movies,where everything is very flexible and over streaches,its just so fluid and flows really beautifully,eventhogh
not verry phisically correct.Hi Jerry, this is our goal every day at Pixar. It takes a lot of hard work and observation to be able to do what the Disney artists did 50 years ago. If you want to do this in 3D you'll have to study the traditional animation principles, and you'll also need a rig capable of the kind of squash and stretch you're after. The computer doesn't know how to make animation look good. That's up to the user.

Chris Bacon
07-02-2005, 07:02 PM
Hey Victor.....first of all Im a HUGE fan of your work...Titan A.E. is my second fav animation of all time.......and its so cool that you've given us this opatunity......

1) As I said before Titan A.E. is my second fav movie of all time my first is the IRON GIANT which was directed by Brad Bird....what was it like to work with him on The Incredibles....

2) Im working to be a character animator some day....Ive just finnished the second of three years at uni...I find that the hardes thing in my work is once I have a moment of belivable acting how do you keep it....looking at 'Alian song' I was wondering how you keep that level of 'magic' in your work.....

3) everyone I work with at uni had a moment in there life they relised what they wanted to be a animator.....for me it was the film 'Jurassic Park' (I was a geeky dino nut) what was it for you .....

4) What did you find animating aquatic animals more of a chalange then land ones......ie what was harder in finding Nemo the dentist or the fish......

5) And finaly are you planning and Alien Song type shorts in the future.....

Thanks.....

Chris

DerPapa
07-02-2005, 08:35 PM
Hi Victor
I'm interested in your pipeline at pixar.

1. What happens side by side during production? Is there character developement while you already animating? Are all the stages/sets/props finished?

2. Do you seperate Lipsync from the characteranimation? If yes, do you do lipsync before, or after the other animation and why?

3. I heard, that for "shrek", every animator did a whole shot, with all the characters to guarantee consistence in interaction. No animator was "nailed" to a certain character (as disney did it).
How do you handle interaction between many characters at Pixar and why are you doing it this way?

4. Are you interested in "your" shots? Is it possible, for an animator to follow the progress of the movie (lighting/special FX/rendering...), in particular the parts he/she did?

5. maybe this question was already asked: how many female animators are at Pixar?

Just the fact, that I remember that moment, when I saw "Aliensong" so many years ago, is the best proof, that this still is a great piece of animation. IMO "Aliensong" is the mother-cult-internet-3Dmovie!

cheers
Michael

jerry123
07-02-2005, 08:45 PM
Hi Jerry, this is our goal every day at Pixar. It takes a lot of hard work and observation to be able to do what the Disney artists did 50 years ago. If you want to do this in 3D you'll have to study the traditional animation principles, and you'll also need a rig capable of the kind of squash and stretch you're after. The computer doesn't know how to make animation look good. That's up to the user.

oh..im afraid i got missunderstood there,im not very good at defining things,what i meant
to ask was...hmmm...no rig problems,no animation problems either,there are no problems.
the only problem is that i found that when you draw your animation itll work fine,but
somehow,when you try to do the exact same thing in 3d,it will just look wrong,the
mechanics of it...i cant tell,thats why i try asking ppl if they have run across that strange
thing.maybe when u see a "solid"3 dimentional thing acts like a drawing,it looks wrong
i dont know,maybe it just shouldnt be done,or be moderated on how much of it u put
in its motion.

i usually animate frame by frame on 3d too,so i dont trust any"passes"the damn machine
doese,im a complete technophobe.
well,i was just curiouse if ppl have run across that problem and if there are ways of
solving it,or just treat the animation as a 3d animation to begin with.
after all, the pixar animations are totally different from the 2d old disney stuff,they are
good,but different,so i dont know if its a technicallity thing...or just really cant be done.

sorry about that...i think i should really get some writing classes,its already the second
time on these sessions that ppl dont get what im trying to ask,very embarassing
sorry (:

PJC
07-02-2005, 09:24 PM
Victor,

It doesn't seem that long ago that we were critiquing Blit as he was shooting his gun on the old Animation:Master mailing list, ahh time flies!

Questions:

1. Are your character tools locked in during a specific project (other than bug fixes) or are they constantly updated when new tools are created?

2. And how do you keep up with all of the new features of Animation:Master with the kind of job you have?

sincerely,

patrick j. clarke

FabioMSilva
07-02-2005, 10:33 PM
Hi Victor :)
Great job on the incredibles, it's really a very good movie.

Questions:

1- I haven't animated all that much, but as far as i could see, walk cycles tend to be very difficult to do(at least timeconsuming). Do u have any tips u can give us to make the walkcycles easier?

2 - I've seen many animators using the "blocking" tecnique and others who go on the "free flow" making an animation from start to finish without blocking it. Which method do u prefer?

3 - Is Squash & stretch used(or at least important) in realistic animation for feature movies?

4- What do you think of the upcoming movie FF7 Advent Children?

cheers :beer:

doodle
07-02-2005, 11:46 PM
Hi there.

What is you process for creating animations?

What I’m asking is do you do key the body, limb and head movements as you go, then go back and refine them and add other movements such as blink and lip syncs and other subtle features. Or, would you just work on the walk/body/limb/head movements separately. Is there a general format the people follow, or is it just preference and how your most comfortable.


So far i've been learning animation the traditional drawn way, but plan to start doing some 3D animation.

Thanks
Chris

Headless
07-02-2005, 11:50 PM
Thought of another one :) ...

Considering the environment that you guys at Pixar are in; that you're able to do the type of animation that you do for a living, that you're able to throw ideas around with and get advice from such a talented pool of co-workers, and that you've been in the position to get direct tuition and advice from visiting speakers like Stuart Sumida and Ed Hooks (or people like Brad Bird, of course), it seems like it would be tough for aspiring animators to keep up with that pace without those sources being avaliable, and without that kind of working environment. Do you ever see a point where Pixar will become somewhat closed-off as the talent within the company progresses beyond the avaliable talent outside of the company?

Hope that makes sense.

vnavone
07-02-2005, 11:56 PM
4) What did you find animating aquatic animals more of a chalange then land ones......ie what was harder in finding Nemo the dentist or the fish......Hi Chris, animating fish was hard because we had to break a lot of the rules we usually observe. We had to intentionally make our animation look "swimmy" by always keeping the characters drifting and by adding more overlap than usual. I wouldn't say it was harder than humans, which are probably the most difficult, but it definitely required a lot of study and practice to get right.

laalaa
07-03-2005, 12:21 AM
Hi Victor!

First of all i'd like to thank you for your contribution to the 3d character animation community by making that wonderful website of yours which i found few years back. Without Alien Song and all those helpful stories, tips, links and resources on your site i wouldn't never have taken the path of character animator as a job, so thank you for that, i'm eternally grateful

But my question concerns, perhaps the more dreadful side (if there is such!) of character animation, by that i'm meaning cleanup. How much time do you use cleaning up the animation? After you've done the poses, have the timing and arcs nailed, smoothed out the curves etc. Do you go from top to bottom in the curve editor, through every single control, check X, Y, Z curves and fix them? The reason i am asking this, is because i have a terrible feeling i'm doing something the wrong way, since i use more time cleaning up my animation than any other part of the process. So any tips & tricks and perhaps a brief description of the cleaning up phase in your workflow would be very appreciated.

Thanks!

vnavone
07-03-2005, 12:30 AM
1. What happens side by side during production? Is there character developement while you already animating? Are all the stages/sets/props finished?

2. Do you seperate Lipsync from the characteranimation? If yes, do you do lipsync before, or after the other animation and why?

3. I heard, that for "shrek", every animator did a whole shot, with all the characters to guarantee consistence in interaction. No animator was "nailed" to a certain character (as disney did it).
How do you handle interaction between many characters at Pixar and why are you doing it this way?

4. Are you interested in "your" shots? Is it possible, for an animator to follow the progress of the movie (lighting/special FX/rendering...), in particular the parts he/she did?

5. maybe this question was already asked: how many female animators are at Pixar?Hi Michael,
1. Many phases overlap; animation will begin as soon as a sequence has enough characters and sets modelled for layout to work on it. Shading runs concurrently and lighting starts right after a shot's animation is approved. Modeling of sets and characters continues while layout and animation work until everything is done. There are always fixes going on in the middle of production at all stages so communication is important.
2. Most animators save lip-synch for last unless it's really important to the shot. I usually at least block in the basic mouth expressions along with the rest of my blocking.
3. We are assigned entire shots as well, so any animator may get to work on any character. Some shots are split up among multiple animators if there are too many characters or if there is not enough work to go around.
4. I do occasionaly watch my shots as they head down the pipe, especially if there are effects involved and I want to make sure the effects match the timing I intended with the animation.
5. I think there are currently 8 female animators.

TheFirstAngel
07-03-2005, 12:39 AM
Hi Victor,

thanks for all the great laughs you gave me. :)
you earlier said you'd love to have more experimental styles in 3d Animaton Films, and realism is boring. Happy to hear that, exactly what i think too.
Something I'd like to know:

Do your characters have multiple riggs (FK/IK) on the same character('s arms and legs) or do you have different versions of your characters depending on the scene you're going to animate?

hehe, just thanks for taking your time and keep on rocking!
cheers
Sacha/Angel

vnavone
07-03-2005, 02:56 AM
1. Are your character tools locked in during a specific project (other than bug fixes) or are they constantly updated when new tools are created?

2. And how do you keep up with all of the new features of Animation:Master with the kind of job you have?Hi Patrick,
1. For the most part they lock the version of our software at the start of production and just work on bug fixes. There are usually great leaps in the software between shows.
2. I don't use a lot of the cutting-edge stuff like hair and cloth. The only stuff that really interests me are improvements to the workflow and multi-channel rendering. Unfortunately I haven't had time to play around with a lot of the new stuff, but I try to pop into the forums and read what other users are saying.

vnavone
07-03-2005, 03:03 AM
1- I haven't animated all that much, but as far as i could see, walk cycles tend to be very difficult to do(at least timeconsuming). Do u have any tips u can give us to make the walkcycles easier?

2 - I've seen many animators using the "blocking" tecnique and others who go on the "free flow" making an animation from start to finish without blocking it. Which method do u prefer?

3 - Is Squash & stretch used(or at least important) in realistic animation for feature movies?

4- What do you think of the upcoming movie FF7 Advent Children?Hi Fabio,
1 - Walks are always hard, even for experienced animators. I recommend investing in Richard Williams' "The Animator's Survival Kit" for some good reference.
2 - It depends on the type of shot I'm doing. I use many different methods.
3 - Absolutely. S&S doesn't just mean things deforming like in a Tex Avery cartoon. You can get S&S by bending joints and changing the shape of a character graphically. S&S is an observable phenomenon that occurs in nature, not something the Disney guys made up.
4 - I haven't seen it.

vnavone
07-03-2005, 03:07 AM
... Do you ever see a point where Pixar will become somewhat closed-off as the talent within the company progresses beyond the avaliable talent outside of the company?Hi again, Dan. This has not been a problem, and indeed we keep hiring young animators and interns who are able to rise to the level we need them to. Sure there are varying levels of talent, skill and experience within the department, which is why we work collaboratively to better our collective art. As Brad Bird said to us during The Incredibles, none of us alone is the best animator, but together we are the best animator (or something like that).

vnavone
07-03-2005, 03:11 AM
How much time do you use cleaning up the animation? After you've done the poses, have the timing and arcs nailed, smoothed out the curves etc. Do you go from top to bottom in the curve editor, through every single control, check X, Y, Z curves and fix them? The reason i am asking this, is because i have a terrible feeling i'm doing something the wrong way, since i use more time cleaning up my animation than any other part of the process. So any tips & tricks and perhaps a brief description of the cleaning up phase in your workflow would be very appreciated.Hi Teemu, good question. Some animators are, shall we say, tidier than others. I am very anal retentive about my animation, and I spend a lot of time going through every spline for every control and making sure it looks nice in the editor. I probably spend about a third of the time on my shot cleaning up and polishing. I actually enjoy the process, and it gives the animation that "film" level of quality that sets it apart from other work. It always drives me crazy when I have to do a fix on another animator's shot and I see that they clearly haven't looked at or cleaned up their splines. You can really tell the difference when you see the animatoin on the big screen.

OptimusDinkus
07-03-2005, 03:37 AM
Hi Victor. Ive got a few questions.
1. I agree that acting is highly important. In your personal experiance where have you acted in?
2. As far as methods go for acting, what do you personally use both in animation and in your own acting experiance.
3. Could you recomend any reading I suppose for acting purposes?
4. From my own experiance, if the situation doesnt read well in a scene then no body really cares for anything that happens in the scene. Whenever you find yourself in an acting block, what helps you get out of it best?

vnavone
07-03-2005, 05:01 AM
Do your characters have multiple riggs (FK/IK) on the same character('s arms and legs) or do you have different versions of your characters depending on the scene you're going to animate?Hi Sacha, all our rigs are able to switch between IK and FK in the limbs as needed.

csDevil
07-03-2005, 05:39 AM
Hello Victor! :wavey:

it's nice to have this q&a space, so we all can learn from experienced people like you. Thanx for sharing this experience. Your "Alien Song" was one of the films that made me start working on CG, as many other people.


1- While you are not at work, can you "turn off" the animator/CG part? or you keep thinking about how you would bring that to CG? Be it walking on streets, playing with your child or watching a movie.
2- You said that Pixar is always aware of new talents, so they keep hiring people. But what about the old people, what happens to them? Is there life after Pixar?
3- Once I heard the following story of an animator (and, the most bizarre it sounds, he was working at one of the greatest CG places here): he was doing this shot, but couldn't figure out if it was good or not. So he asked his supervisor, that couldn't point what was wrong too. And it kept going up the hierarchy and nobody could exactly point what was the real mistake. Then, when they were almost giving up, the cleaning lady was passing by and just said to herself, EXACTLY the mistake of the scene. So, the question is: do you ever get feedback from "untrained" people? of course it would be better to ask your director for help, but do you think that it can be helpfull?



- Daniel

kaveh_michael
07-03-2005, 06:20 AM
Hi Victor, thanks a lot for doing this!

-Could you give us some advice for animating believable humans, specialy regarding physical actions, weight and force.

-Before and during animating a shot, what are some of the questions you ask yourself about the character and the scene?

thanks!

-Kaveh

vnavone
07-03-2005, 06:38 AM
1. I agree that acting is highly important. In your personal experiance where have you acted in?
2. As far as methods go for acting, what do you personally use both in animation and in your own acting experiance.
3. Could you recomend any reading I suppose for acting purposes?
4. From my own experiance, if the situation doesnt read well in a scene then no body really cares for anything that happens in the scene. Whenever you find yourself in an acting block, what helps you get out of it best?1. I've taken a few improvisation classes and I acted in various productions through college and high school. And I'm generally a bit extroverted. I don't have a "method", per se.
3. How about "Acting for Animators" by Ed Hooks?
4. Good reference always helps. Observation or real life and live-action films.

vnavone
07-03-2005, 06:41 AM
1- While you are not at work, can you "turn off" the animator/CG part? or you keep thinking about how you would bring that to CG? Be it walking on streets, playing with your child or watching a movie.
2- You said that Pixar is always aware of new talents, so they keep hiring people. But what about the old people, what happens to them? Is there life after Pixar?
3- Once I heard the following story of an animator (and, the most bizarre it sounds, he was working at one of the greatest CG places here): he was doing this shot, but couldn't figure out if it was good or not. So he asked his supervisor, that couldn't point what was wrong too. And it kept going up the hierarchy and nobody could exactly point what was the real mistake. Then, when they were almost giving up, the cleaning lady was passing by and just said to herself, EXACTLY the mistake of the scene. So, the question is: do you ever get feedback from "untrained" people? of course it would be better to ask your director for help, but do you think that it can be helpfull? 1. I don't geek out about it too much off-hours, but occasionally I will observe someone in real life that moves or acts in an interesting way, and I will try to file that away in my memory for future use.
2- We let the old people continue to work as long as they want. Unless they break a leg, in which case we have to shoot them.
3- I don't usually seek out untrained input at work, though my wife is usually a good objective source at home.

mnp
07-03-2005, 09:49 AM
Hey Victor,

Congratulations on all your work, its magic.

One question - how did you come up with the irony in the ending of Alien Song?

Joss
07-03-2005, 11:08 AM
V-Man!

Damn, all the 'shop' questions have been answered!

Favorite Harryhausen film?

Snickers or Three Musketeers?

Asa Movshovitz
07-03-2005, 11:25 AM
Hi Victor,
What would be your dream project topic (not your dream job…) and do you have any thoughts about going into directing?

I am currently working as animation supervisor/assistant director for a small budget TV show and part of my job is to critic the animators work, which is always a little difficult to do since I know the animators put a lot of sweat and blood in their work (the studio is very hot and people tend to get a lot of paper cuts).I would like to know from you, as someone who is very experienced and been working on the best animated films of the last years, what do you think is the best why to give and get critic for a shot.

This might sound like a riddle but I hope you will understand the question:
When 2 animators get 2 continuous shots how do you get the continuity right and the flow of the sequence? Or do you usually get assigned a whole sequences to animate?



Your lobster “Kong-fu” always carks me up:)
“Mine”
Thanks for your time,


Asa Movshovitz

Asa Movshovitz
07-03-2005, 11:55 AM
Hi Victor,

What would be your dream project topic (not your dream job…) and do you have any thoughts about going into directing?


I am currently working as animation supervisor/assistant director for a small budget TV show and part of my job is to critic the animators work, which is always a little difficult to do since I know the animators put a lot of sweat and blood in their work (the studio is very hot and people tend to get a lot of paper cuts).
I would like to know from you, as someone who is very experienced and been working on the best animated films of the last years, what do you think is the best why to give and get critic for a shot.


This might sound like a riddle but I hope you will understand the question:
When 2 animators get 2 continuous shots how do you get the continuity right and the flow of the sequence? Or do you usually get assigned a whole sequences to animate?


Your lobster “Kong-fu” always carcks me up:)
“Mine"
Thanks for your time,
Asa Movshovitz

Bentagon
07-03-2005, 12:08 PM
What is your definition of "the perfect animator"?

- Benjamin

maxon
07-03-2005, 03:21 PM
Hello Victor.

I bet you're already more than fed up with all these questions.

And more just keeps flowing in:

1. You said you were contacted by Pixar after the president had recieved a copy of the Alien Song by email. But did you have anything to do with the film that was mailed to him, or was it truly a lightning from a clear sky as you realised that Pixar was interested in you?

2. Did your, you know, financial state rise up to luxury along the job at Pixar?

3. Do you get some sort of bonus depending on how much a movie sells?

4. It must be one giganticly euphoric feeling after a full-lenght feature film is fully finished and goes to spreading out to theaters, isn't it? :)

Thanks,
Manu Järvinen

86point5
07-03-2005, 04:02 PM
Victor,

Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions so far. It is quite an interesting read.

With all the bright minds at Pixar, I'm assuming there are a good deal of philosophical discussions about the art and craft of 3D itself. It seems that CG movies are still viewed by many as more of a technical (rather than artistic) achievement. Every movie that comes out seems to 'push the envelope' in some way or other technically ('Nemo' > underwater, 'Shrek' > lots of GI, 'Incredibles' > hair and cloth, etc.). It feels that doing something new is a requirement, and any movie that doesn't push the technical boundaries will simply be ignored. This is unfortunate, in that we've seen that technical achievement does not make the movie (eg. Final Fantasy), but rather good story and characters.

1) How far, do you feel, are we from the point where CG movies can simply be enjoyed as entertainment without the extreme focus on the technical aspect of the creation?

I would imagine it should certainly happen before my kids grow up, as a good deal of (3D generated) kids shows are lackluster as far as the technical aspects go, but the kids don't seem to care as long as they can enjoy the show.

2) If/when this happens, do you feel this would this be good or bad for the industry? Would it 'legitimize' it (as it would no longer be thought of as a separate creative process) or would it erode it (as those involved would no longer be 'magic craftsmen')?

Thanks again for your time in doing this.

Obraxis
07-03-2005, 05:44 PM
Hey Victor,

I was curious about the Short 'Knick Knak'

http://www.pixar.com/shorts/kk/images/landing_1.jpg

- I noticed that the girl in the short has been shall we say 're-done' for DVD/Theare release. Was this done for correctness, and was this hard to do because of the old source material?

If you dont know the answers thats cool too, just it's my fav. Pixar short :)

Many thanks for your time!

CraigC
07-03-2005, 05:53 PM
Hi Victor....

I only started my CG quest a little over two years ago, making the transition from Puppeteer. But you have been a huge inspiration to me and I thank you for that.

My question/s

Of all the skills you have aquirred since you started this journey into CGI, what is the one task that still irks you? What aspect of CG do you dislike the most? Whats the one thing that if asked to do it, you have a real struggle getting up the enthusiasm to do it (for me, its unwrapping UV's... )

C

doodle
07-03-2005, 07:34 PM
Hi again, hope you don’t mind another question.

What would you recommend as a good first 3D animation project. A walk cycle? Facial animation? Lip sync? Etc. Anything to avoid as a starting project?


Cheers,
Chris

Lourdelle
07-03-2005, 11:35 PM
Hi Victor,

Thank you to answer, there's a lot of question, and you are very kind to do that.
Well my quetions are :

1 - When you work on an animation and on all in general, being given the fact that the job is very very amazing, you don't count your hours ? :D

2 - my second question relates to the management of the teams. Someone works on Incredibles and others on Cars. Because making movies likes thoses imply a lot of cg artists, animators, ... how made you to do as many films in same time ?

3 - How many time the render part take place in a production like Incredibles (in month)

4 - What do you think about the production of Toy Story 3 by disney and not by Pixar ?

ps : call me when you're back in Antibes (Fr) i will invite you to lunch :D

cordially,
Adrien.
http://Adrien.3dvf.net

saltydogdesign
07-04-2005, 12:22 AM
Hey Victor,

Love your work. You were one of my original inspirations when I first got into 3D, though I must tell you, my daughter is afraid of your Diana Ross alien.

Hussam-CG
07-04-2005, 12:34 AM
Hi Victor !
well, first of all, it's a real pleasure to have the chance of talking to one famous and expert pixar animator !... and thank you for all your informative answers....
my question is about the animation study and getting the degree...
you studied in the University of California, Irvine ...how was it ? do u advice going to that school? how long was your whole animation study ? ... actually I'm so confused about my animation career...right now I study architecture, and I need 2 other years to graduate, and I'm so much thinkful of California...big dreams, you know.... I'm kinda looking for some scholarship so I can afford paying the study expenses.... what do u advice me ? I really need some help on that, and I'm sorry if it was a selfish question,
thanks in advance,
Hussam

ngarte
07-04-2005, 03:12 AM
Howdy Victor,

My question is :

I just started out in animation for 1 year now and right now, whatever I animate, it always looks great when I pronounced it done. Once I move on to do another shot and look back at the previous shot again. I always get this feeling that "Hey, actually this shot really sucks, why did I say it so so HOT n GREAT 3 days ago???

You being in the animation industry so so long, do your still get this type of feeling that a shot completed days ago actually is not as hot as you had imagine it to be.

adrian ng

Gbanvl
07-04-2005, 06:40 AM
Hello Victor, I remember how we got a kick out of passing around your Alien Song piece in 2000, when I was earning an associate in computer animation at the Art institute of Houston. And I really enjoyed all of Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo and The Incredibles. And recall that the Kung Fu Crab scene in Nemo was supposed to have been yours.
I have eagerly been reading all news about Animation Mentor, and intend to sign up as soon as I get finished with my bachelor in computer animation I am now Taking at the Art Institute after nearly 4 years of experience with a company (http://pixelco.net) in entertainment and educational animation.

My question:
I notice that in the summary of your carrear that heads this section that you have worked in many capacities and in many companies before coming to Pixar. I am surprised because I understood that big studios, and Pixar particularly, preferred to hire people who were specialists. That is, a person was either an animator, a modeler, a rigger, a texture atrist, a lighting artist or a digital cinematorapher, and that people who spent a lot of time doing each part of the process were not considered as valuable because their skills in any one area were not thought to be as strong.

Please clear up my confusion on this issue. If one aspires to a position in a major studio should they focus on one part of the process to the exclusion of others? Creating a demo reel that either reflects a strength in modeling, or animation? So that their reel either of simple models animated or complex models without animation? Not wasting too much time on what they don't do well? Or is it considered a good idea to try for a good all-around reel, even if you have your weaknesses?

And how are modelers regarded at your studio?

Also, your views on my strengths and the areas that I need improvement in this small online collection of my art would be most appreciated, as would any other general carrear advice you could give me.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sightrays/sets/77294/

http://photos3.flickr.com/2978692_565547426d_o.jpg

faridz7
07-04-2005, 07:08 AM
heya victor, hows it going. Before proceeding with my question, i would just like to thank ya for imparting your knowledge and wisdom on to us animation students eh. http://cgtalk.com/images/smilies/thumbsup.gif anyway, on to me questions.

1. Bear with me on this one http://cgtalk.com/images/smilies/smile.gif. As an animation student who's gonna start on his final year short film soon, I sometimes go through the creative block-phase and just lose steam/motivation needed to do my work...you know just having one of those "days". Problem is these "days" of mine seems to last like a week before i resume back to working mode. Just wondering if you experienced this during your student days and what would your advice be for a student like me, wanting to succeed in this industry, whos a lil afraid of job prospects once he graduates? (if its the standard practice makes perfect answer, then i get the point and that i just have to get my sorry lazy ass up)

2. Coming from a traditional animation background, would it be essential for me to include my 2d animation works in my demoreel or should i just strictly keep it 3d i.e my short film?

thanks for your time! and you're constantly an inspiration to many and rock on! http://cgtalk.com/images/smilies/buttrock.gifcheers. -faridz-

vnavone
07-04-2005, 07:13 AM
how did you come up with the irony in the ending of Alien Song?Hi Jesse, I didn't want to have to animate the full 3+ minutes song so I had to find a way to end it quickly. I'm not a big disco fan anyway so it seemed like an appropriate solution.

vnavone
07-04-2005, 07:15 AM
Favorite Harryhausen film?

Snickers or Three Musketeers?"Clash of the Titans" and "Musketeers" (though I prefer "Kit Kat").

vnavone
07-04-2005, 07:23 AM
What would be your dream project topic (not your dream job…) and do you have any thoughts about going into directing?
...I would like to know from you, as someone who is very experienced and been working on the best animated films of the last years, what do you think is the best why to give and get critic for a shot.This might sound like a riddle but I hope you will understand the question:
When 2 animators get 2 continuous shots how do you get the continuity right and the flow of the sequence? Or do you usually get assigned a whole sequences to animate?Hi Asa, Incredibles was my dream project, and I think working with Brad again would be great. There are also some other great films in the Pixar pipe that I can't wait to work on. I would never want to direct a feature film; it takes too many years and would hurt my family life.
When reviewing animation it is important that you see it as early as possible so that the animators are not putting too much work in the wrong direction. As a director it is your responsibility to make sure that 1) you know what you want and 2) they know what you want. Make sure to approve their blocking before letting them go any further. Good animators know that their work is in service of the director's vision and they shouldn't get upset about making changes. Point out the things that are workin first and then comment on what needs to be changed.
If a sequence is divided between multiple animators it is up to the director and supervising animators to make sure that they work together in continuity. It is very important that the animators see their work in context and work together, rather than only paying attention to their individual shots.

vnavone
07-04-2005, 07:29 AM
1. You said you were contacted by Pixar afterthe president had recieved a copy of the Alien Song by email. But did you have anything to do with the film that was mailed to him, or was it truly a lightning from a clear sky as you realised that Pixar was interested in you?

2. Did your, you know, financial state rise up to luxury along the job at Pixar?

3. Do you get some sort of bonus depending on how much a movie sells?

4. It must be one giganticly euphoric feeling after a full-lenght feature film is fully finished and goes to spreading out to theaters, isn't it? :)Hi Manu,
1. I don't recall who sent the email to Mr. Catmull, but it wasn't me or any of my friends.
2. I'm not going to talk about money here, but suffice to say that I'm not getting rich. I make a good living, but remember that I work in the 2nd most expensive part of the U.S.
4. Yeah, it's always fun to see the world's reaction. The hard part is waiting. We finish working on the films long before they are released and you want everyone to see your hard work right away.

vnavone
07-04-2005, 07:33 AM
I was curious about the Short 'Knick Knak' - I noticed that the girl in the short has been shall we say 're-done' for DVD/Theare release. Was this done for correctness, and was this hard to do because of the old source material?Hi Scott, this change was made to make the short more "G-rated". I think it was Disney's idea. I wasn't involved in the change so I don't know how hard it was to do.

vnavone
07-04-2005, 07:37 AM
Of all the skills you have aquirred since you started this journey into CGI, what is the one task that still irks you? What aspect of CG do you dislike the most? Whats the one thing that if asked to do it, you have a real struggle getting up the enthusiasm to do it (for me, its unwrapping UV's... )Hi Craig, the only thing I can think of off hand would be animating crowds or large groups of characters. I hate cleaning up the messy animation of other animators, too.

vnavone
07-04-2005, 07:37 AM
What would you recommend as a good first 3D animation project. A walk cycle? Facial animation? Lip sync? Etc. Anything to avoid as a starting project?A bouncing ball. Start with the basics!

vnavone
07-04-2005, 07:41 AM
1 - When you work on an animation and on all in general, being given the fact that the job is very very amazing, you don't count your hours ? :D

2 - my second question relates to the management of the teams. Someone works on Incredibles and others on Cars. Because making movies likes thoses imply a lot of cg artists, animators, ... how made you to do as many films in same time ?

3 - How many time the render part take place in a production like Incredibles (in month)

4 - What do you think about the production of Toy Story 3 by disney and not by Pixar ?
Salut Adrian,
1 - Sorry, I don't think I understand the question. You can ask in french, if you like.
2 - There are multiple films being worked on at any one time, but usually only one film is in the animation stage so most of the animators will be on that film. That means about 50-60 animators working on the same film.
3 - I don't know much about render times. Sorry.
4 - It sucks.

vnavone
07-04-2005, 07:45 AM
my question is about the animation study and getting the degree...
you studied in the University of California, Irvine ...how was it ? do u advice going to that school? how long was your whole animation study ?Hi Hussam, I did not study animation at UC Irvine, but rather Fine Arts. I am a self-taught animator. I would not recommend UCI to you for animation (or for art, really). If you're interested in studying animation why not got to AnimationMentor.com (shameless plug)?

vnavone
07-04-2005, 07:48 AM
You being in the animation industry so so long, do your still get this type of feeling that a shot completed days ago actually is not as hot as you had imagine it to be.Hi Adrian, good question. This happens all the time, to every animator. When you work on a shot for too long you become blind to it and can not see it objectively. Sometimes you will only see the problems when you walk away from the shot for a while and come back. This is why it's important to have other animators look at your work. You also notice more problems with your work when it is projected on a big screen rather than a small computer screen.

vnavone
07-04-2005, 07:52 AM
1. As an animation student who's gonna start on his final year short film soon, I sometimes go through the creative block-phase and just lose steam/motivation needed to do my work...you know just having one of those "days". Problem is these "days" of mine seems to last like a week before i resume back to working mode. Just wondering if you experienced this during your student days and what would your advice be for a student like me, wanting to succeed in this industry, whos a lil afraid of job prospects once he graduates? (if its the standard practice makes perfect answer, then i get the point and that i just have to get my sorry lazy ass up)

2. Coming from a traditional animation background, would it be essential for me to include my 2d animation works in my demoreel or should i just strictly keep it 3d i.e my short film?Hi Farid,
1. This is a tough one. Part of our job is to stay "inspired" and produce results even when we're not into it. It's important to keep yourself stimulated. Try watching other animation for inspiration. Watch movies, watch people. If you're bored with what you're working on, try to find one thing in it that you like and focus on that.
2. If your 2D work is good, definitely include it.

vnavone
07-04-2005, 08:00 AM
I notice that in the summary of your carrear that heads this section that you have worked in many capacities and in many companies before coming to Pixar. I am surprised because I understood that big studios, and Pixar particularly, preferred to hire people who were specialists. That is, a person was either an animator, a modeler, a rigger, a texture atrist, a lighting artist or a digital cinematorapher, and that people who spent a lot of time doing each part of the process were not considered as valuable because their skills in any one area were not thought to be as strong.

Please clear up my confusion on this issue. If one aspires to a position in a major studio should they focus on one part of the process to the exclusion of others? Creating a demo reel that either reflects a strength in modeling, or animation? So that their reel either of simple models animated or complex models without animation? Not wasting too much time on what they don't do well? Or is it considered a good idea to try for a good all-around reel, even if you have your weaknesses?Hi Greg, good questions. It's true that studios like Pixar like to hire people with a specialty over generalists, which is why I'm not sure I would be hired today with the same portfolio. I guess they were confident in the potential that my animation showed to hire me as an animator. I wouldn't worry about hiding any other skills you have like modelling, but your demo reel should be clearly focused on one job that you are pursuing. If you are applying for two different jobs then create two different reels and submit them separately.

kaveh_michael
07-04-2005, 08:36 AM
Hi Victor, thanks a lot for doing this!

-Could you give us some advice for animating believable humans, specialy regarding physical actions, weight and force.

-Before and during animating a shot, what are some of the questions you ask yourself about the character and the scene?

thanks!

-Kaveh

Breinmeester
07-04-2005, 08:42 AM
Hi Victor! You said on 'Cars' you had real time playback. That sounds like a nifty and very handy feature! Did it speed up your work? Also, are you working longer on a shot of a human than a limbless creature like a fish or a car? In other words: is there a substantial difference in the time it takes for a feature film to get animated depending on its rigs/characters and your workflow?
Thanks for your time and I'll see you around on the AM forums.

Gbanvl
07-04-2005, 10:19 AM
Thank you for answering my question about the focus of a reel when applying to the big studios. Something that I read in following up on the posts of others made me realize that I have much more pressing questions.

I too am in my final year of my second time in school, and need to produce a thesis animation. I'd like to have something worthy of submitting to next years Siggraph and maybe good enough to be mailed around to studio executives. I've read up on the hero's journey and character arcs but find myself blocked in trying to come up with a story or skit idea. I may or may not be a decent animator and modeler, but I'm no writer. Nor am I a sound guy.

1. How do you think I should approach coming up with a script? And soundtrack?

2. Would it be appropriate to use a story written by someone else or in the public domain?

3. If I did, could it still be original enough to get people's attention?

4. You've said that animators sometimes work in the story department for a time, (Stoyboarding, I expect? Makes perfect sense if, as you say, you have many animators who primarily have a 2D background.) But what about movement between other departments? Do people move back and forth between modeling and rigging? Is it common for character TDs to have good animation skill? Are modelers expected to texture the characters?

5. I have a teacher who reads a lot about Pixar and claims that the modelers are considered a kind of technical discipline, and are kept seperate from the animators and other artistic disciplines. Is that true?

6. People in the forums I have read typically consider modelers as sculptors, and it seems unlikely that the people at your studio regard any of the disciplines involved in bringing your unique magic into theatres as uncreative. On the other hand in "The Art of The Incredibles" I see that there were already sculpted figures of the main characters for the computer guys to work from. How is sculpting and modeling generally regarded artistically?

7. How do the different disciplines tend to regard each other? I expect that animators and modelers must be pretty happy about what they do, but it's hard for me to think of lighting guys being happy working on lighting alone. Do you think they ever wish they had the chance to be in your shoes?

8. Do most of the people who work in the details try to produce little scenes, still pictures or animations on their own?

Thanks again for appearing on this forum and your involvement with the community. I appreciate the time and seriousness you have devoted to answering everyone's questions.

AlexLiki
07-04-2005, 11:22 AM
Hey Victor! Congrats for your work, you are really great!

Questions:

How the animators interact with the modeling departament?

thanks

Tibys
07-04-2005, 11:34 AM
Hi Victor
i have a problem and i think many suffer from the same problem too.
every time i hold the mouse to animate a character i feel my head is full with thinking about frames and keys and selecting parts of the skeleton, in these processes i loose concentrating on the feeling of the character, the personality, how the pose should really be. it's no longer the same as old times when i was a traditional 2d animatior using the pencil and the paper.
So what can I do ?? is it bad rigs that don't help ?? should i change using Max's Biped ??
or is it me ??
Thanks

rafaelrubio
07-04-2005, 12:00 PM
Hello victor, regards from spain :)


1. It seems to be that from 2009, pixar will realize more than one movie per year. Do not you believe that it might concern the final quality of the movies? In any case, I believe that a strong increase would be necessary in the number of personnel of pixar, you do not believe it?


2. Which(Who) you believe your that he is the best character of pixar? I would not know that to answer, every movie I remain amazed by the qualit increase.


Thank you for dedicating your time to answering to the people. :thumbsup:

manuel
07-04-2005, 12:18 PM
Hi Victor,

On the Incredibles DVD commentaries, people do talk a bit about this. How big a problem is it to see your animation jump from a quicktime-sized preview to the big screen in terms of timing and weight? What makes the biggest difference in your view? The size or the shading? Do your previews have motion-blur on them?

Laserschwert
07-04-2005, 01:28 PM
Hello Victor.

I'd like to know, during the process of animation, are you animating your scene to make it look good from the actual camera-view of the scene, or do you animate your characters / objects to look good from every angle, so that the director could choose some other perspectives afterwards? Like, when you're animating a half-close-up (above the hip), do you actually animate the legs when the character is walking (just in case the director decides to insert a far shot)?

andy_maxman
07-04-2005, 02:00 PM
1) three important things you use the internet for?

2) does your wrist or back ache? ( RSI syndrome, severly common with computer users these days)

3) you listen to music when you animate/work? what do you listen to?

4) your most prized possesion?

5) one question you have always wanted to be asked and never have?

6) which is easier? learning to play the guitar or learning animation?

7) does Indian culture/food fascinate you?

ps - you rock and so does the glory of the one-eyed-legend
:thumbsup:

hamu73
07-04-2005, 02:02 PM
Hey Victor!
You did Really awesome work in the Incredibles!
I really like the walk of Syndrom, just awesome!

what can you suggest for learning the acting side of animation?
-books?
-classes?

And to observation, what is a good way to observe, how can you improve your observation skills? Are there little tricks any exercises?
Does it take time to be good at observation?

private
07-04-2005, 02:52 PM
Hello Victor,

1. Are there any animators at Pixar that just can't draw? Is it possible to actually work there without this fundamental skill?
2. Of the animator's at Pixar, what is roughly the average age?
3. How long is crunch time and what kind of hours are put in?
4. It might not be something you can talk about, but I'll ask. When a teaser for Cars was posted over here, there was a big thread, and the majority of people were talking about how it wasn't up to snuff, and the pickup character was so damn annoying. How far along was Cars in production at that point when the teaser was released?
5. Do workers get extra bonus' if a picture exceeds $$ expections at the box office?
6. How big are the monitors you work on? Do you get to use dual screen monitors etc? CRT or LCD?

Thank you for you time.

kattkieru
07-04-2005, 04:07 PM
Hi Victor,

I hope you keep answering questions until you answer this one. ^-^ You're tireless!

I was wondering, since you've chosen Hash as your platform of choice for your personal animations:

1) What are some things you've figured out over the years in Hash that you think might be good for Hash newbies?
2) Why Hash and not a "higher-end" package? Outside of their regular advertising lingo and the forum monkeys, what *really* drew you to it?
3) While I know you can't really talk about Marionette, so instead I'll ask how you feel coming from an in-house package like that to something geared towards a single person making movies? What's the most limiting thing?

And two bonus questions, if you've got the time:

4) I'm not sure if you worked on shots using them, but what was the general consensus among animators at Pixar on the Bend Bones used in Mrs. Incredible? Was the workflow pretty simple on them? Were different bones / models used when she did the serious wrapping, like at the dinner table?
5) If you could erase one animated thing from the annals of history, what would it be?

Hey, it's pretty crazy to see a professional at a pretty admired place take so much time to answer stuff. So thanks, man. ^-^

luonaldo
07-04-2005, 04:45 PM
Hi, Victor!
Thank you for taking so much time to answer so many questions.
I'm your big FUNs! You are my favorite animator.
I'd like to tell you that my English name is also "Victor", I name myself in 1998 when I was in my university, and in 2000 I saw your "Alien Song", you know then I said:"Hey! This guy has the same name with me!" :)
Later I know more about you on your web site, on CGTalk interviews, in "Finding Nemo","The Incredibles" DVD animator and director's commentary, and also animationMentor.com.
I collected all your animation clips and short available on Internet, especially your highlights in Monsters' Inc., Finding Nemo and Incredibles, watching them frame by frame, :)
Why your shots is always the funnyest in these films! I would say that it is a big plus for the movie with your contribution, really really.

Happy keeping reading for such a long time!:)
Many questions had been asked by others. Here I still have some:

1) You used to say that Animating Alien Song took you so much time, now you will be much faster if you do it again, and I noticed that according to Incredibles' commentary, each animator got about one minutes, if one got more, he/she'd be great, while your highlights clip is about 2min, and that's not all shots. So you must be very fast animating guy.
Could you please give any tips&tricks or advice on Fast + Quality Animating method?
in which animation process do you think you've speed up the most comparing to before?

2)About Acting skills. how do u think to improve it fastly? Focus on details, Observation, Learning from classic comidians and ...(I cant remember more, ) I have limit time for attend such a class and have to rely much on self-teaching. Could you give me some advice?

How much do you think frame by frame watching of video reference will be helpful? Or just play in normal speed and grasp the general sense?


Thanks again!
Every Good day in Pixar! and Happy Life!

Victor Luo

steveblake
07-04-2005, 08:41 PM
Hello Victor

Cheers for taking, what must be bucketloads of time, to do this.

Here's mine:

1. I'm interested in personal/carear growth and how much you feel one needs to speak up, and put him/herself in front (and get the attention) of the 'right' people during a production? - can we just plough away through our work and hope we're recongnised for what we do? (I'm very much in the latter group myself I think..)

2. How hard do you find balancing your work/home life? As a father myself, priorities have shifted significantly in the last few years, yet in some ways could it mean I'm loosing my 'edge'?

lastly...

3. Do you prefer animating comedy or pathos?

All the best....:)

RayenD
07-04-2005, 09:21 PM
Hi Victor!

- Did you work on "Journeyman Project" by Presto Studios? (believe me or not that thing made more impact on my life than "Toy Story" ;) ).

- How do you resolve shots in which in 8 or less frames you have to have readable, convincing emotion. Make one strong, big pose?

- Do you think less about animation since your daugher was born (sorry for personal question, you don't have to answer, my daughter is 15 months old and I am animating a short for her hehe..)

vnavone
07-04-2005, 10:21 PM
-Could you give us some advice for animating believable humans, specialy regarding physical actions, weight and force.

-Before and during animating a shot, what are some of the questions you ask yourself about the character and the scene?Hi Kaveh,
1 - you need good reference material. Video tape yourself or someone else performing the actions. Feel the performance in your own body as you block the shot. Don't try to invent a convincing performance from your own imagination.
2 - What is the character's motivation in the shot? In the sequence? In the film? In life? How is he feeling? How much of his feelings does he let us see? What is the character's status in relation to the other characters? Hi can I communicate all of these ideas in a simple, clear and entertaining way?

vnavone
07-04-2005, 10:25 PM
Hi Victor! You said on 'Cars' you had real time playback. That sounds like a nifty and very handy feature! Did it speed up your work? Also, are you working longer on a shot of a human than a limbless creature like a fish or a car? In other words: is there a substantial difference in the time it takes for a feature film to get animated depending on its rigs/characters and your workflow?Animating cars is definitely faster and easier than animating humans, for example. Not just because the rigs and CPU's are faster now, but also because the characters are simpler and more cartoony. For this reason Cars has been the "easiest" film I've worked on so far. By "easiest" I mean that I have not had to work a lot of extra hours. Good performances and interesting ideas are still hard to come up with, no matter what the character. At least I don't have to worry about animating all those fingers, though!

vnavone
07-04-2005, 10:54 PM
I too am in my final year of my second time in school, and need to produce a thesis animation. I'd like to have something worthy of submitting to next years Siggraph and maybe good enough to be mailed around to studio executives. I've read up on the hero's journey and character arcs but find myself blocked in trying to come up with a story or skit idea. I may or may not be a decent animator and modeler, but I'm no writer. Nor am I a sound guy.

1. How do you think I should approach coming up with a script? And soundtrack?

2. Would it be appropriate to use a story written by someone else or in the public domain?

3. If I did, could it still be original enough to get people's attention?

4. You've said that animators sometimes work in the story department for a time, (Stoyboarding, I expect? Makes perfect sense if, as you say, you have many animators who primarily have a 2D background.) But what about movement between other departments? Do people move back and forth between modeling and rigging? Is it common for character TDs to have good animation skill? Are modelers expected to texture the characters?

5. I have a teacher who reads a lot about Pixar and claims that the modelers are considered a kind of technical discipline, and are kept seperate from the animators and other artistic disciplines. Is that true?

6. People in the forums I have read typically consider modelers as sculptors, and it seems unlikely that the people at your studio regard any of the disciplines involved in bringing your unique magic into theatres as uncreative. On the other hand in "The Art of The Incredibles" I see that there were already sculpted figures of the main characters for the computer guys to work from. How is sculpting and modeling generally regarded artistically?

7. How do the different disciplines tend to regard each other? I expect that animators and modelers must be pretty happy about what they do, but it's hard for me to think of lighting guys being happy working on lighting alone. Do you think they ever wish they had the chance to be in your shoes?

8. Do most of the people who work in the details try to produce little scenes, still pictures or animations on their own?Hi Greg, that's a lot of questions. If you're trying to become a professional animator then you don't need to worry about putting together a complete short film for you demo reel. Just do good animation and don't worry so much about the story. Why not just do a funny scene or a simple gag? I don't have any advice on how to make an original short that will grab people's attention and make them want to pass it around. If there was a formula for that then everyone would be doing it. Just come up with something that's interesting to you and hopefully it will appeal to others as well.

I'm not going to discuss the interdepartmental politics of Pixar here. People do occasionally move between departments, but if you're applying to work with us then you should expect to be staying in the position that you are hired into as most of our artists do. Don't think that once you're in the door you can move around and try out lots of things until you find what you like best.

vnavone
07-04-2005, 10:56 PM
How the animators interact with the modeling departament?Hi Alex, the supervising animators work with the modelers mostly during preproduction to establish the character rigs and controls. There are also inevitably fixes to the characters that occur during production.

vnavone
07-04-2005, 10:59 PM
i have a problem and i think many suffer from the same problem too.
every time i hold the mouse to animate a character i feel my head is full with thinking about frames and keys and selecting parts of the skeleton, in these processes i loose concentrating on the feeling of the character, the personality, how the pose should really be. it's no longer the same as old times when i was a traditional 2d animatior using the pencil and the paper.
So what can I do ?? is it bad rigs that don't help ?? should i change using Max's Biped ??
or is it me ??Hi Hani, this is why planning is so important in animation. You should have the entire shot worked out on paper or in your head so that when you are on the computer you can focus on the mechanics alone. I doubt your rig is the problem, unless it prevents you from geting the poses you want.

vnavone
07-04-2005, 11:04 PM
1. It seems to be that from 2009, pixar will realize more than one movie per year. Do not you believe that it might concern the final quality of the movies? In any case, I believe that a strong increase would be necessary in the number of personnel of pixar, you do not believe it?
2. Which(Who) you believe your that he is the best character of pixar? I would not know that to answer, every movie I remain amazed by the qualit increase.Hi Rafael,
1. I think your information is incorrect. As far as I know Pixar never plans to make more than 1 film a year.
2. My favorite character is probably Dory.

vnavone
07-04-2005, 11:08 PM
On the Incredibles DVD commentaries, people do talk a bit about this. How big a problem is it to see your animation jump from a quicktime-sized preview to the big screen in terms of timing and weight? What makes the biggest difference in your view? The size or the shading? Do your previews have motion-blur on them?Hi Manuel, good question. There is indeed a discrepancy between how animation looks on a small computer screen and how it looks on the big screen. You especially notice if your splines aren't smooth or if you need to add more ease in or ease out. Some actions may come off too subtle and some too broad. It's always a shock to see your work played back that large and it usually reveals problems in you shot that hopefully you have time to go in and fix. We don't automatically see our shots with anti-aliasing and motion blur, but we can request renders of our shots to get a better idea of how they will look on the big screen.

vnavone
07-04-2005, 11:09 PM
I'd like to know, during the process of animation, are you animating your scene to make it look good from the actual camera-view of the scene, or do you animate your characters / objects to look good from every angle, so that the director could choose some other perspectives afterwards? Like, when you're animating a half-close-up (above the hip), do you actually animate the legs when the character is walking (just in case the director decides to insert a far shot)?We generally only worry about how the animation looks from the camera's point of view. The exceptions would be if we are creating animation cycles or if we need to worry about shadows and reflections revealing animation that is off-camara.

vnavone
07-04-2005, 11:12 PM
2) does your wrist or back ache? ( RSI syndrome, severly common with computer users these days)

3) you listen to music when you animate/work? what do you listen to?

6) which is easier? learning to play the guitar or learning animation?

7) does Indian culture/food fascinate you?
Hi Anand,
2) Yeah, I have some muscle soreness and fatigue, but nothing I can't keep under control with exercise and stretching.
3) I don't usually listen to music because I often have dialog shots and I need to hear the voices clearly.
6) Right now guitar is much harder!
7) I love chicken tikka masala.

vnavone
07-04-2005, 11:16 PM
what can you suggest for learning the acting side of animation?
-books?
-classes?

And to observation, what is a good way to observe, how can you improve your observation skills? Are there little tricks any exercises?
Does it take time to be good at observation?Any improvisation or acting classes would probably help. And why not check out "Acting for Animators" by Ed Hooks?
As for observation, I guess it's a skill like anything else. Look at posture, weight shifts, attitudes, body-types, etc. Drawing from real life will help you a lot.

Pikmin
07-04-2005, 11:49 PM
Hi there ( sorry for my english I speak french)


With the skill you have, do you know exactly how to pose (with all the weigh and all)your character at the first pass? Or did you improve it during the process (I have to feel the timing often, before to get the right pose)?

Do you think a really good animator should always be able to animate without any ref, just with all the skill he ve got? Because sometime I feel cheating when I video tape someone to check the pose (sound weird... but in game industry, we have to do it quick and we dont have a lot of time often).

At your work, do you have to be technical?

Do you ever try stop motion? or would like to? I mean , those guys are insane, and have to make it right on the first pass. I really think we can learn something there that we cant elsewhere. I just cant wait to see Corps Bride.

Edit : An other one if you can, How do you prepare yourself for a interaction (with contact) scene with more then one character?

Thx! Keep up the good work!... sorry I mean the excellent work! :)

Manta
07-04-2005, 11:58 PM
Hi Victor, thank you so much for answering all the questions we have.

1. Along the day, what are your prefered hours for animating?

2. Between the software you use at Pixar and the one you use for your own projects, in which one do you feel more comfortable?

Thanks again and regards.

skurge13
07-05-2005, 12:08 AM
Howdy, Victor, nice of you to do this for everyone. Crazy amount of questions, huh? Awesome work on the Incredibles! When I saw that flying Buddy shot, I nearly screamed, "Oh my God, who did that!?" Should have guessed it was you!

1. You mentioned an app that will save your A:M project every five minutes. Do you have a link to it or know its name so I can find it?

2. I've often read about animators saying that they didn't push something far enough, was there ever a time when you said, "Whoa, I pushed that TOO far..."? Or is there such a thing?

3. Are there times when you get fed up with animation, when it becomes just a job? When you feel like if you adjust one more spline you're going to explode?

4. Do you have a favourite Saturday morning cartoon? (Sometimes my friends chide me about that so I feel the need to make an aloof comment like, "I am an Animator, therefore, I must watch animation. Just because Teen Titans is a kids cartoon doesn't make it unworthy of study. So there.")

5. Is Andrew Stanton writing any more screenplays? I think that guy is a genius...

6. I did a bit of 2d and was surprised to see my animation come to a sudden halt on a held frame, and that's when I learned about moving holds. But is this a problem in 3d? I was watching the Incredibles today, and there are points where it looks like the character's body isn't moving, but the animation doesn't "halt" like in 2d.....or is the trick to keep the body moving a wee tiny bit, even if it's hardly perceptable?

7. I remember reading somewhere that you shouldn't lock out your joints....I know that if I completely straighten the knee joint in a walk cycle it looks like there's an unnatural snap in it, whereas if there's a slight knee bend it makes the walk look smooth. So do you worry about keeping a slight bend in joints, or is it a non-issue?

8. I also noticed in the Incredibles that many shots don't have any anticipation where I would expect it. I'm trying to think of specific places...hmmm, I think a couple are when Violet tests her costume outside her mom's room, and in the cave when the mom says "I know what I said" and the kids jerk back. Was this mostly the director's stylistic choice for the movie, to create a more realistic and less cartoony look?I'm kinda confused as to where to have anticipation and where not to....how do you know when to break this rule?
Sorry for the number of questions. Anyway, thanks, Victor, and take care!
Sincerely,
Chris Wilson

clockwerkz
07-05-2005, 01:45 AM
Victor! Hey!

First off, my thanks for doing this. This is great. I love your site with all the photos. Very inspiring to look at the inner culture at Pixar. Fabulous stuff there. So thank you for that too.

My question is this: I've noticed how as a whole, the quality of animation has just launched the studio as a whole into a different place of excellence. Obviously the animation has always been topnotch, but every movie seems to propel you guys as a whole into different levels of skill and mastery. So my question is, how does one entering a studio like Pixar match up to some of the pros that have been there working on a few flicks, such as yourself? I'm seeing that the requirements for portfolios are very stringent, so I wonder even with this in place, do new people get somehow put "up to speed" with the rest of the studio? In other words, does the major advancement that a film brings to the studio also advance the level required by the demo reels and such?

Thanks in advance!

Carlos

Xlars
07-05-2005, 04:25 AM
Hi Victor,

Thank you so much for being who you are, and taking time to do this work of answering questions here :)

I have just one question for you, regarding texturing .. do you at Pixar use procedural textures only (as I once heard) or do you also unwrap meshes and texture using using bitmaps/paintings/photos?

Lars

vnavone
07-05-2005, 06:12 AM
1. Are there any animators at Pixar that just can't draw? Is it possible to actually work there without this fundamental skill?
2. Of the animator's at Pixar, what is roughly the average age?
3. How long is crunch time and what kind of hours are put in?
4. It might not be something you can talk about, but I'll ask. When a teaser for Cars was posted over here, there was a big thread, and the majority of people were talking about how it wasn't up to snuff, and the pickup character was so damn annoying. How far along was Cars in production at that point when the teaser was released?
5. Do workers get extra bonus' if a picture exceeds $$ expections at the box office?
6. How big are the monitors you work on? Do you get to use dual screen monitors etc? CRT or LCD?
1. I'm not sure. Maybe some that don't draw well. But I'm sure they can all at least thumbnail poses.
2. I would guess around 29.
3. Crunch may last weeks or months. How many hours you put in depends on how fast your work. For me crunch time may mean 50-60 hour weeks, and I tend to work fast. Once in a while the will have us work a mandatory Saturday. This has happened once on Cars, and I think twice on Nemo. Can't recall for Incredibles.
4. I think we were about 20% into animation when that teaser was released.
5. I'm not discussing $$ here.
6. I don't know what I'm allowed to say, but we have very big LCD displays. We are very happy with them.

vnavone
07-05-2005, 06:19 AM
1) What are some things you've figured out over the years in Hash that you think might be good for Hash newbies?
2) Why Hash and not a "higher-end" package? Outside of their regular advertising lingo and the forum monkeys, what *really* drew you to it?
3) While I know you can't really talk about Marionette, so instead I'll ask how you feel coming from an in-house package like that to something geared towards a single person making movies? What's the most limiting thing?
4) I'm not sure if you worked on shots using them, but what was the general consensus among animators at Pixar on the Bend Bones used in Mrs. Incredible? Was the workflow pretty simple on them? Were different bones / models used when she did the serious wrapping, like at the dinner table?
5) If you could erase one animated thing from the annals of history, what would it be?1) I'd rather not discuss software-specific tips here.
2) I learned animation in A:M and I'm very comfortable with it. It's got outstanding animation tools, it does just about everything I need and the guys who run the company are really cool. I guess it's like the difference between buying your groceries at a Mom & Pop store or buying them at a huge chain like Safeway.
3) At Pixar we have an entire Tools department at our beckoned call to fix bugs and implement features ASAP. We also have other people build our rigs for us, light our shots, etc. We don't have access to make changes to models or anything that comes before or after us. At home I can tinker with any aspect of a production. It's a completely different workflow and experience. I enjoy both.
4) I didn't do any bendy Elastigirl shots, but she had separate models for separate tasks. I know that some models were more "user-friendly" than others. I heard plenty of complaints, but they got the job done.
5) Space Jam

vnavone
07-05-2005, 06:27 AM
Hi Victor, you must be my biggest fan!
1) You used to say that Animating Alien Song took you so much time, now you will be much faster if you do it again, and I noticed that according to Incredibles' commentary, each animator got about one minutes, if one got more, he/she'd be great, while your highlights clip is about 2min, and that's not all shots. So you must be very fast animating guy.
Could you please give any tips&tricks or advice on Fast + Quality Animating method?
in which animation process do you think you've speed up the most comparing to before?

2)About Acting skills. how do u think to improve it fastly? Focus on details, Observation, Learning from classic comidians and ...(I cant remember more, ) I have limit time for attend such a class and have to rely much on self-teaching. Could you give me some advice?
How much do you think frame by frame watching of video reference will be helpful? Or just play in normal speed and grasp the general sense?
1) I don't know any tips for speed and quality. I guess it's just a matter of figuring out your workflow and getting good at it. I think it's also important to work efficiently and to not use every control on a model if you don't have to. I have a very systematic approach that works well for me, but it might not work well for others.
2) I don't know how to improve acting quickly. Any art form takes a long time to develop. Observation is really helpful, as is taking acting and improvisation courses. I think frame-by-frame analysis of video is only necessary for really fast or complex actions that you are trying to understand better and time out.

ARI-PANZER
07-05-2005, 08:15 AM
hi there victor just one question


how would you go about animating a character with an inner conflict?

PaxtonGerrish
07-05-2005, 09:06 AM
hey victor

1- iv'e been working on making flexible cartoony facial rigs at work lately. bruce the shark, bobs boss, dory speaking whale and speedy kid sulking in the car window are big inspirations for me. Is there a lead facial td at pixar? if so who is he? hes rad.


2- who did shot where dory forgets marlins behind her and gives him the eye and zips off? i still laugh...

3- who did the shot where sully faints like 3 times as he watches the garbage cube get compacted. love it!

4- who did bobs boss yelling at him just after the little old lady leaves.. so money.. lovin that jowel jiggle.



keep up the good work!

keep it real homie

yea pixar!

paxton

Piet
07-05-2005, 10:28 AM
Hi Victor!

I have a question regarding the Setup of animated scenes:
When several characters move about in the scene, I find it hard to pre-determine where they will be at what time, how much time they will need to move from one position to the next, how many camera-positions I will need to cover the scene etc. I often feel that the scenes I create tend to look a bit stiff, not very lively. Do you have any Tips how to start working on a scene? (or maybe any literature about those topics you would recommend?)

Thank you very much for spending your time here:)!

ReaperXVIII
07-05-2005, 03:29 PM
I've noticed on the front page that there is a plugin for maya that allows you to create muscles on the mesh of your character that allows for more realistic deformations and allows for the skin to realistically slide over them. Do the character models you use have muscles on them? If so, is the advantage of using them good enough for me to worry about creating them on my models?

Edit: I've thought of some other questions.

2. Do you find that you have to animate gestures to be "bigger" the further the camera is away from the character? I know in theater gestures tend to be exaggerated so people in the back can see, so I was wondering if it applies here.

3. When you do modeling (be it in your spare time or whatever), what method do you use for modeling? I am just starting out, and I have no clue as to what is the best way to model a character. I'm not necessarily looking for the easiest way, but the method that in your opinion gives the best results. I'm the type of person that would prefer to spend more time on something to make it look as best as it can look.

4. Can you suggest a book that would show me how to properly model and rig a character for animation? I have found two books in my school's online library that have something about it, but I'm finding them difficult to follow.

5. Have you ever been to the Bahamas? ;)


Thank you so much. This site and this thread have made me seriously consider taking up 3D animation. I did want to do it before, and after a few changes (including networking and computer science) I decided on game development. I will finish my degree at my current school, but I am seriously considering going to an art school for animation after I finish. Maybe I could give Animation Mentor a try. :)

mikefeil
07-05-2005, 03:57 PM
Hey Victor,

Really enjoying your answers so far. Extremely interesting. Anyway, onto the questions

What is the most influential idea, philisohpy, quote etc you have learnt in your character animation career, and how has it impacted on your work?

I will be starting Animation Mentor this fall, what do you think I should be doing to prepare myself till then?

Anyway, you rock and keep on rocking ! haha

csDevil
07-05-2005, 03:57 PM
reed, this is a worldwide forum, so people ask 5 questions every 10 minutes. If you were answering them, would you REALLY stop your life?

Abhimation
07-05-2005, 04:22 PM
Why do people keep asking questions?
He should be responding at least every 5 questions.

I haven't seen any responses, what a dumb forum!

Ill call that a Dumb post.

You should be greatful to him for giving out his time for us.

Admins can please get rid of these kind of posts from such a good forum and thread like this one.

manuel
07-05-2005, 04:59 PM
Hi Victor,

I remember seeing something on a website about Disney experimenting with a system where the animator would have to draw on screen on the 3D model and the rig would follow the line. My guess is it was a system to quickly get a good profile more spontaniously.

Do you only use a mouse/tablet interface when animating? Have there ever been any experiments with alternative interfaces at Pixar? Do you feel there is a lot of room for improvement in that area?

jonpitcher
07-05-2005, 05:03 PM
The female animators out there might laugh at this question, but here goes...

Here at my job, we (the animators) have been animating different motion cycles and acting tests to get ready for a cast of characters that we will be animating soon. So far, most of our tests have come off pretty well, but none of us have pulled off really convincing female movements and acting, besides some of the broad female characters. All of the animators here are male, which I know shouldn't matter, but the women here keep telling us that our female stuff doesn't look convincing. How can we pull off reall convincing female movements without animating something that is too exaggerated or cliche for female walks, acting, gestures?

No matter what character I animate, and how hard I push the character animations and movements, I have a hard time getting away from people saying "Hey Jon, he (or she) moves just like you!"

-Jon

reddynamite
07-05-2005, 06:19 PM
Hey Victor,

1) What is your take on "cut-out style" animation? Would you ever consider trying your hand at it?

2) What things, outside of animation, inspire you (e.g., family/friends, music, weather, etc..)?

3) What is your favorite non-animated film and why?

4) What would you do for a Klondike Bar?

5) If you could take on the identity of any of The Incredibles (including villains), who would you be, and why?

6) Merlot or Chardonnay?

7) Latin Jazz or Trance?

Cheers, N

Dennik
07-05-2005, 06:25 PM
Hey Victor. Glad to see you here. your presence in this community has affected the lives of many animators (including me), through your inspiration and example of what can be done in this artform of 3D Animation. So thanks a lot for all your efforts!

Few questions from me:

1) How vague can the director be about a shot and the acting of the characters and how much freedom does he give you to come up with your own ideas? If possible can you give some examples from the movies already made?

2) Do you ever feel scared or overwhelmed at the begining of a very difficult and demanding shot? Or when the first animations just don't look right or don't work at all? Or has it become just a usual procedure that leads to a success every time so you never worry?

3) Can you ever request and receive a shot that you are just dying to animate yourself?

4) Would you imagine yourself directing a Pixar movie one day? How come some animators become directors in some Pixar shorts or movies? What are the factors that lead to such cases?

Thats all from me. Thanks for your time Victor.

ruscular
07-05-2005, 07:33 PM
Hi Victor! I watch "the incredible" twice when it came out in the same week and drag my best freind, whom I watch most of the chick flick with her. She only likes serious movie and hates animation (calls them movies for kids). I got lucky and all the other chick flick were sold out and "the incredible" had a few seats left. There were others like me in line that were watching it for the umpth time. So she relented and watch it with me. I watch her reaction to my second screening, and she had tears coming out with laughter almost thru the whole movies. Anyway, I recieved a thank you note along with a copy of the movie in a package. So I thank you for converting her to animation, as a guy I can only watch so many chick flick.

I have seen a few animation, Final Fantasy, Iron Giant, Titan A.E., Triplets of Bellevue, Spirits Away, and All of Pixar and Dreamworks. I have yet to see a successfull realistic CG characters in animation. Yet stuff like using CG realistic character for stunt works have been good in spiderman I & II but for indepth drama its been un-interesting. Although Final Fantasy art work been outstanding and in its own right was a noteworthy accomplishment. The success of the film was somewhat lacking, yet had the most intricate detail into the modeling of the character. What is your thought about character design and style in reference to enable story telling?

In character animation acting as oppose to real actor acting, is overacting a good thing? when you use yourself for reference, do you emphasize, go over the top in expression?

What makes a good voice actor? what does Pixar look for when they hire a well known actor for their voices, and do they film them as well as voice recording for references material?

My last question! Have you experiment with other style and rules from the broad world of animations? Anything you like to try?

Thank you for your time!

NanoGator
07-05-2005, 08:01 PM
I have a question for ya:

You've mentioned 4 seconds a week. I'm just curious: Do you have any statistics on how many curves are involved or how many keyframes per curve or anything? I'm asking not because I'm looking for a hard number so much, but rather I'm curious as to how much pushing around a character gets in a week. There's a lot of nuance with animations made by Pixar, I'm just trying to get a grasp on just how much goes into that subtlety.

John Keates
07-05-2005, 08:16 PM
Hi Victor,

I know that family is important to you. Do you sometimes think that you could be even better at animation if you hid yourself in your work, or do you think that your animation would suffer if you didn't have so much human based experience from which to draw inspiration?

Also, do you involve yourself in sport? I have noticed that a lot of good animators are quite physically active.

agreenster
07-05-2005, 09:05 PM
2. I can imagine it would be hard to get good acting performances for your demo reel if your working at a game company. Run cycles and physical actions only go so far. You may need to do additional work on your own time to produce a good reel for character animation. Again, acting is king.

I agree that if you are a game animator and you are hoping to get into film one day, you had better spend some time doing some acting pieces and delvoping a good eye for polished work. (or hope that your game has some cool cinematics and spend some extra time on them)

However, that being said, NOTHING keeps your skills sharp like game animation. Imagine having to do a wall run followed by a flip kick all within 18 frames. If your key poses and breakdowns aren't perfectly nailed, it's the difference between "that looks funny" and "what the crap is he doing?" It's unreadable because fast action is very difficult to sell, and makes for fantastic exercise. On top of that, in film, shots come and go so your particular piece of animation might be gone before the audience even registers it. In games, certain moves are done over and over, so they'd better look great every time, from every angle. And hey, daily working on timing and overlap and posing will only strenghten your acting pieces.

So dare I say it? You can sometimes get away with more in acting pieces than game animation because its easy to judge full body-animation, yet small subtleties in acting stuff arent always seen (or arent as blantantly obvious to criticize). In other words, making a talking head is cake compared to a good run cycle, even when that talking head is perfectly animated. Sure, games dont have the huge exposure and pedigree-audience that film has, but the artists devloping them still strive for top-notch animation, and in many cases have to work harder due to more limitations. Yeah, I guess I feel game animators dont get enough street cred. Don't forget, we can act too. ;)

Marius_F
07-05-2005, 10:11 PM
Hey Victor, I thought up another question.

I was wondering what your views are on say a game animator compared to a TV series animator when it comes to making the jump to Feature Films. Would you say one might be more capable than the other?

Thanks!

Marius

Tughan
07-05-2005, 11:02 PM
Hi there Victor,

Like Frank Thomas, Olie Johnston, Milt Kahl, Richard Williams, Tex Avery, and other great animators that inspired us, our generation since 1930's. Now, you, Bobby Beck, Carlos Baena, and many other cool guys from Pixar, or Dreamworks, or ILM, or Weta is inspiring next generation animators. How does it feel to be considered among one of the most "inspiring" animators? Do you feel like a celebrity sometimes? Like people pointing at you on streets saying "Hey look! He is the guy that animated Sendrome" :D

I know that many artists are suffering from Procrastination. Do you Procrastinate when working/animating? If so, do you find a way to deal with it. (this sounded like I'm asking a Doctor's opinion heheh)

You know, it's still a lot of mystery for an avarage person to to get how these 3D characters move, talk and act like real humans! :) They usualy only know it's all computer generated stuff, and no idea about rigging, cloth sims, IK/FK etc.. It's actually pretty difficult to explain your work to your close friends (or parents!) what do you do to work. Do you say them "I just push a button and it'll do the rest"(like Homer Simpson hehe) or do you find a "fool-proof" way to explain it. :)

There are some good questions asked, and great aswers too. Thank you for your time my friend. Keep op the good work. To infinity, and beyond...:thumbsup:

vnavone
07-06-2005, 12:41 AM
1. I'm interested in personal/carear growth and how much you feel one needs to speak up, and put him/herself in front (and get the attention) of the 'right' people during a production? - can we just plough away through our work and hope we're recongnised for what we do? (I'm very much in the latter group myself I think..)

2. How hard do you find balancing your work/home life? As a father myself, priorities have shifted significantly in the last few years, yet in some ways could it mean I'm loosing my 'edge'?

3. Do you prefer animating comedy or pathos?Hi Steve,
1. I think the answer to this is not unique to animation. In any job you have to decide how to pursue your ambition. Good work speaks for itself, but at the same time, if you don't ask you might not get. I'm not a job counseler so I don't feel like I'm qualified to advise you on this.
2. I've found a pretty good balance in recent years. When I was younger (25-ish) I worked a lot more and was a lot more personally invested in my job. Now that I'm almost 35 I've mellowed out and realized the value of spending time with my wife and baby. Luckily Pixar is a family company, and they appreciate that we have lives outside of work. Many of the animators have gotten married and had kids in the last 2 years. When I'm at work I give 100%, but I'm not working crazy hours and I don't bring work home with me. I do still think about my shots at home, especially as I'm laying in bed or taking a shower or sitting on the throne, but I don't let it interfere with my family life. My personal work, on the other hand...

vnavone
07-06-2005, 12:43 AM
3. Do you prefer animating comedy or pathos?Usually I like comedy, but I get sick of doing any one thing too much. Lately I had the chance to do some really serious, emotional shots and I enjoyed that a lot. I prefer to have a mix when possible.

vnavone
07-06-2005, 12:44 AM
- Did you work on "Journeyman Project" by Presto Studios? (believe me or not that thing made more impact on my life than "Toy Story" ;) ).

- How do you resolve shots in which in 8 or less frames you have to have readable, convincing emotion. Make one strong, big pose?I didn't work on the first Journeyman Project, but I did work on the 2nd two. As for short shots, I think you answered your own question.

vnavone
07-06-2005, 12:50 AM
With the skill you have, do you know exactly how to pose (with all the weigh and all)your character at the first pass? Or did you improve it during the process (I have to feel the timing often, before to get the right pose)?

Do you think a really good animator should always be able to animate without any ref, just with all the skill he ve got? Because sometime I feel cheating when I video tape someone to check the pose (sound weird... but in game industry, we have to do it quick and we dont have a lot of time often).

At your work, do you have to be technical?

Do you ever try stop motion? or would like to? I mean , those guys are insane, and have to make it right on the first pass. I really think we can learn something there that we cant elsewhere. I just cant wait to see Corps Bride.Hi Jonathan,
1 - I still have to explore different ideas to find the best pose. Sometimes I do this on paper, sometimes right in the computer.
2 - All the best animators I know use reference.
3 - That depends what you mean by technical. You have to understand how to use our software, which could be described as "technical", and you have to know some basic Linux commands. You don't need to know how to program or rig or anythign like that, though.
4 - I've never done stop-mo, though it looks fun and terribly difficult.

vnavone
07-06-2005, 12:52 AM
1. Along the day, what are your prefered hours for animating?

2. Between the software you use at Pixar and the one you use for your own projects, in which one do you feel more comfortable?Hi Jose,
1. 9am to 5pm. With a nice long lunch!
2. Pixar's software, of course. I work in it all day long so I'm very efficient with it.

RoundRobbin
07-06-2005, 01:36 AM
when you started animating with Pixar. Did you realize a hightened sense that you may not have been able to come up with their demands for high quality animation. Did you have a hard time adjusting or was it easy to make excellent consistent work from the start of your company career?

vnavone
07-06-2005, 02:05 AM
1. You mentioned an app that will save your A:M project every five minutes. Do you have a link to it or know its name so I can find it?

2. I've often read about animators saying that they didn't push something far enough, was there ever a time when you said, "Whoa, I pushed that TOO far..."? Or is there such a thing?

3. Are there times when you get fed up with animation, when it becomes just a job? When you feel like if you adjust one more spline you're going to explode?

4. Do you have a favourite Saturday morning cartoon? (Sometimes my friends chide me about that so I feel the need to make an aloof comment like, "I am an Animator, therefore, I must watch animation. Just because Teen Titans is a kids cartoon doesn't make it unworthy of study. So there.")

5. Is Andrew Stanton writing any more screenplays? I think that guy is a genius...

6. I did a bit of 2d and was surprised to see my animation come to a sudden halt on a held frame, and that's when I learned about moving holds. But is this a problem in 3d? I was watching the Incredibles today, and there are points where it looks like the character's body isn't moving, but the animation doesn't "halt" like in 2d.....or is the trick to keep the body moving a wee tiny bit, even if it's hardly perceptable?

7. I remember reading somewhere that you shouldn't lock out your joints....I know that if I completely straighten the knee joint in a walk cycle it looks like there's an unnatural snap in it, whereas if there's a slight knee bend it makes the walk look smooth. So do you worry about keeping a slight bend in joints, or is it a non-issue?

8. I also noticed in the Incredibles that many shots don't have any anticipation where I would expect it. I'm trying to think of specific places...hmmm, I think a couple are when Violet tests her costume outside her mom's room, and in the cave when the mom says "I know what I said" and the kids jerk back. Was this mostly the director's stylistic choice for the movie, to create a more realistic and less cartoony look?I'm kinda confused as to where to have anticipation and where not to....how do you know when to break this rule?
Hi Chris,
1. It's called "PRJ Saver" and I'm not sure where to find it anymore. Inquire on the Hash forums.
2. I've never personally felt any of my work was pushed too far. Once and a while during the blocking phase a director might tell me to pull something back, but not very often.
3. Sure, I get burnt out. But they pay me to animate so I try to keep a good attitude and stay productive.
4. I don't watch much TV anymore, but Ren & Stimpy was my favorite when that was on.
5. Maybe. I can't talk about that.
6. We always keep the characters from freezing, which would make them look dead. Just some subtle sway and maybe some blinks and eye darts are usually enough to keep the character "alive". Making the character breath helps, too.
7. We are wary of popping joints, such as knees in an IK walk, but that doesn't mean we don't straighten our limbs. Straights are important in pushing certain poses. We just go through the extra effort of smoothing out the pops.
8. I can't recall the examples you mention, but anticipation can be reduced or removed for certain effects. You can get comic effects by skipping anticipation, such as when Road Runner zips out of frame and leaves a bird-shaped cloud of dust in his place. Or if a character is being affected by and external force then there would be no anticipation in his movement, i.e. being pushed by another character. I suggest you revisit the scenes you are thinking of and look at them more closely. There is likely some anticipation going on and it's just subtle enough that you don't notice it right off. The anticipation may just be in the face.

vnavone
07-06-2005, 02:09 AM
My question is this: I've noticed how as a whole, the quality of animation has just launched the studio as a whole into a different place of excellence. Obviously the animation has always been topnotch, but every movie seems to propel you guys as a whole into different levels of skill and mastery. So my question is, how does one entering a studio like Pixar match up to some of the pros that have been there working on a few flicks, such as yourself? I'm seeing that the requirements for portfolios are very stringent, so I wonder even with this in place, do new people get somehow put "up to speed" with the rest of the studio? In other words, does the major advancement that a film brings to the studio also advance the level required by the demo reels and such?Hi Carlos, I think whenever anyone new enters the studio their work quickly improves just by benefit of being surrounded by so many talented people and getting such great feedback. I know that certainly happened to me. My animation continues to improve because of the interaction of my coworkers and because of working with directors like Brad Bird. We still hire the occasional animator right out of school. We can see their potential, and with training, experience and guidance we can get their work up to feature quality. The less experienced animators will start out animating background characters until they prove their caliber and get better shots.

vnavone
07-06-2005, 02:10 AM
I have just one question for you, regarding texturing .. do you at Pixar use procedural textures only (as I once heard) or do you also unwrap meshes and texture using using bitmaps/paintings/photos?Hi Lars, I don't know much about our texturing pipeline but I'm sure there plenty of painting going on in addition to procedurals.

asimco
07-06-2005, 02:10 AM
1st off, you're awesome, i love alien song and all the pixar movies. What would you try to do or focus on if you were a 16 year old hoping to become a character animator, what roads would you take, how should i approach my dream?

vnavone
07-06-2005, 02:15 AM
1- ...Is there a lead facial td at pixar? if so who is he? hes rad.


2- who did shot where dory forgets marlins behind her and gives him the eye and zips off? i still laugh...

3- who did the shot where sully faints like 3 times as he watches the garbage cube get compacted. love it!

4- who did bobs boss yelling at him just after the little old lady leaves.. so money.. lovin that jowel jiggle.Ah jeez, now I have to remember names!
1 - We have many talented character TD's, including Bill Sheffler, Tim Milliron, Brian Tindall, to name a few. You'll have to check out the DVD credits for the full list. Maybe some old SIGGRAPH presentations, too.
2 - Don't know that one.
3 - That would be Doug Sweetland. He always does amazing stuff.
4 - That was Angus MacLane

vnavone
07-06-2005, 02:20 AM
I've noticed on the front page that there is a plugin for maya that allows you to create muscles on the mesh of your character that allows for more realistic deformations and allows for the skin to realistically slide over them. Do the character models you use have muscles on them? If so, is the advantage of using them good enough for me to worry about creating them on my models?

Edit: I've thought of some other questions.

2. Do you find that you have to animate gestures to be "bigger" the further the camera is away from the character? I know in theater gestures tend to be exaggerated so people in the back can see, so I was wondering if it applies here.

3. When you do modeling (be it in your spare time or whatever), what method do you use for modeling? I am just starting out, and I have no clue as to what is the best way to model a character. I'm not necessarily looking for the easiest way, but the method that in your opinion gives the best results. I'm the type of person that would prefer to spend more time on something to make it look as best as it can look.

4. Can you suggest a book that would show me how to properly model and rig a character for animation? I have found two books in my school's online library that have something about it, but I'm finding them difficult to follow.

5. Have you ever been to the Bahamas?Hi Andrew, I'm not an expert on rigging and modelling by any means, so I'm not going to waste anyone's time expressing my opinions here. I've only modelled and rigged characters in Animation: Master.
2. When animating characters who are small in frame, yes, it's a good idea to make their gestures larger so that the audience can read them.
5. No, but I sure could use a vacation!

vnavone
07-06-2005, 02:25 AM
What is the most influential idea, philisohpy, quote etc you have learnt in your character animation career, and how has it impacted on your work?
I will be starting Animation Mentor this fall, what do you think I should be doing to prepare myself till then?Hi Mike, I don't have any gems of wisdom that guide my work. More like just lots of little habbits and guidelines I try to remember. I had a sign taped to my monitor for a long time that said "Stop Sucking". Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. Basically I try not to become complacent or over-confident. The moment I stop planning and think I know what I'm doing is when I get my ass kicked in dailies.

To prepare for AM I suggest you start getting in the habit of drawing people from real life. Carry a sketch book around to public places and start sketching!

vnavone
07-06-2005, 02:29 AM
I remember seeing something on a website about Disney experimenting with a system where the animator would have to draw on screen on the 3D model and the rig would follow the line. My guess is it was a system to quickly get a good profile more spontaniously.

Do you only use a mouse/tablet interface when animating? Have there ever been any experiments with alternative interfaces at Pixar? Do you feel there is a lot of room for improvement in that area?Hi Manuel, I don't know anything about the Disney stuff you mention, but I do seem to recall reading about some experiments carried out by Nazi scientists involving implanting USB ports directing into the animator's cerebral cortex. Anyway, I use a mouse and a wacom tablet for my work, but nothing as fancy as a Cintiq. There's always room for improvement in animation UI's. We've got some pretty neat tools in the pipe.

mikefeil
07-06-2005, 02:39 AM
hahah cool, thanx Victor

rawskull
07-06-2005, 02:47 AM
Greetings Mr Victor !

love your work

i just want to thank you for the BOOKS and MOVIE Recomendation on your resources link !

thanx a lot for sharing valuable info !

what do u think of " Howl's moving Castel "

LAST QUESTION : what compositing software do they use in PIXAR [ is it APPLE SHAKE ? ] or do they use some other method to finish the film

thanx a lot for reading !

Vindo

vnavone
07-06-2005, 04:58 AM
Here at my job, we (the animators) have been animating different motion cycles and acting tests to get ready for a cast of characters that we will be animating soon. So far, most of our tests have come off pretty well, but none of us have pulled off really convincing female movements and acting, besides some of the broad female characters. All of the animators here are male, which I know shouldn't matter, but the women here keep telling us that our female stuff doesn't look convincing. How can we pull off reall convincing female movements without animating something that is too exaggerated or cliche for female walks, acting, gestures?Hi Jon, it's hard for me to give you much advice about this without actually seeing your animation. The best I can offer is to find some good reference. If you could video tape a woman walking on a tread mill that would be great, and also watch films with actresses like Annette Benning, Tilda Swinton, Hillary Swank and Holly Hunter who change up their body language to match characters.

vnavone
07-06-2005, 05:00 AM
1) What is your take on "cut-out style" animation? Would you ever consider trying your hand at it?

2) What things, outside of animation, inspire you (e.g., family/friends, music, weather, etc..)?

3) What is your favorite non-animated film and why?

4) What would you do for a Klondike Bar?

5) If you could take on the identity of any of The Incredibles (including villains), who would you be, and why?

6) Merlot or Chardonnay?

7) Latin Jazz or Trance?
We can discuss all of these things over a beer sometime, you silly man!

vnavone
07-06-2005, 05:06 AM
1) How vague can the director be about a shot and the acting of the characters and how much freedom does he give you to come up with your own ideas? If possible can you give some examples from the movies already made?

2) Do you ever feel scared or overwhelmed at the begining of a very difficult and demanding shot? Or when the first animations just don't look right or don't work at all? Or has it become just a usual procedure that leads to a success every time so you never worry?

3) Can you ever request and receive a shot that you are just dying to animate yourself?
Hi Dennis,
1) The directors are usually very clear about what the characters are feeling in the scene and what needs to happen, but we often have some freedom as to how to interpret that. For instance, in the scene I did in The Incredibles where Mirage breaks up with Syndrome, it was left up to me to figure out when she turns to look at him when she turns away. It was also my idea to have her shove the binder at him as she stands up and storms out. Brad had some very specific notes about Syndrome's reaction, though. In my original blocking I had him make a sarcastic face as she left, as if to say "what's YOUR problem?". Brad wanted me to just have him look startled and confused.
2) All the time. It never gets easy.
3) Yes, and I've been lucky to receive a few of my requests on Cars.

Terkonn
07-06-2005, 05:16 AM
First of all... congrats, you're the envy of all cgartists!

In the bio it stated that you started out as a traditional artist. Do you have some of your earlier drawings or paintings around the time you started art school and the time you finished? I think it would be great to see what kind of a great 2d artist you were before you hit the computers. Thanks a ton for coming here, we are all honored at your presence.