Meet the Artist: Jason Schleifer

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  06 June 2005
Hi Jason, man your one of my favorite animators of all time, my questions are.

1) After working on LOTR which is highly regarded as one of the best special effects movies of all time, and now just finishing off an excellent feature animation film, my question is what have you found to be the most challenging aspect of your job in both or either experiences you have been apart of ?

2) Who are some of your favorite character animators or artists and why?

3) What was your main influence in getting into the business and who do you owe alot of thanks to, if any?

4) Coke or Pepsi ?

Thanks for your time and continue making mind bogling animations, your demo reel is truly inspiring, and when are you coming to Canada so we can drink beers and I can ask you about another billion questions?
"Back off Warchild he's with me"- Broady

Last edited by Romero : 06 June 2005 at 07:25 AM.
  06 June 2005
Hey Jason, big up and respect for the thing you do, inspiring for simply every last one of us all. You (and the guyss and gals you worked with) set the standard reference of quality so high, it gets only better and better everyday. At this point, we're not talking about being skilled, even talented feels a bit thin here, you gotta be gifted, givin life to those empty shapes the way you do is divine Art.
Haven't got a chance yet to see Madagascar, not out yet around here, but I'm not taking any risk here to assume it's awesome and probably owes you, just like the other prods you worked on, lots of credits for looking so damn good.

I don't have a specific question... more like a hundred... so I won't pop em all out now, I'll wait to see Madagascar first, luckely the thread will still be open and I'll shoot about a thousand questions then

Congrats again and thanks for the thing you do!


  06 June 2005
this should be fun!

hi jason

whats next for u? are u staying at Dreamworks?

and *grrrrr why'd u steal ma name punk?¿

  06 June 2005
Hi Jason,

very good work from you, happy to see you on Cg Talk. I am a big fan of LOTR.

1) could you explain your rigging process briefly?

thanX for this opportunity.
  06 June 2005
Hi Jason, i must tell you, gollum fully freaked me out the first time i saw him, it must be the most living charater i've seen on film. Super big respects to you man, i can't wait to see Madagascar.

I think you might have already mentioned in a interview already, but here it is again:

1) what kinds of techniues was involved in gollums facial setup (apart from the eml interface, is the structure underneath bones, spines, morphs or mix), and what roles did you split with Bay Raitt and Tom Kluyskens.

2) what would you think is the most felxible method for a facial setup for individuals at home? (If answering this question reduces sales for your DVD then don't answer )

Thanks for giving your few time for this.
  06 June 2005
i'd just like to say your are one of the greatest animators of all time no Questions asked..

this oppurtunity is too good to miss..

1.) having such a difficult task to animate a character that is also being played physically by a real person using mocap how well did you handle such a difficult task and how did you approach it?

2.) What other creatures in lord of the rings did you animate also? just wanna replay the movies a few times and admire and learn from reference.

3.) Madagascar being a short film for a CG produced film... its shorter then usual other films like Shrek and Sharks tale etc.. Did you concentrate alot more, on it being a shorter time frame, did you have a shorter time frame to complete your work? or was it still like 2 to 3 years in the making?

4.) what software do you use and have knowledge of and if you were to create software for something specific what would it be?? and what would it do.??

Thankyou for taking out this time to answer all our questions.. cheers

-= Man with One Chopstick , Go Hungry =-
  06 June 2005
Hey Jason.. just like to say a big HI from Welly. I would like to thank you for being part of the team that opened a few good opportunitys for a whole bunch of kiwi arist here, because of the efforts from LOTR and it's huge success cg job offers have become more abundant. I was a cg graduate the year Return of The King was released and was thinking .. well now that is finnished what next?.. contracts finnised etc ( I finished my course about a month before the movie was released ) ... but now more and more studios are poping up even sony are opening a studio here in welly now, weta workshop are now working on an animated t.v. series jane and the dragon and I have heard rumours of another cg t.v. series called "the goon" in the works A few of my friends are now working at Weta ( on kong and Jane and the Dragon ) ..and I myself got an animation gig at a games company called sidhe interactive. .. so really this is a big ups to you all who worked hard to make LOTR a success and Wellywood to emerge ... cheers

  06 June 2005
Hey Jason!

Do you ever feel burned out?
  06 June 2005
Hi Jason, i find your work a very strong inspiration source.

What's your dog name?
  06 June 2005
hello Jason.
What I want to know is that can a complex character like Gollum or Olephant be completely made on a single home pc. If yes, which graphics card and how much ram would you recommend?
  06 June 2005
As an animator with your experience, do you get to give input to how the scene you've been assigned to work on should look (in terms of framing 'n camera movement), or are the scene pretty much nailed from the leika reel?

Do you as an character animator in a production like Madagascar also animate the camera-moves in the scenes you've been given or does someone else do this?

When given a scene to animate, do you get a scene

How much influence does one have as an animator at a larger studio? From what I've understood it's a rather firm hiriarchy in larger studios, or is this an missunderstanding?

I'd also like to congrat you for the excellent movie Madagascar. It's solid and fun.

/. Henrik Kamsvåg
  06 June 2005
Hey Jason,
just a quickie, how on earth do you find time to do Animation Mentor, blog like a madman and Q+A here while still knocking out kick arse work at Dreamworks and working on a short film and spending time with your family? You're an inspiration dude, and I wish I could time manage like you!

One last q, coming from a more technical background do you find people trying to fit you back into that role? On Mad did you have to consciously resist fiddling with the rigs or did you do it anyway and pass it on back?

Last edited by mattmos : 06 June 2005 at 11:07 AM.
  06 June 2005
Dear Jason: I'm from Italy and here, you know is not a buisness to work as an animator or a modeler or whatever cgi.. I feel bad and sometime i think to come to America and make some changes to my life. Anyway is hard to decide to take off.. and i'm shure that something will change one day soon..
I like your works.. no particular question about your experience 'cos i've read alot from your forum/blog/plog. Just one: How many hours you go to sleep and what you eat? (common italianish questions). Thanks for reading and forgive my english..

So you get NOTHING! You LOSE! Good DAY sir!
  06 June 2005

I have question, about synchronization of character with real scene. What kind method we use for this amazing effect? All scene with Gollum is made using mocap? And what technology was used for balance light between real scene and 3d object? If it's possible, would you send on board, screenshot from 3d soft with character, like Gollum or Balrog in wireframe mode, with bones and rigg system?

P. S. Sorry for my terrible english.

Best Regards


Last edited by DUCKORABB : 06 June 2005 at 10:06 AM.
  06 June 2005
Woah! Cannot miss this chance of asking qns to my most admired Character guy!

1. How did you started off working in the 3D industry? Like did you already have some foundation, or you started dabbling in it only when you're in it? Either case, how did you proceed from there till where you are now?

2. How did you manage ur time so well handling SO MANY things at a time??

Let's rig it!!!
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