Meet the Artist: Carlos Baena

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  10 October 2005
Cool, another animator! I really don't know you but I want to ask did you enjoy animating in 2d a lot. thanks for taking your time to visit us at cgtalk!
steampunk legend
secret agent
  10 October 2005
Originally Posted by Gonzalo Golpe: One question: Is it really necessary to go out there to get your dream? (above all if you live in Spain and if you are not a football player or a tv famous,hahah)

Gonzalo, pasa campeon!

It shouldn't be necessary. But in our industry, most of the time, we don't have much of a choice. It would be ideal to be in a place where you wanna live and do what you love to do. Unfortunately, things don't always work the way we want them to go. I would love it if Pixar started its own "Mediterranean" branch. That would be so mega rocking super duper. I would also love to work in a spanish film I would be as proud as I am whenever I work on a Pixar film. Pixar's environment, and the type of company that John Lasseter, Ed Catmull and Steve Jobs have created, is very very rare. And a big role model for many companies and studios. So, for me, everytime I go to work, I'm not even thinking I'm going to work...because I love the place and what I do that much. Honestly...I'm not giving much of a constructive answer...other than for you to follow your dreams wherever they are at.

  10 October 2005
Hi Carlos, great fan of your work, and thanx for taking the time to answer a few questions here

My question is about acting and timing, I have heard a lot of great animators talk about acting and stuff, so I took an acting foundation class. I found out that while it offers a lot of useful info, it's a bit different than acting for animation. I have also read the book acting for animator, and while I think it's a really good book, something seems to be missing. you have a list of books posted on your website, and I am trying to get my hands on as many of them as possible. I would like to know how you and other animators you know go about perfecting the acting skills?

You also talked aobut filming yourself and stuff, obviousely, it's only a reference for you, but I am wondering what information when you review the clip do you take, and what info do you discard?

I have been in the industry for almost 3 years now, but I still find myself struggling with my timing, as they tend to be a bit slow, well, not snappy, I would say. sometimes I have to force myself to make it snappy, so I am wondering if you have any tips or exercise on improving one's timing skills


  10 October 2005
Carlos, my man! Awesome of you to be doing this. You have been a huge inspiration and getting to meet you and chat has been such a high point for me. Since there have been so many great questions already I will ask only two.

What have you learned from working with so many other animators in Animation Mentor?

Is it true that many consider you the world's greatest karaoke singer?

You kick butt you crazy Spaniard!

  10 October 2005
Hey Carlos, man, I owe you big time, I'd still be struggling to learn this stuff on my own if I hadn't seen your website last year. :-)

I'm wondering, has getting more into teaching animation affected how you animate?

(That's all, I had to ask this quick before Brian stole it!)

Thanks Carlos!
  10 October 2005

Hi, Carlos, VERY Nice to see you here!
I'm a 24-FRAME big fan of your works.In the first shot of boundin's , the little bird is so cute, I watched it frame by frame! And also, It's very strong in physics, really, hehe, admire you.

So many questions have been asked.... but I still have some:

1. How do you think the main differences between "ALIVE" animation and "Animated" one? I read your interview in, and could you talk it a little more into details? and could you please give us a check list of Yourself to do when it come to the last 10% work to level your works up (from "OK" to "Great")?

2. Could you please take a little time(about 1'30"), (^o^) to have a look on my new Animation DemoReel and give me some Critiques&Comments? Because now I'm looking for a job as a Character Animator, Any words is more than appreciated. Thanks a lot!
Here is the link of my Reel in big and small sizes:
Please just right click the link and save target as, I assure you it is No Virus.

Hi-Res Reel:(720*480 QuickTime ~7.21MB)

Lo-Res Reel:(360*240 WMV ~4.11MB)

3. I enjoyed the animation materials you offered on your site, and I'm thankful!
But one title I'm interested in named "Staging in Animation" by Brad Bird" does not works.
I was told that the link does not exists. Could you please relink it or give me a new link that the article is available?

4. Last but not least: Some of my best friends and I founded a web site named . What we do is to help more CG fans in China. Many of them suffer from their bad English ability when facing such an abundant internet resources. And Their is really some great artists in China. We don't want to stand by and see they are isolated from the world, and would like to be a bridge between a large amount of Chinese CG fans and a more larger amount of CGers around the world. I've translated some of the articles compiled or provided by you from your site, such as "Life After POSE to POSE - Polishing Animation (Keith Lango)", "Compilation notes on BLINKS.", ""Animation Notes from Ollie Johnston" Glen Keane.", "Richard Williams Animation Notes (3D Ark's Website) " and some other great articles. All these materials are very popular in the members of our site, really I can feel that they are hunger for things that is really good and helpful to them.
So firstly I wish to, of course only if you have some time and interest, have an interview with you, in order to introduce you to Chinese CGers, including many animation fans. If you would like to, it will be my honor, we could talk about it in details. my email address is : or . Looking forward to hear from you!

The English version of is under construction now, sorry for inconvenient international access currently. When It finished, I will inform you first.

So many words, Very Thanks for your viewing to this line
Success is not measured by the position one has reached, rather the obstacles overcome while trying to succeed.
  10 October 2005
(good work Leigh)

Hola Carlos !
Gracias por venir a CGTALK.

I really like your work and like your art style very much

I looked but I dont think this question was asked. You are very good at what you do, and are very talented indeed . There is an ongoing debate about the value of going to school (in your case Academy of Art) to learn CG and animation vs learning on your own. Since you have been sooo succesful, I wanted to ask you if you think that the education you recieved was invaluable. Or was it just a stepping stone? Was it where you learned the core of everything or did you learn more through other means, such as through your peers, observations, books and tutorials? I appreciate your time in reading my question.

Gracias! Keep up the great work!

Whether you think you can or you can't, you probably right.

  10 October 2005
oh my!

Look at that! ...57 users reading this Thread right now!!! and probably all those users are typing some more questions for you.
I am sure your fingers are gonna hurt soon, if they don't do so already.

Don't wanna make you type more, just wanted to drop by and say ' you are awesome '

You are Truly an artist to be inspired by.

p.s I am kinda confused about the procedure to make that instant paella you mentioned, having a hard time getting all those ingredients together.


Thelvin C

Last edited by Thelvin : 10 October 2005 at 02:03 AM.
  10 October 2005
HEY CARLOS!!! good to here from you man...this is just fan based stuff from me, first off, thank you for providing some ideal resources and lecture notes that got me thru the years, (love the finger board skit !!) second, man I cheered when I see your name and others role on the credits for Finding Nemo and Incredibles, it was fantastic to see some of the stuff your guys actually worked on and putting it all together, I learned some much...Incredibles was one hell of a film, and agree with you on surrounding yourself resources related towards the mood and development, I love the DVD and I watch it over and over again, and the crazy part I stil watch Toy Story over and over again, there's so much in there, you guys see to have alot of fun at PIXAR and I see the door open for more oppurtinity greater CG Films

Will you do this for me, and pitch to PIXAR, if you're gonna do a part 2 into Incredibles how about a daytime full CG Incredibles CG TV Show or considered cartoon, there are huge shortcuts on creating episodes and re using models and riggs, you could pump out 6 shows if there is nothing really in the way of doing it, but they would have to move fast on completing it, I would give it a shot and see, of course I know there are no gurauntee's, but back to work for me and I will be awaiting to see CARS and yet your name to roll on the credits again (Thank for taking to time to read this if you have gotten a chance to)
The Score....Dun dun dada Dah!!!!
  10 October 2005
Hola Carlos

hi carlos , thanks for doing this man ..i had 3 questions for you if you dont mind :

1. When could we see an updated site of yours with maybe some shots you worked on in Finding Nemo and the Incredibles ?

2. this next one is a little hard for me to explain but ill give it a shot ,Please dont take this as a prejudice question .. but do you think maybe animators that focus more on full body action shots have more opportunities of finding work ( in the majority of the industry ) than animators who mostly like to expertise in close up shots ? i know you should do both well but what is your take on that ?? for example , from what i have taken in , game companies are mostly looking for full body ( mechanics ) animators and alot of the movies i see coming out are mostly VFX style and those have tons of " Full Body realistic mechanic animations " as opposed to lip synch close up shots that someone at pixar would work on you know??

3. Last one , Do you feel that the industry ( games and film ) is taking a turn mostly towards realism animation as opposed to the more cartoony pixarish believable style ?? i ask because like i said before, i see mostly Visual FX stuff coming out apart from the Madagascars and Incredibles movies..

Carlos thanks again , and i appreciate your patience.. Chau hermano querido !

Your Argentinean fan,

Character Animator
  10 October 2005
Hi Carlos,

Like everyone else, I'm a big fan..

This isn't really a question as more a request... I would love to see one of your clips of you acting something out for animation, like the previously mentioned Mr. Incredible one. I think it would give me/us some insight into the level of acting an animator goes to, in order to create animation as good as yours.
  10 October 2005
Originally Posted by loocas: I'd like to use this opportunity to congratulate you on your successful career path! How to get a job at IL&M or PIXAR? Any tips/hints/tricks would be much appretiated!

Thanks Loocas,

About any tips/hints or tricks to get a job at ILM or Pixar, I'll try to be as direct as I can. It's not easy to get a job in places like these. They get thousands of reels I'm sure. So practice, patience and motivation will always help you. Practice because in order to get a good grasp on anything, you need a lot of practice. Nothing new about this. But this couldn't be more true in animation. You see students here and there that seem to hit a point where they are stuck. You do something that will probably need work...then, don't give up. Go on, and keep going. We go through ups and downs in animation, and some work we may not be as happy as with other work. You can either complain about it, or keep practicing until you fall asleep on the keyboard or the drawing table. Practicing will help you to keep yourself motivated and inspired. Get inspiration from people, and keep at it. And very important, you'll need to be patient. I mentioned this before, but these studios may not want you the first time...the second...maybe the third or fourth time. These shouldn't be reasons to not keep trying. Keep working on your work, and try again. If you want something, just go for it...and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Life is way too short to not do the things you want to do in life in my opinion. Sometimes we won't get what we want, but we can try at least.

When we started thinking/designing the AnimationMentor Online School, even though we strongly believed in it, there was always those insecurities and questions "Will this work? Will people learn online?". We just had to go for it...and if we failed, then we failed. But at least we gave it a shot. It was a very rough beginning of the year for the School and everyone involved, but I'm so happy we went for it and gave it a shot. So far it seems that students are learning and happy with what they are learning. We are still working on improving it, making it better, making on making it easier for both students and mentors. But there has been a lot of trial and error, a lot of mistakes and achievements. If we never tried it, we wouldn't know. Same thing with getting your foot on the door at a studio. Try once...try a hundred times. It also helps if you know someone at the studio that may pass your work around, or give you feedback in case your reel/portfolio needs work. Take feedback as much as you can. Chances are, the people at these studios have so much experience, it will only be good for you.

And also, watch your attitude. No one wants to work with people that act as if they know everything there is to know about animation. Some of the most talented animators I've met, are very humble about their work. There will be always someone tomorrow, next week or next year, that you can learn from, and that will take things to the next level. So always keep that learning attitude you had when you were learning. It will only help everything and everyone in my opinion.

I hope this helps Loocas.

  10 October 2005
Originally Posted by ndat: Could you give us some insight into how much you practiced and what you practiced that most helped you get to the level of artist you are today?

Aside from the 2D film I worked on, which I talked earlier, there was a time where I was working on commercials in two different companies over a period of a year and where I had to practice way more than when I was even in school. The work I was doing in some of these commercials was challenging at times and animation related. Other times the work I had to do was definitely not animation related, and more technical than what I wanted. In these cases you don't have much to choose, you just have to get stuff done, and fast. During this time I knew I wanted to get into animation for Film and Features. I knew I wasn't ready. So while I lived in San Francisco, for a while I would come back home at nightime, and work on animation tests until pretty late. I would bother the hell out of my friends to see my work, tear it apart. If something wasn't working, it just wasn't working and keep working on more tests. So I worked on both mechanical tests, as well as acting tests. They helped me get to Wildbrain...where I did some technical stuff at first, and at some point I became an animator. At that point, my job and the people I worked with became my learning school...up until today. Everyday you hit something in animation where you go "wait...shit, didn't know that....". Pixar is by far the most intense animation school I've ever been to...and I feel more than lucky to part of it. So, definitely practice as much as you can, without killing yourself or putting your entire life on hold.

  10 October 2005
Hi Carlos B.

Its funny, but im kinda in a different path than most people around here.

Although im not quite looking to get a job at pixar or any other studio (though im dying to see pixar's environment... for me it would be better than any universal studios park or disneyland combined )

Im currently building a micro studio in my country (currently its very "micro" --only my wife and I--) and are currently developing ideas and experimenting to see if we are able to make an animated series between my wife and I (only two people working on it). So i wanted to know if you had a couple of advises on how could we approach these projects.

Unfortunatly i never had any studies on animation and i taught all myself and i would really like you to review a demo reel i put together with all ive done.

PD: i was just thinking.... at animationmentor, in a near future, are there going to be any free video tutorials?? or free passes for very poor students?

y saludos desde Venezuela ^__^
Glen Fernández
'If you wait until everything is perfect before you take that first step, you will stand in place forever.'

Last edited by Glenfx : 10 October 2005 at 11:17 PM.
  10 October 2005
Originally Posted by DDS: *I'd also like to know how did you finance your step from Spain to USA, I know that's a big problem for most spanish animator wannabes. I guess that's why you co-founded
*When will you finish "Screws" shortfilm? last news in your website are from 2003
*congratulate you for your amazing carreer!! Eres el ejemplo a seguir.

- That's definitely one of the reasons of my involvement in AnimationMentor. At one point, Bobby Beck and Shawn Kelly (the other two AnimationMentor founders) pitched me the beginning idea, before we started developing. The fact that it involved online learning which could potentially teach hundreds of students that aren't able to obtain a visa to study overseas, was one of the reasons that inmediately made me go "yes". After experiencing myself what takes to move to an entire different country and culture when you are young, just to be able to learn from professional wasn't easy. A lot of things suffered for me, being my family one of them. So my whole thing with it was, if someone let's say from Spain, wants to study animation from someone from ILM, PDI, Disney, Pixar...why do they have to sacrifice their entire life to be able to do it? In terms of how I was able to do it myself 11 years ago, as mentioned early, without the financial/emotional support of family (I was 19 years old), no way on earth I would of been able to make it.

- "Screws" was put on hold for a couple of reasons. First, because I believed on the Online AnimationSchool, and I knew I had to make other things I wanted to do wait, so that I could focus on it. Hopefully as we get more resources for the school I'll be able to get back in working on my own projects. Not sure when exactly. I miss working on my stuff, but at the same time, it was definitely a very good reason I feel proud of. The other reason I put it on hold was the music/sound effects of the shortfilm. I've been wanting to be more involved in that part. Both of them play a big part, but it's also a part I never really felt too confident about. Even though music/sound is something I was always very excited about...I also knew it's something that was going to take some big learning. Luckily I have a couple of really good friends involved in the creation of Scores and sound effects, who I'm always asking questions, and they give great advices.

- Muchisimas Gracias tio.

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