Meet the Artist: Emile Ghorayeb

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  02 February 2006
part 2


a day in the life of emilio @ PDI:
Park. Double espresso. Log in. Check Email. Animate. Dailies. Double decaf. Animate. Lunch! Call sweet wife, feel good. Animate. Walkthroughs. Animate. Leave.
NOTE: insert "smoke" between each step. Repeat. lol

fave app: 3dsmax baby.

Advice: You love it? you REALLY love it? you'll get it. Trust yourself, concentrate. Listen, analyze what you learn, understand it, and DON'T BE SCARED TO ASK when you're not sure.

Anytime m8!

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Wow. Tough one... um...
MAD: Julian. I feel I connect with him. Kevan seems to think he's like me, or I'm like him. Something like that.
S2: Fiona. She's *#!%@# HOT! lol

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I don't animate my shots actually. I pay other animators tons of money to animat them for me 'cause I suck!
My secret (I'm actually serious here): Love what you do. I keep my anims on key poses up until 95%. I go back and forth ON my poses and make sure my overlaps and antics are right. If need be, then I shift certain keys. I feel it's good workflow so if there are any changes to be done, your keys are clean and manageable. In the end, i guess it's like 2D flipping pages back and forth the get the right pose.
And the special tip of the day: Pay attention to what your char is, was and will be thinking.

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I'm HUGE on music. I grew up listening to classical and opera (thanks dad!). Today, as far fetched as his may sound, the closest thing I found to these is progressive house. You can download some mixes I did from my website on the "download/music" page. Very good for concentrating when refining animation that doesn't have lipsync.

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general steps I take on a shot (when I can):
1) view and understand the story
2) view and understand the sequence

Your shot(s):
3) write down notes of what you'd like to achieve. Motivation (shot or char), thoughts, layout, etc.
4) talk with your dirs and animdirs.
5) reference. video, thmbnail, what have you. I'm very lazy about this, and sometimes kick myself afterwards for not doing so.
6) Start animating only the major beats. Body AND facials. Key everything.
7) Show it and get your notes. Dirs, friends, mom, janitor, etc.
8) add in your notes and make your passing poses, antics and overlap IN YOUR POSES. No key shifting here.
9) Show, get notes.
10) Refine.
11) repeat 9 & 10 as needed.

Don't be scared to show it to people with a good explanation of where you're at with it. Fresh eyes are needed as you gte too close to the shot and can easily lose focus.

For the snappy/zippyness: try different things. A good start would be to watch Tex Avery, Looney Tunes and believe it or not, Tiny Toons has some pretty wacky takes too, especially in their direct to video "How I spent my summer vacation" movie. Frame by frame this stuff. You'll be like: "w...t...f... that's just crazy!?!!?!?".
Instead of taking 7 frames to do a move. Locate the major beats in your movement, and try it in say 4 frames, 3, even 2! Just be ready to key alot because you need to drag certain parts of the body to make the ye think it's still believeable. And most important, DON'T BE LAZY! Don't let the computer do it for you. Bad! Bad computer!
Emile Ghorayeb | animator
  02 February 2006
part 3


Heeeey man!

- see my answer for RobW720
I fluctuate. Stepped or splined, depends of the shot. You'll quickly notice that each has it's advantages and disadvantages. This is obviously my opinion...

-clearer read when watching poses
-faster initial results
-hard to keep snappiness
-much more work after the inital blocking phase

-better read when you have many characters in one shot (intersections, char direction, etc)
-good read on transitions between poses.
-slow initial results. You need to put more poses in to convey the shot.
-harder read on poses/major beats

Try them out. You might find you like one better than the other.

I don't like Pepsi or Coke. I like water or fresh squeezed orange juice

Moving holds: The name says it all. Keep everything moving ever so slightly. Here's a cool trick. Remember, we always look at their eyes. One or two good eye darts, when placed properly, can change everything. Blinks are the same. Don't blink for no reason but there's a good chance you can put one in there.

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rblitz7 & kizoku:

nice avatar. Booyakacha! Too funny.

Here's a quick version of how I got to PDI:
after school, I joined Ubisoft as an animator. I also did supervising char rigging/modeling for their cinematic dept. Left to work on Kaena: The Prophecy. Moved to Toronto to work on Cartoon Networks "Sitting Ducks: season 2" as a lead animator. Back to Montreal to work as anim sup for Meteor studios. Got in touch wioth an old friend which was working at PDI. They needed animators for S2, interviewed me, and here I am. It's all about timing. Keep an eye out for who's hiring ad send your reel when you feel ready.

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The Maple Leaf baby.

I only chose InterDec because it was all that I found available to me back in 1996. Here's the most important thing you need to know i you want to choose a good school and not throw your money away: you can go to those schools if you wanna learn anything except animation. If I would've known, I would've flown my ass to Toronto and learned 2D or their 3D animation program. For animation, you need to take animation specific classes. is a great place to start. Some of the finest animators are teachers there. Good Luck buddy!

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more to come tomorrow... sleepytime for me.
Emile Ghorayeb | animator

Last edited by emilioG : 02 February 2006 at 11:01 AM.
  02 February 2006
Hey Emilio, thanks for your replies friend! I'm very happy with this opportunity, thanks to the CGTalk Forum for make this real.

Some questions more:
1. In what moment do you think or you say, yeah this shot is finished. In a early question you said that if you ask to animators if he can to make it best, he would say yes, no doubt. Then, in what moment you know that your work in the assigned shot is finished? when director says?
2. where finish the director guides and where start the animator freedom? I mean, the director says, hey Emilio, this shot is for you, i want a shot in this style, or animated in this way, i would like that character does this or these movements, or he says this is your shot, try to understand it as well as you can, and ask me your doubts.
3. In "these days" that you aren't with top of motivation or inspiration, what do you do to try to solve this? Have you got a special inspiring material?

Well, i don't want to ask more. thanks again friend.

PD: when you want to visit Spain, you are invited for me, of course! an email or a call, and lets go!
  02 February 2006
Hey, hey!

Hi Emillio!
Directly to the question:
We all know and have read what to include and how to make our DemoReel. But what you do /or did / when you apply for new job ? For example do you include only your "best and recent" works , because... comee ooon let`s face it I can`t say I have a SINGLE shot that i want to show And do you include only the things that you want to stress on /for example only your animation or only your rigging skills/
2. What do you prefer - advanced rig, with all kind of controls that can make everything you want, but incredibly time consuming, or something simpler, but faster ? Because there are some deadlines that you have to consider, and when animating you want everything to looks great, but I personally can`t find the golden middle What do you prefer ? I hope I explained my problem....

Thanks for your time!
Portfolio and Demoreel Review Service

Last edited by scroll-lock : 02 February 2006 at 03:58 PM. Reason: I remembered something else
  02 February 2006
hi emilio,
thanx for clearing up some of the things in our head... have a question

Suppose you had to animate the shrek character in a shot walking by and talking to his friend and suddenly getting hit... how would you practically go about animating it?
Ali Asad

-It takes an effort to make a point
  02 February 2006
Nice, Quick responce. Thank you, Its just what I wanted to know!

*sits back to watch everyone else ask questions I can't think of right now*
Rob Wilson
Hybrid Medical Animation CGer
  02 February 2006
Sorry my english.


How the studio decide which animator will animate one specific scene. What is the principal factor of that decision? Can you select the scenes that you want to animate?
Also, I always loves to see Donkey when he's sleeping, he looks so funny showing his belly.

Thank you!
  02 February 2006
I just want to say first that I absolutely LOVED Madagascar as a 3d artist myself. It's a real must see for anyone working with creative animation. Madagascar showed that there's always room for new and fresh styles. Keep up the good work!

And now for the question: Do you think that animation is something every artist should learn a little? I'm constantly struggling as a young student thinking what I should concentrate on and what I have time to do. It would be really awesome to bring my models to life but it seems to be such a big step (both time- and workwise).
Visit my homepage
Spread the word, sketch everyday!
  02 February 2006
Hey, nice to hear a bit of feedback from the initiated. Just one question. How old were you when you received your first Animation gig?

"Hi Ho Tin Foil"
  02 February 2006
Hi Emile

first of all..Amazing work....simply incredible......

I only have one question...its related to my dissertation for university, Im writting about how tools like motion capture are effecting the animation industry, like how rotoscoping effected disney some people Ive spoke to see it as a threat to there jobs, I havnt made a real opinions on this myself. I just wondered what your opinion on this is...any experiance youve had,

Oh may as well ask another question...what did you do for your first EVER animation job..what was it like...

Animator at Double Negative VFX London..
  02 February 2006
part 4

morning everyone!

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Donkey is alot of fun.Most of us here at PDI agree he's the most fun to animate on Shrek. Thank you TD's and Eddie Murphy! There are no real problems with him to be honest other than your occasional animator mistake like bad acting decisions on my part

I startd here 2 1/2 years ago, and I gotta say it's partially due to my old friend Patrick.

5 tips:
1) Love what you do.
2) listen+understand+learn.
3) get feedback from the people around you as much as possible.
4) don't be scared to try new stuff. If you don't like it, try again.
5) animate, animate, animate, animate, animate, animate, animate...

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Wow. That's very sweet... thank you
@ work: E-motion (PDI anim software)
@ home: 3sdMax

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I've always felt comfortable with squash and stretch animation, probably due to watching at such a young age. For the transition between Shrek2 and Madagascar, PDI gave us a greta ramp up time and some classes with Rex Grignon and Denis Couchon about style, facial systems and rigs. These guys are TOTAL bad asses. As for who setup the style of anim, initially they + the dirs set that up. I remember when we started animating Julian a few of us were given shots to "find" his personality. Man did I struggle! lol

And we [the animators] do all of our own facials. The TD's here setup the faces to be unbelievably squashable. Truly amazing.

And yes, I model/rig/texture my own characters.

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For dialogue, it's important to understand the environment your chatacters are in both spatially (where they are standing, what's around them, etc.) and sequentially in time (what happened before, what got them there, what's about to happen, etc.) to first know where your chars are coming and going. Start with that. I always watch my sequence multiple times and take notes on just about everything I can get my hands on. Now you're ready to listen to what he/she is saying. Pay attention the the tone he/she is using. That's always your best indication of what they're feeling at that moment.

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Everyone take note that this guy can TOTALLY kick my ass in Quake3. He's not human.

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Avi T:

MAdagascar was the BEST project I ever worked on, especially the penguins and. I gotta say, the directors were fantastic about letting us go crazy with these guys. The more we pushed, the more they liked it.What you see in Mad is the result.

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PDI is very generous in giving us time to adjust. It's not really a Ubi-->PDI thing (i had multiple jobs between those two) but more of a software-->software thing. I started way back when on Alias|PowerAnimator and Softimage|3D.

A good palce will give you time to adjust and will probably have some learning classes and such.

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1) see my answer to rblitz7
2) see my answer to Paul-Erik

Hardest char: Puss n' Boots. Small limbs, lots of fur covering facials,
As for me making tutorials, there is something in the works that will cover film animation, but there isn't much to say at this point. I will do it under the name EmilioG

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Great questions! Gotta work now, talk to you in a bit.
Emile Ghorayeb | animator
  02 February 2006
part 5

Pascal Blanche:

I miss you, and I'll see you soon old friend.



  1. In production, you need to figure out how much time you want to allocate (or is given by your boss) to a specific shot. From there you can figure out what needs to get done. It's kind of a teamwork beteen you, your manager, anim dir and director(s). The best advice i can give you is choose to do your favorite shots first so you don't run out of time on them.
  1. it always depends of the shot. Sometimes the directors already have a definitive vision of what they want in a shot, and sometimes you get almost total freedom. Some directors are very specific about what they want and some give you the intention, and let you run with it. I remember on the Penguins short, our director Gary Trousdale (hunchback Of Notre-Dame, Atlantis, etc.) was unreal. I've never had so much freedom before. As long as we got the intention/motivation right, he was happy. Definitely an animators dream.
  2. We all have good and bad days. On the bad days I call my baby often. She's my inspiring material. lol
  3. PD: Hmmm... Spain. I might take you up on that one day! Thanks!

  1. if you're applying for an animatin position, show your animation. I tend to get fun with the presentation. Remember that whoever is looking at your stuff has no idea who you are. 1st impression is extremely important. I tend to put only my best work, and try to put it from best to worst in that order. I don't put any soundtracks (unless your'e showing a videogame reel). I have to admit I have a few shots on my reel just because I'm still emotionally attached to them, but try to have an objective point of view when choosing.
  2. Unfortunately you have to find a middle. Quantity is seldom best. It's like a shot, over animating and putting in tons of poses becomes lame. Hit the poses you need to convey, and stop there. Same with rigs or facials. Don't limit yourself but also don't put too much or it will get ehavy, slow, and stop you from achieving your goals..


I would treat this like any other shot.
  1. find and animate your major beats (this would include the impact, extremes like the steps)
  2. considering the hit, I always key a few frames before, then hit, then a few frames after. You'll be able to refine it later.
  3. passing poses
  4. refine.
i would probably spend alot of time going back on forth on the “hit” frames to analyze body parts and see if everything is flowing like I want it to, and deal with the face afterwards.

Hope that helps!



hey there! PDI is great with shot assignements. They encourage us to tell them when we're interested in any particular shot on the sequence we're on. Depending on the complexity of the shot, i will be most likely be given to a certain level of animator. More senior animators get more complicated shots. Newbies arer usually given 1 or 2 easier shots at the beginning so they can get the hang of it, etc.


Thank you for the kind words.

Animation is VERY, VERY time consuming if you want to get good at it. Not that I'm any good... I'm working on it!! Stop judging meeee! lol

Seriously though. you should concentrate on what you really want to do whether it's modeling, rigging, anim, etc. once you're very comfortable with that, start exploring. The dilemma I mostly see is that either you work at a major place like here at PDI, and you're needed to be very specific about what you do, or smaller studios require more of a generalist.



I made a few flipbooks when I was young, but got no money for it :(
21 @ Ubisoft Entertainment.



lol... thanks

the mocap question: I believe there is a place for mocap like in realistic crowds (LOTR, Titanic, etc.), but even then the directors choose to keyframe certain characters because they want to be very specific. I detest seeing cartoony characters get mocaped. It just looks wrong. The whole point of a cartoon is to play with reality. I don't see mocap as a threat, but more like another tool, just not mine

My 1st real animation was making a 3D toy character jump and swing his sword frame by frame, object by object, no IK with the companie's inhouse software, the second he landed, I popped his head off, arms fell off, followed by the body popping off the legs. All you had left as a pile of body parts. I kept that one.
Emile Ghorayeb | animator

Last edited by emilioG : 02 February 2006 at 09:46 PM.
  02 February 2006
I can´t belive you´re in the forum , Is amazing we can talk with people like you!

I´m from Mexico and am keep working to be an animator, hope I will work in small proyects like comercial spots, but my GREAT DREAM was to do masterpices like your work.

My respect and best wishes for you man

P.S. recently see your webpage. I like Harley a lot, her remindme Mad love

Be yourserlf every time, you´re the Coolest one

Last edited by Rofideo : 02 February 2006 at 10:38 PM.
  02 February 2006
Round 2!

thanks for the replies man a lot of great insight there.

I was wondering if you have any personal projects on the side like a short film and what are some of the things out there that inspire you be it shorts or movies or something else.

  02 February 2006

I miss our conversations outside the big glass doors on your thousands of smoke breaks. Those late nights could get pretty greusome.

Just wanted to say congrats on the front page! You deserve it.
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