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  11 November 2006
Hi Simon! Im 16 year old student from Finland, and i've been thinking about getting into the animation bussiness. So I wanted to ask you: Do you got any tips or hints to a beginner animator?

-Tuomo Rinne
  11 November 2006
<Winner> Hey Cameron, Yes, we usually don't force people to work in a specific method. As long as the ideas are communicated there is no problem. Personally, I like to block my animation out in stepped mode with the fewest amount of keys necessary. This first pass displays my idea of the structure, composition and general acting idea of the shot. As soon as I have the directors approval, I go ahead and add breakdowns to my shot. Once I am happy with that, I “spline” everything and work in layers from then on and polish the shot until it's done.

Generally, the earlier your method can display most of your ideas, the better. It will give you more time in the end to polish your scene and make it perfect!


Thanks for the info Simon...
  11 November 2006
jasonsco>dito! ...and money's coming your way!

andy_maxman Hey Anand, Short films are generally the best way to display your skills, not only as an animator/lighter/modeler etc. but also as a filmmaker and storyteller. It is hugely advantageous to understand the entire process of animation filmmaking. Plus, if you happen to turn out an outstanding piece of shortfilm you can really make yourself heard and get job offers from places you didn't even imagine. The guy who did “9 “ for example actually managed to pull out a movie deal, an academy award nomination and virtually every Hollywood studio chasing him after his film made his way through town. Of course that's not the norm, but a lot of good things can happen also on a much smaller scale. Most animators though, get hired purely based on their demo reel...

It doesn't really matter which part is your work as long as you can display what YOU did on it. If you're the director and you feel somebody can do a certain job better than you and is willing to work on it, then you should definitely go for it. That's also an important talent, recognizing your strength and weaknesses... I don't know, did I answer your question?

Seemoo Hallo Simon. I saw your demo reel and loved it. Especially your Nemo tests. Really impressive!

Du, falls mal in LA bisch, chum doch mal verbii. Kennsch du dae Jean-Denis Haas? Schriib mer doch uf mini privat e-mail adresse. du findsch si uf oisaerem blog unter infos und fotos!!

bblackbourn I really liked working with you too, man! I hope it'll happen again soon...

Jassar 1. Not on the animation side, but on the backend of the pipeline. The last few 2D movies were almost entirely comparable to CG films in terms of CG complexity. Although, compared to the capabilities of todays machines, they would probably already be quite archaic! Again, I am not a Tech guy as such. Somebody else should probably answer that question for me ...

2. Being well known is a side-effect to being talented and determined. So, you really have to want to do good work and work at it hard. Of course there is always luck involved, but only in terms of how fast you get there. If you're really good and have a lot of commitment, you'll get there for sure somehow. Somebody will see your potential and will want to use it to their advantage (and that's a good thing!!!)

Bunnyjen I am not quite sure I understand that question. But 2D artwork is still the way we design everything that is being created in CG here at Dreamworks...

Well, in games I really don't know, but I assume it's the same as in films. CG movies made way more money and 2D films were less and less successful. It became a business decision and it will become a business decision again when it's time to move back into 2D (or something like it) I believe.

It probably has to do with the fascination of something new. The realistic, believeable worlds that are being created in CG are more fascinating to todays audiences. But it will swing back again in some way.

I would search online. Endless magazine and newspaper stories about this “phenomenon” have been published over the past decade or so...

hus2005 We worked on HP workstations/Linux and the animation was done in MAYA. It was Dreamworks last MAYA production for the animation department. All future shows will be animated in EMO (Dreamworks/PDI proprietary software).

AnimAmaker See the answer to <SuperHero> on post #25

dbsmith chips and fish

hmedia Paul! As a matter of fact, I am having a beer as we speak and people are lounging outside of my office. Everybody is really relaxed and very happy with how everything turned out. Especially in terms of animation, but also about the way the movie has been critically received and the higher than expected numbers. For us animators this has been an extremely educating experience and we all came out as much more accomplished artists. That's what really counts the most for us.

This is always the time to take it a little easier and talk about the different reactions and experiences people had. Of course, you always wish that you work on a movie that will become that cultural phenomenon that everybody on this earth will see, but considering the moderate US boxoffice numbers of Wallace and Gromit, we knew that that wasn't necessarily going to happen in this country...


Last edited by sotto : 11 November 2006 at 02:45 AM.
  11 November 2006

More than anything I was just wondering if it were polygons or nurbs. I ask because so many big studios have switched to polygons/subdees in the last few years for there character pipelines(ILM,WETA,BlueSky,etc...). I was just wondering because PDI/Dreamworks is one of the few big studios still using nurbs.

  11 November 2006
Hey Simon,

Thank you for the reply. It was very much appreciated, I wish you all the best in any future projects as well as life.
  11 November 2006
Thumbs up hi

Hello Simon,

I have seen the trailor, dam good, very very nice. ultimate expressions... over all lookin nice.
great job..
  11 November 2006
Originally Posted by sotto:
<theflash> I'm glad you like them. We worked really hard on those in animation and I think you can find some of the most amazing 2D animation in them. Unfortunately, too few people actually went out to see it.

I find inspiration in a lot of artists, but for animation it must have been Milt Kahl, Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston at first and then later the guys around me (James Baxter, Kristof Serrand, Rodolphe Guenoden, William Salazar, Fabio Lignini, Jakob Jensen, Dan Wagner etc....) I don't know if you're familiar with any of these guys' work, but they're incredible. Tell me what you think of their stuff, if you happen to know them..!

I animated day and night (2D), acting scene after acting scene. I sketched a lot in the city of Paris as well and watched a lot of animation frame by frame.

Hi Simon, I hope you are feeling well and are up again. Thanks for taking time to answer our questions.

It's really unfortunate that not many ppl went to watch those 2d animation movies. But to me they are master work, esp prince of egypt (though I have not seen the movie, I have seen a book of artwork on it, amazing). I remember now some of the names from that book as you have mentioned, I looked for your name too, but unfortunately I could not find.

I will surely find out more about ppl you have mentioned and surely let you know. Thanks again for taking time. And yes surely you are in my list of most fav artists

Wow! I feel great, I talked to the artist who has worked on 3 most amazing and my most fav movies
[ myRiggingBLOG ]
[ myAnimBLOG ]
[ myWebsite ]
"Life is animation and we are our own animators." -i

Last edited by theflash : 11 November 2006 at 11:27 AM.
  11 November 2006

Hi Simon!
I have a some questions for you.

1) i have been doing 3d animation for a while now, do you think i should learn 2d animation aswell,
and do you think this will contribute to more jobs from clients and if i learn it do you think
i will get a better understanding of animation, rather than just doing 3D.

2) should i learn all aspect of 3d and 2d before i find my spessiality, and do you
have any thoughts on if i will succede in the bizznizz better if i find my spessiality,
rather than just doing everything

3) i'm 18 years old and i'm thinking about going to an animation school for 1-3 years
do you think this is a good idea. you get friends, contacts and a experience for life, but this
proabbly is going to cost some money. should i go to school or apply for a job in the field of
animation right now. i have been working with 3d for allmost 3 years now on my sparetime, but have
only had a spessial interesst for character animation for about 1 year.
you can see my showreel at this page:

4) can you give me some advice about breaking into the industry?
  11 November 2006
Hello, thanks for taking time out to answer any of are questions. I am a highschool senior in AP Art and I just wanted to ask what art college do you think would be a good experience without sacrificing a lot of money , and what should I be doing right now to one day, be in your position. Thank you very much
  11 November 2006
Originally Posted by sotto:
andy_maxman Hey Anand,

It doesn't really matter which part is your work as long as you can display what YOU did on it. If you're the director and you feel somebody can do a certain job better than you and is willing to work on it, then you should definitely go for it. That's also an important talent, recognizing your strength and weaknesses... I don't know, did I answer your question?

totally Simon, thanks for your time.

All of them are such great informations. If you get the time, i wanted to ask one more -

- what according to you is the current threat to the animation industry? both technically and creatively speaking...


  11 November 2006
Hi Simon.
I just wanted to say thanks a lot for the comments on my reel! I appreciate it.

Chris Myers
My home page and Portfolio

  11 November 2006

Hello Simon, First off I would like to thank you in advance for taking the time to responed to all of our questions. Plus I would like to join everyone else and simply state that I am a big fan of your work.

My question is pretty simple. I am an animation student and want to focus on 3D animation but the school that I am attending says that it is best for me to learn the animation princables, such as, squash and stretch, etc., etc. in 2D first. I'm not complaining, in fact I enjoy learning the princables this way. I'm pretty new to the animation world. I love doing it but my teacher, or professor, whatever you want to call him says that my drawing style is to "tight" and that I need to loosen up.

I agree with him so I was wondering if you could help me by explaining your approach to 2D animation. Also if there are any warm-ups that you might have done and could share would be more than helpful.

Thanks again for your help

Last edited by Splinter : 11 November 2006 at 03:57 AM.
  11 November 2006
Simon, Thanks for doing this!

My question is: What is the command structure on this film? Different studios seem to do this in different ways. And I was wondering how it was done on FA.

For instance, in some studios, the Animation Supervisors are what at other studios are labelled as Supervising Animators. Or at some studios the Animation Supe is has more of a technical slant and oversees the char animation and character setup departments while the Supervising Animator just supervises the animators and maybe helps setup characters via suggestions.

What was the structure on FA and at DreamWorks? Is there an Animation Supervisor position and Supervising Animator's position? Or were the labelled some other way?

I realize this may not make complete sense. However, I hope you can see enough of what I'm trying to say to supply an answer.


Last edited by robodave : 11 November 2006 at 09:51 PM.
  11 November 2006
Originally Posted by sotto: <LGM> Nathan, Yes, Supervising Animators usually do the casting of the scenes in their sequences.
Supervisors oversee sequences that are animated by a team of animators including ourselves. Usually the supervisors have each developed one of the main characters in pre-production and are then cast on sequences that feature "their" characters.

The problem with character supervision in CG is that for technical and budget reasons you have sequences travel as a whole through the "pipeline". A team is assigned in every department to that sequence, whether it's in lighting or in animation or in layout. That team is responsible for animating that sequence from beginning to end. Whether it's this character or that character doesn't really play a role. That has advantages in terms of efficiency because an animator takes the whole shot and animates everyone in the shot. The benefit from that is, that you don't have five animators working on the same shot, trying to steal the show. The downside, of course, is having character-specific style or acting ideas. To supervise that, is very difficult if you have fifty animators working on all the characters.

Thanks so much for explaining all that! I've been wondering for a long time how that work is distributed, and those problems met.

Animation Website
  11 November 2006
You guys really did an amazing job on Flushed Away! It's a shame Aardman and Dreamworks won't be working together again...

Anyway, I was wondering a couple of things:
1. I read in Animation Magazine that a year before the release the hamsters that were in the first trailer were removed to make Roddy a more likable guy. How did you guys manage to reanimate all the scenes that used to have the hamsters? Was it very time consuming, or were they not really around enough to cause a problem?
2. I also read that there were no hair simulations, so how exactly was the hair animated?
3. Any interesting things about animating the slugs?

Thank you!
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