Meet the Artist: Victor Navone


Victor Navone
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:
Animation Mentor

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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


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?


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?



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?


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? :slight_smile:


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? :slight_smile: any good advice for an aspiring artists. more success
to ur career! :slight_smile:

  • nards


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, 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


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


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!


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:


I’d like to be similar to you. How would I acheive this?

Thank-you in advance…


hi , Pixar , this is so BIG! i wana know where you study ? or how you get all the knowledge to get into pixar .


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.


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 :smiley:

God Bless,
George Castro


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?


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.


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.


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?

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

Thanks for your comments!


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?