Animators by day Animation teachers by night.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Spline Doctors, where are you...teaching?

Its the new semester and a lot of folks have been inquiring about where they can take classes that the Spline Doctors teach at. Originally, when this blog was started, all the teachers were at the Academy or Art University in San Francisco. It was myself, Angus, Mike, Scott Clark and Stephen Gregory. Alot of us are doing different things. Angus is not teaching right now, Mike is also taking a break, as is Stephen Gregory. At the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, here are the guys teaching the 4 animation classes that are within the "pixar" track, which is not really supposed to be called the pixar track. Pixar animators just happen to teach there.

Level one: Matt Majers and Michal Makerawictz (Matt is great animator who attended Cal-Arts and Michal is one of my former students that has been at Pixar for 4 or 5 years now.

Level one (class two) Andy Beall and Travis Hathaway. Andy and I went to school together. He worked at Warner Bros (iron Giant etc) and has headed up the animation fix team. He is a great teacher with alot of passion and knowledge. Travis is a Cal Arts grad who has been at Pixar since days of Finding Nemo. He is an amazing animator and a great teacher. We taught the summer interns this year.

Level Two Animation: Adam Burke and Mike Wu
Adam is an animation veteran of just about every major studio (Bluth, Warners, etc) and came on during the Incredibles. He brings a wealth of knowledge and a back east attitude. Mike is a 10 year Disney vet who also came on during the Incredibles. He is an awesome teacher and both guys can draw like mo-fo's.

Level Three Animation: Scott Clark and Mark Walsh
Scott was a Supervising Animator on Cars and is Supervising on Pete Docters new film. Mark Walsh is a 10 year Veteran who was a directing animator on Finding Nemo and a Supervising Animator on Rat. Both guys will be working on the third installment of the Virgin Voyage group project, which is as close as you get to doing feature quality work in a school environment. Students are also going to be doing individual projects.

I am taking a semester off from the level 3 class to help start the Animation Program at the California College of Art (CCA). We are gathering some really good people to get the program going and we hope it will be different from other Animation Schools. Hopefully, Mark Andrew's will be coming to teach Story come spring. I am really gonna miss teaching with the guys. It was a great run and most of all, I'll miss the booze afterward and of course, the students.

As for Stephen Gregory, he is currently taking a break and is seeking individuals to mentor. (I think...) You will have to confirm with him... He is an amazing teacher and I would sign up if I was a student.

Former Spline Doc and veteran Pixar animator Billy Merrit is teaching at Ringling in Florida when he is not enjoying a cigar or fishing.

Good Luck to all the students this semester and keep your eyes peeled for more Spline Casts, Roundtables and posts during the year.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Way to go OHIO!

I'm sure many of you have heard about FJORG at siggraph this year. An Iron Animator event in which 16 competing teams from around the world had 32 hours to create the most impressive character-driven animation of at least 15 seconds in length adhering to at least one of two themes and using at least one of 16 sound bites. A couple months ago, I went to teach animation for a few days in Ohio. The guy who invited me to BGSU was head of the computer animation department at BGSU, or so I thought. His name was Jim Levasseur. We corresponded for a few months to actually set this thing up. When I got their, he picked me up in an old beater car with two other guys, Tomas Jech and Jacob Gardner. They looked really young to be faculty. Turns out they were not faculty, but students. Jim and the other guys were part of a computer animation club. They totally orchestrated the process of getting me out to BGSU. These three guys were totally driven. They really wanted to learn animation. At the very end of the class, they showed me a short film they were working on to get into the Fjorg thing. I thought it looked great.

Anyhow, they went on to win the FJORG competition! Three guys from Bowling Green State University. A true Cinderella story. Competing against professionals from places like Polygon Pictures and Tippet Studios. I did an email interview with them.


Great jobs guys. Any studio would be more than lucky to have you working with them. Especially, now that you proved that you will work long hours... :)

other links:

FJORG documentary
The film the submitted to get in
The Film that won

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Story Spline Cast with Mark Andrews and Ted Mathot

I finally got around to editing a version good enough to post. This is an interview I did with Mark Andrews and Ted Mathot in the Lucky 7 lounge at Pixar. Mark was the head of Story on the Incredibles and Ratatouille and Ted is a veteran story artist who will be working with Brad on his next project. I hope you enjoy the Podcast. Expect a version with chapters and images on iTunes soon. I wanted to get this one up ASAP. The audio quality could be better, and it will be with the next Spline Cast! I just finished one with Pete Doctor. Expect that one in the next few weeks.

Hope you enjoy the Spline Cast.. Please send your feedback

Download the Spline Cast Here