August 29, 2005

Monday Morning Inspiration

Every once in a while I'll get a short shot, and I'll be tempted to skip the "thumb nailing-acting out-planning ahead-thought process" part and just jump on the computer move stuff around and get the shot done. And I've also noticed that when I do this, these shots tend to be the hardest to final. Even when I know what needs to be done, just jotting down a few sketches can really save me some time in the long run. For me thumnailing my ideas doesn't just help me explore the idea, it gives me a bluepritnt as to how I plan on animating the shot. That way the third or fourth day working on the shot, after staying up late the night before, I won't screw up the shot in a sleepy like daze.

This morning I was reading a page or two of my Walt Staunchfield book and I came across a chapter where he quotes a bunch of the masters. It's all about planning ahead, so I thought I'd copy them down here for your monday morning inspiration:

Milt Kahl: "9 out of 10 times before I animate I know exactly what I'm going to do" "The worst thing you can do is to get into anything before you know what you're doing."

Art Babbitt: "Think about your work before you sit down to do it. You must think and plan - you can't wing it."

Grim Natwick: "Planning it so that you know exactly where you're going..."

Ollie Johnston: "I think its in the planning. If you can plan the stuff out so you really know exactly what you're going to do...if you know exactly what you're going to do - and have it visualized - why you can do it pretty fast."

Ken Harris: "The only advice I know is to think it all out in your mind and then draw it the best you can..."

August 26, 2005

Toshiba Resurch

I went to Best Buy during lunch. I went there on the off chance that they had the new Toshiba M4. They didn't, but they did have an earlier version of the Toshiba Tablet PC. It was unlabeled so I don't know what it was. I wanted to find out if the screen would bother me. I wanted to know if the lighter "View Anywhere" was better, or if I'd prefer a 14" screen with higher resolution. That seems to be the triad off, either a small light view anywhere or bigger and better but heaver.

I found I liked the Toshiba a lot, I still wish it was lighter, four pounds was pretty heavy and the pen that they had at the shop wasn't pressure sensitive. I must find out if the M4 is pressure sensitive or not.

Then I have to decide if I want to wait longer or buy now.

I had to turn off the comments on this post because of all the spam it's been getting. If you want to comment feel free to use the previous post.

August 25, 2005


I'm one of the many animators guilty of listening to music while they animate. I've read Richard William's book, and his opening chapter about unplugging. The excuse I always used for not unplugging was that it gave me extra energy to work with. Well these past few weeks I got board with my music collection and I put my zen away for a while. And I'll be damned if I didn't noticed that my photage count took a big jump. And my work looked better to boot. I wouldn't call myself a disciple to RW's unplugged theory but I don't think I'll be listening to music much any more.

Waiting for a Tablet PC

Everyone is telling me to wait a little while before buing a tablet PC. I find this frustrating, I'm already to buy one today. I'm pretty sure I want a slate model and I've pretty much decided that the TC1100 or the LE1600 is the right one for me. I am tempted by the Toshiba M4 because of the faster graphics card, higher resolution and 14 inch monitor. But I think it would weigh to much, I really want to use it to do observational sketches and I don't think I'd drag around a big heavy laptop to do that with.

But I think I'll wait a couple months to see if the graphics cards improve. If the LE1600 had better resolution I don't think I would need to wait, but we'll see.

I do like the idea of Wacom coming out with at tablet PC though.

I did find a couple useful links regarding tablet PCs:

Here's a pretty active forum where you can ask other tablet owners about their computers:

This is Chad Essley's blog, he's a cartoonist and a big fan of the tablet, he has a cool demo video of his experiences:

And of course if you haven't seen it already there's Jim's post on "Why Every Animator Should Own A Tablet PC

August 22, 2005

DAMMIT, Tablet Envy

A friend of mine flew down for my daughter's first birthday. She's a good friend of mine from way back. I knew that she had just bought a tablet PC, and I knew that she was going to bring it with her. After Jason's and Jim's posts on tablet PCs I knew it was something I would like. But I also knew they were bloody expensive. I had a really bad experience buying an over price computer so I didn't want to get burned again. I wanted to resist it, I really didn't want to see the darn thing. I've got a very fine sketchbook after all. What do I need with a expensive gadget. She showed it to me, I stayed up tell two in the morning playing with it.

Now my only question is which one should I get?

I must reasearch.

I get you back for this Mel...

August 18, 2005

Joe Ranft Memorial Information

Here is the Memorial Information for Joe Ranft:

Joe's family will be having a funeral and memorial this Sunday and we will be having a celebration of Joe's life on September 17th here at Pixar for his friends and colleagues.

In lieu of flowers, the Ranft family respectfully requests that donations be made to the ‘Joseph Henry Ranft Memorial Fund,’ and sent care of Pixar Animation Studios, 1200 Park Avenue, Emeryville, CA, 94608.

I first met Joe at CalArts, he was a story teacher there. Later I bumped into him at Pixar. At the time I didn't know much about him. I knew he was good, and I thought he was a very nice guy. I had no idea that he had worked on so many projects and touched so many lives. He was so humble I just assumed that he was a story teacher who got into Pixar early on. Boy was I wrong. Ever sense the news came out I've been floored by how many people he's known and has worked with. He has had a truly memorable life, it has become clear to me that he will be missed by a lot of people.

August 17, 2005

Joe Ranft

I heard some very sad news today. Joe Ranft died on August 16th in a car accident. Joe Ranft was a story artist at Disney, Skellington and Pixar. He did some incredible story work and was one of the best story guys around. He was also the voice for a lot of animated characters, my personal favorite was Heimlich, the caterpillar in "A Bugs Life." He will be missed. I don't know the details of the accident, but everyone please, buckle up and drive safely.

August 15, 2005

Hard at Work

I've been up to my eyeballs with work so I haven't been able to write anything. Work is good.