As Sean discussed in his last post, being the crew on a film is very much like being the crew on a ship. We have grown closer and stronger as a crew as we muscle through each of these storms. One of the things that is great about our crew is that we all come from different backgrounds, and we have different strengths, we have different specialties, which makes us stronger as a whole.
I myself studied Fine Art and Computer Animation in undergrad, where I made a short film by myself. Sean has been studying hand drawn animation since high school, and then went on to continue his education at Cal Arts, where he made several short films. Justin studied Computer Graphics as a generalist in his undergrad, and has now moved onto specialize in Texturing and Lighting. Ryo studied Media Science in college in Tokyo. Moos worked in a small production company working on motion graphics for commercials and music videos. So we come from many different backgrounds and we have different strengths, and the great thing about working together on this film is that we all want to share our knowledge with each other, so that we can all become better artists.
One of the first times that this crossover between backgrounds happened was when we started to work on the mods for our characters. Sean with his background in hand drawn drew the turnarounds of our characters. Justin with his technical knowledge of Maya started to test out the process for modding “Morphy,” after which he showed the process to me. With my background in modeling in Maya, I took both Sean’s turnarounds and Justin’s modding process and started to create our characters in 3D. I worked for a long time modeling the meshes to get them to look the way we wanted them, and then Moos was brought onto the project and he helped me finish off the final steps of the modding process.
While the modding process was going on, Sean was teaching us about hand drawn animation, about posing and timing, and what animation looks like when it’s done right. Which lead us to look to the past, and study the best hand drawn animators at Disney; Milt Kahl, Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, John Lounsbery, and Marc Davis. Studying the films on which they were the Directing Animators, such as, Sleeping Beauty, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, The Sword in the Stone, and The Jungle Book has been an eye opening experience for me as a 3D animator. Now we can start to understand how the Nine Old Men did what they did with hand drawn animation, and how we can learn from them, and use what we learn in our film today.