Chunyong Chong Panther Animation

Final animation form Ianimate creature class1 - Rig from Ianimate

iAnimate Starts Monday!


Don't get left behind! There are only a few more days to sign up for this block at iAnimate.

I am teaching WS6 - Sequence Work this term and you can apply here.

A Few spots still Open at iAnimate for WS5 - Instructor Angie Jones

I have 4 spots left in my WS5 course at iAnimate... 
to learn more about the workshops at iAnimate.

iAnimate Student Spotlight - Matt Roe

Matt Roe was my student last Spring 2014 in the iAnimate WS4 - Facial Acting and also my student for WS3 - Advanced Body Mechanics Fall 2013 at iAnimate  Matt killed every shot he started.  

The piece with the church door he is trying to open was a VERY long piece of Advanced Body mechanics and I worried he might not finish... but he completed it in spades.  The piece with Sheldon playing a mafia type from around the way (Deniro's voice) is definitely my favorite, but he also nailed the subtlety on the last shot of his reel with the clip of the character against the fridge.  I am so proud of Matt's work and I know he will not be a free agent for long.

Check out Matt's work here!

iAnimate Student Spotlight - Ngan Chung

Ngan Chung was my student last Fall 2013 and she blew me away.  She has an incredible sense of timing and her dramatic piece was as good as her comedic work in my class.  The first shot is my favorite of her work though.  She used smear and blur frames effectively and her personal acting reference was spot on the first time she posted.  She would probably kill me if I posted her reference here, but there is a lot of Ngan in that first shot and I think that is why I like it so much.
Check out Ngan's work here!

iAnimate Student Spotlight - Rod Dimayuga

Rodolfo Dimayuga was a joy to teach at iAnimate. I seriously looked forward to his submissions every time we met. He also pushed past the basic criteria of a closeup for acting and added psycho logic gesture and attitude beyond the original acting clip had.

Rod took my WS4 - Facial and Dialog Acting Class Summer of 2013. He did two great pieces with me in that class and I show the work on my WS4-5 student example reel as some of the best.

(Clips are on the reel above)
1 - Chief Orman clip.
2 - Passed Gas clip.

Rod is normally a humble shy guy, but when he created reference for his shots the true thespian came out. He also entertained my idea of using other student performances when he animated the female character and chose the best selects from that to work from for his animations. Rod has been hired at Rainmaker now, and I wish his all the best in his career.  He is very talented and will go far.

4 Spots Left in Workshop 5 Feature iAnimate - Instructor Angie Jones

Above is a student reel by James Maloney.
He did the first and the last piece on that reel in my WS5 class.
Want to raise the bar on your work to land that character animation job?
I have 4 spots left in my WS5 course at iAnimate... 
My WS3 and WS4 classes are now full.
to learn more about the workshops I teach at iAnimate.

    Workshop 4 and Workshop 5 Feature Student Work iAnimate - Instructor Angie Jones

    This is a collection of the best of the best work by my students at iAnimate in Workshop 4 - Close Up Acting and Workshop 5 Full Body Acting. Above is a sample of the past three years. Each student's name is located in the top left corner and workshop level in the bottom right.

    I will be teaching my usual three Workshops this Summer, at starting in May... and the classes are filling fast!
    Workshop 3 - Advanced Body Mechanics - 1 spot open
    Workshop 4 - Close Up Acting - 2 spots still open
    Workshop 5 - Full Body Acting - 4 spots still open
    Click here to learn more about the workshops I teach at iAnimate

    I like to combine the lectures for WS4 and WS5, since I teach both.  The energy from students is both workshops is similar and I like to house everyone in one place.  The WS5 students push the WS4 students and more time than not the WS4 students also inspire the WS5 work, too.  The only real difference between these two workshops is the camera is pulled back a bit in WS5 to incorporate more acting and gestures which can complicate the approach.  
    Here is a sample of some of the topics I cover in lecture for WS4 and WS5:
    • Character Analysis
    • Maya How To's Advanced
    • Using Reference
    • Workflow
    • Workflow Checklists
    • Roadblocks
    • Eyes
    • Lipsych and Facial
    • Lipsynch Workflow
    • Pushing Poses
    • Hands and Gestures
    • Staging
    • Laban
    • Comdey VS. Tragedy
    • What is Funny
    • The Comic Hero
    • Career Strategies
    • Progress Reels
    • Moving Holds
    • Phrasing and Texture
    • Animation Styles
    • Polishing

    ianimate Student Spotlight - Kevin Nguyen

    Kevin Nguyen turned out to be one of my favorite students last block.  Every week he surprised me with more attention to detail and some of the funniest reference I have ever seen. Kevin is dedicated to becoming the best animator he can be and I believe he will not be a free agent for long with these new shots (the first and second shot he did in WS5 with me) on his demo.

    A Few spots still Open at iAnimate - Instructor Angie Jones

    The Spring classes for iAnimate are filling up.
    I am teaching:
    WS3 Advanced Body Mechanics - CLASS IS FULL
    WS4 Facial Acting and Lip sync - one spot still OPEN!
    WS5 Full Body Acting and Facial Lip sync - a few spots still OPEN!

    Classes start again January 6th, 2013

    ianimate Student Spotlight - James Maloney

    James Maloney was unstoppable in my WS5 Full Body Acting Class Summer 2013.  James gets it.  I would just suggest a couple things to make his work better and he would take that morsel and turn it into a fantastic performance.  James is coming out to LA in November, so grab him for your next project!
    Check out James Maloney

    Update:  James is now a cinematic animator at Blizzard Entertainment and he said they really liked the last shot he did with me from the movie Love Happens.  Congrats to James!


    One of my students at iAnimate did this little test and I think it's SUPER!

    Brian Horgan Scripting Reel 2013

    My student at - Brian Horgan has done it again!
    A reel full of all of his animation-centric scripts for animatros!
    Check it out!

    Angie Jones - Fall classes for iAnimate are almost full!

    The Fall classes for iAnimate are filling up.
    I am teaching:
    WS3 Advanced Body Mechanics - CLASS IS FULL
    WS4 Facial Acting and Lip sync - 4 slots free
    WS5 Full Body Acting and Facial Lip sync - CLASS IS FULL

    Classes start again September 9th, 2013

    ianimate Student Spotlight - JinngHwee Tan

    August 2013's ianimate Student Spotlight is - JinngHwee Tan!

    JinngHwee worked very hard in my WS3 Advanced Body Mechanics Class Spring 2013.  It was tough because he experienced the layoffs at Lucas Arts in Singapore while taking my class, but he always surprised me with his ideas.  he is working on a website right now to find work, but in the meantime, you can watch his video on his youtube channel.

    Check out Jinng Hwee Tan!

    Update: Jinng Hwee is now an animator at ILM!

    ianimate Fall Classes are Filling Up

    The Fall classes for iAnimate are filling up.
    I am teaching: 
    WS3 Advanced Body Mechanics - 6 slots free
    WS4 Facial Acting and Lip sync - 4 slots free
    WS5 Full Body Acting and Facial Lip sync - CLASS IS FULL

    Classes start again September 9th, 2013

    iAnimate Student Spotlight - Emily Harrenstein

    Emily Harrenstein Animation Reel 2014 from Emily Harrenstein on Vimeo.

    July's 2013's Student Spotlight is - Emily Harrenstein
    Emily was one of my first students at ianimate - Summer 2011. She did an amazing job on her Bird Cage piece (last shot) on the reel above in my WS4 class.  She really embodied the character Agador that Hank Azaria played.  Equally funny was to see the ianimate scarecrow rig act so effeminate.  She has a very subtle touch, especially for an animator who has never worked int he industry before!

    iAnimate Student Spotlight - Gabriel Martinez

    June 2013's ianimate Student Spotlight is - Gabriel Martinez!

    Gabriel is one of my students who stuck with me from Workshop 3 - Advanced Body mechanics, to Workshop 2 - Closeup Facial and Dialog Acting and finally Workshop 5 - Full Body Acting.  It was so inspiring to watch his growth from trying to get mechanics right in WS3 at ianimate all the way to complex pantomime and dialog scenes.  I am so proud of my baby bird, all "growed up!"

    My favorite piece he did with me in class was the last on the reel above, dialog from the tv show Modern Family.

    iAnimate Student Spotlight - Lorenzo Colaiori

    May 2013's ianimate Student Spotlight is - Lorenzo Colaiori. Lorenzo always went beyond expectations in my class.  He even donned a girl's pink wig!!! when acting out reference for one of his close up acting shots that was driven by a female character.  Lorenzo is now a graduate of ianimate and I couldn't be more proud!
    Mr. Colaiori took my WS3 - Advanced Body Mechanics course AND the WS4 - Closeup Facial Acting and Lip sync course at ianimate Spring 2011 and Fall of 2012.  You can see how both his body mechanics and facial acting are top notch!

    Update: Lorenzo is now living in America and working as an animator for Riot Games!

    iAnimate Student Spotlight - Matt Egler

    Matt Egler Animation Reel from Matt Egler on Vimeo.

    Starting the New Year off right!  January 2013's Student Spotlight is - Matt Egler!  Matt is that kind of student you hope for. He was a sponge soaking in every note and adding to each idea to plus it beyond my wildest dreams as a teacher.  I love the last piece on this reel with the new ianimate rig - "Billy."  It's the perfect example of how you can take audio out of context and make it even funnier. His weight assignment with the little girl trying to push a plug into a socket is equally fantastic.

    Matt took my WS3 - Advanced Body Mechanics course AND the WS4 - Closeup Facial Acting and Lip sync course at ianimate Summer and fall of 2012.  His body mechanics work was equally impressive to his facial assignments and the piece where the girl is trying to plug in the outlet was a great exercise in staying true to scale.
    Matt is an animator now at Nerd Corps!


    Stray short film from iAnimate on Vimeo.

    An internal student project, directed by Andrew Atteberry.
    About the project from the director: This is a collaborative short film project I initiated during my time at iAnimate, a series of online animation workshops created by Dreamworks animator Jason Ryan. I was very fortunate and lucky to have so many talented animators want to help me with this project that were also attending iAnimate at the time. In addition to the help I received from iAnimate, Magnetic Dreams Animation Studio helped me bring this film across the finish line by allowing me use of their render farm and a large portion of their staff. Magnetic Dreams went so far above and beyond the call of duty in helping me to get this project through all of the stages of production, I certainly could not have pulled this together without them. Solid Angle was a big part of the team as well, they graciously helped with render licenses for their proprietary render engine "Arnold" which really helped add a beautiful look to the final frames. Finally, music and sound design provided by wonderfully talented Cathleen Flynn and Tim Gilmer (respectively) They really stepped up when I needed something unique and fitting and gave this film its voice. I'm extremely proud of what this group of people, from all corners of the globe, accomplished together (especially considering the non-existent budget :) I hope that you enjoy STRAY as much as I enjoyed the experience of making it!
    For more information about iAnimate animation and rigging workshop:
    Thanks to Magnetic Dreams:
    Tim Gilmer (Sound Design):
    Cathleen Fylnn (Music):

    ianimate Student Showcase - Richie Prado

    December 2012's ianimate Student Spotlight is - Richie Prado.   Richie had an amazing talent for finding subtlety in his work quickly and focusing on the details.  His poses became stronger everyday in my class.  He took my WS3 - Advanced Body Mechanics course at ianimate Summer 2012.  His work is fantastic!  The "waiting for the elevator" scene, above is the one he did with me last summer, but you can see how great his body mechanics is getting in all of the shots on this reel.

    Richie is a freelance animator based in the UK.

    ianimate Student Showcase - Brian Horgan

    November 2012's ianimate Student Spotlight is - Brian Horgan.   Brian was one of those students you love to have in class because he is so passionate about animation it is infectious.  He took my WS3 - Advanced Body Mechanics course at ianimate Spring 2012. This is the first time students introduce performance into their work.  

    In WS3, I teach some concepts from an acting class I took with Ed Hooks in 1998, called Laban.  Dancers and actors use Laban to devise a quick description of how to occupy space.  Brian used the ianimate Blurb rig to describe this motion as an extra assignment and I use the examples in my classes to teach the concepts.  Some examples of these Laban tests are on the reel above. 

    Brian is currently animating on a short film for a Norway based studio, Tilnærmet Lik,  as the animator/rigger on a 1 minute short that will be a promo for the studio. 

    Congrats Brian!

    p.s. Brian also creates lots of great tools for animators like the ghost tool below.

    bhGhost Tutorial from Brian Horgan on Vimeo.

    ianimate Student Showcase - Adam Slater

    Adam Slater Animation Reel from adam slater on Vimeo.

    I apologize for my tardiness for October 2012's ianimate Student Spotlight.  It's been a busy month for me. Adam Slater is this month's student spotlight!  He took my WS4 - Closeup Facial Acting and Lip sync course at ianimate Fall 2011. The first dialog piece on this reel is the work he completed in my class.  Adam handled work and an international move while taking my class and still created work that was above and beyond my expectations.  Adam Slater is now a layout artist at MPC in Vancouver.

    ianimate Student Showcase - Erica Pinto

    September 2012's ianimate Student Spotlight is Erica Pinto.  She took my WS4 - Closeup Facial Acting and Lip sync course at ianimate Fall 2011. The first two dialog pieces on this reel she did with me. She was always quick to take my notes and turn them into something even better!
    Erica is currently working at Sony Computer Entertainment of American in Santa Monica, CA as a cinematics animator.

    ianimate Classes start Sept 3rd!

    Less than two week until the next ianimate block starts!
    I have a few spots left in my WS4 Facial and Close-up Acting Class
    and my WS5 Full Body Acting Class.

    ianimate Student Showcase - Sushil Kumar

    August 2012's ianimate Student Spotlight is Sushil Kumar.  He took my WS4 - Closeup Facial Acting and Lip sync course at ianimate Spring 2012.  I was amazed at the gentle nuances he added to his acting.  Sushil is currently work at Ocktober Animation Studio in NZ.

    Click here to apply to ianimate.
    I am teaching WS4 - Closeup Facial Acting
    and Lipsync and also WS5 Full Body Acting Lab - #2

    The second installment for Lab Summer 2012 Animation Showcase

    Congrats to my students Taran Matharu and Jane Wang for making the summer showcase!
    Check out the Vimeo Page for some more great videos.

    Will Ferrel Commit to your characters

    Learning - Ten Things to Think About - #10 Commit

    10 Things to Think About - from the book Thinking Animation by Angie Jones and Jamie Oliff.
    This is one of the lectures I use at the online school  I created this list for my book Thinking Animation to help animators create a clear and solid message with their work.  I will post the 10 Things to Think About over the course of the next 10 weeks.  ~Enjoy!

    # 10 Commit:
    • Commit to selling your ideas 100%. Show land of the lost clip.
    • Mechanics should be second nature to you by the time you call yourself an animator. There is a lot to being able to make premeditated decisions about, “I am going to be here at a certain time; I am committing to this.”  
    • Creating a believable, feeling character that will make your audience cry takes commitment to the ideas you decided on. 
    Will Ferrel understand what it is to commit.  He is always 110% the character he plays.  Above he believes he is an Elf from the North Pole and one of Santa's biggest fans and closest friends.  Do you believe his performance?  Of course you do because he believes it and is encapsulating 100% what an elf in that circumstance would do.


    ianimate Student Showcase - Daniele Pezzella

    July 2012's ianimate Student Spotlight is Daniele Pezzella   He took both my WS3 Advanced Body Mechanics and WS4 - Closeup Facial Acting and Lip sync courses at ianimate the last two blocks.  He managed to do more than the required exercises and I was blown away by his work.  

    Daniele is currently working remotely for Passion Pictures!


    Learning - Ten Things to Think About - #9 Eyes

    10 Things to Think About - from the book Thinking Animation by Angie Jones and Jamie Oliff.

    This is one of the lectures I use at the online school  I created this list for my book Thinking Animation to help animators create a clear and solid message with their work.  I will post the 10 Things to Think About over the course of the next 10 weeks.  ~Enjoy!

    #9 Eyes: (This particular lecture is much longer when I teach.  This is just scratching the surface regarding eye animation.)

    Basic Notes on animating Eyes:

    • Eyes are windows into the soul and the soul is controlled by the mind.
    • Eye darts and glances tell more than any other gestures in the body when used in the right place in the scene.
    • Desire is always described in the eyes, even when hidden through subtext acting choices.
    Overview of Eye Movement:
    • Never animate without a reason!
    • Force vs. Form
    • Look for patterns in the eye darts = Social Triangle – Right Eye, Left Eye and then mouth.
    ...eye shape:  when the iris moves around the eye the lid cuts across it changing its shape from round to oval.
    ...lid shape:  The lid itself changes shape as the eye line changes and the brow pushes down on it with emotional poses.  The lid also changes shape as it tracks with the eye line.  Even if you have a soft eye resolver attached to the lids, I still animate the lids as blinks and eye darts happen.
    ...darts:  Darts tell us the character is thinking, confused or trying to understand something.  It can also tell us if they are nervous, shy, present, angry and many other emotions depending on the timing.
    ...pupils:  Dilated and un-dilated pupils tell us more… Dilated shows interest, love, warmth.  Un-dilated eyes show fear, intensity or a bright light being show at the eye.
    ...blinks:  Never blink unless there is a reason!  Why do we blink? Dry Eye? Cut to next scene in our mind? Emotional Cues - Shy or nervous vs. Angry or High
    ...brows:  Brows shapes are reinforced in the lids.  They all move together to create the eye animation. Usually the break in the eyebrow relates to the highpoint of the eye. The eye is pulled by the eyebrow muscles.

    Watch the eye darts as Charlize Theron plays Aileen Wuornos in the movie Monster.  They describe her insecurity, her uneasiness and fear that someone might overhear her conversation, not mention the fact she is lying.

    Eye Darts:
    • No more than 1-2 frames then hold it to register what char is looking at.  If there is any ease, it happens at the end of the dart.
    • Linear Curves, I only put eases on slower eye motion. I tend to sculpt motion with tangents.  If you prefer to set a lot of keys to create your motion, then I would advise putting eases into your eye darts with your keys.
    • Dart then stay -and dart then stay, if you do not stay in one place the eye dart will never read.  You can use two eye darts to move the eye a far way, so it still reads as an eye dart.  Otherwise it’s just a look.
    • Triangle Motion: left eye, right eye, mouth.  This is the basic motion most eye darts take when conversing.  Even when the other person is not speaking we tend to look back and forth in this triangular motion to read the other person’s face.
     The social triangle of eye darts.
    • Be careful with how far you tilt the yes on the social triangle for eye darts or it will move into an intimate gaze zone.  When people approach each other from a distance, they look quickly between the other person's face and lower body to first establish what the sex of the person is and then a second time to determine a level of interest in them. This gaze is across the eyes and below the chin to lower parts of the person's body. In close encounters, it's the triangular area between the eyes and the chest and for distant gazing it's from the eyes to the crotch or below.
     The intimate gaze zone for eye darts.
    • Also be careful to not raise the darts higher than the brow line.  Then, you are entering the power gaze zone. Provided your gaze doesn't drop below the level of their eyes, the pressure will stay on the person being gazed upon. Never use this in friendly or romantic encounters. It works well for intimidation.
     The power gaze zone for eye darts.
    • When to use eye darts?  Thought process… shows thinking.  Stress, Assessing.  Moving holds are when they read best.  When your character has stopped moving so much and you can read them.
    • Eye Darts and the head and neck.  Nothing in the body is ever still. Occasionally the head will make a slight movement after the eye darts one way or another.  Very slight though.  Have you ever ridden a motorcycle?  The bike will go where you are looking naturally, so do not look at the curb!  Same thing goes for your head and the eyes.


    Hugh Grant has signature blinking he uses for his 
    fumbling characters who always seem out of sorts.


    Blinks and Lids:
    • On most character designs the upper lid covers most of the eye and the lower lid, barely moves to reach.  The blink line is usually ¾ down on the eye, not in the middle. The closed position is actually an overshoot of the upper lid pushing on the lower lid.
    • Everything I just said above can be affected / changed by emotional cures, lid shapes and other triggers.
    • Lots of blinking shows insecurity, bumbling, nervous and confused.  A direct stare is connected to emotions like fight or love.  Check out the movie I uploaded to the social group on Michael Caine.  Fear = no blinking.
    • Length of blinks.  Get inside the head of your character… if they are sleepy the closed position would be longer than a “zoinks!” WTF kind of blink. Slow blinks can be triggered by sadness, boredom or sleepiness or drugged.  Half Blink and twitches again show uncertainty in what the character is seeing or hearing.
    • On average it takes more frames to open the eye than close it due to momentum.  Ease out to open, but less to no ease on a closed eye.
    • Offset shapes in eyes to create more natural motion and then the actual closed point should be on the same frame and then eases are offset again as they reopen.  I think the Pixar blink can feel sleepy.
    • Move the eye line on a blink when the eye direction changes, if you don’t it will look weird.
    • Double take usually involves all of the blinks = full, half and twitchy blinks.  Check out the double take example I uploaded to the social group.
    • Shape the lid to compliment the brow shapes… angles up and down create added emotion.  A blink that arcs down is more elegant looking.  A blink that arcs up usually works with a squint and is related to happy blinks.

    • Squints tend to happen on “T’s”, “S’s” and “P’s
    • An antic like a squint before blinking can help slower blinks or create emotional cues of a change in emotion during the blink.

    Brows move down a little on a natural blink.  This is even more extreme for cartoony characters.  On a longer blink an eye crunch can happen.  This action happens before the lids pushing down on a blink and pulling up on the open.


    • If you have an extreme close up, you can adjust pupil size too.  Dilate = pleasure.  If you are excited, your pupils can dilate up to four times. Conversely, if you are experiencing anger or another negative emotion, your pupils shrink in size.  Dilating pupils are also signal of courtship. Maybe this is the reason why romantic encounters succeed in dimly lit places, because pupils naturally dilate in such light conditions.
    Dilating Pupils...
    • Don’t occlude more than 50% of the pupil.  You will look interest and appeal in your poses.
    • If the lid covers the eye too much it looks sleepy or drugged.  A soft eye solution will have to be countered many times depending on the angle of the head and the camera.
    Eye Accessing Cues:
    To get an idea how your eyes move, consider the following questions. For each question, as you think of the answer, notice the direction(s) your eyes move (up down or to the side) or if your eyes do not seem to move notice if you have a sense that you are looking in a certain direction (even if only for a fraction of a second).
    • What is the color of your front door?
    • What will you look like in 15 years?
    • What does your favorite music sound like?
    • What would your voice sound like if you had marbles in your mouth?
    • When you talk to yourself, what type of voice do you use?
    • What does it feel like to be in a nice warm bath?
    Did you notice your eyes had a tendency to look up for the first two questions, to the side for the next two questions and down for the last two questions? In general, if you are making a picture in your mind your eyes will tend to go up to the left or the right, for sounds laterally to the left or right, and down to the left or right for feelings or when you talk to yourself.
    More specifically, if you are right-handed, you may have noticed the following (for people who are left handed, interchange left and right in the following text):
    Question 1 - eyes up and to your left. This is a question about something you have seen before and hence you remembered it -- visual remembered (VR).
    Question 2 - eyes up and to your right. This is a question about something that I assume you have not seen before and hence you constructed this picture - visual constructed (VC).
    Question 3 - eyes on the horizontal plane to your left. This is a question about something you have heard before - auditory remembered (AR).
    Question 4 - eyes on the horizontal plane to your right. This is a question about something you have not heard before - auditory constructed (AC).
    Question 5 - eyes down and to the left. This is a question about your self-talk - auditory digital (Ad).
    Question 6 - eyes down and to the right. This is a question about your feelings- kinesthetic (K).
    Note: The above eye patterns are how your eyes would move if you are right-handed. The following picture describes the eye patterns for a right-handed person as you look at them - please note this distinction. These patterns are fairly consistent across all races, with the possible exception of the Basques, who appear to have a number of exceptions to the rule. For many left-handed people, the chart is reversed i.e. mirror image.

    One last note on eyes...
    Remember: The shape of the eye changes, as the eye direction changes.  Not literally.  It's an illusion.  This is why traditional animation literally changes the eye shape.  To simulate the illusion the lid creates over the eye.

    iAnimate Classes - Next Block

    Hello All!  My schedule for iAnimate is being moved around a bit, per enrollment needs.  I am logged to teach two WS4 Close Up Facial Acting and Lip Sync classes  next block. Plus I might be adding a WS3 Advanced Body Mechanics and/or WS5 Full Body Acting classes

    WS4 Close Up Facial Acting and Lip Sync
    Angie Jones 1
    Q & A Tuesday 7:15-8:15pm
    Review Thursday 7:30-9:30pm

    WS4 Close Up Facial Acting and Lip Sync
    Sundays 11:30am-1:30pm
    Tuesday 8:30-9:30pm

    Contact iAnimate here if you are interested in signing up!

    ALSO! has started anew video feed called Lab. It will feature clips from classes and give some really great little nuggets of animation gold!

    Below are some testimonials from students of mine.

    “It was an honor to be able to have Angie as a teacher at iAnimate. She helped me to grow as an animator more than I thought possible over the course of just a few months. She was always prepared for our lessons with planned out outlines of what she would cover. Angie would tailor her lectures around questions that her students asked as well as incorporating things that she thought was important for us to know.

    Angie's critique sessions were very helpful and encouraging. She was not afraid to push us and teach us how our animations could be stronger. She was extremely encouraging towards us and would be ecstatic whenever our progress was successful. I would be lucky to have her again as a mentor in the future.” 

    Top qualities:Personable, Expert, High Integrity

    “Entering IAnimate, I was expecting a lot from this workshop and Angie has managed to exceed those expectations. Her knowledge of animation and acting seems limitless and she manages to distilled those information down to a point that it's really easy to understand and incorporate in our own shots. Her enthusiasm, critical eye, and her entertaining lectures have really help me grow has an animator.” 
    Top qualities:Great Results, Personable, Expert

    “Angie was my teacher at iAnimate, it was a real pleasure, she's very passionate, and wants to share all here knowledge.
    She was always in a pleasant mood.
    She had a lot of visual material to explain some animation principles, and she knows how to help a student improve his skills.
    It will be a pleasure to have here again as an instructor.” 

    “Fab teacher. Learning so much and gives great inspiration! Awesome!” 

    “I recently had the privilege of being Angie's student in's Facial Acting And Lip Sync class. I can say with certainty that I experienced my greatest ever degree of growth as an animator under her watchful and caring eyes - far surpassing my previous four years of undergraduate study. I cannot recommend her enough as an instructor, or as a personal mentor.

    -Chris McCormick
    1stChris McCormick

    “I would like to recommend Angie.I learned so much from her. She is friendly, knowledgeable, and encouraged me to do my best work. Amazing mentor and passion.Not enough good words can be said”
    “I highly recommend Angie as an instructor. I found her to not only be very knowledgeable and organized, but also very approachable. I believe she continually went above and beyond her duties in order to assure each student had their needs met. I would consider myself lucky to be able to study under her again.” 

    Honesty in Acting

    Ten Things to Think About - #8 Honesty

    10 Things to Think About - from the book Thinking Animation by Angie Jones and Jamie Oliff.
    This is one of the lectures I use at the online school  I created this list for my book Thinking Animation to help animators create a clear and solid message with their work.  I will post the 10 Things to Think About over the course of the next 10 weeks.  ~Enjoy!

    #8  Honesty:

    • A shy character would never jump out front and center and do a dance, and an angry character wouldn’t act sympathetically to other characters.
    •  A great example of honesty is the cartoon character - Bugs Bunny.  Making Bugs looks stupid and inept is just too far out of character for him.  He is always in control even if he is losing.
    • In contrast to Bugs Bunny's cool sarcastic ways is the wacky, hyper and high-strung – never be nonchalant about things that happen in the story – Daffy Duck.
    When characters act against who they are and what they believe in,
    it kills the illusion and makes the acting and story weak.

    Bug’s Life Bloopers show commitment to character and honesty.  You can find honesty ideas for your acting if you think of your character as a friend of yours.  If you picture going out and having beers with your character you get to really know who they are and how they would react to things.

    Psychological Gesture

    Learning - Ten Things to Think About - #7 Texture and Psychological Gesture

    10 Things to Think About - from the book Thinking Animation by Angie Jones and Jamie Oliff.
    This is one of the lectures I use at the online school  I created this list for my book Thinking Animation to help animators create a clear and solid message with their work.  I will post the 10 Things to Think About over the course of the next 10 weeks.  ~Enjoy!

    #7 Texture and Psychological Gesture:

    • Psychological gesture is a great way to illustrate subtext
    • A psychological gesture describes what the character is thinking through twitches and gestures like;  Looking around the room, scratching their head, yawning, biting their lip, etc.
    • Picture a stewardess giving her routine presentation before the flight takes off about safety on the plane.  Now picture her seeming preoccupied? maybe looking around or rubbing the nose. Or tired? Yawning, rubbing of head could illustrate this. Or visibly upset over a conversation she had just before? Tension in the body and face could be a cue.
    • Figure out how you would react in the same circumstances.  Without betraying your own character, put a little of yourself into the shot.
    • Discover your character’s motivation and how that can be revealed in the performance.
    • You goal is to create a character that moves you and your audience, not just the dialog.
    • Texture is what adds life to your animation.

    Example of texture between two characters.  Tex Avery's Little Rural Riding Hood wolves.  Watch how the city wolf and country wolf move.  The city wolf continues to walk smoothly with his nose up in the air like Ronald Coleman.  The country wolf is going nuts.

    "Psychological Gesture is the inner essence of something manifested in a physical form"  ~Michael Chekhov

    How do you find the right Psychological Gesture?

    One path created is called, Leading Questions, in which you cultivate your imagination by asking questions. Your imagination will respond instantly and your body will begin to express the movement in small ways before you can even verbalize your answers.

    For example: if you are playing a villain, you might begin by asking what it is your character desires. Power? Okay, how do you go about getting power? By dominating? Okay, what is a physical movement that dominates? Pressing down.  Start with your hands as high as possible and press them down against an imaginary resistance. Picture the character's opponents as you press down to the floor. Add to the press a quality: rage, frustration, sinister, conniving, fear, etc. Try different qualities until you feel the quality and desire to dominate in every cell of your being.
    Phillip Seymour Hoffman is one of my favorite actors and this scene illustrates some great psychological gesture moments, not just with him, but the other actors in the scenes as well.  The clip above is the scene where Dan Mahowny (Philip Seymour Hoffman) arrives in Atlantic City in big-style (private-jet, Full VIP admission).  After winning 9M $, he decides not to stop gambling and continues until he loses everything,
    At 1:18 You can see the worry in the actor screen left (Bernie's) face and how he holds his hand to his face, the smugness on the actor's face screen right and the concern and preoccupation of the Casio security (Victor Foss') face and body leaning forward in the center of the frame.
    Watch for psychological gestures from the actors like: pushing the glasses up, looking around nervously, looking at a watch, leading with the forehead in thought and concentration, licking of lips, blowing of air out the mouth like a sigh, rubbing of hands together, heavy breathing, lots of blinks, gulps,jaw clenching, head twitches and nods, looking away, covering eyes, touching forehead in thought, etc.  It's all there.

    Acting Simplify

    Learning - Ten Things to Think About - #6 Simplify

    10 Things to Think About - from the book Thinking Animation by Angie Jones and Jamie Oliff.
    This is one of the lectures I use at the online school  I created this list for my book Thinking Animation to help animators create a clear and solid message with their work.  I will post the 10 Things to Think About over the course of the next 10 weeks.  ~Enjoy!

    The story goes... There is one shot in this sequence that was kicked back by lighting because they though the animation was lost.  The animator set one pose for the entire shot because that is all the shot needed, but it confused the lighters.  When they sent it back to animation, fearing somehow the animation curves had been lost, they discovered - "no" the pose was approved as the animation.

    Can you get which shot it is?
    It starts around 1:29 of this clip.

    The point is not to stop animating your characters for your shots, but to understand that simplifying your ideas to create the clearest message is the best way to communicate with your audience.

    #6 Simplify:

    • Too many poses and acting choices just muddle up the idea.
    • A memorable character is animated through strong, deliberate acting.
    • Simplicity will give the viewer time to rest and appreciate the moment.
    • The eyes follow what is moving most if the scene is quiet.
    • The eyes follow what is moving the lest if the scene is busy.
    • Be clear fist, add interest second.
    • Draw focus to the one thing that matters - heart of the scene.
    • Simplicity results when you have exhausted all other steps.

    Empathy - Gregory Peck

    Learning - Ten Things to Think About - #5 Empathy

    10 Things to Think About - from the book Thinking Animation by Angie Jones and Jamie Oliff.
    This is one of the lectures I use at the online school  I created this list for my book Thinking Animation to help animators create a clear and solid message with their work.  I will post the 10 Things to Think About over the course of the next 10 weeks.  ~Enjoy!

    #5 Empathy:  If the audience does not empathize with your character all is lost.

    • Empathy takes place when the audience sees something in the character that they have experienced.
    • Examples – Your crazy Uncle who likes to drink strawberry milkshakes and make shadow puppets on the wall. The sweet doting grandmother who makes scrapbooks of everything her grandchildren do. The bully who beat you up every day in the school yard.
    • Picture your character as a longtime friend to get inside their head.
    Charlie Chaplin is the king of creating empathy for his "little tramp" character.  He always stays in each moment.  He is acting from a place of keeping his integrity as he navigates the many classes he encounters in his movies.  In this clip he fawn's over a woman in the display window whom he had met before in the film when she was blind and selling flowers on the street.  When she first met him, she thought he had a lot of money.

    This time, she offers him a flower and some change from the window.  Once he realizes she is coming out to talk to him, he tries to walk away so she cannot see he is a tramp with no money because she did not meet him before as such. She doesn't know he is the person who paid for her operation to get her sight back. he is fearful of exposing his true self to her.  Observe he never leaves his own space to invade hers as he is reluctant to get close, yet he wants to.  We want what he wants, "To talk to this beautiful woman and have her accept him as who he is inside."

    Here is some amazing analysis of Chaplin's brilliance.  He is always trying to keep his integrity as a human when placed in difficult situations.


    • All humans -- even the most vile -- act to survive. From birth to death, every waking moment, we act to survive. Empathic reaction depends on the actor finding in his character survival mechanisms.
    This third year film from Cal Arts student Mike Rianda also illustrates a great arc of empathy for the character. Finding Empathy... you want what they want. I want to root for your characters in your animations... like I am hoping the little guy in this short will get what he wants - those moon shoes!  His arc then changes.  he no longer wants to work and wants to play again with his friends.  great stuff!
    • We empathize with emotion. If you see someone cut her finger, you flinch because you empathize with the feeling of pain. When the on-screen heroine's lover is reported killed at war, it is her emotion that we empathize with, not the information itself.

    Why do we feel for Frank and Rita?  We have all seen a relative have difficult times with technology.  Especially since most animators today have to understand the basics of a computer.  Also, Frank and Rita are endearing because in this short clip their relationship is revealed.  You can tell they have been together a long time and have their own way of communicating.



    How you occupy space and move within it is as important to empathy as the acting choices you make as an animator.  Butoh is about presence and the simplicity of a single gesture.  You become very aware of how you are occupying the space through one simple movement.  You become something without just acting it, but embody the emotion. Butoh creates a sense of space and time.  You become aware of the body in 3 dimensions.  Taking the body to pieces and bring it back together as a new form of communication.

    • Empathy is a survival mechanism. Find depth in your character. Justify their existence.
    • Villain = Normal person with a fatal flaw. Show a "window" into your villain's humanity.
    • To find that "window" remember gestures that are shadow movements of where the character is instead of what the character is saying. Scratching nose, sniffing, etc. replace overacting with these telling gestures.
    • Stifled emotions can be much better than the full blown emotion.
    • People do not share their emotions easily = we are guarded.
    • Example: If character is cold, don't shiver...have the character try to stay warm!!
    • EMPATHY, is the most important thing about acting. People to study, Charlie Chaplin = empathy; Buster Keaton = sympathy; Harold Lloyd, etc. People relate to emotion.

    Chaplin Story to explain the different between sympathy and empathy.Let's say Chaplin gets his foot stuck in a bucket. Buster Keaton would try to shake it off erratically to get the quick, cheap laugh. Chaplin would try to keep his dignity and through embarrassment hide the bucket behind him causing empathy for his problem. This is more clever and more funny. The laughter can be stretched too through his trying to hide the fact his foot is tuck in the bucket. After the initial erratic move by Keaton the laugh is done and it looked practiced in the first place.

    • Act to survive, we all do it to live...what is the survival mechanism in this character?
    • Charlie Chaplin's Autobiography-- said "conceptual is common to people regardless to country--universals are important to silent film."
    • Empathy is different than Sympathy, this is why Charlie Chaplin was the bigger star.


    Rhythm in Animation

    Learning - Ten Things to Think About - #4 Rhythm

    cover of the book Getsure Drawing

    by Ryan Woodward

    10 Things to Think About - from the book Thinking Animation by Angie Jones and Jamie Oliff.
    This is one of the lectures I use at the online school  I created this list for my book Thinking Animation to help animators create a clear and solid message with their work.  I will post the 10 Things to Think About over the course of the next 10 weeks.  ~Enjoy!

    #4 Rhythm in Storytelling and Timing:  No matter how short a scene is, there is always a beginning, middle and end.

    • 3 points, ideas or emotions.
    • Rhythm helps build excitement.

    Observe the rhythms throughout this first scene when mr. Incredible comes home from work.  Mr. Incredible shows us timing that builds as the scene heightens with his movements.  The bubble pop at the end is like the exclamation point, on the sentence.  If you were listen to this scene like it were a piece of music, what type of music do you think it would be?  Where is the scene quiet and where is it overly active?

    • Caesura: a poignant beat in music, break in flow of a melody making a point of division.  The quiet moments are as important - if not more important - than the active ones.

    Another great example of rhythm throughout a story is Mickey's little Whirlwind.  From the innocent beginnings to the onslught of the whirlwind itself making Mickey look bad, this story takes you through highs and lows.  When choosing ideas for acting, remember that every GREAT scene, no matter how short has rhythm moving through it.

    There is also Rhythm in Poses:

    • Arc one way and flow to the opposite pose.
    • Physics play a part, but you determine what the driving forces and physics of your scene are to keep the flow of the lines clean.
    • You are not a slave to the physics. You are manipulating the physics to the point where they still work, but everything is contributing to your pose.

    There is a new book in town and I think every animator should grab one.  This is a great example of learning how gesture and rhythm work together to create an emotional pose. This book is a great resource for understanding rhythm in a gesture drawing.  You can get Ryan Woodward's 222 page paperback at

    The book is available at in both paper and digital format.
    And, below is his beautifully animated short film.


    Learning - Ten Things to Think About - #3 Experiment

    10 Things to Think About - from the book Thinking Animation by Angie Jones and Jamie Oliff.

    This is one of the lectures I use at the online school  I created this list for my book Thinking Animation to help animators create a clear and solid message with their work.  I will post the 10 Things to Think About over the course of the next 10 weeks.  ~Enjoy!

    #3 Experiment

    Try every idea that comes to you!

    • Monty Python went with any idea one of them had even if the others didn’t like it. They gave anything a chance to live on.
    • Animation is a caricature.
    • The job is to capture the impression, not imitate.
    • Animation can play with time – compress or expand as well as push action to its limit.
    • The best comedians experiment and ad lib their scenes over and over.

    In the clip above from the movie - A Fish Called Wanda, John Cleese and Micheal Palin (1/3rd of the Monty Python players) do an incredible job of creating tension.  Palin stretches time as long as he can with his stutter to almost drive Cleese's character mad. Most of the best scenes you see in movies with professional comedians were either 'ad libbed' while on camera, or a warm up rehearsal of improvisational study of the lines created even more experimentation of the possibilities that could exist within the scope of the scene.  Expand your boundaries, when exploring and experimenting.  Comedy, especially needs to breathe.  Have fun!

    This is one of my most favorite movies.  It makes me laugh every time.  John Cleese wrote the script with Charles Crichton.

    Trivia:  A Fish Called Wanda has the distinction of being the only movie we know of that killed someone with laughter. OLE BENTZEN (Danish physician, d.1989) An audiologist who specialized in developing hearing aids for underdeveloped countries, Bentzen went to see the film A Fish Called Wanda. During a scene featuring John Cleese, Bentzen began laughing so hard that his heartbeat accelerated to a rate of between 250 and 500 beats a minute and he was seized by a heart attack and died. Ole Bentzen is number nine on a list of people who died from laughing.

    BTW, you can read the screenplay for a Fish Called Wanda - here.

    The clip below is one of the best blackmail clips ever...

    Subtext in Animation

    Learning - Ten Things to Think About - #2 Subtext



    10 Things to Think About - from the book Thinking Animation by Angie Jones and Jamie Oliff.

     This is one of the lectures I use at the online school  I created this list for my book Thinking Animation to help animators create a clear and solid message with their work.  I will post the 10 Things to Think About over the course of the next 10 weeks.  ~Enjoy!

    #2 Subtext:Adding subtext is one of the best ways to get depth and dimension into your performance. Human beings are multileveled creatures.  Saying one thing while meaning another.   The clip above is subtext acted wihtin more subtext.  Matt LeBlanc's character is talking about the script, but he is really talking about his relationship with her... as is she.  they are both using the script to describe their own relationship - Great stuff!


    The Iceberg:  The acting teacher above explains how the iceberg analogy works.  If you create a bio for your character, you will have created the fodder to pull from for any subtext your character will be exuding when they speak.  Again, we never really say what we mean.  I can say "I love you," and mean I really despise you.  Think about it - it's juicy scenes that have subtext.

    Flaws: What makes us interesting are our flaws. Perfection is boring. Humans have flaws. They hid their feelings. They have a lack of boundaries. They have an agenda. They have a past that forms their perspective on the world, which can be skewed. Dig underneath the dialog to figure out what the character is really saying in between the lines.

    ianimate Student Showcase - Mike Schanbacher

    DEMO REEL SPRING 2012 from Mike Schanbacher on Vimeo.

    I decided to start a student showcase highlighting my students from ianimate.  Each month, I will post a student's reel here on the blog for you all to see.  I used to try and post my student's work at the end of the block, but it would take them a while to get their reels together.  This way, after teaching at ianimate for over a year... I have some backflow of great students from the past.

    June 2012's ianimate Student Spotlight is Mike Schanbacher.  He took WS3 - Closeup facial acting and lip sync, from me last block.  He managed to do four short pieces instead of the required two! The devil, soda shop, sensitive lady and the Shelly clips were all created while he studied at ianimate!  Mike is also a musician, which proves that timing, beats and music are all related to understanding GOOD ANIMATION!

    Mike is currently available for remote freelance work and lives in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

    Congrats Mike - great job!


    Learning - Ten Things to Think About - #1 Listen

    10 Things to Think About - from the book Thinking Animation by Angie Jones and Jamie Oliff.
    This is one of the lectures I use at the online school  I created this list for my book Thinking Animation to help animators create a clear and solid message with their work.  I will post the 10 Things to Think About over the course of the next 10 weeks.  ~Enjoy!

    If you animate without a plan, you will waste bucket loads of time.
    Think and Plan Your Shot Out:
    • Create and/or find reference, act the scene out
    • Take notes on what you see from these experiences
    • Draw gestures and make thumbnails for the most important storytelling poses
    • Use at least 3 words to describe the arcs going on in the scene - try to make them verbs, or action words
    • Share your ideas with others
    It’s best to analyze for at least a day if you can... to figure out what the character’s desire is and what the obstacle to that desire might be.  Deadlines, may be looming, but the time you spend planning will create a more clear path for you once you pick up the mouse.
    Simplicity is the key to creating a clear idea.  Until every idea is out of your system, overused and cliche poses will continue to arise as you animate.  Do not clutter storytelling poses with too many ideas.  Your first idea is usually too obvious and not as interesting as your 50th.  Try to see the entire shot in your head. before you ever pick up the mouse.
    Improv actors play games b4 they go on stage to warm up.  This helps them work out all the trite and overused ideas.  Drawings also help you think about your ideas more deeply.  I encourage you to draw.  Take the most important idea in the scene and work out from there.
    Questions to ask yourself…
    • Is the most interesting and clearest possible way?
    • Does the idea fit this character's personality?
    • Am I exploring the possibilities of the scene?
    • Is my ego too involved?
    • What is being said between the lines of dialog - is there subtext?
    • What significance does the scene have to previous and later shots?
    • What is the purpose of this scene in the movie?

    1. Listen:
    • Listen to what your lead, sup and/or director tells you closely.  I have sat next to many newbie animators on a show and heard what they were told for art direction, only to come to dailies the next day and see that they didn;t heard a word they were being told.  Your supervisors know what is expected fo the scene so LISTEN.
    • Listen to the dialog and observe the pauses and accented points that you might not catch when you are actually listening to what is being said.
    • Loop the dialog and listen to it over and over. Stories unfold themselves if we really listen. Detach yourself from the shiny parts and let the story tell you what is essential.
    • Stream of consciousness notes: write down trigger words as you listen to the dialog with your eyes closed.
    • If you have an improv class nearby you can take, I highly encourage you to do so.  95% of improv is listening.  You have to listen to what the other person is saying to plus or heighten the scene beyond what it is.

    New Block at iAnimate!

    Hello All!  My schedule for iAnimate has shuffled around again and I wanted to let everyone know that I am teaching Facial Animation (W4), Body Mechanics (WS3) and Full body acting, facial and lip sync exercises (WS5)

    Contact iAnimate here if you are interested in signing up!

    iAnimate Classes

    Hello All!  My schedule for iAnimate has shuffled around a bit and I wanted to let everyone know that I am back teaching Facial Animation and Body Mechanics, again.  In the next block of iAnimate I will be teaching:

    WS3 Advanced Body Mechanics
    WS4 Facial Acting 
    WS6 Sequence Work
    Contact iAnimate here if you are interested in signing up!

    iAnimate Classes

    There is a sneak peak on a couple of my students from my facial class in the show reel above...
    Erica Pinto - starts at 6:28 and again at 6:47
    Micheal Paech at 9:57

    We just wrapped another block at iAnimate!  I had a great time with both my Body Mechanics and Facial animation students.  As usual, there will be a most improved student posting here soon, with the winner from each class.  if you are unaware, I let the students vote on the most improved of their classmates and post their website and reel here, so stayed tuned for that! 
    In the meantime, I have a little announcement.  I will be instructing the Sequence Workshop (WS6) this coming block - starting January 9th, instead of Facial animation.  We had a lot of students sign up for that workshop, so we are shuffling instructors around.  Speaking of instructors, there has been some new blood added there too at iAnimate so check it out!

    Below, are details for the Sequence Workshop:

    Sequence work

    Part 1: In this 7 week workshop, we will be working with continuity across cuts. We will be fine tuning your planning and blocking process for a substantial length of dialog. This will greatly help our productions run more smoothly. (cost $999)

    Part 2:
    In this 7 week workshop, we will now work on refining your animation from part 1 so that it is production ready. Many directors want to see a plan or blue print from us so that they can feel comfortable with the time spent on polishing shots. (cost $999)

    Most Improved Student

    I promised my WS3 class for I would post the most improved student during the term's final work here on the blog.  The class voted on the winner... and Chris McCormick won the vote!  Here is a link to his website in case you are looking for a very talented animator. And, below are his final exercises from the facial animation class.

    I cannot say enough about his work and dedication.  The students worked from video reference of themselves, but Chris also infused his character's with a his own mannerism and nuance which gave his work a lot of depth.

    The next block starts on the 29th, so sign up!  ianimate has 
    some of the best teachers you can find out there!

    iAnimate Animation Tutorials

    As many of you know, I am teaching at iAnimate now and the collection of instructors there is top notch.  I have taught at several institutions in Los Angeles, and ianimate has the best of the best instructors to learn from.  We are about 3/4th through this block... so there is plenty of time to prepare and save up for it!  I highly recommend the program.
    Ken Fountain and Jamaal Bradley (iAnimate instructors) 
    released two new video tutorials in the STORE section of the jrawebinar site.