Animation Mentor Interview
Written By Angie Jones and Jamie Oliff
Do you have any additional tips to share with our readers?
No matter how much the business changes, technology wise, I certainly believe that there is no replacement for a good knowledge of the basics. Great draftsmanship will always be held in high regard. The ability to describe your ideas quickly and clearly is paramount. Great drawing ability is without a doubt, the quickest way to get those ideas across. Always be open to new technology and what it can do for your art. Have an open mind and keep your eyes and ears open. There is so much to learn, both from the past and from the younger people entering the business with fresh ideas.
Carry a sketchbook with you at all times. I stopped doing this for a while and my work suffered from it. Jamie just gave me a new one for my birthday and encourages me to carry it with me all the time and I do. As far as animation specifically I say: Listen, Stay Honest, Experiment, Think, Intuit, Feel and Learn.
Listen. Because your supervisor knows what the client wants. Be honest to your character. Because that is the only way you will get into his head and create a real performance. Experiment. Break any and all rules to animation while following them to create something different. Use what you know, think, intuit and feel about the shot and you cannot go wrong. Understand that you always have something new to learn and share with others around you. Details!!! Every frame counts, every finger, every eyelid shape, every arc, line of action...everything. The details are just as important as the broad strokes. Remember this, if nothing else.
We mention Animation Mentor in the book and think what the school is doing is excellent. If you are taking classes with AM, you are on the right track! Finally, drink lots of Diet Coke - I hear it has caffeine to keep you awake.
Frederator Blog - Interview with Angie Jones
What are some projects you have been a part of?
My animation career has gone back and forth between the sweet and the scary, over the years. I started in film on Stuart Little 2 and then moved to XMEN2 and Freddy VS. Jason, back to more sweet talking characters like Scooby Doo 2, Garfield and The Geico Gecko. Then, onto realistic crowds of Egyptians at war in National Treasure and 13 foot, evil bats in The Cave and then twitching little evil faeries for Pan’s Labyrinth.
The next couple years were filled with supervising and animating on 5 Disney commercials with the classical characters like Mickey, Donald, Goofy and even Stitch. I like the variation of going back and forth between the creepy, “I am gonna beat you up or eat you” kind of animation and the sweet comedic timing of cartoony characters. It keeps me challenged and on my toes. The creepy stuff comes a bit easier to me because of my background in games, especially at Oddworld Inhabitants. I learned so much from Lorne Lanning about mechanics of movement, especially with creatures that are anatomically, not of this world.
Can you describe your technique?
I believe you have to be somewhat malleable in today’s animation production. Many folks from the traditional side of animation have crossed over, but also live action directors are getting into the mix. You have to be able to communicate your ideas for the shot clearly to in order to get anything approved. Animation is a visual medium and you must be able to communicate visually but also in a way the folks in charge will understand.
I prefer to block out my scenes in a stepped or linear fashion. But, I also work out the entire pose down to the finger tips. I am always thinking about the line of action and every single bit of the space being used by the character. This sometimes frustrates supervisors who want to see a more layered approach to the animation…meaning animate the center of gravity and torso and later layer on the limbs and appendages. I have a hard time not thinking about all of the parts when animating. So, if that is the case, I work out my bits a little more before actually showing the piece. Some live action directors or supervisors who have only worked on the computer do not understand blocking and have a hard time understanding the ideas behind the action when it isn’t fluid during playback. So, you change your work flow to something the supervisors can read. It’s all about selling your ideas the best way you can, or else you are just a wrist.
CGW Article - Volume: 29 Issue: 11
Written By Angie Jones and Jamie Oliff
Animation has been through some major changes during the past 10 years, and some of them blindsided artists. The signs were there, but resistance to change, fear of the machine, and the concept of denial prevented many artists from seeing what was on the horizon.
As in many other fields, the computer has made what is known as a disruptive impact on our art form. Think of the car and the horse, the cellular phone and the pay phone, computer-generated animation and traditional 2D animation. The introduction of the computer has changed an art form that had been, until recently, a pen-and-paper medium. Every animated feature film from the early 1900s to the late 1980s was a traditionally hand-drawn or stop-motion animated film. The tools used to make those films did not significantly change in almost 80 years.
The art of classical film animation has been ever-evolving since its early days. Artists and the studios have strived to raise the bar visually through storytelling since the first crude attempts at putting moving images on the screen. We are talking about classical animation and its evolution into computer-generated feature films—think Steamboat Willie and its progression to The Incredibles.
Animation Magazine Review Siggraph Issue:
Written By Sarah Gurman
One of the many pleasures of Siggraph is that it reminds us that there is such a thing as CG with a soul. Animators Angie Jones and Jamie Oliff deserve kudos for pitching in for CG cause with their timely offering from Thomson Course technology Thinking Animation: Bridging the Gap Betwenn 2D and CG wich Serves up methods for bringing the chutzpah and finesse of the 2D tradition to the 3D world.
Cartoon Brew Book Announcement
Written ByJerry Beck
Traditional animator Jamie Oliff (Mulan, Hercules) and CG animator Angie Jones (Scooby Doo 2, Stuart Little) have teamed up to produce a new book Thinking Animation: Bridging the Gap Between 2D and CG, which will be published next month.
Thinking Animation includes forewords written by traditional animator Floyd Norman and animation designer Richard Taylor - and interviews with Eric Goldberg, Ed Hooks, Conrad Vernon, Tom Sito, Bert Klein, Dave Brewster and many more.Check out the book’s website for more information.
AWN Book Review
Written By Libby Reed
Thinking Animation, Bridging the Gap Between 2D and CG by Angie Jones and Jamie Oliff deals with a great deal more than animation, in either form, with humor and experience. An introduction by Richard Taylor poses the question, “How does one become an animator who is adept at the latest technological advances, yet still create with the spirit and freedom of traditional hand-drawn animation?” Or as the authors put it “The Digital Age is here. No, seriously, put down that pencil or you’re fired.”
Studio Art FX Blog - Book Review
Written By Terrence Walker
Angie Jones and Jamie Oliff have apparently come out with a book titled, Thinking Animation, Bridging the Gap Between 2D and CG. This book appears to focus on the changing world of animation as the old gives way to the digital age. The book begins with an introduction which asks, "How does one become an animator who is adept at the latest technological advances, yet still create with the spirit and freedom of traditional hand-drawn animation?” Or as the authors put it “The Digital Age is here. No, seriously, put down that pencil or you’re fired.”
Animated News Announcement
Written By Christian Z
The animation team of Angie Jones and Jamie Oliff have written in to inform us of their new book due for release on June 27: Thinking Animation: Bridging the Gap Between 2D and CG. "Learn how to think before you animate. Thinking Animation is a one-of-a-kind book that emphasizes how artists can use traditional animation techniques and principles with today's computer generated animation technology.
Animation Meat Book Announcement
Written By Steve "Hoops" Kellener
Just got some email about a former animation colleague, Jamie Oliff, and it looks like he has gone and written a book about transitioning between traditional and 3D animation. Jamie was in one of the years ahead of me at Sheridan back in the '80's and knows his animation stuff. He cut his chops on a bunch of great animation for Disney in the big 2D boom during the 90's, having worked on such films as Hunchback and Mulan. He made the transition to 3D animation working on Kangaroo Jack and Scooby Doo. For the book he has teamed up with veteran 3D animator Angie Jones whose credits include Stuart Little 2 and X-Men 2.