Animation Mentor Celebrates Third Graduation

Animation, Online, Pete Docter, Pixar Employees

Posted by Thomas • January 15, 2008

Animation Mentor,  “the online animation school® by animators for animators®”, has just celebrated it’s third graduation with an address from Pixar director, Pete Docter. 

Speaking from the heart, Docter urged the graduates, “to be open to whatever life throws at you,” and that “whatever you do, make it your own.” Docter expressed his belief that an animator’s job was to “find a truth in the world that no one else has found and bring it to the screen.” He also emphasized the importance of story, because “without a good story, you’ve got nothing.”

says the press release, courtesy of Animated News. Congratulations to the more than 80% of the class you gained coveted positions at some of the top studios. You can read the full press release here.

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An Aussie At Pixar

Animation, Interview, John Lasseter, Pixar Employees, Ratatouille, Toy Story 3

Posted by Thomas • January 13, 2008

The West Australian as a delightful article on 39-year-old, father of four, Brian Green from Melbourne. 

The article tells of how Green got a job at Pixar back in 1997 when he was working at Animal Logic (Happy Feet), and how email was relatively new and exciting to them all, so Green searched up Pixar, found an email, sent off his resumé, and to his surprise he receives a phone call from Pixar, wanting to fly him over for an interview. Green mentions he is currently working on Toy Story 3.
The author also chats with John Lasseter and poses the question of a sequel to 2003 blockbuster, Finding Nemo.

"There’s nothing to say about that," Lasseter abruptly replies. 

So Finding Nemo 2 is not on Pixar’s drawing boards? 

"I can’t really talk about that. Sorry," Lasseter, shutting down the question with a look that says do not ask anything more about it. 

Pixar is famously secretive about future projects, so the terse response adds to speculation Finding Nemo 2 is indeed on its way.

adds the article. It’s an enjoyable read, so why not check it out here.

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Animation Mentor Gaining Popularity

Animation, Pixar Employees

Posted by Thomas • January 9, 2008

You may heard about the online animation school, Animation Mentor, started back in 2004 by Pixar’s Bobby "Boom" Beck and Carlos Baena, and ILM’s Shawn Kelly. reports on the sites increase in popularity over these past few years. 

At the end of its first year, Animation Mentor had 350 students. It now has 700. When it was founded, the company had five employees, including Back. It now has 28 workers and seeks to hire at least two more, according to a posting on its Web site. The company now occupies 6,700 square feet in Berkeley but it preparing to double its size and move to 14,000 square feet in Emeryville, Calif.

says the article. "Initially, the studios weren’t too sure about what we were doing," Beck said. "Now they are very interested. They have hired several of our students." 

The article is a very interesting read, especially if your considering going to Animation Mentor. Thanks Guido for the heads up.

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R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Calls Bird

Animation, Brad Bird

Posted by Thomas • December 29, 2007

Director/Writer Brad Bird, has called for less bias and a little respect for writers of animated films reports Variety. "The whole question of writing for animation is skewed" says Brad, "There isn’t a giant difference between animation and live action. You need characters, stories, themes. It’s called good storytelling."

And although Brad is speaking for writers of animated pictures, he does say that it happens both ways. Live-action writer’s can’t imagine "serious" work from toon writers, and toon writers who don’t begin as animators, can’t get a really good feel for the medium.

You can read the full article here.

(via The Pixar Blog)

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Rat Tops CG Retrospective ’07 List

Animation, Ratatouille, RenderMan

Posted by Thomas • December 25, 2007

The well-respected CGSociety have posted their 2007 CG Retrospective, which counts down the top 20 "events, films and product upgrades that made the year of 2007 such a milestone. "

On this list, we have one of the best films of the year, Ratatouille.

I thought this would win. ‘Ratatouille’ is a brilliantly entertaining movie that reaffirms Pixar’s reputation as a CG animation leader. They produced a CG film of true quality. The story was also the big winner in this film. The characters are fully developed. Congratulations to the Pixar artists on winning first place in this year’s Retrospective Poll.

says CGSociety editor, Paul Hellard.

Also coming in at No. 14 was RenderMan Pro Server 13.5. Congratulations to everyone at Pixar for a great year.

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“That’s Old School”

Animation, Brad Bird

Posted by Thomas • July 11, 2007

The Associated Press via The Washington Post has a good article on why Pixar, despite all the advanced wizardry techniques in animation and digital rendering, always comes back to "old-fashionedness". On The Simpsons animators comes this quote from Brad Bird…

"I started pushing the storyboard artists, many of whom had trained on Saturday morning animation, to think of each episode as a movie, and to look toward Hitchcock, Welles, Kubrick and Scorsese for inspiration rather than other animation,"

Have a read here.

Also, Teddy Blanks from has a nice article on how Pixar continues to set the bar in animation and overcomes the hurdles of computer animation.

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