How Glen Keane learned the secret to Disney Animation, and more

Glen Keane, Paul Wells, Joanna Quinn, Allison Abbate and Jordi Bares explain what drew them to Animation, as well as what keeps them there. Glen and Joanna also reveal why sketching is basically the life blood of great animation.  The secret to Disney animation as well as Glen’s best reasons for sketching are found below:


This idea of animating with sincerity is believing in the character you animate. Literally believing them.

Observation (sketching) becomes the well spring of [your] ideas. They become the measure of truth in your drawings.

– Glen Keane


Here, Paul Wells explains that while today’s films use old gags and classic (innocent) designs, they also combine those elements with the darker truths of life that most people today tend to focus on. This creative collaboration now bridges the gap of entertainment between both old and new generations in the context of film making.

We live in, of course, what some call the post modern world. The impact of films like  Shrek have been very powerful in that sense. The gags are knowing, everybody’s going to be self aware about these things. We have to know where everybody stands about their own ironies, about their own position in the world. In a certain sense, this mitigates a little bit against the same design strategies, and the same kind of looks of princesses. In the sense that it at least offers us the idea that there’s a “knowingness” in this. Yes the world is a cynical place, but it’s all playful isn’t it?

– Paul Wells (paraphrased)


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Beast Wars, SoftImage, and History Lesson

I was ecstatic when I finally located the video that revealed the software used to create Beast Wars in 1996. SoftImage was the weapon of choice for Mainframe Entertainment (now called Rainmaker Entertainment), who previously created the hit show ReBoot. I also discovered that this was a pivotal moment in history for the 3D software. Us animators should know the history of our craft, so here are a few notes about SoftImage in ’96:

1)Inverse kinematics(IK) was introduced
2)Raytracing was introduced
3)Preferred software for companies such as Digital Domain, ILM, Blue Sky Studios, BUF, and R/GA
4)Used to create Dragonheart, The Mask, Twister, ReBoot, Beast Wars, Jurassic Park , Mortal Kombat the movie, and Tekken the game

The first video is Beast Wars – behind the scenes, and the second one is Softimage’s 1996 promotional reel:

Next Gen Animation – behind the scenes

A great insight into the minds of Cartoon Network’s creative team in Burbank! Although I’m naturally a practitioner of the “Olympic regulations” of animation (such as stern application of the 12 principles, proper anatomy, form, movement, etc.), I must admit that many cartoons not following these principles have expanded the limits of my imagination. (and still do!)

Pete Browngardt said it well:

“A cartoon is an artform where you can do the impossible.” (paraphrased)

First Interview!

Only making-of’s, talks from conferences, and behind-the-scenes will be found here.

This first one is a keynote discussion between 9 directors from Siggraph 2013. It was awesome because they showed a snippet of each of their graduating films. The big names were Ron Clements, Pete Docter, Eric Goldberg, Kevin Lima, Mike Mitchell, Chris Sanders, Henry Selick, David Silverman, and Kirk Wise.