Saturday, August 11, 2018

Writing Characters Without Character Arcs

The Steven Spielberg "L System"


When your characters are faced with a problem they have to make choices to fix those problems and those choices will reveal their true character. Conflict can be a springboard for comedy, drama, suspense, etc. and a great way to show off your animation skills and an opportunity to go beyond movement and more into character based performance. One of my favorite clips on Youtube serves as today's example illustrating my point. The timing is great and his choice to fix his "problem" still cracks me up!

Friday, August 10, 2018

Extinction - Acting Analysis

When you animate a character make sure that the acting choices are appropriate to the scene, the environment and the context, and not something that seems out of place. It's not just about how to animate a character in terms of movement but also in terms of character choices and the choices will be influenced by what's going on around the character.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Burnout & Overworking Yourself

Take care of yourself!


As Cartoon Brew writes:

Famed French Animation School Gobelins Announces Free Online Animation Course... Gobelins, l’École de l’image, the Paris institution renowned for its department of animation, announced their new free massive open online course (MOOC) last month at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival. Anima Podi, as the MOOC is dubbed, will be a six-week, computer animation training program that begins on October 17.

Head over here for more info and watch the trailer below:

Bang Bang!

Boogie Nights & Goodfellas: When Karma Comes Around

Gotta watch both movies again, they're so good!

Chris McCormick Blizzard Animation Reel 2018

SMALLFOOT - Final Trailer

Saturday, August 4, 2018

How an environment can make your animation BETTER! - part 3

Let's conclude (for now) the series about how the environment can make your character animation better by looking at Django Unchained, extreme weather conditions as well as examples and ideas to make your animation stand out. And why wouldn't you try to talk about Bodysnatchers? :)

Friday, August 3, 2018

Warcraft Cinematic - “Old Soldier”

Take Shelter - Acting Analysis - part 1

This Acting Analysis clip take a look at Jeff Nichols' fantastic movie "Take Shelter". There's a lot to cover so this is part 1 for now, and the sequence I'm looking at is very short but hopefully serves as a springboard for ideas in terms of how you can showcase your main actor's character through their interaction with surrounding minor characters, in this case a father and his daughter. It's a small moment but I really like the idea of secondary action in shots and if you can establish a broader canvas of your character through that then then why not try it out in your next shot?

Saturday, July 28, 2018

How an environment makes your animation BETTER! - part 2

Part 2 of How an Environment Makes your Animation BETTER series looks at Star Trek, Skull Island, Batman vs Superman, Lord of the Rings, Tomb Raider, Iron Man 2 and the new Godzilla trailer to showcase how your character can be affected by the environment and how it can and should alter the performance.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

All the Money in the World - Acting Analysis

This Acting Analysis clip looks at the movie "All the Money in the World" and the examples cover how characters can be affected by their costume, outside environments (more on that in my FNAs), body posture changes based on emotions and lipsync tips.

Animation Workshop Krystal Huynh #1

Friday, July 20, 2018

How an environment makes your animation BETTER! - part 1

This is the start of a multi part series again, almost an unofficial "How to take your animation to the next level" part 6, but this time I'm talking about environments and it's a subject I want to dedicate its own series to.
I'm starting with the simple yet very important distinction: has your character been in that environment before or is the first time? Your acting choices will be different depending on your answer and a set and environment can inspire your acting choices tremendously!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

ER (Season 1) - Acting Analysis

For this Acting Analysis clip I'm looking at season 1 of the TV show "ER", specifically episode 12 "Happy New Year" and episode 14 "Long Day's Journey".
John Carter (played by Noah Wyle) seems to be dominating all the clips I'm going to show, with his awesome pantomine actions and reactions, but other characters and moments will be featured as well of course.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Food Thief - Teaser Shot and Rig Demo

Sonder: Animated Film Made with Unity

Julian Teo Pixar Reel - Animation Analysis

Julian Teo's Pixar Internship 2016 Animation Demo Reel is always being shown in my classes and his shot of Inside Out's Riley is such a good example of a strong pantomime acting performance within a set and how a set can influence your acting choices and marry both the character and the set together so that the character feels alive within that environment.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

How to take your animation TO THE NEXT LEVEL - part 5

Okay... one more! This really is the last part of the How To Take Your Animation To The Next Level series (at least in this form!). I had to add one more part because of the awesomeness of this clip I'm talking about! The body mechanics, the conflict, the struggle, the determination, it's all so good!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Star Trek Voyager "Elogium" - Acting Analysis

Looking at an episode of Star Trek Voyager, this week's Acting Analysis looks at how you can use a prop to enhance a character's emotional state. Ok, that sounds pretty fancy, especially given the show and the characters in my example. Hey! What can I say, I'm more of a DS9 and TNG guy, but it's still a fun example.

Friday, July 6, 2018

How to take your animation TO THE NEXT LEVEL - part 4

Part 4 of the How To Take Your Animation To The Next Level series (and final one) walks you through more examples of how you can add interesting complexities to your exercises, be it a weight assignment, a creature shot, etc. in order to make it more about a specific moment of a character instead of just movement. Aaaand some examples are kinda dark, what can I say.

Tomb Raider - Acting Analysis

Sometimes less is more and looking at the latest "Tomb Raider" movie for my acting analysis series I found exactly that! Amidst all the spectacle and action, there was a great little moment that stood out to me exactly because it was small and subtle and worked as a contrast to all the action. Two very similar scenes from different Star Trek movies are also featured to show how less is more can be very effective (funny enough, all featuring villains).

Saturday, June 30, 2018

How to take your animation TO THE NEXT LEVEL part 3

Part 3 of the How To Take Your Animation To The Next Level series takes a look at the classic animation exercise: the weight lift. Using Ti West's "The Innkeepers" as an example, I'm walking you through all the cool moments of that sequence (or more one long shot) and how you can apply that to your animation, and I look at other little bits of movie examples to round out part 3 of this FNA.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Friday, June 22, 2018

How to take your animation TO THE NEXT LEVEL - part 2

This is part 2 of the How To Take Your Animation To The Next Level series and I'm exploring the classic "Sit Down" assignment and using a clever kid and awesome Disney Animation character studies as inspiration for your future animation scenes!

Westworld Season 2 "Les Écorchés" - Acting Analysis

It's Thursday and that means Acting Analysis day and before this season of "Westworld" ends I wanted to take a look at two sequences and talk about contrast in character through simple eye movement behavior differences and how quiet moments with whispers and people's reactions could be a great inspiration for your pantomime animation scenes.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Spungella Playblast - Podcast Announcement!

The Spungella Playblast animation podcast is officially live!

The intro episode is out now, check out the announcement clip!

Episode 1 is out on Ancher now:

and as the episodes are being distributed over the next few days you will find them as well on:

iTunes (Apple Podcasts)
Google Play Music
Pocket Casts

Thanks for listening! :)

Thursday, June 14, 2018

True Detective - Acting Analysis

This acting analysis clip covers a lot of different topics: unspoken history through body acting, expanding the scope of your scene through extra characters, sneaking in polished animation for extra awesomeness, and more, as I'm walking you through this sequence from "True Detective", season 1.

*hahaha not sure why I said "nervous" during that nun animation by Guilherme Jacinto, she's more frustrated than nervous :)

Animation Workshop Romana Sonntag #1

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Power through these ANIMATION EXERCISES!

This FNA goes through some of the helpful animation exercise lists you can find online, which should keep you busy for quite some time and how you can tweak exercises for even more challenges.

Friday, June 1, 2018

True Blood - Acting Analysis

Today's acting analysis takes a look at "True Blood" and how a simple head angle change can affect the intent of a shot!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Animation Topic: ZERO GRAVITY - Spring 2018 Contest

Here we go! The topic is:


 You got 1 week! 100 frames! GO GO GO!

 Shots are due no later than end of day Friday the 25th of May. So 11:59pm is your absolute deadline!
Email me your Quicktime (1080p, h.264) or link to Quicktime to:

 contest (at)

 Make sure that your full name is somewhere in the email, no crazy usernames! HAHAHA!

7 ESSENTIAL Tips for Filming Reference

New FNA Friday is up and today it covers 7 essential tips for filming reference, the dos and don'ts and pitfalls you need to avoid when filming reference

Animation Workshop Shuwei Kuo #8

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Midnight Special - Acting Analysis

"Midnight Special" is the latest Acting Analysis clip I just posted and I'm looking at multiple things, covering acting beats but also other elements like audience anticipation and how you can add traditional animation exercises into a more cinematic shot approach.

Animation Workshop Shuwei Kuo #5

Monday, May 7, 2018

100 Frame Animation Contest - Spring 2018 Edition

It's time for another 100 Frame Animation contest! WOOHOO!! You can check out previous contests here (we've been doing this for almost 10 years! WOW!) This time around the prize has been raised to $100 + plus an extra surprise gift of my choosing.

The contest topic announcement will be:

May 18th

and the contest runs for a week until:

May 25th. 

1 Week. 100 Frames. $100.

You can get just the money via Paypal or if you see something on Amazon that tickles your fancy I can also send you a package of your choosing (as long as it is a reasonable and valid shipping address).

Send me your submission to:

Good luck everybody!!

Animation Workshop Kyaw Saw Aung #4

LOVING the Nintendo Labo!

For once not animation related but I just wanted to quickly say how much I love the Nintendo Labo!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Doubt - Acting Analysis

New acting analysis clip is up, this time from the movie "Doubt". I'm looking at a very short moment in a sequence (even though the whole movie has great performances) and I think it's something that you could use in your animation, or at least it can be a springboard idea wise for a performance you might create. (that's a lot of maybes HAHAHAH)

Animation Workshop Kyaw Saw Aung #3

CGI & VFX Demos: "Horse R&D Project - A Breakdown" - by Lonnie Kraatz

I thought this was a cool breakdown of all the separate elements.

Horse reference

A horse on a treadmill!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

"IT" (2017) - Acting Analysis

This clip goes over some of the scenes from the 2017 version of "IT" directed by Andy Muschietti, based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Stephen King. I'm looking at specific acting moments, character introductions, contrast in movement, etc. which hopefully serves as a springboard for your own animation scenes and character choices.

Animation Workshop Mike Kersey #5

Sunday, April 15, 2018

A Quiet Place

My thoughts on the movie. :)