Saturday, 25 April 2015

How Do Pixar Animators Plan Their Shots?

The secret of good animation lies in the planning, and experienced animators know that by drawing clear thumbnails to plan out their work, they can save a ton of time in executing their shots. I have always used thumbnail drawings to plan my work, but seldom (to my regret) have I saved my sketches - most of them hit the bin long ago.  But one animator who has saved a ton of his planning sketches is Pixar's Victor Navone, and you can see his thumbnail gallery here.

The gallery is a great resource because you can see how much planning Victor has put into his shots. Each one is carefully thought through long before he starts making poses in Maya. It's a great way to work - takes a little extra time up front, before you get started, but it will save you loads of time later on as you wrestle with your key poses in Maya.

Why did Victor save all his thumbnails? Who knows? Good housekeeping, perhaps, or maybe a desire to share his work method with other animators. If so, it's lucky for us, because his thumbnail sketches are a model for how a good animator approaches his shots.


For more on the experience of studying at Bucks New University, come and visit us at one of our Open Days, take a virtual tour of one of our animation studios, check out what our students think of our course, and see why we're ranked in the top 12 creative universities in the UK. Find out why we're giving free laptops to all our students, and why we give all our students free access to videos at Also, see what financial assistance might be available to you. Learn which is better for animation, a PC or a Mac? Get hold of a copy of a map so you can find your way around campus, and learn aboutmotion capture at Bucks.

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