: Hey duder, real question time! My impression is that your work is very improvisational and in the moment. Or is that just your super chill vibe? What is your process like in developing / planning / creating something like a short film that can't be completed in one or two sittings? Do you outline, storyboard, write stuff? Is the process wildly different depending on your mood? What's the deal?! Thanks, Joe
Hi Joe. thanks for the thoughtful question. First off I want to say, if you’re looking for advice, my main tip is to ignore any rules you might have been taught and focus on what works for you. There is no right or wrong way to animate. So do whatever you want to get sweet results.
Yeah you guessed it. I mostly just animate off the top of my head. I’m not big into pre production. I never make animatics for my own stuff. I only do rough animation if its a complicated shot that i might fail at. Otherwise i just go straight into final clean animation. I’m not saying that’s the best way to do things, but its best for me. I do make storyboards for longer stuff. They’re super sketchy and loose. Mostly just make them to quickly reference what happens next and to keep the big picture in mind. This is the storyboard I used when making The Jump.
You’ll notice I cut some stuff out and didn’t bother planning out the ghost memory stuff. I think if story meant a lot to me I might be more into planning. But it doesn’t, so I’m not.
Anonymous: hello! I am a big fan of your animations (films, gifs, etc). I was just wondering how you go about doing work for clients. Do you approach them or do they approach you? Also what is your take on working freelance versus working for a specific studio or company?
They usually approach me. If my freelance game was more on point I’d probably have sent out notifiers or something. I dunno, just never thought about it much. Freelancing is cool, you get a lot of freedom being your own boss. But getting a steady pay check from being employed also sounds cool. I don’t really know, I’ve only ever freelanced in the art/animation world.
Anonymous: when do you think you really started getting a hang drawing and animation? was there a specific routine you had for improving?
I got serious about drawing at a very early age. Even went to school for it. But after graduating I lost interest in drawing. Almost never draw for its own sake anymore. I got into animation after getting a wacom tablet in late 2009 ish. Learned to animate by reading about the basics and trying it out. Making gifs and failing at making films a whole lot. In this past year or two is when I started feeling comfortable with my animating abilities. If you are starting out, don’t get discouraged. Nobody is born good at animation. You get what you put into it, and if you love it, you can be great.
: Not joking here Charles. What is your day animating like? Do you have a bunch of GIFs in progress? Do you drop everything and start/finish a GIF in a single sitting? What is your balance between personal and client work in a single day? How do you stay focused?
this is just a pitty ask! hah, but ill answer it anyway. I used to do gifs all in one sitting. but now that the gif limits are bigger ill start various things and finish them some other day. If i’m on a job ill just focus on that. put in an 8 hour day. And then not animate my own stuff unless for whatever reason i’m feeling the inspiration. I stay focused by remembering that we are all gonna die some day and hopefully my art will live on, so it better be good!
I was looking through old flash files and remembered this background animation loop that was cut short in the final video.
Why not “tri” looking at the world from a different “angle”? Ho ho.
The fourth Adult Swim promo from Ivan Dixon.
Written, designed, animated by Ivan Dixon
Additional animation by Charles Huettner (charleshuettner.tumblr.com) and Andrew Onorato (onocoolo.tumblr.com)
Music & sound by Adult Swim
Produced by Adult Swim
A sneak peak of one of our Adult Swim shorts featuring special guest animators Charles Huettner and Andrew Onorato.
I animated this shot!