A2H – now available!

 Posted by at 10:55 pm  3 Responses »
Oct 102014

My new book, Animate to Harmony: The Independent Animator’s Guide to Toon Boom is officially released! You can now order through Amazon or, if you’d like a 20% discount, order it from the Focal Press website and enter A2H20 (note – that’s a zero at the end) at the checkout.


If you’ve already got your copy, why not drop me a review on Amazon?

Sep 042014

FX: Any non-character animation.

Traditionally, when you first start learning animation, you start with effects (FX). You learn how to make a ball bounce, to animate a balloon with a string, a swinging vine, various falling/tumbling objects and so on. You need to develop your skills on simple, primitive objects and the underlying physical forces before attempting complex character and creature animation. From the very start, what you are doing is effects animation.

The idea is that these early FX exercises give you the best foundation in animation, whether you decide to become a character animator or an FX animator in 2D, 3D or stop motion. Gradually as you develop these skills and gain more confidence, you can try adding character to these objects. For example, a common animation exercise is to give life to a flour sack, making it behave as if it’s a character, focusing on acting with weight, emotion and appeal.

Many animators have an eye on character work and move quickly beyond the ball bounce and flour sack exercises to develop their character animation skills. Others decide to stick with FX and dedicate themselves to the mastery of the elemental forces like fire, electricity, water, smoke, gravity and light.

Why FX?

FX and Character animation are specialised fields in their own right. The difference is that character animators without much FX experience will readily admit that they find it difficult to master technical, complex FX like water and fire. FX animators, on the other hand, usually find it a little easier to move into character animation; they already have that rock-solid foundation and well-developed sense of timing that character animators take years to develop.

So it’s my opinion (and I know many of my character animation colleagues would back me up here) that FX animation is the best way to learn animation as a whole, even if you ultimately aim for character work. Why not both?

The BCA FX Course

I originally developed the “BiteyCastle Academy Effects” course (BCA FX) because I was constantly hearing from animation students and enthusiasts who had spent hard-earned savings on outrageously expensive animation courses. So many students come away from such courses feeling disappointed, or even ripped off. It feels good every time a course member says that s/he has learned more in 3 months of BCA FX than they did in 3 years of college.

So sure, you can pay $2500 for a weekend workshop hosted by some Disney legend, or complete a 6 week course and get a certificate. You’ll probably even learn a thing or two. But if you’re serious about learning animation, you should know that it’ll be a long-term pursuit. Who knows? It may become a life-long passion.

The BCA FX course  is aimed at teaching you not just FX, but how to set out on the animation path. For beginners, the basics taught throughout the course give you the perfect introduction for learning any kind of animation. For experienced animators, you’ll underpin your existing knowledge with new insight and reinforce good animation habits.

If you’d like to learn more about the course, check out the sign-up page which has all the information you need, and a bunch of member testimonials. Of course, if you have additional questions, feel free to drop me a line, or hit me up in the chat (see chat tab in the lower corner of this page) if you happen to catch me in there.

Almost Here

 Posted by at 5:54 pm  14 Responses »
Jul 152014

Animate :: Animate Pro :: Harmony

Animate to Harmony *

Learn three Toon Boom programs from one book in “Animate to Harmony”, coming in September. The book covers Animate, Animate Pro and Harmony. To get a 20% discount, order from the Focal Press website and enter the discount code A2H20 at the checkout. You also get free shipping on orders over $35.

The book’s Focal Press page now lists the Table of Contents so you can see what the book covers. Also, the following video – developed for the book’s companion website – is from the Focal Press YouTube channel and I introduce particles in Harmony, and a short how-to series will soon follow.

Saiyan *

Although I did it over a year ago, my Super Saiyan .GIF recently went viral for the second time, thanks to Mexican soccer coach Miguel Herrera’s sideline antics at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Just before Mexico’s match with Netherlands, I was interviewed by Slate and also Vice where I outline my process in making the .GIF.

As you may or may not already know, I animated it in just under 2 hours using Toon Boom Harmony. On Imgur to date, it has clocked up over 7.6 million views. If you’re interested in seeing the process in timelapse, check out the video below from my YouTube channel.


Current projects *

Right now I feel very lucky to be working on a couple of really cool jobs. I’m working with Riot Games on FX concept work and keep an eye out for my name on the credits of Bob’s Burgers as a storyboard artist! And then please send me a package containing lots of money. Thank you in advance!

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