Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Sound Effects in Animation
Its Finals week and all the animation students at Woodbury University are loading up on the caffeine to get their films done before the big deadline. And as I write this, I have my own deadline to finish animating Episode 2 before the Summer begins or is over.

I've been laying out the final scenes and cutting in sound effects to enhance the rough animation. I've noticed that many students are relying only on their music to tell their animated stories, but I find it always amazing to download or create a sound effect and sync it up to my silent animation. 

The first sync sound experience I had in animation was to animate a water splash. Back in the day, sound was on 1/4 tape and you had to record this master take unto a roll of perforated 16mm Magnetic film.Once the sound was on the 16mm mag stock, you had to add a head and tail leader. I shutter to remember those days myself, but I learned how to read the sound and figuring out when the splash occurred and when the second droplet of water fell.

No Animateducated website or Youtube references to learn from; my only source was the Disney " Illusion of Life" book and still photographs that I could find in books about science high speed photography. Once the splash was animated and pencil tested, I had to sync it up to the mag stock of the splash sound effect. I will spare you the gruesome details, but let's just say when that drawing of a ball hit the water and the sound of the splash happened at the same time as my animation, that was pure magic to me.

So, here's a sequence with sound effects added to my animation again, but using the tools of today. When it works, I am still amazed.

Sound for Action from Toondini on Vimeo.

Openings for Woodbury's High School Academy are still available...

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Book Review: Cartoon Character Animation with Maya

There are a lot of animation books about animating in Maya. Some of these read like recipe books, giving step-by-step instructions of what settings to use to get the desired effect or look. Reading this type of books can be like reading a manual. You pick up a few tricks here and there, but it's not a "good read."

I'm happy to say that this is not the case with Keith Osborn's book, "Cartoon Character Animation with Maya," from Bloomsbury Publishing. It's well written and includes color photos from current animated features, which Osborn uses to explain different concepts from planning shots to designing readable poses.

Media of Cartoon Character Animation with MayaThis informative book is for animators who have some Maya experience and want to take it to the next level. I definitely could have used this book when I was first working in Maya. The author is an animator and animation instructor who begins with 2D concepts like the 12 principles of animation and then applies them to 3D animation. From planning to posing to polish, you'll learn how to break down breakdowns, take the terror out of tangent types and even overcome the oft-feared graph editor. 

Every step of the process is covered including how to incorporate multiple limbs, smears, motion lines and staggers seamlessly into your animation. A lot of classic cartoon techniques have been incorporated for you to add to your own creations. 

The book contains many interviews full of insight and animation advice from animators such as Ken Duncan, T. Dan Hofstedt, Matt Williames, Pepe Sanchez, Ricardo Jost Resende and Jason Figliozzi

Osborn also includes several bonuses:
  • Video tutorials for several chapters 
  • Several useful Maya scripts
  • "Mr. Buttons," a free character rig
  • And a finished film, "Blind_Date," that features Mr. Buttons.
Mr. Osborn sent the following link for this posting. If you're looking for a good resource for exploring character animation in Maya, this is the book for you. It's well worth the price of admission.

Keith Osborn's current demo reel...
Cartoon Character Animation with Maya
08 October 2015, Paperback

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Summer Animation School!

Summer is on its way and Woodbury University is offering a 5 week High School Academy and I will be teaching the "Introduction to Animation" class.

Last year we had 7 weeks which started with Stop Motion...

StopMotionFilms2015 from Toondini on Vimeo.
then to 2D...

Metamorphosis from Toondini on Vimeo.

and ended with 3D.                                              (Better viewed without sound....)
This year, we will focus more on 2D animation principles and learn how to apply them to 3D animation using Maya.

In preparation for your summer at Woodbury, there will be an optional orientation on Tuesday, May 31 from 5:30 – 6:30 PM.  Campus tours will be given that allow students to see where their classes will be held and learn where helpful resources are located around campus (e.g., library, health services, etc.). 

Please RSVP! Email Kelly Nittoli ( by Monday, May 30 to save your spot!

High School Academy Schedule: All classes meet on Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays, beginning Monday, June 13 and ending Friday, July 15.  In observance of Independence Day, please note that classes will not be held on Monday, July 4.

If you are interested in animation, still in High School and want to learn about the animation process, please contact Kelly Nittoli ( or call her at (818) 252-0729 asap. If you have any question about the animation class, please contact

Please send this to any of your young animation friends!