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Lecture Archive

My monthly video lectures are archived here for download. Enjoy!

Advanced Cartoony: Smears and Multiples
Watch me apply these two awesome cartoony concepts to a simple scene starring Pierre from The Little Painter. He has a wild scrambling moment that is made to look really cool with the advanced concepts of Smears and Multiples...   more info > > >

Animating Straight Ahead
This month we walk through the basic workflow of animating a physical shot in a straight-ahead fashion. Different to pose-to-pose animation, in which the key poses are decided on beforehand, straight ahead animation relies on paying attention to all of the physics in the body and animating from the root outwards. Watch as I get through the blocking stage of this month's AnimGym assignment (dropping a box) and make discoveries and choices along the way that allow me to hone in on a shot I am happy with. Maya file included, please download Goon from   more info > > >

Animating with Tempo
In this hour long lecture, I show you how to animate "with tempo" - a brand new animation paradigm that puts the emphasis on timing where (I think) it should be.   more info > > >

AnimGym Run Through
With the AnimGym in full swing, it's time to take on a short test together! I start my own test here, with a character doing a 48 frame animation of putting on a hat. Watch this lecture to see me stick to workflow, animate with tempo, and try to get the most out of this test.   more info > > >

AnimGym Walkthrough
We are back with another AnimGym walkthrough, WITH TEMPO! In the past few months I have been more than reassured that a focus on timing is how to access the more intelligent physical and performances choices you have in a scene. In this over hour long lecture I demonstrate just how simple laying out a scene with tempo can be, taking the AnimGym assignment for this month all the way through blocking. Download the included Maya file to get an up close look at the process, and follow along with your own shot. If you only watch one workflow walkthrough lecture this month, this should be it!   more info > > >

Cartoony Animation Basics
My most requested lecture! Learn how to break the barriers of your mind and enter the world of cartoony animation!   more info > > >

Cartoony With Tempo
This month, I take you on another journey with tempo! Watch as we conceive a cartoony action and blast it out in less than an hour with the techniques that I show you. Remember, when you are creating your own workflow, to make sure the methods you are keeping are really working FOR you. Otherwise, throw them out and start fresh with new ideas! Tempo just might be the workflow of this age...   more info > > >

This month, the lecture once and for all obliterates any problems you have with constraints!   more info > > >

Animating Good Contact
Animating good contact is a simple but extremely important concept for all good animators to know!   more info > > >

Dance Animation Basics
Animating a dance is a tough job. Where do you start? Try out this 90 minute lecture!   more info > > >

Double Your Speed, Double Your Fun
In this 80 minute lecture, I show you the one major tweak to workflow that will give you the speed boost you've been looking for!   more info > > >

Exaggeration as a Workflow Tool
Exaggeration is much more than a fundamental. It is an attitude. It is the most logical and productive approach to your animation, and it's about time to hear why.   more info > > >

How to Experiment
In order to get to the best result in the shortest amount of time, you must experiment. You must have a workflow that is open to the huge amount of iterations that the best animators in the world use to "hone in" on the most powerful result. But HOW do you experiment? In this 70 minute lecture, I show you my process for keeping an entirely open workflow that is prime for experimenting with the animation deep into the progress of the shot. Learn how to watch your work with a critical eye and enjoy the huge workflow boost that experimenting gives you!   more info > > >

In Between the Poses - Guest Lecture with Mike Gasaway
Mike Gasaway knocks it out of the park this month with a guest lecture!   more info > > >

Intermediate Cartoony Concepts
Just getting the hang of beginning Cartoony Animation? Well too bad! Time to turn it up a HUGE NOTCH with this Lecture on Intermediate Cartoony concepts. Elevate your cartoony style, now!   more info > > >

Kenny is Wrong! Part 1
Kenny is Wrong! Ha ha! In Part 1 of this new, ongoing series, animator Tim Sormin walks you through the many aspects of animation and Maya where his workflow deviates from Kenny's, proving time and again that workflow is king. Whatever your methods, this series will open your eyes to the many methods of producing great animation. In Part 1, Tim walks you through two tools in Maya that have not gotten ANY love from Kenny, Breakdown keys and the Lattice Tool in the Graph Editor. Enjoy!   more info > > >

In celebration of completing The Little Painter, this month I give you all of the things I learned from funding a project through Kickstarter! I also make a VERY SOLEMN pledge to EACH and EVERY ONE of you in this video, regarding you creating your own short films and a kickstarter campaign of your own. Watch the video to see what that pledge is....   more info > > >

Laugh it Off
Laughter is the best medicine! In this lecture, I demonstrate the ease with which you can animate performance choices that have large "anchors" in them - movements that come with sound that are not part of the dialogue. As I have said many times, laughter is one of those things that is 100% body. So take a look at this lecture and see how you can rely on the body not just for laughing, but for other lipsync as well!   more info > > >

Animating Good Lipsync
Learn my tried-and-true workflow for creating great Lipsync in this video lecture. Speed up your process and produce more accurate results!   more info > > >

Male And Female Walks: Differences and Distinctions
Dive in right now and get your walk cycle genders really LOCKED IN!   more info > > >

Mastering Your Reference Video
This hour long lecture gives you my easy reference video workflow that you can employ in your shots immediately and start really raising the bar in performance quality.   more info > > >

New Animation Ideas
Since the birth of animation, artists have refined and honed the techniques of the trade. But are we too married to old methodologies?   more info > > >

Animating Non-Human Characters
I've given the advice before that animating non-human characters can really 'spice' up your demo reel. We need to be able to make great pose choices and know the issues of making appealing animation even if the character is lacking arms, legs, or even a body!   more info > > >

Optimizing Your Scene
In this hour lecture, I go over some of the tools we can use to speed up Maya and make things much FASTER, like display layers, isolate display, and proxies! I even have a python script for you as a treat! Enjoy!   more info > > >

Overlap Workflow INTENSIVE
In this 1:20:00 lecture I dis-spell all of confusion surrounding overlap and show you how -=I=- get the results I need.   more info > > >

Acting without dialogue makes up a large portion of the work you will do in production! Watch this lecture for some tried-and-true methods of creating believable, natural pantomime.   more info > > >

Phrasing with Tempo
We're back at Tempo workflow with this hour long lecture focusing on phrasing! Watch as I take an 11 Second Club shot through the first stages of blocking with Tempo, being sure to keep my phrases very nicely delineated. Follow along with me with your own shot, and using Tempo, string together three 3-second shots into a full dialogue sequence!   more info > > >

Planning For Success
A member asked me a question regarding a shot that was "un-referrencable" and it got me thinking; is there such a thing? My conclusion is there is no scene that you should not apply your ENTIRE planning workflow, barring time constraints. In this 75 minute lecture, I show you some of the deeper considerations when planning a shot, a peak into my workflow tackling some of the most difficult scenes I've worked on. Use this lecture to make a breakthrough in your planning today!   more info > > >

Polish Workflow Part 2
This month I spend time take a shot into the final stages from one of our very own members, and talk through the process as a I go. In this over hour long session, I take some strong timing ideas and make them stronger by animating "with tempo", and working on the most important parts first.   more info > > >

Polish Workflow Part 3
In this lecture I walk and talk through the thought process of finishing a shot. Starting from where we left off in last month's lecture, we take the shot through some of the final 5% of polish.   more info > > >

Proper Project Setup
It's just about the most important skill outside of the technical and artistic aspects of animation; organization. And even if you are quite the neat-freak, your approach might not work well in production settings.   more info > > >

Rapid Fire Questions
There have been MANY @sk Questions submitted over the years that are GREAT, but just don't fit well within the format of the @sk Videomails.... This month I decided to take an hour and answer as many of these great questions as I could, giving guidance in many varied aspects of animation from expressions to thumbnails. I think I will be doing an annual "Rapid Fire" from now on, because I enjoyed this so much! Watch below to get a taste of the wide world of animation....   more info > > >

Retiming: How and When
No matter how you work, where you work, or what industry, retiming animation is an essential skill of any animator.   more info > > >

How to Properly Test a Rig
I've said many times in my lectures to "thoroughly test your rigs", especially at moments when I encounter a technical problem with the rig I am using. But what sort of things should you be looking out for?   more info > > >

Secondary Action
Secondary action is your gateway to subtext and subtlety! If you have never heard an in-depth discussion on secondary, this lecture will blow your mind! Check it out.   more info > > >

Sliding Feet
Another demo style lecture, with a cool animation of a character with sliding feet. What kind of things should you pay attention to when you are making your character slide? How do you deal with weight? How do you handle texture, contrast, timing spacing? In this over hour long talk, I take you through the process, and show you just how much Tempo can be your guide when doing a physical shot like this one. Be sure to download the included scene file and take a stab at polishing yourself!   more info > > >

Snappy Dialogue Walkthrough Part 1
This month we return to the workflow walkthroughs, with a dialogue shot to test our animation skills. On top of the good practices that we've already established in the previous walk-throughs, we're adding an extra element of difficulty in this shot; "snappy" animation.   more info > > >

Snappy Dialogue Walkthrough Part 2
This month we finish the dialogue shot we started in October. I walk through all of the major polish notes that take this shot from blocking plus to the polish phase.   more info > > >

Stayin' Alive
Here is a my easy 4 part workflow for creating believable idle cycles, demonstrated in Maya on a real production shot!   more info > > >

Super Physical Helpers
You've tried out helpers, now it's time to really USE them! In this hour long lecture, I show you how helpful helpers can actually be. Especially in super physical shots, a helper object can be used OVER and OVER again, giving you a leg up posing AND timing your characters as they tumble crazily through the scene. This lecture includes a maya scene file so you can follow along as we work!   more info > > >

The be-all, end-all of spacing discussion!   more info > > >

Tell A Better Story
The game is afoot! Several animators have told me they are going to do kickstarter campaigns for upcoming short films, and I couldn't be more excited. I can't wait to see what you come up with. However, we should start at the beginning; with story. Much like animation, story-crafting has workflow. In this hour long lecture, I go over the very simple structure that myself and a few other storytellers (cough PIXAR cough) use to assemble compelling short films. Have a look!   more info > > >

Tell A Story
We are all storytellers. Unless you are practicing the skill of crafting a story, like all muscles, your storytelling muscles will never grow. In this hour long lecture, I give you a few tricks for practicing creating compelling stories with a clear theme and moral. Using these methods, practice the art of storytelling and inject your animation with a deeper understanding of the role it plays in the overall piece.   more info > > >

The Perfect Head Turn
Check out this HUGE 90 minute lecture for a solid workflow on head-turns, including great tips for managing head and eye leads, as well as common pitfalls to avoid when keying the whole body for your turn.   more info > > >

The Polish pass
When you are learning, you start many more shots than you finish.   more info > > >

The Quick Quad Walk
Animators around the world are tasked with creating life-like quadruped performances. From dinos to dingos, quads present a whole new series of challenges to animators, and should be researched and practiced if you want to get a job in visual effects.   more info > > >

Weight: The Dead Giveaways
Weight is a serious issue in Animation. It can mean the difference between unrealistic animation and a solid performance (pun intended). I show you some great workflow choices to make sure you include the "Dead Giveaways" in your work - the subtle movements that REALLY show a character is heavy.   more info > > >

Advanced Workflow
Learn about advanced workflow in this video lecture!   more info > > >

Workflow Walkthrough Part 1
This month, we dive back into Workflow! For any animator that doesn't have a SET way of animating, now is the time to start. In this lecture I show you some of the beginning stages of a shot, and how I begin my animation.   more info > > >

Workflow Walkthrough Part 2
The saga continues! In this lecture, I continue into blocking plus of the Flour-Sack pantomime shot started in the February 2011 lecture.   more info > > >

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