Recently I’ve been reading up more on my interest in animation — finding artist or studio blogs, twitter feeds, etc… And here and there for the past few months many of them had been mentioning the “CTN Animation eXpo 2010″. Well, curiosity struck, and I did some searching, and discovered that the animation expo was in only it’s second year, and was going to be on a weekend in November in Burbank! (For the record, that’s really close to me — I’d actually even stayed in the hotel it was hosted at before)
Well, I checked in on it periodically, and watched as the panels got locked down and the list of awesome people and studios attending continued to climb…but wasn’t really sure I was going to go. I mean, obviously everyone who goes to Comic Con and the like aren’t directly involved in that profession. But this seemed like a smaller more career-oriented expo, and I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Cut to the Saturday evening of expo weekend…when I decide that on SUNDAY I’m going to go to CTN!
I’m really glad I decided to go — it was a really fun, intimate expo with a lot of really cool stuff! Allow me to explain:
One of the first things I found when arriving at the expo was this guy:
They had an actor surrounded by chairs for sketching! It shouldn’t really be surprising at an animation expo, but I thought it was a really cool hands-on aspect.
Later in the day he looked like this:
I actually got to the expo JUST in time to stand in the back of the room for the Untangling the Look of Tangled panel. Lucky me because it was a really great panel — including Art Director Dave Goetz and Supervising Animator Clay Kaytis, it was all about how they created the look of Tangled by referencing classic Disney films (like Cinderella and Pinocchio) and Disneyland, art direction for Rapunzel, and how they made all that hair (technically speaking). There were some great video clips of Glen Keane giving people notes on their shots — the faces he makes while drawing mimic the drawings and are HILARIOUS.
I didn’t have as much luck getting into the Story Begins panel featuring story artists from different studios, but I managed to squeeze into the overflow viewing room for a few minutes at least to get some insight into how story artists collaborate with the writers, and the storyboarding process
After that it was time to wander! I wanted to check out the How to Train Your Dragon panel, but knew I didn’t stand a chance with the line… there were plenty of booths to look at though — so many artists had set ups showcasing a variety of projects. My favorite was the booth for Peck N Paw and the Black Mirror – a book made by the visual development artists at Disney. Basically they got the title as a jumping off point, and each person interpreted a story. Victoria Ying was at the booth, and she had some gorgeous sketches out for sale (unfortunately, I’m a little broke and kind of out of wall space). You can check out her art on her blog though!
One whole room of booths was dubbed “Opportunity Alley” and showcased schools and studios. Animation Mentor was there, which made me think of my friend Kellie! The studios were also critiquing peoples’ portfolios, which was really neat. I, of course, had to go say hi to the Disney Feature Animation booth while I was there
As I was heading out, there was a big crowd by the Demo Area. They had some model sculptors, and someone working on some CG projects on a computer. At the traditional animation desk though, was Eric Goldberg! I geek-ily recognize him from some documentaries and Disney DVD bonus features, but for those of you who are not quite as nerdy, he animated the Genie in Aladdin and Louis in Princess and the Frog (among others).
All in all, it was a really fun and pretty informative day. I’m so glad I spur-of-the-moment decided to go, and I’ll definitely be showing up next year!