Animation Guild

Summer 2019

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10 KEYFRAME O N T H E J O B WHAT DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY OR WEEK LOOK LIKE? CRYSTAL: We usually have a week per episode. We come in, watch the animatic and the retake animation that comes back. Then we have a list of the scenes that have notes on them, so we'll just pull them. It ranges episode to episode; sometimes we'll [be] fixing really easy stuff—colors or blinks—and then sometimes it's starting from scratch and reanimating. Normally, we're only on one episode at a time. Right now, we currently have three animators, plus our animation director, so she'll be working on noting other episodes or prepping what's coming down the pipe while three of us are usually focused on one episode. TOM: My day right now fluctuates wildly. We're at the end of production right now so I normally come in and just help with retakes. At the busiest point, my days would be reviewing two separate episodes that were being animated, reviewing layout for another two episodes, sitting in on design for another—I'd have my hands in at least five or six episodes at a time, which is crazy. But then some days, I don't have any meetings, everything is moving where it needs to be, so I can actually grab a couple scenes and animate myself, and those are very nice days. DREW: I come in and I fix animation. Some weeks I get to do end credits and I greatly look forward to those. I just pitched my own end credits idea and actually got it greenlit. We're in our ninth season, [and] there's so many people working on it. [When] it comes back from Korea, they watch it and they call out notes. Some of the notes are animation, some are like, "Oh, the eye lines aren't matching up." If characters are talking to each other they've got to be looking at each other correctly. Our coordinators hand us a list of things we [need to] accomplish and we try and knock out the most polished-looking episode that we can. HOW DO YOU MAKE SURE THE ANIMATION MOVEMENT LOOKS RIGHT? CRYSTAL: I have either a mirror or I take a picture or video reference because sometimes you just need to see it. If you act it out, it will push you to actually perform. TOM: Yesterday, I had to figure out if a turn was working, so I got out of my office and I was walking and turning. People were like, "What's going on here?" CRYSTAL: There was one time years ago [when] I was animating a dog and I was on the floor crawling around and people were saying, "What are you doing?" I look like I'm insane but it helps figuring out how some- thing is moving—how muscles work, or how IT'S NOT UNCOMMON FOR PEOPLE OUTSIDE THE ANIMATION INDUSTRY TO LABEL EVERYONE AN "ANIMATOR." OF COURSE, THE WORD ONLY RELATES TO A SPECIFIC CRAFT, ONE WHICH SEEMS TO BE SHRINKING IN THE 2D WORLD. WE SPOKE WITH THREE 2D ANIMATORS— CRYSTAL STROMER, TOM RIFFEL AND DREW NEWMAN— WHO WORK IN TELEVISION ABOUT WHAT THEY DO AND WHAT THE FUTURE LOOKS LIKE TO THEM. WORK ANIMATED TOM RIFFEL, an Animation Director and Flash animator, started his career in Chicago before moving to Los Angeles. His credits include animation for The Problem Solverz, Stone Quackers, and animation direction for Mighty Magiswords. He is currently Animation Director on Mr. Pickles.

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