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Pixar's senior animator, Robb Denovan, looks at the studio's animation techniques in depth, and explains why they're still relevant today

Working at Pixar is a great opportunity to learn and hone skills as an animator, as Robb Denovan explains: "Whilst there are many great tools and tricks that are specific to Pixar and their software, I find myself adhering to the same principles that have been around since the early days. One of the most revered books in animation is The Illusion Of Life and I am constantly referencing it as a guideline for my work. At Pixar, we are constantly trying to push the envelope with our animation but at the same time we pay homage to the original animators and the principles they developed.

"We will talk about 12 key components for things that I try to include when animating. Some of the topics I will discuss are from The Illusion Of Life and other topics are things that I have discovered along the way that I find valuable when animating."


01 Squash and Strech "Considered one of the cornerstones of animation, squash and stretch is what breathes life into a character. Without squash and stretch, all of our characters would appear stiff and rigid. Even seemingly rigid characters and objects should have an element of squashing and stretching applied. Squashing and stretching also demonstrates the weight of a character. And it's not just the body of a character that can be stretched; I squash and stretch everything on a character like the eyes, hands and feet!

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02 Posing, silhouettes and lines of action

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03 Timing

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04 Research and reference

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05 Developing an idea (acting)

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06 Blocking out a shot

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07 Polishing a shot

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08 Familiarising yourself with studio tools

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09 Thumbnailing and note taking

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10 Critical eyes

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11 Creating an effective workflow

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12 Learn something new from every shot

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