Motion 08 Recap

Last week I attended the Motion 08 conference in New Mexico. The 4-day event was geared towards two industries: animation (2D and 3D), and motion graphics/editing. It was one of the best conferences I’ve attended in a while. The seminars were loaded with helpful and inspiring information, and I met a ton of great people.

As an animation character designer, I figured this would be a good opportunity to do some networking with lots of potential clients. My goal was to meet as many people as possible and flex my networking muscles. It was a real treat to get out of my isolated studio and hang out with other creatives in the industry. All in all I think I gave out over 100 business cards.

The first day featured several seminars open to the general public and finished off with a screening of animator Phil Nibbelink’s self-produced feature film “Romeo and Juliet: Sealed With A Kiss”, followed by a Q&A session with Nibbelink. I missed the seminars but flew in just in time for the movie. The film is a loose retelling of Romeo and Juliet, with cartoon seals playing all the major parts. Nibbelink is an experienced Disney animator who wrote, animated, and produced the entire 80-minute film in his basement. Quite an impressive feat!

The next three days were packed with seminars on animation, editing, and motion graphics. At any given time three seminars were going at once. I focused on seminars about animation, so I can only tell you about those sessions. I can only assume the other sessions were just as terrific.

Monday I attended an all-day seminar on the modern television animation pipeline using Flash. The seminar was presented by animator Stanton Cruse from Film Roman. Afterwards I went out for dinner with four guys who design fake computer display graphics for TV and movies. When an actor uses a computer in a movie or TV show, these guys design what shows up on the actor’s computer screen. Most of the time the computer isn’t really doing anything, the actor is just miming to a mini-movie playing on his computer designed to look like real software is running.

Tuesday I attended seminars on animation principles, using Flash, and surviving Hollywood. Fascinating stuff presented by first-class speakers.

Wednesday’s seminar topics included animating to music, designing character packs for Flash, acting in animation, and designing ethnic characters. The last two seminars were both led by Dan Haskett, a veteran Disney animator and character designer. His work was incredible and his wisened, soft-spoken manner had me hanging on every word. More about his presentation in my next post.

If you are serious about animation, be sure to attend Motion 09 next year in Alburquerque, NM. Sign up for future updates.