Plan de cours Andrew Gordon-EN | TECHNOCompétences

Feature Animation Workshop overview

In this daylong workshop we discuss animation techniques.

Learned from Andrew Gordon’s 20 years experience at Pixar Animation Studios.

Version francaise

Classe de maître en anglais / Masterclass in english

Andrew Gordon has been animating characters professionally for over 20 years. He joined Pixar Animation Studios in 1997 where he has animated on A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2 and 3, Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and Ratatouille among others. The characters he has worked on include Mike Wazowski from Monsters, Gill, from finding Nemo and Edna Mode, the costume designer in “The Incredibles.” He was Supervising animator for the academy award nominated short “Presto”. Andrew was a directing animator on Monsters University and the recent TV special Toy Story that time forgot. He recently finished up directing spots for the Good Dinosaur and is currently animating on Finding Dory Due out in Summer of 2016.

Mr. Gordon studied animation in Vancouver and NY, and prior to his work at Pixar, he worked at Warner Classics. He was awarded "Outstanding Character Animation in an Animated Motion Picture" by the Visual Effects Society for his work in Finding Nemo. Andrew is also the creator of many of the secret spaces at Pixar such as the Love Lounge and the Lucky 7. Andrew has been teaching animation since 2000, helping develop and lead the Pixar animation internship 4 times. He has lectured throughout the world, including Masterclasses in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Spain, Singapore, Australia, London, Vancouver, Japan and Italy. He is currently the director of the Hollywood Animation Program for the One Academy. He is one of the founders of, a web-blog/podcast dedicated to animation.

An overview of the day’s topics:


Starting with the why we move characters, we look at how and why a character moves. Through lecture and exercise we explore the big poses of a walk. Then get into the finishing techniques for a walk. We also take a look at animal locomotion and what to look for in order to get it back into your work for creatures with more than 2 legs. Discussion of actors methods of creating character through walks are discussed as well.


Posing the Body and the Hands

In this exercise we look at the base principles of what makes a strong pose in the body and the hands. We also take a look at previously posed work and break down what is working and what is not by looking at detailed draw-overs. Discussions such as stacking, overlapping shape, appeal, simple to complex and more are discussed. Discussions with other animators are also part of this lecture.


Gestures in Animation

In this talk we look at how gestures work in animation. From gesturing with hands to what it means to not gesture we will explore how to come up with interesting choices for your characters. We look at acting patterns and use some exercises to get us used to staying away from those cliché gestures we so often see in animation. This talk is designed to help you come up with better acting ideas for your characters in a fresh believable way.


Blocking Techniques

Layered, Step, Pose to Pose, Straight ahead, Keyframe, Sketch blocking... All these and more will be discussed as we dive into a look at the different styles of blocking Andrew has seen over the 20 years he has been working at studios. Blocking action, Blocking dialogue, Blocking multiple scenes, Blocking multiple characters…Blocking acting… Too much? Too little? Mistakes made and clear blocking… This talk is a must see for any computer animator wanted to know if there is a magic bullet to use when blocking.


Facial Design and Animation

In this talk we look at what makes a good facial pose and how we animate it to make believable acting. Breaking down the face into three parts: Eye Mask, Nose Area and Mouth we discuss the attributes of feature quality animation in the face. Dialogue, Eye Blinks, Brows, Nose, Appeal, Naturalism etc. are just some that get us thinking about the topic. The face must look convincing for people to believe our characters exist in the real world as the gap between real time animation and rendered feature work closes. Lets look at what is most important.


Finishing Techniques

It is said that the last 5% is what really makes a scene come alive. What does it really take to polish a shot on the level of an animated feature in 2016? In this talk we look at some of the things we need to look out for in the finishing of a shot. Topics such as physical polish, emotional polish, contacts, facial polish, tying in the environment as well as many, many more topics are discussed at length. The spline is our friend in this talk.

 Most sessions involve in seat work that the participant can take part in using a workbook supplied.

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