The Story of my Animation Disk

This post is to introduce you to one of the most special items in my life, my 16 Field Animation Disk. This item is not permitted to be handled by just about any other person, and it will be the number one item I will grab in the event of my house burning down.

I have been building my home studio since 2008, but the animation disk itself was a very lucky item gifted to me out of nowhere by one of my teachers who used to work at Walt Disney Studio during the animation renaissance. I kid you not, when the animation disk was transferred from my teacher's hands to mine, they said, "I was using this disk when I was animating Timon, and also Phil (Hercules)." My favorite thing about this relic is one of its imperfections. Embedded deep within the plexi-glass are eraser shavings that were not put there by me, as I only use kneaded erasers.

These eraser shavings are evidence of countless mistakes, late nights, and undoubtedly, unbearable frustration from a master animator. They remind me always that no matter how novice I may feel, that masters will struggle too, and the whole point is the the quest for learning from your mistakes and getting better and better at your craft.

Like the masters before me, I have written the most iconic quote from the Nine Old Men right on the wood of the animation desk itself. A character animator must be technical, they must be a good draftsman, but above all else, they must never ever lose the essence of the character in which they are bringing to life. You must never ever lose the character, otherwise there is no point.

For some technical fun stuff, the animation desk needs a lighting rig which shall be placed underneath the plexi-glass. This way, if you are doing intense cleanup work, you can turn the light on to check your lines of your current drawing against the drawing before. Disks also spin! They do this so that you can change the angle of your drawing to make your line quality better. Since a disk is a hard plastic/plexiglass moving against hard wood, the disk actually needs maintenance. You actually wax the disk, just like a snowboard. :)

And here's the whole thing in its glory, surrounded by all of my original Don Bluth pieces (and one random drawing by John K). Despite this Disk coming from Disney, Don Bluth will always be my homeslice and films like Land Before Time, All Dogs Go To Heaven & Secret of Nimh were my favorites.

I used to work 100% traditional paper animation, but with my first feature project in production, I will be moving over to 80% TVPaint, 20% paper, so my Rig has needed some recent updates.

I will do my most important shots on Paper so that I will have the physical copies forever.

For the Digital Side of things, I currently use a crazy Windows Rig which has been named Percheron, this crazy gaming device that I'm about some hotkeys to program with TVPaint, and I'm about to upgrade my Intuos3 Tablet to a 16" Cintiq.

Side note, I'm very upset about the cost of a Cintiq, but I'm SUPER EXCITED to use it. That purchase is likely going to take place within the month.

I hope you all enjoyed this little glimpse into my home studio and some personal aspects of the most important item in my life.