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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

Rusty works in the animation industry doing Storyboards, Timing, Animation and Directing. Recently he has worked at Disney TV Animation and Universal Animation Studios. He's best known for his Directing and Producing for Warner Bros. on "Animaniacs" and "Pinky and the Brain".

Friday, June 30, 2006

Inspiration from John Lounsbery

I find my animation inspiration from many places but my favorite animator is John Lounsbery. To me his animation always had a freshness no matter how similar the scene was to a previous scene he animated. Here today I present a few extremes of his from a scene in Robin Hood which was replaced. Seems Milt Kahl was directing this sequence and when he found out there was a Shakespere line of dialog that Robin Hood would deliver he threw out this beautiful scene of Lounsbery's and redid it himself. You will notice the design on Robin Hood is slightly different than the final design we see in the film. Notice the overlap of the head to the body movement and the hat and ears to the head movement. These kinds of extra movements are what give the true feeling of life to the animation. Because of this I find many times it works best to get the major movement pinned down then build upon that. This might mean I have to go through my scene several times but the result is worth it.
Another thing to notice is the amount of squash and stretch given to the character. Depending upon the style of animation you are doing will depend greatly on how extreme you will want to go with distorting the character. By constraining this (without eliminating it) you will come closer to getting the feeling that there is a solidity to the character or object. In this scene you can just feel his cheeks and without drawing each individual hair you can feel that he has fur above a solid structure.
In this simple movement the animator has also kept solid arcs in his motion. When flipping the individual drawings the head moves in a nice arc up to the highest point. Notice also that he leads the arm with the elbow instead of just dragging it behind. This gives it a deliberate action so you know the character meant to do what he's doing. Closing the eyes as he moves up then opening them at the top of the action gives accent to the action and can help punctuate the dialog.
Although I have a collection of inspirational scenes that more closely match the characters in my film I find that sometimes it's best to study scenes that aren't so close. It can be very easy to fall into the copy trap. In order to keep things fresh I can study scenes like this and refresh my animation rules without getting lost in how the character is drawn. Sure, I can look at the poses and gesture but I find it best to not copy them directly. This freshness is what I strive for in my work. To me the audience should enjoy the film and not directly notice the animation. I would prefer them to be entertained and later notice that it was animated nicely too.
Robin Hood images ┬ęDisney


Blogger Richtoon said...

Wow!!! This is amazing stuff!! It's always a treat to see some rough animation . Particularly from a master. Very inspirational stuff.


7:42 AM  
Blogger DTN said...


I , too, am a great admirer of Lounsbery's work. Did you catch the discussion/appreciation of Louns over on Mark Mayerson's blog ?

follow this link to read it:


8:03 PM  

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