CineSpace 2016

For the second year in a row, NASA and Houston Cinema Arts Society are inviting filmmakers around the world to participate in CineSpace, a short film competition that is inspired by, and utilizes actual NASA video footage.

Eligible submissions include short video, film, and digital-media works of 10 minutes or less. CineSpace is seeking films from all genres and styles including but not limited to: experimental, narrative, documentary, comedy, drama, animation, ambient, music videos, re-mix, sports, horror, and underground.

Prize Details: The total prize purse for this competition is USD 26,000. In addition to monetary prizes, winners shall receive tremendous exposure for their work.

Application Instructions: Last date for submission is July 31, 2016. No entry fee is required.

Guidelines/ Registration Link: You may visit the CineSpace 2016 challenge page to register and to check out last year’s winners and finalists.

Sketchbook Pro custom brush sets


If you’re a fan of Sketchbook Pro like I am you know it’s an amazing program. I would argue it’s the easiest program to use digitally out of the box bar none. No other program is intelligently designed enough to allow a 5-year-old to use it yet create broadcast or print quality work as well. You can draw, paint, and even animate with it and it is available on most platforms including OSX, Windows XP through Windows 10, and even your favorite Android tablet or iOs device as well! In short it’s an extremely versatile program all for $185! Not bad! They even have subscription for $4.99 a month which allows you to get the latest builds as they upgrade the software.


In short, pretty damn amazing if you ask me!

PLUS, it has a small footprint, which means it will work on old tablet PCs like the Motion Computing LE 1700 which you can get for a song these days on eBay and other places. Of course you can also use it with a Surface Pro or iPad Pro as well.

The latest version Sketchbook 8 has redesigned it’s brushes so you can really get some interesting details you can mix colors and blend them as well. Oil paint, watercolors, ink and chalk are some of the default choices but there are many others to choose from as well. Lately has been posting free custom brushes for download, and this week a buddy of mine was feature on the blog. Keith Cowan creates some truly amazing pieces of work and you owe it to yourself to check his work out.

Below is Keith‘s custom art brushes as well as other Sketchbook Brush download sets to get you started!







































If you’re NOT familiar with Sketchbook Pro yet, below is a list of some of the things it can do right out of the box…

Distort transform

SketchBook Pro distort transform tool adjusting orientation of dragon sketch

Advanced perspective guides

SketchBook Pro advanced perspective guides being used to draw skyscrapers

Synthetic and blending brush types

SketchBook Pro synthentic and blending brushes blending several ink colors

Enhanced selection

SketchBook Pro enhanced selection tool being used to select pant color on sketch of Women

Dynamic gradient fill

SketchBook Pro dynamic gradient being applied to sketch of drill

Flipbook animation

Several frames of baseball player swinging using SketchBook Pro Flipbook animation

Custom canvas size up to 64 MPX

SketchBook Pro canvas UI that can be as large as 64MPX

Copic Color Library

SketchBook Pro Copic Color Library UI

Create and customize your own brushes

SketchBook Pro Customizable brush UI displaying all customization options

Brush Library

SketchBook Pro Brush library UI with wide variety of pre-made brushes to choose from

Advanced layer functionality

SketchBook Pro Layer group UI showing layers being organized by group

Blending modes

SketchBook Pro Blending mode UI showing all blend modes available

Now go out there and make some amazing content!

Learning Animation 2016

2000px-Animation_disc.svgWant to learn how to be an animator? In 2016 it’s not as hard as it once was. Years ago, you needed pencils, xerox machines, white out, pencil sharperers, X-Acto blades, tape, animation cels, animation paper, cel paint oh yes and an Oxberry camera! Never mind that there were not many animation school options to choose from. Fear not however, as the digital age is here to help you and thousands of tutorials are available allowing you to learn quite a bit about animation and the various techniques out there. there are also many digital options open to the animator in 2016 allowing you to cast away all those costly supplies once needed.

In the US there are many solid animations schools to choose from but in my opinion the best of them is Cal Arts here in Los Angeles mostly for the connections it has to the studios. Pixar, Disney and DreamWorks all harvest students from there yearly. There are many others around the country as well such as The School of Visual Arts in New York City and Full Sail in Florida. In Paris, Goeblins seems to produce some fantastic animators and I drool over the shorts their students make yearly. I personally went to a small school called the Joe Kubert School located in New Jersey which is also a good solid place to learn. A decent list of animation schools can be found on AWN and while it can be daunting because there’s so much, it’s a good place to start. I believe most of art school is what you choose to put into it and the plain old ‘pencil mileage’ that you put into your craft anyway so the school does’t matter as much to a focused student.

But what if you can’t relocate or don’t have money to go to a school? There are still options open to you to pursue. One is Animation which will allow you to learn remotely and is run by well respected animators and artists. If you can’t afford that, I would suggest simply studying animation frame by frame and copying what you see. While Youtube doesn’t do frame by frame you can easily download stuff and watch it with Quicktime. DVDs work as well.

Traditional Animation
Of course the old school way of tradition paper and pencil is still a viable way to learn but it’s getting harder and harder to finds supplies. Animation paper and peg bars can be purchased at Cartoon Color and other places around the web and you can film your scenes frame by frame but you’ll still need a computer to digitally put them together. An excellent free option is Monkey Jam which turns your webcam into a pencil test system. You could also use as digital camera and film your scene frame by frame but that’s not the best approach. Honestly most studios expect you to understand how to animate digitally so you’re going to have to learn this eventually.

Most gaming PCs are powerful enough to produce animation both 2D and 3d, and even iMacs and Mac Books can do it. Most studios use Wacom Cintiqs to draw with but they’re mega expensive and not for everyone. There are also cheaper knockoffs of Cintiqs such as Yiyinova, Bosto Kingtee and X-Pen but you get what you pay for and they are not as good as Wacom’s flagship offering.Fortunately there are some cheap options out there to help you. Many studios use Pen tablets such as Wacom’s Intuos line which allow you to draw on a pad and look at your monitor. They’re not for everyone and I’ve never been able to effectively use one well but many people do amazing things with them. Another cheap option is purchasing a Motion Computing LE 1700 for a few hundred bucks and installing Sketchbook Pro which has a timeline that you can animate with.

Software-wise, there are a number of free options out there such as Plastic Animation Paper and Pencil. If you have deep pockets, you can’t go wrong with Toon Boom Harmony which is used by Disney, Starburns Industries, Bentobox and many other studios to produce 2d animation. Toon Boom even offers a subscription so you can pay as you go. Finally you can also subscribe to Adobe Animate and while it’s not the greatest to draw with, there are many studios currently using the software to produce network TV such as Titmouse and Renegade Animation. Globally there is Mukpuddy, and Boulder Media.

If you’re into 3d animation it’s hard to go on the cheap but Autodesk now offers subscriptions for it’s Maya, and 3D Studio Max softwares so you can sign up with them and pay monthly. In contrast Blender is a solid 3d animation program and it’s free but most studios use the Autodesk software so you’re eventually going to have to learn their interfaces somehow.

All in all there are many options open to an artist seeking to learn animation in 2016 and so you have less and less excuses to not pursue your dreams, so stop reading this and get out there! (and don’t forget to come back and do an interview for us once you’re established!)

Frans Vischer

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What is your name and your current occupation?
Frans Vischer. I am an animator at Walt Disney Feature Animation.  I am also an author/illustrator. I have two children’s books published, Fuddles and Jimmy Dabble, and another book being published next year.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
In high school I did weekend janitorial work at a Montessori school, and I was a lousy busboy at a Mexican restaurant, spilling trays and breaking lots of plates. I delivered pizza for a single night after my 2nd year at Cal Arts, (when thankfully an animation job came through.)


What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
“Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” “Cats Don’t Dance” “Back To Neverland,” “Back to Neverland” “Michael and Mickey” “The Night of the Living Duck,” (a Daffy Duck short.)


How did you become interested in animation?
When I was thirteen, my mother sent some of my drawings to the Disney studio. Don Duckwall, the aptly named animation department production manager, wrote back inviting us to visit the studio whenever we were in the area. We lived in Cupertino, in Northern California, and the following summer we vacationed in Southern California, and made part of our plans to visit the Disney studio in Burbank. I met Mr. Duckwall, as well as Ed Hansen, who would succeed him in the job, (and later become my boss.) I also met a number of animators, who inspired me to make my own animated films. My parents bought me a used 8 mm. camera, and my dad built a light box with a set of pegs, and I jumped right in and started experimenting.

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I was born in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. When I was eleven, my family moved to the United Sates. During high school I met Chuck Jones at a talk he gave at a junior college. I wanted to show him one of my Continue reading

Pierre Collet-Derby

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What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Pierre Collet-Derby. I am currently an Illustrator at Ubisoft Montreal by day and a character designer by night for various animation projects.


What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I was lucky to be able to find work in the animation industry right after school. When I was a student in industrial design, I had the opportunity to be an intern in a cabinetmaking shop. It was a very interesting experience but I remember being exhausted after each day of work. Being a craftsman can be a physically demanding job.


What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
In 2003 I had the chance to animate on “Mickey’s twice upon a Christmas” for Disney. It was my first important gig as an animator and working with Disney characters was a dream come true for me. I learned a lot during this production, and met a lot of talented artists.Overall each project I’ve been working on has been rewarding as an artist. You always learn new things, meet great people and overcome new challenges. So I’m proud of all those projects, either big or small.


How did you become interested in animation?
As far as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in cartoons and comic books. I started to draw at a very young age and have always been encouraged by Continue reading

Luis Gadea

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What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Luis Gadea. I’m currently a freelance animator/concept artist and I’m gonna start working as a Flash animator for TV series.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I only had one real job before starting in animation. I was a salesman in a call center for a telephone company from Argentina, then thankfully I was hired really young in an animation studio for commercials.


What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I really don’t have one specific favorite. I think I have learned from every project and each one has given me new skills for the next one. I do have to say that working on commercials was a great experience because each one was very different from the other.

How did you become interested in animation?
At first I didn’t quite know about animation. Since I remember I’ve liked drawing. I remember as a kid I loved Disney, Warner, Hanna-Barbera, UPA and all the classics. I have a good friend older than me who started in Continue reading