I miss seeing the Earful Tower from the Studio Backlot Tour. I miss when the Studio Backlot Tour was worth doing…
This was really good!
Last week, I shared with you information about the new App “Mr. Cupcake Has The Sprinkles.” This is an interactive storybook app for kids ages 2-8. What drew me to this app was it’s creators, Josh and Jennie Book. Josh oversaw Computer Generated animation on the hit animated TV shows “Bubble Guppies” and “The Penguins of Madagascar”, and the pilot for Disney Junior’s “Sheriff Callie’s Wild West”.
Having ties to Disney peaked my interest, obviously! Josh agreed to an interview about his work with Disney, Sheriff Callie and animation in general. Welcome Josh, to A Disney Mom’s Thoughts, and thank you for your time!
|Josh Book from MightyYeti.com|
How long have you been in animation? How did you get into this field?
I started working as an artist in video games in 1995, and I first started creating animation at Electronic Arts then. I worked in games for a few years, but then spent the next decade or so in the animation industry, working on TV shows, films, and commercials. I broke in when a family friend gave me a tour of Electronic Arts. I showed a team there my portfolio in the hopes of getting feedback for applying for a job there at a later date, and instead I was hired on the spot.
Did you go to school to learn to be an artist or are you self taught?I got a BA in Fine Art at UC Santa Cruz, and had a very traditional fine art education there, but didn’t learn animation there. I learned mostly on the job, and also through some classes at the Animator’s Union down in Hollywood.
Do you prefer computer generated animation or hand drawn?
I love both! I’m a big fan of all forms of animation and the variety of looks different mediums have. CG can be very rich looking and super polished, and 2D/hand drawn animation can have great designs and snappy quick timing that is sometimes tougher to pull off in CG.
When you worked on Sheriff Callie’s Wild West for Disney Junior, what was your job? Which characters or scenes were you responsible for creating?
I was working at an animation studio called WildBrain that did the production of the show. I was the CG Supervisor there, so I was overseeing all the CG (computer generated) animation pipeline. This includes everything from making sure the character models are a good interpretation of the 2D designs, to evaluating the rigs which are the CG puppets, to helping guide the animation performance and how the final rendered frames look. I was really an advocate for the show creators, helping to make their show look as good as possible.
I worked on it starting way back in 2008, when we did some first tests of what it might look like. That was so far back that it was called “Oki’s Oasis” and Callie/Oki had stripes instead of being a Calico cat! Then we did a pilot for it, which is a full length episode of a new show to see what it will look like, and let Disney decide if they want to make a full series out of it. After the pilot I also did some more development work on Callie, mostly working on different looks for her. That finished up in 2011. People might not realize how long it takes to make an animated series! I was offered a position on the series but turned it down as it would have been in Los Angeles.
What is the hardest part about your job as an animator?Animators have to take so many things into consideration when animating a scene. There are scenes that are mostly acting, where getting a good performance is most important so that viewers can feel the emotional tone of the shot, and it’s clear what is taking place. Then there are scenes that can be big action scenes, with characters say jumping around from place to place, in which timing needs to be spot on or else it could look like it wasn’t moving right. We’re taking these computer puppets and moving them around, one frame (a 24th or 30th of a second) at a time, and trying to create “the illusion of life” as it’s called, where the audience is believing that these CG puppets are alive, and have personalities and “exist” in their worlds and stories.
How long did you work for Disney? I was working with Disney, but for WildBrain, which was the show’s animation production company. Many TV shows are like this, where the show is created at and by a different studio, but there is a collaborative relationship between the studio and the network such as Disney. So there’s a constant dialogue going on with the network/Disney, but you aren’t actually working FOR Disney. It’s like they’re a client in a way, but much more collaborative than most client type of relationships.
My 5 year old loves Sheriff Callie. He especially loves the chipmunk trio that sings in each episode! Which episode is your favorite?
Cool! Yeah the chipmunks are really fun. I also think Toby is a super cute character. The musical aspects of the show are great. I’m still partial to the pilot actually, as I saw it about 100 times while we made it. J But it was also a cool moment to see the first episode when it was wrapped. I was visiting Denis and George at WildBrain and they showed me the first episode with music, and there was a big dance scene. The dancing (which is very tough to animate) looked great, as did the whole show. The characters have a lot of appeal, and I think it looks great!
What are your hopes and dreams relating to your animation career? My wife and I formed a new studio called Mighty Yeti and our goal is to tell our own stories. I’ve had a great career making hit shows for Disney and Nickelodeon, but now we want to see if we can make a go of it with our own stories and characters. We’re starting with interactive animated storybook apps, so we can tell our stories and be content creators without all the costs of animation (which can require a lot of people and hundreds of thousands of dollars). We’d like to get to the point of creating full animation down the line, but as a startup we have to be realistic and first create a sustainable company. I feel we’re making products easily on par with what I’ve done for other people, but the biggest challenge will be connecting with our audience and making people aware of what we’re creating and building.
What tips do you have for any young people who dream of being a Disney animator?It’s awesome to have a career as an artist or animator, but it’s also a lot of work. Start off by drawing a lot and learning everything you can about art. Even though we work on computers, they’re just another tool like a pencil or paintbrush. It can be called “computer animation”, but it’s not the computer animating, it’s a person working on it. So getting to be a good artist is key, which is done by drawing a lot and developing your skills. You’ll develop “your eye” which is the ability to see things critically and know how to improve your artwork. Take art classes if you can, you’ll learn a lot from people who know a lot more than you, and you’ll learn it faster than if you are trying to alone. Make your own comic strips, try to tell a story, because ultimately in animation we’re telling stories. And when it’s time to try to get a job, Disney can be a very tough place to break in to, but don’t give up. There’s lots of animation studios in the world doing lots of amazing work, and you will always be developing your skills throughout your career. And it’s a lot of fun!
Babies are the best! Now that my youngest son is 2, I can honestly say I miss babies. That doesn’t mean I want more, but I do miss babies! 🙂 When I was pregnant with my boys, I was always looking at baby gear, clothes, toys and items. My list of “must haves” was a mile long. Each time I went to Walmart for groceries, I spent too much time ogling over the baby items- especially the Disney Baby items.
Disney Baby had so many items that were top on my list for my babies. The great part was Disney had the same products with different feature characters for boys and girls. A few must have Disney Baby items for parents with a new baby are:
This post was sponsored by Disney Baby and I was compensated to write it. Regardless, what I have written is my own opinion and experience, and I hope you find it of use.
I was given a free copy of Mr. Cupcake Has the Sprinkles for helping promote the release.
Inside the “turkey and crunch” meal, we had Turkey Snack Stick, BBQ popchips, Fruit & Seed blend, Fruit Peel-a-part, and a chocolate rice crispy bar. The “hummus & cracker” meal came with hummus and multi-seed crackers, fruit & nut mix, tasty seed blend, and a chocolate rice crispy bar.
I thought all of the food was great except the chocolate rice crispy bar. This actually surprised me since I’m such a chocoholic! It did not taste as fresh as the rest of the meals did. My youngest did not enjoy the chocolate rice crispy bar either, but my 5 year old loved it. In the “Turkey and Crunch” meal, my 2 year old ate everything except the dessert. The dried fruit in the fruit blend and the pull apart fruit were his favorites. In the “Hummus and Crackers” meal, my 5 year old did not have as much luck. He did not enjoy the hummus, but enjoyed everything else. He loved the seed blend which included edamame, pepita & sunflower seeds. I was shocked that he enjoyed this. He actually said he wanted me to buy more for his lunch at school!
Overall, I would definitely give GoPicnic meals two thumbs up. Even though these were “meals”, I don’t think either would be enough to fill me up. They were more like large snacks for me. However, these were the perfect size for my boys. I could see my family packing these meals to take to school for lunch, to the ball fields or in our backpack at Walt Disney World for a quick snack. Everything was healthy, tasty and convenient. Three things I love!
Check out their web site or follow on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about their products, how to order and costs. *GoPicnic provides a variety of meals, which are not all gluten free. It is important for all consumers to review the product packaging and labels because there are several meals, which are not gluten free.
I know you are all wanting your own packet of seed blend now! GoPicnic is providing two meals to one lucky reader. This contest is for US residents only. Please note, meals can take up to three weeks to arrive. Good Luck!
Welcome to those of you joining me from Frontierland Station and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 4th stop on our Magical Blogorail.
The best way to end a Disney vacation is to book the next one before you leave… but that’s not realistic for my family! Instead, we like to visit our favorite park, Magic Kingdom. I always like to end in this park because 1) it’s my favorite and 2) I want the last “memory” to be with Cinderella Castle. There are several things we do on our last day in this park but I make sure we get lots of photographs (with my camera and PhotoPass photographers) and we make those last minute purchases on Main Street.
Recently, we were given the app “Minnie’s Food Truck” to review. Even though I’m a mom to boys, we love Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and all the characters- even the girls! My 2 year old loves “Mimmie!” He likes her more than Mickey, who he refers to as “Mimmik”. Below you will find our review followed by the information provided to us about the app. Enjoy!
Features users will love include:
The app is available now on Apple’s App Store for $2.99.