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Preview: Bobby Beck's Blog

Bobby Beck's Blog

Updated: 2018-02-15T21:53:48.536-08:00


My Blog has moved


I'm excited to announce the rebirth of my site I've incorporated a new blog into the site, migrated all my old posts from this blog over and will no longer be updating this one.

I look forward to seeing you over on the new site, hearing your incredible comments and I thank you for your loyal readership.


A happy day


A very VERY happy day to hear John Lasseter talking about Animation Mentor in such an incredible way. In all honesty I'm just happy he even knows about AM! WOOOT!!!

Animation Mentor: The Journey


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I'm so proud of Animation Mentor and all the lives and dreams we help to shape. I feel very honored to get to do this work and feel inspired by the passion every one of our students has. Here is a great video put together by our outstanding video team. It was their concept to put this together and they have done an outstanding job. So stoked!!!

Spielberg on animators


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Blast from the past. 12 frames per second might be nodding to doing 24 frames per second on 2's. I wonder if he still feels this way?

TED ED: looking for animators


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Great concept. Combines my two loves of education and animation. Check it out and see if it's something you'd be interested in!

The Story of Animation


A buddy of mine, and ex-Pixar animator, Dave Tart, directed a great film in a VERY cool, missed style of animation. Check it out here for a little inspiration!

A couple of thoughts


I've spent a chunk of time over the last 6 weeks looking and commenting on peoples animation. It's been a TON of fun and I'm enjoying it greatly. I wanted to share a couple of thoughts I hope can help you out in your work.

1. A lot, and I mean A LOT, of people seem to end their shots in a superman type pose. It's either one hand on hip, both hands on hips, chest puffed out, or some derivative of this. There are SO many options people have and I see a lot of people defaulting to this cliche.

2. The next one is a continuation of #1. Many people have their characters stop by the end of their shots. In production we're always asked to animate "handles." Generally you animate 10ish frames before and after your shot. This does a few things:
a. It keeps the motion blur working up past the shot so that it doesn't magically stop by frame 123; i.e. end of the shot
b. It also helps make it feel like the character is alive and not perfectly animated within a box of time If a song ends when it's over, an animation needs to cut out at a place where the song is not quite finished.

Just some things to think about as you approach your new shot.

Eyebrows make a BIG difference


Check out this cool image I saw on Twitter. It was titled "Eyebrows make a BIG difference." Looks like he just removed the eyebrows. Crazy how much of a difference this adds. I thought this was great for animation as you can clearly see the power that these crazy little lines have! Not to mention how creepy people look without them. Ha ha!


Keeping it simple


Being a new dad I've been finding it hard to keep up with work, social networks, twitter AND blogging. The blog has definitely suffered due to this. I'm taking a "keep it simple" approach these days for staying up with the myriad communication channels.

I've been posting a lot on my Google+ (bobbyboombeck) page and Twitter (@bobbyboombeck) feeds. Not as much on Facebook these days, but still check it to see what's going on.

In short, I'm more inspired than ever, learning SO much about life, daddyhood, business, friendship and balance. I'm so very thankful for the life I have and I never want to take it for granted.

Coming back from CTN has given me a lot to think about in terms of where Animation Mentor is at and where I want to take it. I'm incredibly inspired with AM right now and believe in it more than EVER. I'm excited for what the new year has in store and excited by all the lessons learned each day!


Animation Mentor is going to CTNX



The Animation Mentor CTNX schedule is posted here. We can't wait to hang out with everyone and share our love for animation! Hope to see you soon!

On Becoming a daddy


It's been a while since I thought about blogging. There's been a lot of other really great stuff going on in my life. Namely, my little baby girl (see pic above).

I've had so many incredible feelings and thoughts that have come over me in the last several months and I feel incredibly blessed to have such an amazing little squishy one :)

Before I became a parent, many people told me, "When you have a kid it changes your entire life." It always sounded somewhat negative. Now, after having been on this journey for just a short while, I see how it does indeed change everything. And I see that the changes have made my life so much more outstanding. Life is not just about me anymore, it's mega-multidimensional in such a cool way.

In this quick post I just wanted to share my initial thoughts on how amazing I think this step is in life and I'm sure I'll write more about it in the future, too. :)

Animation Mentor: the parent perspective


This is one of the coolest videos we've done to date. Travis is such a great guy and it was so great of him to share his thoughts about how to maintain balance with family and school. Enjoy!

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Alert: who's work is that anyways?


This entry is in response to a few postings we’ve seen on Facebook and Vimeo over the past week or so.

Animation Mentor supports animation all around the world, and we love to see student work.

We are flattered that students of animation are choosing to emulate Animation Mentor student and graduate work in their quest to learn how to animate, and we want to offer a few guidelines to help them in their journey:

1. If you want to receive feedback on your work, or use it in a demo reel, it should be ORIGINAL work. Please do not reference another animator’s work.
2. If you do reference another animator’s work for the purpose of practice and learning, and the work is a straight copy, it is my humble opinion that this work should not be distributed on the internet and called a show reel.
3. It's also an incredible amount of work to recreate someone's short film shot-by-shot AND light/render it. We'd much rather suggest you work on original work that is uniquely yours showing the value of what your voice has to bring to the craft.

The industry is super duper small and word travels fast when work is copied or plagiarizer and we encourage those folks, I'm sure their intentions were not meant with any ill will, to rather work on new, original works instead.

And a note to Animation Mentor students and graduates: Please remember that what you post online is often public, and not easily deleted. We appreciate supporting your fellow students, and we encourage you to keep it positive, professional, and supportive. Thanks.

Getting Curious


Recently we had an two day offsite for the Animation Mentor senior team. Day two we brought in an outside facilitator to help us work on improving our communication. I'd say this was one of the most insightful and humbling days I've had in a long time and I'd like to share one of the big takeaways I got from that day.

Get Curious:
We did an exercise where we took a piece of paper and folded it in half. On the right hand column we each wrote a different conversation we had recently that frustrated us. Then, on the left hand column, we wrote what was going on in our heads during particular moments in that conversation. Our facilitator noted that not a single one of us asked questions when we got frustrated. Instead we acted on what our mind/assumptions was telling us. He urged us instead to ask questions and get curious in these moments as there is almost inevitably a misunderstanding in the making.

Throughout the day he worked us through real experiential moments and we each had many opportunities to practice our new skill of getting curious. We also got feedback from our peers after each conversation -- which was extremely insightful.

I LOVE learning and there were so many incredible breakthroughs that day. I wanted to share this thought around getting curious when you start to feel "triggered" or upset as, chances are, there may be just a simple misunderstanding -- and building this muscle to REALLY listen is pretty incredible. But more on that later.

Animation Mentor 2011 Showcase launches!


We hope you enjoy the latest addition of the Animation Mentor Student Showcase.

So much hard work goes into this from all the students. It's always so hard to choose the shots that will go into the reel. We had to trim it down to fit our standard 4 minute showcase time.

We're VERY happy with the results the students are producing. There is a passion inside the company that is bonding us all even tighter together. We're proud of AM as if it were our baby. It really is and we're so excited to see that our students are learning, growing and having their dreams come true as professional animators. The stories we hear on a regular basis light our souls up with gratitude.

Thanks for viewing and we hope you enjoy!

No Regrets - this is your one life


Thanks to Becca Romeo (Animation Mentor's Career Services manager) for pointing me to this article. In the article a nurse points out the top 5 regrets people make on their deathbed. WOW! Here's an opportunity to check myself and make sure I'm doing everything I can to live life to the fullest. Some great nuggets of gold in this one, particularly #5. Enjoy.

Industrial Light & Magic: Creating the Impossible


Just came across this and thought it'd be worth sharing.

I just got back from Stuttgart, Germany and had a blast with all the Animation Mentor students! I learned a lot and am so happy that we went there in full effect. We definitely plan to head back again next year.

One of the biggest things I learned was how the industry is evolving, where it's headed and how exciting so much of this news is. I'll share more in a later post. So much going on, it's really exciting! :)

The Making of Animation Mentor


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It was an honor to be asked by CTN to talk about the creation of Animation Mentor. Carlos and I got to share some of our early stories and the passion behind why we created AM in the first place. We hope you enjoy.

Please note:
While I was at Pixar I had one of the most incredible experiences being an animator and I want to clear up some confusion.
I was never a Senior Animator at Pixar. I don't even think they have titles like that there. Please note my brain was a little fuzzy that morning due to lots of festivities happening at CTN.
When I was working on Monster's Inc. Dave Devan was internally titled "anim buddy" on Boo. Anim Buddy is a term that Pixar uses internally only. It is not a lead animator as Pixar likes to keep the hierarchy as level as possible. He got called away on shots before he was able to finish and I was tasked with working out the development of her when she is in her costume.
On Nemo I was Anim Buddy on Nemo's character. As an Anim Buddy you are tasked with making sure the rig is solid before it goes into production. You do tests with the character to establish how it could move. You create the initial shape libraries that the other animators will use for consistency.
To remove any confusion of this in the future I have decided to change my resume to read "Animator" on these films and wanted to clear up this confusion here publicly.

Reduce the "suck factor" - Step 2


In my blog posted titled "STAGES OF LEARNING AND GROWTH" I talked about the 4 stages of developmental growth. At the end I said I would talk about the things I do to reduce time spent in step 2. I call this, "reducing the suck factor."This is a very personal post to me and something that is very ME. I'm not sure this would work for everyone, but this is what I do.I hate to "suck" at anything. I really do. I figured life is too short to suck at something for too long and the fact that we don't have to makes this point one of my drivers when learning something new. I'm a highly motivated person and have found some key things that help me reduce the suck factor:1. Find someone who does what you want to do, and who is outstanding at what they do, and learn from them. This means, if you can, learn directly from that person. Once I really embraced this concept I started using it all over in my life. I find this method good when learning a new skill that is not a "mental" skill (I'll talk about that in #4 below). This works well for things like, martial arts, musical instruments, kiteboarding, snowboarding, salsa dancing, animation (Hey, animation mentor... there's a good idea :) 2. Go in 1,000%!Again, these things work for me and work well at reducing the suck factor, but if you dilly dally around this will only complicate time spent in step 2. 3. Find your TRUE motivationin order to create a change in your life you really have to find the real reason WHY you want that change. If you can find a compelling reason that you want that change you WILL find the time to go at it 1,000%. If you want to learn more about how to find this motivation read, Awaken the Giant Within (not the audio version as it is VERY truncated. Read the book. It's HUGE and full of GOLD).4. Get a coachA life coach is great at working on personal growth. I find personal development hard to do with a mentor; they typically do not have the time for this. I find getting a good life coach has helped me a HUGE deal at learning important life growth skills. My criteria for finding a good coach is to make sure they can push me and hold me accountable. If they give me an "assignment" to do and I don't do it and they let me slide, I get rid of that coach and fast. It's like a personal trainer for the most important skills of all.I've had HUGE good luck at finding great life coaches from The Coach Connection. They meet with you once a week (or more, or less, if needed) over the phone and work with you. I've found that more than once a week is too much and that less than once a week makes me lazy; i.e. no momentum.These are just a few of the BIG things I do to reduce time spent in step 2. I hope you find these helpful![...]

Dreamworks takes care of the peeps: according to Fortune.



Just came across this and was excited to see DreamWorks animation listed as #10 in the top 100 companies to work for in 2010! I have no doubt about that. They take great care of their peeps.

What I was also excited to see was that they, who knows how this is calculated or if it is accurate, that, of those 100 companies, DreamWorks animators are the best paid hourly employees. Nice to see credit given where credit is due. Great work from a fantastic company!

Animation Mentor announces Animals & Creatures: Master Class!



It's been two years in the making. Working directly with the studios to build a curriculum for the VFX world of animation. It's finally here and we're so stoked on the love and passion that's gone into every aspect. The same love and passion that's gone into our 18-month core program is the heart behind how these classes have been created. The industry wants them, people want them and we took the time to design them with the highest standards in mind.

If you want to know more about Animation Mentor's new Animals & Creatures: Master Class you can find full information here. We hope you enjoy!

Here's an article posted up by Animation Magazine. Cool!

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Stages of learning and growth


I've always loved this model for learning. This model has worked really well for me in all areas of learning and growth.

The model has four steps:

Step 1: Unconscious Incompetence: In this stage we have no clue that we do "X" or want to chance "Y". Once we learn, either from someone giving us important feedback (X), or reading a book and wanting to make a new change (Y), that there is something we want to change, we immediately move to step 2.

Step 2: Conscious Incompetence: In this stage we still break the habit, and/or do the very thing we are trying to change. The difference here is that, most often right after we've done it, we realize, "whoops, I just did that 'thing' again." This step can continue forever or as long as it takes before the proper motivation comes to really embrace the change.

Step 3: Conscious Competence: Once you can act out the new habit or behavior it often feels forced or contrived. Anything new typically does feel this way. Once you live in this space long enough the conscious part begins to become unconscious and we move to the final step.

Step 4: Unconscious Competence: In this stage we are the wise Buddhas who live the very thing we sought out to accomplish. Or, in other words, act the new habit or behavior from an inner, sincere place.

Getting to unconscious competence IS possible and, once the model is embraced, I've found that it gets easier and faster to do. The model itself perpetuates learning!

I share this model because it serves as a foundation for how I approach learning. I get asked a lot how I learn things so quickly and I've come to develop my own philosophy that stems from this model. That is "reduce the suck factor" or, how to reduce the amount of time spent in "step 2". I'll let this first bit set in here and will post another day about things I do to reduce time spent in "step 2." Until then, I'd love to hear your thoughts about this model for learning. I hope you enjoy!

Always assume positive intent


As the year ramps down I've been reflecting on what an incredible year it's been. I've learned more this year about myself, life, leadership, being a husband and the importance of listening that I feel like a new me.I had to opportunity to learn about a powerful concept that is still seeping into my inner being that is a little nugget to pass on for those in the pursuit of a more fulfilled life. Here we go...I posted before about the impact True Colors has had on my life. This set of knowledge has truly been one of the most powerful pieces for me in many years. It serves as the foundation for how to better understand people and understand and enjoy the differences that exist. In addition to True Colors, I was introduced to a concept that has strengthed my communication with people and this concept is profound in its simplicity. This concept is:Always assume positive intent. Simply put, it means to take down your defenses and listen clearly before you react to people. Living in the present moment and not inside of your head.A few examples are say, when someone says something that I could view as offensive (this could vary based on your personal "offended" meter) that I don't read a story into what they've said; that I not read anything into the expression or tone they may be relating. I first begin to notice my body starting to feel a small boil beginning. At this moment I stop focusing on what is in my head (all sorts of stories going on) and I simply listen. I listen to the words that they are saying. What are they really asking for? Do I need to be getting offended (no)? Do I need to retort to sound smart or defend my position (I could, it feels good, right? - but is it getting me closer to understanding the situation or connecting better with them? Most of the time, no). 99% of the time I've been finding that when I stay present and really listen that if I were to react on my "story" I could have halted or damaged communication. This one concept of "always assume positive intent" has made me rethink the way I think about conflict. Be in conflict in someone cutting me off in the car (maybe they are racing to get somewhere important?), conflict in the workplace (in a meeting someone says something that makes me feel like I did something wrong for doing a task that I missed a step or two on) or, most importantly, conflict in your relationships. Something that has really helped me strengthen this concept is around some coaching I've been getting over the last 6 months in Crucial Conversations. Crucial Conversations is an amazing resource for dealing with conflict and tough conversations. They happen, or, may not happen, more often than I once had thought. The crucial conversations material is deep and is the perfect compliment with True Colors. Crucial Conversations has helped me further my understanding of "always assume positive intent" in a huge way. I've learned that it is my responsibility to not take the "suckers choice" and get defensive or react inappropriately. It is my responsibility to restore safety when it is lost in a conversation and this, in time, shows people by example how to communicate more effectively. This requires a lot of self discipline and it works. Once you do it once it becomes addicting! It's been working in all areas of my life. What I've learned is still taking shape and will continue to do so. My life has become more pleasurable, more fun and my friendships are more outstanding as a [...]

Pixar says celebrate who you are, no matter who you are!


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Awesome!!! and completely inspiring!

The Rescuers: Pencil Test


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"The Rescuers" is still my all time favorite animated film of all times. It's so dark, rough around the edges, sweet and adventurous all in one blow. A film like this just does not get made these days because it tackles a lot of issues that are not "safe." Most films today play the "safe" role. They are successful for sure, yet missing where we can go with our art form.

Thanks to Alexiss for passing this awesome dose of inspiration in pencil test form both from Milt Kahl (Medusa) and Ollie Johnston (Penny). OMG, this is golden. This film still gives me the chills to this day. LOVE LOVE LOVE!