Animator talks technique

Emily Andrews

Dan Anderson, 3-D and stop-motion animator, shows off a bull puppet he used for the “Bull Bag” commercials. Anderson spoke on animation techniques and history last night in the Verder Hall lounge.

Sam Twarek | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Ron Soltys

Bulls, banshees and aliens were in Verder Hall last night when Dan Anderson gave a presentation about stop-motion animation. Fortunately, they were only puppets.

Anderson is a stop-motion animator, storyboard artist, illustrator and graphic designer.

He said he likes stop-motion animation because it incorporates many different skills such as drawing, engineering and photography.

“Since I was in high school, I was intrigued with stop-motion animation,” Anderson said. “In that time it was mostly things like monster movies.”

Anderson divided up his presentation into five sections: history, techniques, animation styles, the process and the computer.

The history of stop-motion animation started at the end of the 1800s. Anderson went through the history stressing American animators such as Willis O’Brien, who worked for the Edison Company in the early 1900s, working on movies such as King Kong, and Ray Harryhausen who worked on Mighty Joe Young. He showed clips of different stop-motion animation and said that directors such as Tim Burton, George Lucas and Peter Jackson have said that each of them were inspired by these early animators.

“I liked how he went through the history and showed examples of how it has evolved,” said Marianne Warzinski, College of Communication and Information program coordinator.

Anderson talked about the different techniques of stop-motion animation such as clay, paper and replacement animation and showed clips of how each were made.

He talked about the process of stop-motion animation which included the story or idea and the script, concept art and character design, animation, the making of the puppet and much more.

The computer, he said, has now become very important in stop-motion animation.

There are many programs that make the process easier. There are now digital cameras that make it easier to put film into programs such as Photoshop.

“Stop-motion or 2-D animation is the best way to learn to animate, anyone can learn to do it because you are creating every movement,” Anderson said. “If there is a mistake, you learn how to fix it.”

Anderson grew up and attended school in Cleveland before he went into the Navy. After the Navy, he went to San Diego and used the GI Bill to pay for schooling.

“I was going to school and couldn’t find a parking place, and I wondered what I was doing, so I turned around and never went back.” Anderson said

After he left school, he went to Connecticut. Since then, he has worked at the LEGO Group, worked on different TV shows and has started his own business, Dan Anderson Designs. He has more than 25 years of experience.

“I’ve been working for longer than most of you have been alive,” he said.

Different Web sites about stop-motion animation:

Contact College of Communication and Information reporter Emily Andrews at [email protected].