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Aaron Blaise Art Tips

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Aaron Blaise is another Disney artist/animator who has resources available online.

He considers himself primarily a painter and from what I have seen has some great insight into how the real world informs art (and vice versa).

Aaron is perhaps best known for his work in 'Beauty and the Beast' (Mulan, Brother Bear, etc. ) and for some nice behind the scenes insight into his work there see Art Tip#4 on thumbnailing.


There are also at least four books/tutorials on drawing and animation (average price around $15 each) available online at his website: http://creatureartteacher.com/

These include:

- How to animate a four legged walk cycle

- How to animate a trot

- How to animate a four legged run


Recently Aaron has been posting video tips on drawing and painting.

Subject matter of his online tips currently includes:


Aaron's Art Tips 7 - The Importance of Good Silhouette


You'll find these and more on his site (and on his youtube channel)


Here's Tip#1 - Avoiding "evenness" in your work





For more check out his blog: http://www.aaronblaiseart.blogspot.com/

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Simon recently posted a link to an animated advertisement called "The Bear and the Hare" and this post relates closely to that... as Aaron Blaise was a key player in the making of that two minute ad.


Aaron Blaise has now released #9 in his series of Art Tips and it's a decidedly different and candid one that speaks to the heart of the artist.

In Art Tip #9 Persistence, Aaron discusses some of the trials he's gone through, to include the loss of his wife to breast cancer, and how life's interesting twists and turns has brought him to where he is today. The focus of the tip is to persist even when times get tough... "the sun will still come up tomorrow" so "hang in there!"


Here is what Aaron had to say about the ad in a recent interview at Cartoon Brew:


“I designed all of the characters while Dom and I supervised all of the animation. I personally animated all of the Bear and the Hare while Dom and his crew animated the rest of the animals. It was taken all the way through final line at Premise in Orlando. It was so great to do 2D again! I was even working on paper at my old Disney animation desk! Something I hadn’t done since Brother Bear!“


Note that the last four to five minutes is the playing of 'the making of' and the ad (The Bear and the Hare) itself.





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  • 1 month later...

Aaron has several more Art Tips online which I'll add to the list above eventually if there is interest.

His latest is Art Tip 12: The Secret to Creating Clear Expressions






Some key concepts include roughing in expressions and then tying them down with better detail.

This translates well into computer animation when we establish the extreme poses first and then go back through the process of breaking down a shot, inbetweening and layering in additional information and detail.


For those interested in digital animation techniques Aaron shows a brief but very powerful technique for rapid digital animation at the very end of the video by leveraging the power of compositing/layers.



Perhaps the real news with this latest art tip is that Aaron and a few friends will be revamping his site and (like many other artists and animators these days) delve into the instructional realm by offering instruction. As it is often best to get involved early rather than later in such efforts keep an eye open for the initial offerings via the website.

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New Aaron’s Art Tips has been posted:





Summary (please pardon spelling mistakes etc. as I'm just typing quickly from memory and filtering content through my brain):




Cedric Hornsteadt's Pose Drawing Sparkbook (Note: I joined the kickstarter on this one and recieved it in the mail a few weeks back. Nice book... great gift for young artists especially! Concepts easily transferred to CG)


Basic ideas/content:

'Drawing' from reality (that is to say... pulling the real into your imaginary concepts/work to improve upon and ground those ideas)

Using Reference to ground the imaginary into reality

Evolutionary Progression

Anatomy/Bone structure

Playing God


Current freebie offered (not mentioned in this tip but now available on site):

Sign up for Aaron's newsletter and get a PDF booklet: "How to Draw Elephants".


Note that these tips generally run about 15 minutes to include intro, plugs, summary etc.

Aaron is excellent at covering a lot of material quickly and concisely.


General Disclaimer: I accept the term 'evolution' to mean living things adapting to a given environment although others don't differentiate in this same way.

As creative creatures we evolve/adapt our creative concepts and ideas similarly. As such evolution is a useful if not unfortunate term to me. It fits but only when understood in proper context.

It's interesting to note what is being described in this video is equally the 'ungrounding' of reality by adding to it a large yet logically progressive dose of pure fantasy.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Aaron has posted a few more Art Tips.

This latest one on Overlapping Acton is simply demonstrated and will be of use to animators:




Note: The tip actually starts at the 2 minute mark.



Previous to that were:





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  • 1 month later...

Aaron has posted several more art tips and is now up to #19.

(although #19 hasn't been posted to his site yet)


In #19 Aaron begins Season 2 where he starts with a demonstration of Squash and Stretch with a focus on what to keep rigid and what to change.


This is an area where CG animators have something of an advantage in that the Bones/Rig of a character help to define this rigidity but it also points out areas where the spline/mesh need to allow for change.

If the control and changing of shapes is what we are striving for in animation then we need our characters/objects to allow for this.

If the rig doesn't allow for the correct rotation, pivoting or turning of a shape then we will struggle in our effort to animate.


Keep in mind that the word 'extreme' as used in animation doesn't equate to having no structure or control over our shapes.

Quite the contrary, it requires it.




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Yes, a bit unfortunately there is too much information to sift through these days.

But I sure wouldn't change that, I clearly recall when I couldn't find any information about animation, spent time looking for it, and still came up short.

And if you could find it it was rare and expensive... so I couldn't afford to know. ;)

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  • 1 month later...

The last two art tips by Aaron Blaise deal with tone and color.

When lighting and texturing models these basic concepts of tone and temperature are very important stuff.










In the last video Aaron mentions a website that prints 3D/animated/lenticular products (buesiness cards etc.) that might be of interest to some:

The site: http://www.snapilypro.com/

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Thanks for the "heads up" on these last two videos from Aaron, Rodney. I nearly missed them!

For some reason they're not showing on his website where I normally look for new postings :huh:

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  • 3 years later...

I left off plugging Aaron's Art Tips for a couple reasons. The primary one being that I didn't want to be seen as trying to sell products.

BUT the fact remains that Aaron's online presence is an essential stop for animators.


Aaron has added a lot of videos and courses since I last posted a link to him.

Of possible interest, he offers an all you can eat annual membership that grants access to everything he has released.

(Disclaimer: I haven't yet opted for that)


Of late Aaron has started twice weekly Live Sessions (one via Facebook and one via Youtube) where he covers a variety of art and animation related techniques.


Here's a relatively old video on lipsync (which I don't think I posted before).

It's quick, interesting and entertaining.



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  • 8 months later...

Aaron Blaise runs two live video sessions a week on a range of subjects. (one on Facebook and one via Youtube)

Currently he is animating through a short film 'Snow Bear'.


For the animator it's always good to learn from a highly trained animator and this is true regardless of whether that animation is hand drawn or computer assisted.


Thursdays is Aaron's youtube day.


Just a little over 500 people (622 at current count) tune in to these sessions and those interested range from brand new wannabe animators to more seasoned professionals.

The wannabes tend to be the ones who ask the questions via live chat. ;)

A general rule of thumb... those that want to be an animator need to hang out with other animators.

So those wannabes (as well as others tuning in) are getting a great education even if only by osmosis.

Aaron's son assists and his business partner moderates the chat.



If you miss a session look for the (edited) recording for later viewing.

Sessions tend to last from 1 to 1 1/2 hour.





The focus of the session is 'Inbetweens'.


Aaron is using TVPaint but the basic methodologies and principles apply to any software or... no software.


Tip just heard: "Timing is subjective." "If it looks good it is good."


Another tip regarding animating multiple characters (and animating two or more characters with multiple animators): Animate the primary character first then when the other character takes over transfer back and forth.

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