My son picked up The Alchemy of Animation today from the library. One of the things that struck me is the shear numbers of roles involved in creating a CGI animation. Here they are.

The Team

Director – Chief storyteller
Producer – Team builder, coach, psychotherapist, and cheerleader
Writers – develop the story
Song writers – write the songs
Story artist – someone who can draw and tell a story

Production designer – responsible for the way the movie looks
Art director – sees that the design is executed through every frame
Visual development artists – create art that helps explore and visualize the universe of the film
Sculptors – make 3D models for the animators to digitize so they can draw characters from every angle
Voice actors

The Production Team
Associate producer – worries about x3 things: people, time, and money
Production Manager (PM) – works closely with producers to set goals for each week and manage the daily flow of work
Department heads
Production Department Manager
Modelers – create the elaborate 3D sets
Rigger – takes a modeled character and attaches the animation controls that allow an animator to move the model around

Cinematographer – works with director to plan exactly what the audience sees through the window of the movie screen
Layout artist – designs and creates the films sets

Art and Technology
Technical Director – highly creative jack of all trades who is part artist, part technician. Makes sure artists have user friendly computer screens to work on
Software developer – tests new commercial tools. Builds whatever they can’t buy
Look development artists – create the look of the surfaces on the character

Creating Life
Animators – are actors with a pencil

Animation Tips
Strive for the most effective and clearest extreme poses.
Where do you want the audience to look.
Don’t move anything without a purpose. Holding still is just as important as moving.
Let the whole character tell the story, not just the animator.

Visual effects
Visual effects animator – helps create the feeling of a believable plausible environment.
Lighters – apply final lighting to scenes

All you can do sometimes is just press harder on your pencil to try to make the drawing express what you’re feeling in your heart, and you hope that the audience can feel it as they’re looking at it. – Glen Keane

Designing and Planning
Layout artist – designs the sets for the film
Background painter
Art director – plot the flow of color through a movie

Clean-up artist – make sure everyone is on model

I found this role interesting. Just as everyone’s handwriting is slightly different, every animator has his or her own personal style. So the supervising animator draws a series of ‘model sheets’ to show all the animators on a film how to draw a character.

Ink and Paint
Color modeller

Anyways. It was a cool book and I would recommend to anyone who wants to inspire their kids or to learn more about what goes on in creating a CGI movie.