Final Independent Animation Training teaches you how to draw anime

Animation on a Shoestring shows how to draw anime

Understanding Chaos shows how to draw anime

Anigen Video BUndle shows how to draw anime like the pros

Shadowskin shows how to draw anime in 3D

Final Secrets on how to draw anime with 3D cel shading

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Aspiring Filmmakers, Ava DuVernay Thinks You Should Lose the Desperation and Just Make Something!

"I rarely meet people who tell me what they're doing. I often meet people who ask, "Can you help me?" or "How do I do this?" or "Do you want to have coffee?" "Can I take you to coffee?" "Can we grab a coffee?" "I'd love to take you to coffee and pick your brain a little bit." "Can I send you a script?" "Can you read my script?" "I have a script that I'd love for you to just check out if you can." "Can you be my mentor?" "I need a mentor." "I would love if you could mentor me." "Is it possible for us to talk?" All of that energy, all of that focus to extract from other people is distracting you from what you're doing. All of that is desperation.

When I figured that out, things started to change for me. When I'm meeting people and they're in that moment, I want to say something to them. "Knock it off, because it's never going to work for you." That feeling of "I need help. I need all of these things to proceed." And when I got that, a revolution happened for me."

This is definitely worth a watch.


In the beginning, when I created a short film called Understanding Chaos, I used a software called Lightwave 3D to do via cel shading what was generally done in 2D hand drawn animation in that day. I did this because I hadn’t heard of a Wacom tablet, and had no desire to attempt drawing on paper, scanning it in and colouring all those frames. 3D cel shading and Lightwave 3D made possible what would otherwise have been completely impossible for me. It allowed me to make a film. Since that time, I have continually sought to improve upon those techniques, seeking out new tools and better methods. Some of that improvement went into Shadowskin, but I didn’t stop there. I kept searching for whatever could increase my quality and give me greater speed.

While I have seemingly abandoned Lightwave completely, today, this doesn’t mean I am against it in any way. I still follow it in the industry news and have been getting interested in the most recent versions. One of the primary reasons I don’t use it is simply because I lost my dongle some years ago. I realise the dongle is no longer necessary today, but I also began using Poser. MODO is another tool, created by the original developers of Lightwave, that also kept me from going back to it.

World of Hearts animation trailer test

I never had any illusions that Poser cel shading looked as good as what Lightwave could provide. Lightwave’s cel shader was written by a diehard Japanese animation fan. This is a guy I would run into at Anime Expo and other conventions having nothing to do with Lightwave and 3D, and we would chat just about the art. With the possible exception of MODO, whose cel shader is likely written by the same guy, I have never seen any cartoon rendering system that has a look so perfect for anime as was in Lightwave.

My choice of Poser was all about speed. You may remember I used to sell a Lightwave character model bundle. I spent years building up that bundle and only by reusing parts and pieces of it, as bases, did creating new characters for show ideas I had become feasible. With Poser, I didn’t have to worry about that. Everything you could ever want was just there. It was just a matter of moving dials and creating morph targets to change the many existing characters into whatever one might need. All the clothing and costuming options were available on these huge content sites and they were cheap. You could mix and match things, rearrange existing content into anything you wanted, and because it was cel shaded, you didn’t have the limitations common to 3D. You could just smash one item into another and it would work in cartoon rendering.

Poser cel shading tests

Poser also had some other speed tools. The walk designer which made walking and running easy; The talk designer for automatic lip sync; Good cloth simulation, and those huge content sites also included many great sets and environments which could be easily retextured, kit bashed and repurposed for any use. There are also huge mocap libraries out there, both paid and free, which easily work with Poser. There are certain types of shows where I could still see an advantage to using the Poser method, especially if you wanted to do a series and release an episode every month or so.

Celles et Ceux 2D hand drawn animation

As you know, Gwenn’s Celles et Ceux, which I wrote about in the past, is true 2D animation with very little 3D in it. As you likely also know, I currently do most of my work in 2D, using TVPaint on a Samsung 10.1 Galaxy Note. Fully 3D cel shaded work will never look like Celles et Ceux. The advantage of it is you may be able to get close, and get there much faster. The thing is, back when I started, 2D tech was nowhere near where it is today. You may remember a software I used called Aura back in the days of Chaos and Shadowskin. That was TVPaint version 6 I believe. The latest versions of TVPaint have things which make 2D a real competitor with my cel shading methods now. Also I have been drawing and improving almost everyday for 3 years on this tablet. I have gotten better and faster, which makes 2D even more viable.

When you consider these things, one must really weigh all the pros and cons when choosing whether or not to do show in 3D cel shading or real 2D hand drawing. One must also weigh which one will be more ENJOYABLE for the artist, as any method is still going to be a lot of work and a huge time investment.



Celles et Ceux des Cimes et Cieux from Gwenn GERMAIN on Vimeo.

I came across this early in the morning and it got me thinking. Celles et Ceux des Cimes et Cieux is a short student film by Gwenn Germain. Studying at the French school Créapole, Germain lit the Japanese internet on fire last month with this release. Taking her inspiration from Hayao Miyazaki, Moebius and Syd Mead, it is easy to understand why. The short appears to be a trailer for an as yet to made feature film. It seems there is already quite a bit of hope out there that this project will grow into something bigger.

Germain herself said of this film that it was, "5 months of intensive production all alone in my cabin" and the final project for her five years of studying at Créapole in France. If there ever was an example that you just have to do it, this is it. If you have a dream of seeing your own ideas go across the screen, there's nothing stopping you from making them come true. As seen by this short film, which already has people all over the world hungry to see an entire feature made, you just have to begin!

Think about it. From this starting point, she could easily attract funding from a wide variety of sources, even major studios. She could also, however, parlay this into a Kickstarter or other crowd funding campaign that would likely be extremely successful. She could sign up for Patreon, a different model for supporting artistic endeavors and do a series of shorts to continue her story, with people pumping money is as she goes. I suspect any road she takes will lead to success.

If you are looking to make your own splash on the internet. DO something. Begin today. If you're not sure where to start, all of my training, including my 2D animation courses, are on sale right now. There's nothing standing in your way. You can get started on your dreams right now.


There is a saying that goes something along the lines of ‘be so good they can’t ignore you’. This is an indie film that exemplifies that saying. Normally, this is the kind of independent content I would try my best to avoid on sites like Youtube or Vimeo. From the beginning, though, The Rieth Brothers, who created this work, did everything right. Their poster frame, which shows a guy standing in front of a corn (or was it wheat?) field, which in and of itself is just an amazing image, raises so many questions. I just had to watch it.

Like most supposedly artistic indie films, this movie has no dialogue. Very much unlike so many other pieces of indie content around, however, this movie exudes professional quality from the very beginning. It looks, at the very least, as good as mainstream television content, and artistically, in many places, stands above the majority of mainstream films. This does not look like some friends playing around with a DV camera.

As the film progresses, it can be a bit slow at times. It can also be hard to follow. There were a couple of places where I considered giving up. The imagery, however, just gets more and more beautiful and the directors raise questions at the right moments which make the viewer HAVE to see what will happen next. I have to admit that were it not so well shot and so astoundingly beautiful, I likely would have clicked it off.

This is by no means meant to advocate all style over substance. Even the best VFX reels can only hold my attention for a couple of minutes. This film shows why you need the right mix of both. Were the exact same story to be poorly shot and cheap looking, it would not have worked. Visuals of this quality without a good story would also not have worked. Too many films are either one or the other. Hollywood films are often visually impressive with nothing to back it up, while indie films are too often good ideas held down by cheap visuals and poor acting.

If you want to capture an audience, or ‘be so good they can’t ignore you’, take a note from The Rieth Brothers. Back up your good ideas with good production values and visual artistry. Your audience will beat a path to your door.


I wrote some time ago about Studio Ghibli closing the doors of its animation department shortly after the retirement of Hayao Miyazaki. Apparently, the studio was said to be focusing only on managing IP and keeping the Miyazaki museum open. However, it seems they are not completely out of the picture.

Studio Ghibli produces The Red Turtle

It seems the studio will be co-producing an animated feature film by Oscar winning director Michaël Dudok de Wit. The film will revolve around a man who survives a shipwreck only to find himself stranded on a desert island. His attempts to escape his fate are thwarted by a giant red turtle.

The film is also produced by the Paris based film sales group Wild Bunch. Their chief, Vincent Maraval, visited Studio Ghibli some years ago, before Miyazaki made his exit. While there, Miyazaki showed him the Oscar winning short film Father and Daughter, by Michaël Dudok de Wit, and said, “I want you to find the director for me. If one day Studio Ghibli decides to produce an animator from outside the studio, it will be him.”

Maraval tracked down Dukok de Wit who apparently had little interest in doing an animated feature, until he heard that Studio Ghibli wanted to be involved. Imagine doing work that attracts the attention of one of the greatest names in animation history. You never know who your work will reach or who it will touch. Even a short film can have incredible reach and value. Don’t underestimate the power of any art you create. Don’t worry about getting a million views. It only takes one viewer to change everything.