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Todd Jacobsen Tangled Disney

  • Client: Self

  • Work Performed: Blocked CG Test for Disney Feature Animation

  • Project Date: 2009

Yes, it’s true. I did not work on “Tangled.” At the end of a project, animation artists often find themselves in overtime mode trying to finish one film while scrambling for positions on another. (This is kind of nerve-wracking, but it’s all part of the job.) So in the waning days of production on “The Princess and the Frog,” I took my CG Reel to one of the studio’s senior animators to see what he thought my chances of getting on Disney’s next project might be. I’d known John Ripa from our days on “The Pagemaster,” and after seeing my tests (and liking two out of three of them) he suggested I get the “Flynn Rider” rig and do a very quick-and-dirty blocking test. “Don’t make it too complicated,” he said. “Show him from the waist up; use very little body movement. Have him act with his eyes. Keep his mouth shapes really rough.” So using a snippet of Kevin Kline’s dialogue from “Chaplin,” I came into the studio on a Sunday (my day off) and spent about 11 hours bashing this test out, using a puppet rig and a proprietary Maya GUI I hadn’t seen until just then. And the next day, after showing it to a couple of “Frog’s” senior animators to get their reactions, I spent my lunch hour addressing their notes. I was finally able to get my test in front of the directing animators on “Tangled” a few days after I left the studio, and they apparently liked it enough to ask to see more of my work. But two weeks later, after seeing my old online portfolio with the three aforementioned CG tests, they ultimately decided I didn’t have enough professional experience in CG animation to hire me for the show. Oh well.

Regardless, after showing this unfinished test to a number of my animation co-workers and hearing most of them suggest it, I decided to take them up on their advice and include it here with the rest of my work.


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