Animation Behind the Scenes Video

Math Is Always Better With Cartoons

Turn Around Taxi Pic


I recently finished up a cartoon that will be used in an educational video at AIMS Education Foundation. It’s a 1st Grade math video and this particular cartoon is to help exemplify in visual form what the on-camera talent is explaining to the viewer.

So, being geared to 1st Grade means the art must be simple and fun which tends to make cartooning easier. This is the longest one I think I’ve done yet and it’s not even that long. It’s amazing how much time is needed to draw and ink all the art that goes into a cartoon. The actual animation doesn’t take that long, thanks to Adobe After Effects and the like. Inking is really the longest process, which I do in Adobe Illustrator.

At any rate, this first video shows the rough animation using just the drawn art I did with pencil and paper which was scanned into Adobe Photoshop to tweak and then placed into Adobe After Effects to animate.

That rough was then used as my guide for the final which is below. I used the same After Effects project and just swapped the old art with the new inked art. However, this always poses a few issues in that the images don’t typically swap seamlessly, so tweaking and reanimating here and there often occurs.

I believe this project took me a couple of weeks if not three weeks. I’m not entirely sure, but again, the animating was done around 2 or so days; whereas the inking of the art took 1 1/2 weeks or so. I love doing this sort of stuff and always invite the opportunity to do some animating. I hope you enjoyed watching as much as I enjoyed making. 🙂

Oh, and before I forget, the lovely on-camera talent in this video is Erin Heasley.

Till next time…

David (Cali Dingo)




Cartoon Sample 1


It’s been a while. The holiday season and projects galore have been keeping me away from ye old blog. However, I am now finding time to start posting some of my projects for the internet world to view. Lots of great stuff coming down the pike. Keeps me busy, but keeps me creative.

This particular sample is of a cartoon I had the pleasure making for AIMS Educational Foundation. This goes with an educational video regarding Archimedes’ Principle. This video aims to help explain what Archimedes’ Principle is in layman’s terms. So, Archimedes sets to chiseling out the technical words in favor of words that make more sense to the average student… like me. 😉

I used Adobe After Effects to create this and didn’t use any bells or whistles. I did it the old fashioned way…. I drew each frame out and synched them using pencil and paper on a light board. I know, so techie, right? I’ve found for cartooning there is nothing like the tried and true. It turns out more fluid and the artist ends up having much more control over the animation and spends less time fighting the interface of your animation program.


Cartoon Sketch Sequence
Here is a section of the walk cycle in sketch form. I put all of these (approximately 40 cells) into After Effects and tweaked in Photoshop to make it as smooth as possible.


I then scanned the drawings into Adobe Illustrator to ink and color the frames.

I also created the sound effects using Garageband and Adobe Audition. The chisel sound was the only toughie. I ended up using two variations of a clave sample and effects loop of a chisel breaking ice; blended them together in Audition and came out with a satisfactory chisel sound.

Here is the cartoon sample.




I’ll be back with some samplings in the near future.

Till then…

David (Cali Dingo)





Learning After Effects

I’ve been recently learning Adobe After Effects for my day job and it’s been a crash-course type experience. That, to me, is the best way to learn. Give me a bunch of projects and I’ll learn whatever software I need to very quickly to get it done. I’ve been having a blast learning the interface and all that After Effects can do and am constantly surprise at how powerful it is.

I was using Adobe Flash up until now and will most likely never go back unless there is interaction between the animation and user (ie: a website). Flash appears to me to be on it’s way out. It’s not even supported on my mobile devices and many of the animation/interaction type stuff a website needs can be accomplished with HTML5.. at least this is what I’m told.

At any rate, it’s been baby steps and as you’ll see by the two samples, I’m won’t be working at Disney by week’s end. I’ve been thankful in that the projects that have been given me so far haven’t been intensive and have allowed me to learn a few features or tools at a time.

The first video shows me using the “stroke” feature. I make an adjustment layer, grab the pen tool and draw out the full stroke. Then I apply the stroke effect on that layer.

The second video is using the Matte Track effect. Essentially I select a layer and track it to the layer above, which then turns that above layer into a matte.

It took me much more time to figure out how to do it and seconds to actually implement it. But, that’s learning. Without further ado…

NOTE: the line in this first video is purposefully “off” from the little robot. It is to show imperfection when math theory is applied from the “math world” to the real world.

Thanks for checking it out.

Till next time…

David (Cali Dingo)



Animation How To

Flash Movie Export Ghosting Workaround

Today’s post is uber geeky. Sorry to you normal people. Long story short, I ran into an issue when attempting to export a Flash animation as a Quicktime movie. Many hours later (and headaches) I pieced together a workaround to the problem. Just to note, when I say “I”, I mean me and a good friend. The good friend possibly did more good than I.

When trying to find the workaround/solution to the problem it took many a searching on ye old interweb and I thought to myself afterward… “Gee, it sure would have been nice had someone just made a quick tutorial explaining how to work around the problem, so I can just get on with making more animations.”

So, that is what this post is all about. Anyone out there searching for the magical and ever-eluding solution to this problem can hopefully find my post on it and I will make their life easier. I’m such a good guy, aren’t I?

Without further ado…

Told you that was a geeky waste of a normal person’s time. Can’t say I didn’t warn you.

Till next time, true believers….

David (Cali Dingo)