15 January 2020 | Posted by laura.blanco

La Salle-URL sponsors the presence of Disney Animation Studios at b’Ars 2019


Isaak Fernández, Jennifer Newfield, Mitch Counsell andJennifer Stratton, from Disney Animation Studios, were in Barcelona to participate in several talks at b’Ars - Barcelona International Arts & VFX Fair and at La Salle-URL, for the Animation and VFX students. 

In those talks, the Catalan Isaak Fernández reviewed his personal and professional career that led him to work at Disney Animation Studios. He began with his love for drawing, went through his first experiments in 3D animation, and ended up with examples of major projects in the United States. The animator explained how the constant effort, the appropriate training, and the development, not only of his technical skills but also of his artistic and narrative sensitivity, were key to evolve within the industry. He has worked on several Disney projects such as Vaiana, the first and second part of Ralph Breaks the Internet, Zootopia and Frozen 2.

Thus, he explained how the use of a computer tool to simulate wind movements could be the best option to make this type of effect in certain cases. On other occasions, even though a system can be used to simulate movements, it is worthwhile to animate the effect manually to obtain greater control or expressiveness

One little trick he showed, which is also an example of the development of his animator's eye, is the use of references to give the animation verisimilitude and depth. The cases he taught ranged from the most literal, such as studying how racing cars move to animate a chase in Ralph Breaks the Internet, or imitating the movements of her baby's feet for a scene with Anna as a child in Frozen 2, the most metaphorical, such as thinking about the way a spaghetti moves when sipped to give movement to a weasel that slips through an opening in Zootopia

The students of the Animation and VFX of La Salle-URL Degree were able to ask him about the formative process to become an animator and advice about the way to success. In addition, during the talk at b'Ars, Disney Animation Studios Frozen 2 was shown.

For their part, Jennifer Newfield, the manager of the Short Circuit program, and Mitchell Counsell and Jennifer Stratton, directors of the short films Fetch and Zenith respectively, explained this initiative, as well as describing the professional career that has led them to the present day. 

Short Circuit is a program about ideas and experimentation. On it, any member of the Disney Animation Studios team can make a 90-second short film project pitch, with a short-written explanation and visual supports. After passing a blind validation process, the projects are launched with the applicant as a director. Thus, you can set up your own team with the members of all Disney Animation Studios, organizing themselves in the way that suits them best: it is an initiative that not only seeks experimentation in the contents of the shorts and in the technologies to create them but also during the production pipeline

Furthermore, the directors explained that initiatives such as Short Circuit allow them to get back to the days of students when they did a little bit of everything and could try out new disciplines their day-to-day work does not allow them to carry out. 

The three answered the questions of La Salle students, focused on the functioning of the industry, the frequent changes in studios experienced by the animators who are starting out and the team management. In his talk at b'Ars, the short films Fetch and Zenith were also shown, which will be available in Spain with the premiere of the Disney + streaming platform in March 2000.


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