Thursday, November 24, 2011

CARS 2 - Animation Reel

Cars 2 is out on DVD, so it's that time again...
Below is my shots I did on the film - enjoy!
(color is mine, black/white is other animators)

1) Agent Leland Turbo - I was really excited to get these shots. Then I realized, before the credits, before the title card, audiences were going to be seeing my animation first. Excitement quickly turned to Nervous.
2) Finn on Tightrope - So how do you make a car swing around on a rope? Beats me! I tried tying a jumprope on my car's bumper but for some reason the rope couldnt support the car's weight ;^)
3) Finn Swan Dive - Thank you YouTube. I watched a dozen clips of different cars peeling out before I did my take on it. As a animator, you get excited by that one lil' thing that you added. It can be as small and meaningless as a blink, but you know that blink has that extra something special you added in there. For me, I really like that look Finn get's in his eyes as he goes over the edge. When the ground is pulled out from under him, even though he is a top-notch spy, his eyes dont lie. There is that brief 'Oh No!' look that he gets.
4) Bathroom Brawl - Car tranforming, 1st thought that came into my mind 'Total Recall'. A Chubby middle-age woman turning into Arnold. Also, I animated these shots using scratch dialogue. It wasnt til a few months later that I found out that I animated to Bruce 'Evil Dead' Campbell's voice. I wish someone wouldve tapped me on the shoulder while I was watching 'Army of Darkness'  in the theatre and whisper you're gonna animate him one day!
5) Francesco in the Zone - I was helping out a fellow animator by taking this small shot off his plate. Lesson learned, there is no small shots. John L. really liked what I did with Francesco there in the background and I started getting more and more Francesco acting shots.
6) Karate Cars - Thanks to my fellow animator Michal for showing me how a car could actually throw another one. I owe ya one Mike!
7) Mater vs. McQueen - Out of all my CARS shots, these mean the most to me. John L. spoke about the importance of this moment in the film. You are experiencing a fight among two best friends. I approached this sequence less about posing and more about overall rythm. When you 1st see Mater, he is happy, carefree, always moving. Throughout these shots, it slowly dawns on him what he has done and he moves less and less. Til the last shot where he does not move at all. I learned alot on these shots. It was great to have an amazing animator, Rob Thompson, who animated McQueen to bounce off acting beats with.
8) Francesco loves his Mama - I wanted Francesco to be in his element. This is his homeland. He is not talking to McQueen as much as he is talking to his fans. Every move he does has to be read by the person in the back row of the stadium. John Turtorro's voice performance made this character. When you have a actor that good, it makes your job as a animator very easy. You can just see the performance already by just listening to the voice.
9) Francesco the TV Star - I feel really lucky that I kept getting Francesco shots. He's just so fun to animate. One rule I had when animating this sequence of shots, Francesco would only look at the camera if he was taking a jab at McQueen. Like two boxers going at it, trying to get inside the other's head.
10) ClockTower Mater - I asked for this one specific shot of Mater running on the gears. I had no idea on how I was going to make a tow-truck run on fast spinning gears but that's why I took it. It's good to be scared! I tried my best to pull off a 'Doug Sweetland' type of cartoony motion that he does so masterfully. I just wasnt getting it right. Reblock after Reblock, my supervisor came up to me and said 'be Aaron Hartline, I like his animation' That definetly helped get my confidence back and give it one last try.

Getting the chance to work w John Lasseter was a dream come true. I remember watching Toy Story, walking out of that theatre my goal was to work for Pixar. 13 years of trying,  I did it! And to top it all off, I've got the man himself, Mr John Lasseter directing me. I wish I could find the words..

I just kept remembering that Chicago kid walking out of the theatre. As JL was talking to me, I kept thinking 'is this really happening right now?'


  1. Really great shots Aaron, I've seen that movie with my kid and we loved it!! Bravo!!
    Keep on making us dream B-)

  2. this is most of my best shots on that movie , honestly all the movie are great , nice work Pixar guys ;)

  3. toooo good... While watching the movie I always wanted to know about the animator who did and even imagine those shots......

    As according to your discription you took alot of things in mind before starting the shot...

    congrats and keep it up...
    m waiting for more....

  4. Awesome, work, Aaron. Your note about having a dream come true working with JL is inspiring and truly almost brought tears to my eyes. I can tell just through your words that you are living your dream and, truly, the dream of many aspiring artists out there today. Keep it up and good luck on Brave!!!

  5. So fun to watch. Thanks for sharing these shots and stories.

  6. Wow! How inspiring! Really nice shots Aaron! I finally got a chance to see the film last weekend on blu-ray! You guys did a great job!

  7. It is right and doing good work, please keep sharing .........

  8. wow! awesome work. Thanks Aaron Hartline!!!

  9. You have done a great work.Thanks for sharing this nice post.