A collection of past and present exercises with an accompanying brief postmortem. 


A Look Back

A slightly different format for this post-mortem, as the work is a year old at this point (I wanted an excuse to post it!) 

A haphazardly thrown togther collection of random animations.

Infinite Crisis Animaition from Tyler Anthony on Vimeo.



Things I enjoyed

1. Integrated teams

Although many studios work this way, it is by far my favorite. I was an animator, but I did more than sit in a corner and animate what I was told. There was cooperation between all disciplines from designers, to production artists, to technical artitsts, to vfx all coming together to create a character. Brainstorming ideas, giving feedback, growing and motivating each other, there's nothing quite like it.

2. Great variety

I was able to animate a swath of different characters ranging from robots to ethereal creatures. Having new challenges each week certainly kept me excited and wanting to come back day after day.




Polycount/Riot Contest (October-December 2014)

Riot came together with Polycount to put on a great contest for all disciplines. The animation category required a locomotion cycle and an attack with an emphasis on creativity and exaggerated timing. My goal was to match Riot's in-game style (a bit tricky!) along with introducing a unique idea as a base - a character that does her best to wield a weapon that has a mind of its own.

 Walk Cycle 


Lessons Learned

1. Learning a new style

Easily the most challenging part of the contest for me. Riot's animation is snappy and stylized. Most of this can be attributed to the genre of League of Legends, it requires fast/readable animations for gameplay purposes.

This is especially evident in the characters' attack animations. They need to communicate to players what skill is about to be used along with showing personality all in 30 frames! That's where smear frames and holds (among other techniques) come into play. It's one thing to identify the animation methods used, but another to properly implement them.

I read the Dev Blog: Champion Animation a ton of times and it certainly helped, though I'm not sure my animation quite matches the style. In my attack there may be too much rotation of the character to be condensed into such a short time and effects would certainly help sell the movement, but I'm satisfied with my first attempt.

 As for the walk I added a "fidget" where the axe tugs and the character trips. A fidget is a special animation that happens randomly during the walk cycle to break it up. Having the animation loop back to back makes it a bit repetitive and not necessarily viable in-engine, but I wanted to add some extra personality.

Things that went right

1. Idea phase

My favorite part of animating- coming up ideas! This can also be a negative, thinking up so many possibilities I certainly over complicated and over thought what I wanted to continue with. My idea process involves blocking things out quickly which helped to an extent. At some point I went with ideas that I believed would fit in the game with its unique camera angle leaning towards readability.

2. Contest community

Polycount offers a great forum for giving and receiving feedback. It was quite the experience to see all levels of animators coming together with a common interest being supportive of one another. Getting feedback from not only other animators, but other contest entrants and forum goers was very helpful.



Stella rig by Animation Mentor

Axe model by Lance Wilkinson


Demon Shaco: Rigging (August-September 2014)



Bret McNee courteously provided me with a model for his Shaco skin concept. It's a great concept for a character in a game I love and it inspired my next project. As an animator I believe it's a healthy practice to know the entire character pipeline, so I decided to familiarize myself with rigging in this first part of a three part journey.

Lessons Learned


Knowing what you want the rig to accomplish and the features it needs is vital before starting the rig. The outliner can get quite complex and realizing you forgot to add a joint or constraint when you're about to bind the skin can be a headache.

2. Double/triple check your work

Learning something new can be exciting and daunting especially when it's something a bit more on the technical side. A character rig has a ton of moving parts and it's a great idea to make sure the eggs aren't rotten before you've already mixed all of the ingredients in the bowl that is a completed character rig.

3. Pay attention to edge loops

When placing joints it's very important to pay attention to the surrounding edge loops as it will affect how friendly the mesh will be when it deforms. This is especially important when working with lower poly models as you may not have much geometry to work with.


Things that went right

1. Painting weights

I suppose it's semantics as to whether you can include this in the “rigging” process, but skinning is my favorite part of rigging. After spending hours and days getting the rig together, painting weights is a nice break for the left side of your brain. I'm sure it can be argued that rigging is an art, I certainly won't disagree, but you must make it through the learning of the technical side before you can start to get creative.

2. Custom attributes

This is pretty basic stuff, but I always find it satisfying to create custom attributes and set driven keys. Most likely because it feels like programming, someday maybe I'll take it to the next level and make a custom attribute that involves actual MEL... *gasp*.

3. Organization

As previously mentioned- with all of the joints, control curves, constraints, and geometry the outliner can get crazy busy. Keeping things properly named and grouped will help immensely when trying to navigate your scene.



Dino and Cat (December-February 2013)

Who's hunting who?


Lessons Learned

1. Test rigs 

            I always test new rigs to see their limitations and this shot helped reinforce the need for such practices. I was certainly used to having rig features that aren’t stock in all rigs, which can be frustrating, but it’s an interesting challenge to work with those limitations.

Things that went right

1. Don’t be afraid to cut out and redo sections

            This appears to be becoming a part of my workflow, but I’m always happy when it goes right. In this shot I changed a section even when I was as far as blocking+ and it didn’t disrupt the shot. The main thing I like to focus on all the way up to polish is keep the keys clean an editable which makes retiming or sometimes redoing sections much more manageable.

2. Layered animation

            I never really considered myself a layered animator, but with complex characters such as quadrupeds I find it helped to break down the movement piece by piece. I would start with the largest control I could then slowly focus on smaller and smaller controls, this made it easier to visualize how each part of the body affects each other.

3. Tails

            I’ve always had trouble with overlap and something as complex as not one, but two tails in this shot was a little intimidating. Studying reference as well as using a layered approach made it manageable.


Game combos (October-November 2012)

A trio of shots focusing on quick and punchy animation for games.


Lessons Learned

1. Spacing

            My goal for these series of shots was to focus on animations to be used in a brawler game. I wanted gameplay to take precedence over animation so when the player hit a button the character would have an immediate reaction. This was certainly a challenge as it left a small amount of frames for the blending of animations and due to my workflow spacing turned out to be an issue.

Working on future shots I will certainly take spacing into consideration much earlier in my workflow when working with animations that are short.

2. Interacting characters

            I specifically chose a shot that had character interaction to challenge myself. Having three characters all introducing their own weight and momentum into each movement proved tricky. Encountering such shots in the future I will exaggerate the motions early in blocking so it’s easier to see and understand how the interactions are taking place. It’s easier to tone down a motion later in blocking plus than to amplify it.

Things that went right

1. Keeping it simple

            As I learned from some of my previous shots, I wanted to keep the action easy to follow and not drawn out. Especially in the last shot with three characters, it originally was about twice as long as it is now, but I cut the shot to what I thought was overall the most interesting section. I made these decisions during my rough-blocking phase so very little time was lost.



Leticia and Rod rigs provided by

Ogre rig provided by Animation Mentor