Disney’s PLANES Animation Workshop Experience #DisneyPlanesEvent

I was lucky enough to be one of 25 bloggers selected to spend the day at Disney Toon Studios as part of the Disney PLANES Event. We immersed ourselves in the world of Disney PLANES for the day and one of our experiences was to meet Assistant Animation Director Ethan Hurd.

Ethan answered some of our questions and let us “play” with Dusty’s Animation on the computer screen.

Q&A with Ethan Hurd, Assistant Animation Director of PLANES

Ethan Hurd

We had a small group visit with Ethan as he explained his role in creating the animation for the characters in the Disney movie PLANES.  He said that the process starts when he talks with the director to see what the character should be thinking. Then he will do a rough pass using the details given by the director about what the character is thinking.

Using the Maya 3D Animation Software he will pose out every single frame of the character. Ethan says it is the same process as hand drawn and it works like stop motion.

To make the PLANES realistic, the animation directors spoke with consultants to work on the characteristics of the different characters. Some of the consultants were commercial pilots, other pilots, as well as CARS animators.

Ethan was trained traditionally and has 15 – 20 years of experience. Some of the other films he has worked on include Toy Story 2 and Bolt.

I did it!

Animation PLANES

I got to move Dusty around and animate him using the software. So much fun! Took a little getting used to (took a lot of getting used to), but Ethan walked us through how to move Dusty’s eyes on the screen, along with his wings and mouth.

It was pretty cool to get to actually change the way Dusty looked or move him into a different position. It would take a lot of training for me to be able to use the Maya 3D Animation Software on my own, but Ethan did a great job of directing us (and not laughing). Of course, I think the other bloggers were lauging at what we were doing with Dusty. Check out what my friend Lindsay at Pandora’s Deals thought about this session.

Be sure to check back over the next few weeks for more posts about my day at Disney Toon Studios. I have a few actor interviews that you won’t want to miss and I even got to try my talent in the recording booth! In the mean time, check out the full voice cast and the Disney PLANES movie trailer.

Disney’s PLANES comes to theaters on August 9th.

Topic: Disney’s PLANES Animation Workshop Experience #DisneyPlanesEvent

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  1. How cool! I would love to see the inner workings of how Disney makes their animations. I can’t wait to read more about your experience.

    1. It was such a unique experience. Yes, I will be posting quite a bit over the next few weeks about the day I spent at Disney Toon Studios.

    1. We each took turns, so about 5 minutes or so each. It was a lot of fun to see how the software worked.

  2. Sounds like a great event. We are SO excited to see Planes. My son wants to see it and Despicable Me 2 SO bad! lol

  3. So much fun! I can’t even begin to image what goes into creating animated films like this.

    1. I’ve got even more posts coming from the behind the scenes work they do. I was amazed at how much work goes into making an animated film!