Friday, 27 May 2011

Animator Of The Week: Eric Armstrong

'The ChubbChubbs' (2002). Directed by Eric Armstrong.
Copyright Sony Pictures Imageworks.

Chances are you've seen Armstrong's work, you just don't know it. He's one of those animators who has worked on countless movies we've all watched and marvelled at including: 'Stuart Little', 'Jumanji', 'Casper', 'Jurassic Park', 'Evolution', 'Hollow Man' and 'Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone' (his team bought the three-headed dog and the centaurs to life amongst other creatures).

Having trained at Sheridan College in Ontario, Canada, Armstrong went on to work as an animator, storyboard artist and animation supervisor on numerous feature films with Sony Picture Imageworks, DreamWorks and Electronic Arts [1]. Armstrong's directorial debut came with 'The ChubbChubbs' (2002), a 3D animated tale of Meeper, the gawky janitor of the Ale-E-Inn space bar who aspires to be a club singer. A cruel twist of fate leaves Meeper face to face with the most dangerous creatures in the universe [2].

Even though Armstrong works in the mainstream, rather than as an indie or alternative practionner, I mention his work here as I know it may well be one of the first touchpoints for very young animators with our medium. Watching the faces of the kids light up as his centaurs carry off Professor Umbridge or Stewart Little battles with Snowbell reminds me of those everlasting impressions that movies like Disney's 'Fantasia' and Ray Harryhausen's 'Clash Of The Titans' left on me. And long may this continue..!

If you have a moment, I'd highly recommend Armstrong's 'The ChubbChubbs' (5 mins 42) as it's certainly good for a giggle, whatever your age!

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