Jeff Gabor works as a Senior Character Animator at Blue Sky, and apart from he is one of the best animators, we always learn a lot with his comparison reels. We recommend you to visit his web and see his amazing reel.
1. Name: Jeff Gabor
2. Age: 27
3. Profession: Senior Animator at Blue Sky Studios
4. Artistic training: My mom taught me how to draw and paint, growing up and from there I took every art class, I could through grade school and high school. I then decided to go to the Art Institute of Colorado for a degree in Media Arts and Animation.
5. Work done you’re most proud of: Okay, maybe a little nerdy but I was a HUGE fan of Family Guy and to my shock, I was asked to do a shot where Scrat attacks Peter during one of their classic flashback scenes. It was basically forced promotion for Ice Age 2, but I still giggle with glee when I realize I made it into a family guy episode. SO COOL!
6. Work done you’re least proud of: I’m not ashamed of any of my early work or even my work on Delgo. Actually, quite the contrary, I was learning just learning animation and was doing my best learning from all my peers and friends. What I am least proud of is a shot I did on the short “Surviving Sid.” At the beginning of the short there are 3 characters walking and talking with a tracking camera (a start, mole-hog, and beaver). Well, I should have known better but I didn’t check how fast or slow they were walking compared to the background and essentially do to my neglect they really look like they are floating as they walk…almost as if they were filmed on a treadmill on a blue screen.
What makes me least proud is that I should have known better, and I just made a stupid technical mistake that didn’t show itself until it was rendered and textures were shown. I guess that’s more of a regret and not being proud, but it’s thing that’s tough about animation. Once your animation is passed out of your hands you never get it back and that can come with some level of regret at times.
7. The project you are currently working on and the next one, if any: I’m currently working on a movie called Rio for Blue Sky, and I don’t think Blue Sky even knows what the project after that is, haha.
8. You are inspired by: I get most inspired by excited, passionate people. Surrounding yourself with people that love what they do and wake up each morning excited to do it is incredibly motivating.
I also have to say, audience reaction also really inspires me. Maybe it’s a bit on the narcissistic side, but I love hearing a crowd react to an idea or animation this I did. Having an entire audience laughing just inspires me to do it again and again.
Cartoonbrew recently sent out a link to a beautiful student film, and the greatest part is there is a version of the short that shows it being shown in front of an audience:
Now who isn’t inspired by this kind of audience participation?!
9. Favourite artist: Oh man, toughest question of the interview by far. I like anything from Todd McFarlane to Seth McFarlane, from SpumCo to the sketches of fellow animators Melvin Tan and Nick Bruno. Actually many of my favorite artists are right at work! Jake Parker, Sang Jun Lee, Dice Tsutsumi, Jason Sadler…all hugely inspiring artists.
10. Pencil & paper, or mouse: Overall my tool of choice remains the mouse. Pencil and paper feels better and is great for figuring my ideas but the vast majority of the work I do comes from a mouse. Haven’t been able to shift to a stylus.
11. Music you listen to while working: Usually listen to alternative rock, movies, or oddly enough old episodes of LoveLine…I think it’s funny and I listened every night during college so it kind of feels comforting.
12. Curious habits while working: Oh so many….., playing Mario Kart DS twice a day every day, staring at Mike Walling for 10 minutes straight every other day to make him uncomfortable, drawing absolutely inappropriate drawing on Mike Walling’s monitor before he comes in before work, filming muppet episodes that mock the very job I actually love doing (treehousestudios.net), taking long walks to go to the “secret/cheaper soda machine.” It’s all the stuff that actually keeps me sane at work, haha.
13. Crazy stuff on your desktop: The strangest thing I have on my desktop is indeed odd…why it’s there I haven’t a clue, but still it remains there…a small, green, candy penis. Who am I to turn down a gift though, right? Haha.
14. To work, night or day? When I was in college it was all night work, but now I’ve shifted to mornings and the day time. Simply have too many things I want to get to at home that the night is reserved for.
15. Three movies to spend a Sunday relaxed at home: I could really go for an all day marathon of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy right now.
16. Classic animation favorite: Iron Giant. I just love the story and I still remember where I was and how I felt the first time I watched it. Changed my career that’s for sure.
17. Ancient Art or Modern: Modern.
18. Comedy or Drama: Overall comedy. Comedy movies have more “re-watchability” for me so I can watch them over and over again as I work. That’s the only real tie-breaker for me.
19. The thoughest moment of your professional career: The toughest part still remains the start of my career. Having to make the decision to leave the comfort and close support of my family in Colorado was extremely difficult. However, moving to Atlanta to work on Delgo was the correct decision in terms of jumpstarting my animation career.
I still greatly miss my immediate family most especially my brother who I’ve always been very close to.
20. And the sweetest moment: Having the opportunity to represent the fantastic animation of Horton Hears a Who by being nominated for an Annie Award. It was shocking to get the nod and I’m very proud of our crew and what we accomplished on that film.
21. What you see yourself doing in 20 years? Still collaborating on fantastic projects that will hopefully be fun, inspiring, and at times educational to the audience. I’d love to get in the director chair someday, but in what level of entertainment I don’t know.
22. Finally… tell us which has been the best advice you’ve been given both professional and personal: Hans Dastrup is a lead animator at Blue Sky and he sat me down one day and really set me straight. I’d been at Blue Sky for about a year and a half and although I’d had some success I remained a frightened animator still concerned I could fail at any moment on any given shot. He simply told me to knock it off. That things will always work out. Everybody struggles and although it’s okay to feel the inner pressure to want to progress as an artist it’s unhealthy to have such self doubt. Honestly, from that point I’ve felt freed. I rarely worry about if I can finish I shot anymore. He gave me the ability to have enough confidence in myself to tackle even tougher shots. Not to mention I became less stressed, my head became clearer, and ideas flowed easier.
Also, I want to say this although things aren’t always perfects, it’s become more important to me that I stay on the positive side of things and be a happy animator.
A co-worker reminded me that, as I become one of the veteran animators, that my outlook and energy gets reflected into the rest of the crew and it’s my choice to create reflection I’d like to see.
His web: http://www.jaganimations.com