'How To Train Your Dragon' Animator On His Creative Process & What Inspires Him!

By Nita Deshmukh. Posted on December 11, 2015

Lotte Reiniger's German film The Adevntures Of Prince Achmed made in 1917, is not only one of the earliest animation features to be made, but also one of the oldest animated works to have still survived. Over the years, animation films have come a long way and a remarkable transformation, thanks to several amazing animation features that were made by Walt Disney and other studios such as Warner Bros.

Iconic animation artists like Walt Disney, Matt Groening, Will Hanna, Tex Avery among others have constantly raised the bar of animation through their awe inspiring works. In recent years, Simon Otto is one animation professional who has stood out due to his distinctive body of work.

Otto is a director, animator and story artist for DreamWorks Animation and is widely recognised for his work on the How to Train Your Dragon movie franchise. He has been an important part of DreamWorks' character animation team ever since he joined the studio in 1997 to work on The Prince of Egypt. He has also worked as a character designer on the animated comedy Over the Hedge.

Otto not only oversees the animation for the films, but is also responsible for developing the look of the characters, their personalities and the overall style of animation in the film. He is an alumni of the prestigious Les Gobelins Animation School in Paris. He had also undergone an internship program  at Walt Disney where he honed his skills further.

We came across this video published on The Academy's YouTube Channel which gives us a peek into Otto's creative processes and inspirations.

In this video, Otto tells us how the smile of his toddler son inspired him to create a particular scene for How to Train Your Dragon. He says the real inspiration comes from his family, kids and the people around him. It is interesting to see how Otto builds a character frame by frame and gives it a life. In his opinion, creativity is about searching, drawing inspiration from real life and building up the performance around the puppets. As he puts it "creativity is about searching something & when you know its good you need to not let it go".

Watch the video and get inspired to make the animation feature you always desired to.


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