Cover image of Animalators
Visual Arts


Updated 2 days ago

Visual Arts
Read more

From Identity Visuals comes Animalators: curious conversations from the world of animation. On each episode, animator Zac Dixon sits down with members of the animation community to discuss life, art, business and the creative process.

Read more

From Identity Visuals comes Animalators: curious conversations from the world of animation. On each episode, animator Zac Dixon sits down with members of the animation community to discuss life, art, business and the creative process.

iTunes Ratings

41 Ratings
Average Ratings

I Look forward to every episode!

By Newgranafa - Aug 23 2016
Read more
One of my favorites! Well produced and entertaining. A must for any animator or mographer.

Fun music/topics

By Zach Christy - Jun 03 2016
Read more
Great guests so far -- love the theme song too.

iTunes Ratings

41 Ratings
Average Ratings

I Look forward to every episode!

By Newgranafa - Aug 23 2016
Read more
One of my favorites! Well produced and entertaining. A must for any animator or mographer.

Fun music/topics

By Zach Christy - Jun 03 2016
Read more
Great guests so far -- love the theme song too.
Cover image of Animalators


Updated 2 days ago

Read more

From Identity Visuals comes Animalators: curious conversations from the world of animation. On each episode, animator Zac Dixon sits down with members of the animation community to discuss life, art, business and the creative process.

Rank #1: Episode 31: Sarah Beth Hulver

Podcast cover
Read more

Sarah Beth Hulver is a designer at Odd Fellows a creative studio based in Portland, OR. During our conversation, we discussed why she loves using social media, how she ended up at Odd Fellows, and her passion for encouraging women in the animation community.





Odd Fellows -

Fx Console Link-


-Odd Fellows culture

-Pre-production process

-Creating a curated Instagram feed

-Started drawing as a kid

-Grew up in Saudi Arabia

-Starting in Graphic Design at SCAD

-Gentleman Scholar - attracted to their projects

-Didn’t start illustrating until GS

-Boss feedback influenced work ethic

-Transition to Odd Fellows

-Using Slack for interoffice communication

-Fx Console

-Art school - loved it, recommends it

-Personal projects

-Tactile stuff

-Stop motion projects

-Project with Dan Stevers

-Learning & growing as an animator

-Knowing how to say no

-Work-life balance

-Future goals of an art director

-Getting more involved in the animation community

-Create something impactful

-Encouraging women in the animation community

-Social media - finding inspiration, growing a presence

-Dream client: A children’s book

-Favorite Animated Movie: Song of the Sea

-What does your family think you do: They pretty much know

-Animalator: Quail - kind of goofy

Jan 06 2017

1hr 6mins


Rank #2: Episode 33: Animade

Podcast cover
Read more

Ed Barrett and Tom Judd are the founders of Animade, a studio based in London, England. During the episode, we talked about the pros and cons of pitching, their storyboard tool: Boords, and the importance of delegating.


Website -


Boords -


-Co-founder and Creative director

-Started as a blog

-Organic growth

-Teaching internally and in universities

-Storyboard prototype

-Approachable for the beginner & customizable for pros


-Being your own client


-Pros and cons of pitching

-Always learning how to run a business

-Learning as you go

-Delegating is hard

-Full-time marketing person

-How to be intentional about marketing

-Getting work from personal work

-Getting work from pitches

-Feeding off of the community

-Dream Client: Myself

-Favorite Animated Film: Pixar’s Incredibles

-What does your family think you do: “Coloring in”

-Animalator: mouse

Feb 03 2017

1hr 20mins


Rank #3: Episode 40: Gunner

Podcast cover
Read more

Ian & Nick are the founders of Gunner, a Detroit based animation and illustration studio. During the episode, we talk about their studio mantra “no bad frames,” how they attract good artists to their studio, and finding inspiration through old books.





-Six people - studio growth

-More comfortable now

-Hiring people to do the things they don’t know how to do

-How they began their partnership

-Pros and cons of working in Detroit

-Attract good artists & then attract good work

-Considering representation

-Good work attracts more work

-Keep making things

-Downtime projects

-Mixing mediums together

-Undercurrent projects of the studio

-Mantra of no bad frames

-Bringing in new client processes

-Always surprise

-Inspiring people

-Personal sources of inspiration

-Dream Client: Us

-Favorite Animated Film: Coraline

-What does your family think you do: Cartoons

-Animalator: Kangaroo

May 19 2017



Rank #4: Episode 25: Seth Worley

Podcast cover
Read more

Seth Worley is a resident filmmaker at visual effects software maker Red Giant and the director and writer of short films. During the conversation, we discussed the importance of making client projects your own, learning how to pace and structure story development and how to receive negative feedback on the work you create.




Form 17-

Red Giant-


-Resident filmmaker at Red Giant

-Make films with our software

-Magic Bullet


-Roger Rabbit behind the scenes

-Watching people watch movies

-Music videos

-Form 17

-Receiving online feedback

-Don't let your identity be wrapped up in your work

-Advertising agencies are just nervous

-Think in themes

-Leaky Timbers

-Story Clock Notebook

-Trace story threads

-Story pacing

-Idea development


-Dream Client: Myself

-Favorite Animated Movie: The Incredibles

-What does your family think you do: My son thinks I make movies

-Animalator: Jogging lego guy

Sep 16 2016

1hr 20mins


Rank #5: Episode 38: Jay Grandin Interviews Zac Dixon

Podcast cover
Read more

Zac Dixon is the creative director at IV in Nashville, TN and also happens to be the host of this very podcast. During the conversation, our guest host, Jay Grandin, (creative director / owner of Giant Ant) and Zac talk about why he started Animalators, how he built up his studio in Nashville and his love for personal projects.




Castle Rock Trailer:



-Daughter on the way

-Why Animalators

-Band videos on tour

-Why Nashville

-Decentralization of animators

-Full-time person in chicago

-Learning from Animalators

-Nashville was the reason for the switch to animation

-Seven person team

-Obsessed with finding something original

-Having the longview

-Bring in new talent and ideas

-JJ Abrams projects

-Intentionally debrief after seasons

-Trying to be a voice of positivity

-Not alone in your struggle

-Future of IV & the podcast

-Personal projects

-Failing often allows you to succeed later

-Dream Client: FX

-Favorite Animated Film:Lion King, Song of The Sea

-What does your family think you do: Guitar playing

-Animalators: A red tailed hawk

Apr 14 2017

1hr 17mins


Rank #6: Episode 23: Ryan Summers

Podcast cover
Read more

Ryan Summers is a freelance animator based in Los Angeles, CA. During the conversation, we discussed the how to network, balancing budgets in a project, and the importance of always adapting and learning in the industry.





-Comic Books, Movies, Cartoons, Video Games

-Problem-solving day to day

-A switch to art school

-Working in many different industries

-Slot Machine company, Chicago Board of Trade

-Learning from various kinds of people

-Imaginary Forces

-Importance of networking

-Being a problem solver

-Specific pitching

-Balancing budgets

-Character animation

-learning from different studios and how they approach new problems

-Getting back to 2-D animation

-Dream client: Myself

-Favorite animated film: Iron Giant

-What does your family think you do: Interior designer

-Animalator: Orangutan

Aug 19 2016

1hr 8mins


Rank #7: Episode 54: Tuna Bora

Podcast cover
Read more

Tuna Bora is an illustrator, production designer, and content creator living in LA. On the episode, we talked about working with Nexus Studios, Hussein Chalayan, and getting out of your head.Links:

Website: Studios: Osborne: Nkondo: College of Art and Design: Chalayan: Chalayan Table Dress: Legged Legs: Wild Country:

-Nexus Studios-Directing -Challenges-Writing & narrative-The Artist’s Way-Seeing yourself outside of what you do-Successful strategies for collaboration-Moving from Istanbul, Turkey to Los Angeles, CA-Otis College of Art and Design-Fashion -Hussein Chalayan-Hussein Chalayan Table Dress-Three Legged Legs-Angus Wall/Elastic-Gameshow winners-Taking pressure off-Staying open to the world-Drawing without expectation-Cultivating openness-Wild Wild Country -Headspace-Dissociating from emotions and getting out of your head-Definitions of being an artist-Personal projects-Conquering fears-Rupi Kaur-Hyperbole and a Half-Going back to basics-Originality and style-Dream Client: Jonathan Nkondo-Favorite animated film: Evangelion-What do the people you love think you do for a living: At least some form of animation

Apr 13 2018



Rank #8: Episode 44: Daniel Savage

Podcast cover
Read more

Daniel Savage is a designer and director based in Los Angeles, CA. On the episode, we talked about his deep love for Instagram, why animation is best done in the context of a team, and the reason for mixed parts.




Motionographer Article:

Vanity Fair Article:

Mixed parts:


- Transition to LA from NY

- Networking

- Starting from scratch

- Linkedin

- Print Jobs

- Animation is hard when you don’t have a team.

- Illustration -> Designer

- React through storytelling

- Rebrand/more mature work as you get older

- Fear of releasing work/pigeonholed

- Instagram an extension of portfolio

- Versatility

- Presenting the work you want to be known for

- Mini portfolios catered to individual clients

- Working for Comedy Central

- Yule Log project

- StandardVision


- Sense of community/friendships/connections

- How can we get the animation community together?

- Wondersauce

- Getting Better, Getting Bigger

- Mural work

- Skill Development/learn new things

- Dream Client: Natural History Museum

- Favorite Animated Film: Peter Pan

- What does your family think you do: They pretty much know

- Animalator: Zebra

Jul 14 2017



Rank #9: Episode 45: Bee Grandinetti

Podcast cover
Read more

Bee Grandinetti is an independent graphic designer, animator and illustrator who is currently working on a team at Google Creative Lab. On the episode, we talked about her consistent desire to learn, her love for small companies and working in her PJs, and how she manages to still be social while working so many hours.



Motionographer Article -


-Hyper Island

-Google Creative Lab

-A new/experimental team of Google.

-Blend talk

-School Of Motion


-Trend researching company working design


-Fresh Content

-Moved to Sweden  

-Feeling fresh and inspired

-Always wanting to learn

-Student perspective>Industry Leader

-Final projects

-Get familiar with people in the industry

-Prefers smaller companies

-Loves working from home

-Goals: Learn Animate & TV Paint. Acting classes.

-Learning how to represent people-acting-research.

-Ukulele. (always wanted to be in a band)

- Dream Client: No one in particular, someone who pays me in a comfortable way, and to hire friends to work with. Give me deadlines. Creative freedom. Something I cares about.

- Favorite Animated Film: Lion King, and The Grave of The Fireflies.

- What does your family think you do:  Super boring answer. They know, there's no confusion.

- Animalator: Baby Goat on Pajamas…mini baby goat!

Aug 18 2017

1hr 7mins


Rank #10: Episode 9: Sander van Dijk

Podcast cover
Read more

Sander van Dijk is a freelance animator from Brooklyn, New York. During this episode, we talked about his background in architecture and carpentry, why he switched to freelance and the importance of designing work that matters.


Wish List After Effects



Sugar Detox Project:

Time Well Spent Project:

Facebook Redesign:

Motionographer article:

Steve Jobs’ Speech:


-Transition from architecture and carpentry into animation

-King and Country brought Sander to the U.S.

-Worked for Buck

-Transition to freelance

-Move away from advertising

-Importance of communicating life changing ideas

-Daily choices

-Personal next steps

-Choosing clients that support what you believe

-New Projects: food, health, and technology

-Sugar detox project

-Time well spent project

-Facebook redesign  

-After Effect’s wish list

-Why motion graphics specifically can help bring about change

-Getting close to a story and a concept when working on a project

-Motionographer article - trends, learning

-What new things Sander has been learning

-Advice for people starting out in motion graphics

-Dream client: someone with a complex idea and communicating it an easy, understandable way

-Favorite animated film: Adventure Time Episodes

-What does your parents think you do: they get what I do and are gracious enough to let me run with it.

-Animalator: a squirrel

Animalators is part of the Gradient Podcast Network. Learn more at

Feb 06 2016



Rank #11: Episode 5: Jorge Canedo Estrada

Podcast cover
Read more

Jorge Canedo Estrada lives in Vancouver, Canada and is a creative director and animator at Giant Ant. During our conversation he shared about how he started in animation, his role and the team dynamics at Giant Ant, and his learnings from Blend.


Giant Ant:



-Motion animation with a camera in Bolivia

-Cyber Cafes

-Mom got him first gig

-Scholarship at Vancouver Film School

-Giant Ant

-Monday morning planning

-Half and half animating and creative direction

-Team dynamics

-Pros and cons of working for a studio vs. freelancing

-“Sometimes the best way to grow is to find the best person for the job and learn from them.”

-Future of Giant Ant

-Learnings from Blend

-Dream client: The one that he doesn't know that he would love

-Favorite Animated Film: Toy Story

-What your kids think you do: "He thinks I click on metal all day"

-Animalator: A llama, the national animal for Bolivia

Dec 10 2015



Rank #12: Episode 34: Xoana Herrera

Podcast cover
Read more

Xoana Herrera is an artist at Buck, a production company in Los Angeles, CA. During our conversation, we talked about how she finds inspiration, what it’s like working for Buck and the importance of finding a unique voice and having courage as an artist.


Kyle Brushes:




- Husband had a video noticed by Buck

- Came from Argentina  

- Learning English

- Figuring out what it looks like to be a graphic designer at Buck

- Started doing a little bit of everything

- Learning Photoshop

- Learned how to illustrate

- Currently pursuing the goal of becoming an Art Director

- Loved illustrations every since she was a child

- The tension of looking for inspiration vs. copying

- Find your own voice

- Have courage and say “yes”

- You can have skills but a bad attitude and it really won’t work

- Feel like you are working at home with your own friends

- Learn from other people, ask questions

- Inspiration: Sculptures

- Outside of work projects

- My hobby has become my job

- Keep playing with shapes

- Kyle Webster Brushes

- Try to be humble & grow your own voice as an artist

- Dream Client: Treats employees with love

- Favorite Animated Film: Ponyo  

- What does your family think you do: “you do little illustrations”

- Animalator: Horse

Feb 17 2017



Rank #13: Episode 6: Troy Church

Podcast cover
Read more

Troy Church is a Senior Experience Designer at Adobe in Seattle, WA. During the conversation, we discussed how the design community can be involved in improving Adobe products, the future of After Effects, and Troy’s role at Adobe.

Links: (AE team blog) (Submit bugs and feature requests for any Adobe Product) (After Effects User-to-User Forum )


-Role at Adobe

-Working on a small team

-Creative cloud business model

-Been at Adobe for 10 years

-Future of animation

-We interact with our users all the time

-Huge databases of what people think

-Trip reports

-How can users be a part of helping the product


-Submit bugs

-iPad pro

-Flash changes

-Google's use of animation

-Dream client/product/After Effects: a good story

-Favorite animated film: the incredibles

-What do the people you love think you do: Saturday morning cartoons

-Animalator: a horse 

Dec 18 2015



Rank #14: Episode 4: Adam Plouff

Podcast cover
Read more

Adam Plouff is a freelance motion designer and animator based in Atlanta, Georgia. During our conversation, we discuss the beginnings of Rubberhose, how to start coding for animation, and his most recent project: “Why Pay?”.


Why Pay:



- Photoshop T-Shirt Designer

- Lead singer of a hardcore metal band

- Learned Final Cut 6 & After Effects

- Animators Kit

- Writing expressions

- “Try to push yourself forward with every project.”

- How to make lines, curves and invert values and volumes

- Rubberhose beginnings

- ”Coding can be taunting: someone described it as staring into the void”

- ”I wrangle data with code. If you can think of it in those terms: it’s just a different way of managing data.”

- Dream client: Myself.

- Favorite Animated Film: Iron Giant , Rejected by Don Hertzfeldt

- What your kids think you do: I make robots

- Animalator: A sloth because they are adorable, and they know how to chill and I don’t.

Nov 27 2015



Rank #15: Episode 3: David Stanfield

Podcast cover
Read more

David Stanfield is a motion designer and director based in Charleston, South Carolina. During our conversation, we discussed his journey from an advertising major to a freelance animator, the pros and cons of animating with a design background, and the Nine Squares project.



Nine Squares:


- Advertising major with design classes

- Animation for TV and broadcasting

- Pros and cons to having a design background

- Illustrator and photoshop background

- Having a harder time with space and dimensions

- A piece of advice: “Don't worry about the animation just yet, start by making it look as good as possible, and telling the story in the most effective way. Worry about the animation later. Don’t limit yourself with fear of not being able to animate it.”

- Making the transition to freelance

- “There are more interesting things to aspire to then being comfortable.”

- Nine Squares

- Dream client: people who know what they want, more kid focused work

- Favorite animated film: Aladdin

- What your kids think you do: make really boring cartoons

- Animalator: hedgehog, it is super cute and I knew my daughter would like it.

Nov 13 2015



Rank #16: Episode 22: Moth Collective

Podcast cover
Read more

Daniel Chester, Dave Prosser and Marie-Margaux Tsakiri-Scanatovits are the founders of Moth Collective based in London, England. During our conversation, we talked about their start at Royal College of Art, the fight for a good story and what it was like to pitch The Guardian.



The Last Job on Earth The Guardian:

Modern Love New York Times:


-How they met

-Royal College of Art

-Moth Collective

-Selective about projects

-Leading to more projects

-One year ago stopped freelancing

-Based in East London

-When to start adding employees

-Collective vs. studio

-Artist and business

-Storytelling conflicts


-Vision casting

-Project roles

-Fighting for ideas

-Mixing of styles

-Learning CGI

-Learning how to communicate better

-Personal projects

-Feature film

-Friday fun day

-The art of pitching

-The Guardian project

-New York Times project

-First failed project

-Future of Moth Collective

-Dream client:  A client that doesn’t meddle in your business too much

-Favorite animated film: Zootopia

-What does your family think you do: They pretty much get it

-Animalator: Moth

Aug 05 2016



Rank #17: Episode 52: Andrew Kramer

Podcast cover
Read more

Andrew Kramer of Video Copilot joined us for episode 52. We talked about rising to expectations, Intercept, Star Trek lens flares, and relying on the talents of a team.




Element 3D:

Action Movie FX:




-Video Copilot

-Deciding what to work on

-Pushing yourself

-After Effects

-Star Trek

-Concept vs. tools used

-Element 3D

-Bad Robot/Super 8

-JJ Abrams

-Rising to expectations

-Outside perspectives

-Star Wars: The Force Awakens

-Relying on the talents of a team


-The After Effects community

-Action Movie FX

-Client work

-Managing time


-Short timelines

-Review sessions

-Skill development


-When to stop tweaking single VFX shots


-Future short films

-Writing for scenes

-Creating tools

-Dream client: Elon Musk

-Favorite animated film: Tangled and How to Train Your Dragon

-What do the people you love think you do at work all day?: My kids just think I work on Star Wars all day

-Animalator: Raven

-Andrews questions for Zac

-Bouncy Smash

-Future of Animalators

Mar 09 2018

1hr 7mins


Rank #18: Episode 19: Erin Sarofsky

Podcast cover
Read more

Erin Sarofsky is the owner and executive creative director of Sarofsky based in Chicago, IL. During our conversation, we dove into her process and workflow habits, how she began her company, and what it is like to work on projects with Marvel.




Art of the Title article-

Animal Kingdom Main Titles-


-Digital Kitchen is “where I grew up”

-Taking every single opportunity  


-Communicating budgets with workers

-Art of the Title - Captain America: The Winter Soldier

-Workflow habits

-Concept-ing process

-Be careful with partnerships

-Creating good workplace culture

-Helping younger designers build talent

-Always have a junior and a senior on a project

-Learning how to be a boss

-Community title sequence

-Pitching strategies

-Studio set-up for Marvel

-Focus on design

-Favorite parts of working with Marvel

-People respond to authenticity

-Upcoming projects

-Animal Kingdom on TNT

-Love anything with a heavy design element & main titles

-Being a great collaborator with the client

-Dream Client: Marvel

-Favorite animated film: Toy Story

-What does your family think you do: Mom said I design business cards

-Animalator: A little dog

Jun 24 2016

1hr 2mins


Rank #19: Episode 30: Brikk

Podcast cover
Read more

Samuel Fast, Josef Andersson and Björn Johansson are the three founders of Brikk, an animation studio based in Stockholm, Sweden. During our conversation, we talked about how they navigate creative challenges, how they built their team and why it is important to stay curious.






-Trying to stay curious

-Don’t like to do the same thing twice

-We find people we like to work with

-Nice people culture

-How to push clients towards something outside of their expectations

-Treatment design

-Differing creative processes

-Meeting in art school

-How to play on being young = the competitive advantage  

-Didn’t have much to lose when they started

-Starting to be able to say no to things

-Taking work that doesn’t make it to your portfolio

-Dividing work between all three creative directors

-How to get through creative challenges

-Trying to get better at planning

-Learning from mistakes

-Always growing as a team

-Learning how to keep things personal

-Why it can be helpful to learn less

-Getting better at organizing and managing team


-Establishing processes  

-Advice to young animators: Say yes to everything

-Dream Client: A client that trusts you

-Favorite Animated Movie:The Jungle Book

-What does your family think you do: Grandma once said: starving artists

-Animalator: the moose

Dec 23 2016

1hr 1min


Rank #20: Episode 49: Ross Plaskow

Podcast cover
Read more

Ross Plaskow, is a freelance animator and creator of Meat Mysteries. Having worked with the likes of Google, Target, Disney XD, Hulu, and Facebook, he told us a little bit more about his university beginnings, falling into freelance and the London animation scene.


Website -

Twitter -

Instagram - /

Meat Mysteries -

Animade -

Greg Gunn -

Art&Graft -

Moth -

Claudio Salas -

Pencil Bandit -

Ransomniac -

Bouncy Smash -


-Meat Mysteries

-After Effects

-Passion projects while freelancing

-Architecture school

-Changing course


-Looking for work out of school

-Learning how to animate 3D characters

-Studying in Denmark

-Freelance from a tweet

-Greg Gunn

-Freelance Anxiety

-Freelancing in London

-Moth Animation Studio


-Forming professional relationships

-The London animation scene



-Claudio Salas

-Advice for new freelancers

-Working out the type of work that you want to do


-Lessons learned

-Interacting with people face to face

-Working out of studios


-Two freelance jobs at the same time

-Dedication to a job

-Character animation


-Background artists for Meat Mysteries

-Meat Mysteries release

-Pros and Cons of being the creator of Meat Mysteries

-Dream Client: Moth

-Favorite Animated Film: Akira

-Favorite Animated Series: Rick and Morty

-What do the people you love think you do for a living?: Draw cartoons in newspapers.

-Animalator: Shark Man

Oct 20 2017