About the Animator

WHO am I?

Many things, including a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology’s M.F.A. computer animation program, an active member of the Toronto Animated Image Society, the current Membership Coordinator for ASIFA/Central, and part of the 30% of men who belong to the organization 'Women in Animation.'

WHAT do I work on?

My body of work is primarily Forensic Animation for court cases and animation/video for museums and private clients who work in the field of historic reproductions.

WHERE do I work?

Wherever the work takes me. I'm based in East Lansing, Michigan, but my job has taken me from California, Michigan, Massachusetts, and New York, to as far away as England.

WHY ‘Smudge Animation?’

Well, basically because I'm not John Lasseter. Or Bill Plympton. Or Walt Disney. Or Chuck Jones, Don Hertzfeldt, Mamoru Oshi, J.J. Seidelmeier, PES, BLU, or Peter Chung—pick just about any famous animator and it’ll fit. I don’t have their talent or filmography under my belt. And as most of my forensic animations get sealed by the courts, they are never seen by anyone outside of a few attorneys, clients, and a judge or two. Only recently have I started doing work for a broader viewing audience (museums, historical reproductions, etc). So I think it’s rather pretentious of me to bill myself as ‘Chuck Wilson Animation’ or something like that. If I had a fraction of the talent found in the previous list of titans, maybe I’d consider it. But for now... no, ‘Smudge Animation’ works. It’s cute, gets a little laugh when people see it on my business card, and they remember it.

As to why the name ‘Smudge,’ when I was thinking up names back in 2000, my brother brought home a stray cat that was covered in fluffy, silky white fur--all except for this streak of grey fur that made it look like she walked under a car and got some axle grease on her forehead. So, we called her ‘Smudge.’ At the time, I thought it was serendipity--or at the very least, a funny story to tell people when they asked me about the name of my company.

HOW do I produce my animations?

Depends on the job. Though I love working old-school with the mark one pencil and paper, I'm an Adobe zealot. So most of my work uses Adobe's Production Premium suite of products (After Effects, Audition, Encore, Flash, Illustrator, Photoshop, Premiere and Soundbooth) but for the forensic work--when a level of scientific precision is required--I use Visual Statement's FX software.