James Baxter

One of the shining animators from the Beauty and the Beast was non other than James Baxter. Here’s one of his pencil tests of Belle from Beauty and the Beast.

The attention to detail is some that blows my mind but again its only little details and slight changes that makes the animation come to life. The fact you can’t even see a change in the pencil line work or volume just shows his experience and understanding that I still have yet to really grasp. The timing is an incredibly key point in when she turns from one side to the other and her key poses in which she softly turns from one to the other. You see the focus and level of care that has been taken with the dress as well as all the other main actions. I’ve been looking a lot at more natural and smooth animation ‘principles’ as I’ve been wanting to animate things like water and smoke, more natural elements for a separate animation project I’ve been helping with. It’s very clear that they take much more time to perfect every key frame and then add as many inbetweens as they need to make the animation smooth and understandable.
Below is something that I think still blows every animators and even the greatest animators minds today. The scene which James Baxter is possibly most famous for animating within Beauty and the Beast. There’s no real need for me to explain why as you’ll all see and pretty much get told within the short clip.

Animation is hard enough, having to think about all those other effects and having to think about the main action is just inhuman. I aspire to do something like this one day but clearly have a lot to still learn but it’s not too far out of my reach I hope.
Below is James more recently where he talks about his work in Kung Fu panda, going over the drawing of Po. It’s interesting in how he mentions a lot of the basis of drawing and develops the characters style and personality through that.


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