Danny Southard is an animator for Champions Online.
"Meet the Team" InterviewEdit
Q: What do you do in Champions Online?
A: I animate. Lately I've been working on player powers. I just finished working on a bunch of powers for the 'roid rage in all of us, and I'm currently working on a set for the Chuck Norris fans out there. I also work on powers for NPCs with all sorts of limb combinations … four arms, four legs, no arms or legs …
Q: How long have you worked in gaming, and what did you do before Champions Online?
A: I'm brand spankin' new to the industry. I've been at Cryptic for more than a year. Before that, I was working as a researcher at a biotech company developing drugs for various types of cancer. It sounds pretty cool – but it isn't. For the better part of two years, I spent most of my nights and weekends going through the AnimationMentor.com program.
Q: What is your typical workday like?
A: In the morning I pick an animation from my list and find a deserted part of the building to film reference. That's getting harder to do, because Cryptic is growing like crazy. After filming reference, I pick the best version and block out the movement using the Cryptic AR. After getting a critique from my lead, I refine the animation and put it in the game. Once it's in the game, it is critiqued and polished a couple more times before it's shown to the art director for final approval.
Q: What do you draw inspiration from?
A: Definitely animated shorts and feature films. I also enjoy watching people. I know it sounds really creepy, but it's amazing to see that everyone walks a little bit differently and they have their own mannerisms and ways of interacting with others. My favorite type of interaction is when two people are having a conversation and one of them is really uncomfortable. It's amazing how people act when they're uncomfortable. I guess that's why I like watching The Office.
Q: Who is your favorite Champions Online character?
A: I can't reveal his name, but he's the biggest flaming gorilla in the history of videogames.
Q: What superpower would you want and why?
A: The ability to grow a beard at superhuman speeds. I want to win the 2008 Cryptic Beard-On. The winner gets a candlelit dinner with Shayne.
Q: Who are your favorite artists?
A: Glenn Keane, Doug Sweetland and Dave Burgess.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
A: Well, free time is a relatively new concept for me, because I recently graduated from animation school. So far I like to go on hikes and watch movies. Lately I've been watching a lot of TV. I absolutely love Dexter and Lost and I can't wait for the return of Heroes and Chuck.
Q: If you had to live on one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A: Cereal. There's nothing wrong with having it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I love it so much that I've been known to improvise when I run out of milk. I've had it in water, orange juice, apple juice and my least favorite … 7Up.
Q: What is on your iPod?
A: G Love & Special Sauce, Massive Attack and The Shins. Lately I've been listening to a lot of Tears for Fears and Violent Femmes.
Q: Do you have any advice for someone who wants to be an animator?
A: Go to animation school. Books can only teach you so much. You really need a talented animator to guide you along the way. I highly recommend AnimationMentor.com.
Q: Do you have anything else you would like to add?