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Dragon’s Flight School

Title: Dragon’s Flight School
Length: 48 mins
Filmed November, 2010

Simon Otto has been a key artist at DreamWorks Animation for nearly 13 years.  As Head of Character Animation, he most recently developed and designed the animation style for DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon.”

He previously worked as an animator on “Bee Movie” and as a supervising animator on the DreamWorks Animation/Aardman Features computer-animated comedy, “Flushed Away.”  He was a character designer on the 2006 animated comedy “Over the Hedge,” and served as an animator on the studio’s Academy Award®-nominated, “Shark Tale.”  Prior to that, he worked as a supervising animator on the title character of Sinbad, as well as his crewmates Jin and Li, on the studio’s animated adventure tale, “Sinbad:  Legend of the Seven Seas.”  Additionally, he worked as an animator on the lead character in the Academy Award®-nominated adventure, “Spirit:  Stallion of the Cimarron,” and also supervised the animation of the eagle in that film.  Otto began his career at DreamWorks in 1997, as an animator on the epic “The Prince of Egypt,” as well as the comedy adventure, “The Road to El Dorado.”

Prior to joining DreamWorks, Otto studied animation at the renowned Les Gobelins in Paris, France, and received additional training during an internship with Walt Disney Feature Animation in Paris.  He began his career in the arts industry as a snow sculpture artist and news cartoonist.  Otto is a native of Switzerland.

Stuart Sumida is a professor of Biology at California State University San Bernardino where he teaches animal and human anatomy. He is the author of three books and over 100 scientific articles.  His work on animal structure and function led Charles Solomon to suggest him to the Disney Studios to help with the structure of Philipe, the draft horse, and the wolves in “Beauty and the Beast.”  That was followed by extensive work on “Lion King” and he has since worked on over 40 animated and CG/effects films including “Tarzan,” “Reign of Fire,” the first “Harry Potter” film, “Mulan,” “Lilo and Stitch,” “Stuart Little I & II,” “Scooby Doo,” “The Chronicles of Narnia,” “Ratatouille,” “Bolt,” and “Kung Fu Panda,”  He has also worked with audioanimatronic animators for Disney Imagineering, recently helping design a giant Yeti character for the “Expedition Everest” attraction in Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida.  Most recently he has lent his anatomical exper tise to the upcoming “Tangled” for Disney Feature Animation and “How to Train Your Dragon” for DreamWorks, and is currently acting as an anatomical consultant on “Life of Pi”.  He is a frequent speaker at scientific conferences, art schools, and animation festivals including Animex, RedStick, FMX and the CTN animation eXpo.

Sumida earned his B.A. and Ph.D. at UCLA and taught at the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago before returning to California to teach at CSU-San Bernardino.  In recognition of his hybrid work in science and art, evolution and education, he was name the 2007 outstanding science and engineering professor for the entire CSU System, the largest state university system in the world.

Sumida will discuss his collaboration with Simon Otto and other animators at DreamWorks as they developed the real-life references for the flight of dragons in “How to Train Your Dragon”


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