Coming Soon: The Animation Dock, A Traditional Animation Desk For Your iPad

Last night on Twitter, when no one was looking, animator Tammy Gray Smith announced the soft launch of her upcoming Kickstarter campaign for the Animation Dock, a vintage animation desk for tablets.

For modern animation artists who want to celebrate the “nostalgia and class” of animation’s golden age, The Animation Dock, like a traditional animation disc, will offer 360-degree range of motion while fitting a majority of 10″ and 7″ tablets, including the iPad and Nexus 7.

A preview of the dock, as well as the rewards that can be earned by prospective backers can be viewed on the official website and Facebook page.



  • Mark Mayerson

    Build one that can hold a Cintiq and you’ve really got something.

    • Matt

      Our Cintiqs at Disney were set up to spin like a traditional animation desk. It was pointless. When you setup your Cintiq it aligns itself to where your pen was to your screen. I just used the rotate screen tool in Toon Boom and got the best results that way.

  • Joe G

    What is the point for this ? You still miss out the traditional feeling of pencil drawing on paper surface,the lead smudges in your hand,the fun of flipping papers as you see the drawings move,the” mind-excercising distance calibration “of the peg bars for your walk cycle and panning backgrounds.

    • CB

      True, but be aware that later hand-drawn animated feature films (from the 90′s and early 2000s) were drawn with table-sized tablets with digital pens.

      • Joe G

        You missed my point CB,if you want to rotate your tablet get those metal tablet stands where you can attach it.Not fashioned it like a circular frame and place it on a wooden table to get the “feel” of traditionalism.

        • barney miller

          I haven’t yet found a tablet stand that works well with the ipad. There’s never any place to rest your arm like a traditional drafting table, so I for one would be quite interested in this.

      • mikeluz

        Ummm, what??? I don’t think so. Pretty sure feature drawn films were done on paper in the 90s and early 2000s. I even think PATF was done on paper

        • Kyle_Maloney

          I remember reading that a number of shots from the princess and the frog were done on cintiqs. It was originally planned to do the whole thing that way but it didn’t work out. The only thing that was done entirely digital that I can think of was the how to hook up your home theater goofy short. But that wasn’t early 2000s by any stretch.

          • Dave

            Effects Animation on Frog was animated on Cintiqs, but the rough and clean-up character animation was drawn traditionally with pencil on paper. Some of the scenes in How To Hook Up your Home Theater were done paperlessly, but most of it was animated and cleaned-up traditionally with pencil on paper, then scanned for digital ink & paint. (but of course you rightly point out that wasn’t in the 90′s or early 2000′s )

    • tjarmstrong

      I thought it was a way to use your tablet as the backlight for your traditional drawing over it.

  • zoe

    Is there any animation software for the iPad that is more than a gimmick or a toy? TVPaint makes a full-featured Android version (intended for the newer Android-based Wacom-powered tablets like the Companion and the Galaxy Note). I would love to use an iPad for animation, but I don’t see that as a truly viable option, even with a spinny disc… Someone please correct me if I’m wrong!

    • Mike Scott

      I too want to know the answer to this. Have suggested it as a story before, I imagine there are a couple people out there who’d like to know. Same goes with stylus’. I’ve been looking at something portable ala Wacom Companion / Microsoft Surface Pro (but I own Mac software, Photoshop etc…, would prefer to avoid Microsoft products, it’s a whole new license for the software), but wondered if an iPad may be able to achieve similar yet simpler results. Nothing conclusive yet.

    • Tim Drage

      ‘Animation Creator HD’ and ‘Animation Desk’ (despite its kind of tacky skeuomorphic interface design) are both pretty nice and usable, and about as full-featured as you can expect from self-published software on a glorified mobile phone.

  • George Comerci

    Pretty cool! All I need now is an ipad…

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Given I have a 7″ Android tablet, not sure how much I could get out of that with this personally, but nice to have an option if I have to spend more.

  • Dean

    Yeah pretty stupid, no apple products come with digitisers, which is strange given how apple has an “arty” following.

  • Gina Kamentsky

    So far the best I’ve found for my ipad is an app called Animation HD. I use it with a wacom stylus and it’s ok, not great. I use it when traveling to work out motion sketches and ideas. I hope that eventually something a bit more robust comes out.

  • tstevens

    It just seems like a nostalgic throwback for people who want to feel some sort of connection to the past. As mentioned, all of the major ink and paint programs have a rotate feature (even photoshop has a rotate feature).
    I still have two oxberry discs and I have purchased paper from cartoon colour in the last couple of months so I supsect that I will be working on paper for the foreseeable future. I intend to use Harmony more frequently this year but, I find it is a little harder to use assistants when working with Harmony since very few freelancers have the cash to buy the program.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    No doubt I wonder that too, unless he’s mistaking the use of the digital ink & paint procedure (like Disney’s “CAPS” system) that became a standard at the time.

  • Joe G

    Well said master David,awaiting for you reply CB……HELLLOOOO.

  • Dan

    You all are missing the point: THIS IS JUST COOL. Not everybody can afford a cintiq or works at disney. At the very least its a fun peripheral that encourages the use of traditional techniques in a modern age.

  • Gerard de Souza

    It’s a decoration like those fake ornamental old cameras people buy at home deco stores. Cute on a side a table and a place to put your ipad when not in use. That’s the best I can make of it. Good luck.

  • Neil

    Those are third party crutches that just don’t hold a candle to actual digitisers found in MANY other tablets and notebooks. Apple doesn’t make them, because Apple could care less about content creation on the ipad. They want you to buy movies and music on your ipad, that’s how they make money. It will never be good for making art.

  • Neil

    Absolutely. The best solution is an integrated one. Wacom’s tablets and cintiqs are more automobile than crutch, though. Desktops are designed to be flexible, so you can build peripherals for them that get you the results you want, rather than ones you can live with. Artists love apple, I get it, but the macbook air and pro are for making stuff, the i objects are for consumption.

  • Jack

    Disclosure: I backed this project on Kickstarter.
    Another disclosure: I was a clean-up artist, or I am, or could be if there would be another 2D project.

    I think this is a good product, at the moment most may be scratching their heads if they truly want to use this to ‘clean-up’ like the good old days.

    But get creative, and think of the possibilities and no doubt, someone will create a short and perhaps win an award…all accomplished on the Animation Dock!

    (And trust me, it’s a lot easier to move around than my desk which I took with me as the door hit me in the a ´s s on the way out of the Animation building in 2004.)