Spirit Untamed Spirit Untamed

Animator Ere Santos has written a Twitter thread in which he recounts a “terrifying request” during the production of Dreamworks Animation’s Spirit Untamed: animate a horse spinning around and trotting backwards, while having a human twirl on the horse’s back.

To add to that pressure, there were four additional characters in the shot, all of whom would be interacting with each other.

After initial hesitation, as well as encouragement from his animation lead, Santos dove into the assignment. On Twitter, Santos details his working process, from creating a checklist of what he wanted to accomplish in the shot to research and shooting reference. From start to finish, the 11-second shot took him around a month to complete.

The resulting shot looks so effortless that it would be easy for a casual viewer to overlook the challenges of creating the animation, and that, writes Santos, was the ultimate goal: “My main goal in this shot was to keep it entertaining from start to finish without being distracting. I didn’t want the audience to see any of my choices, just feel them.”

If you’re wondering what Santos is doing now, he’s working on the Spider-Verse sequel:

Amid Amidi

Amid Amidi

Amid Amidi is Cartoon Brew's Publisher and Editor-at-large.

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