Welcome to my blog

My name is Gilles Charbonneau

I am a long time 2d animator and I would like to share with you some of the tips and tricks I have learned over the years by posting tutorials and articles on this blog.


Tip #2 - Unplug

Many years ago I became friend with this wanna be animator who had these fantastic Star wars figurines on and all around his desk, I mean, they we're all over the place.

He eventually started a small studio in Montreal, and I ended up working for him, which was great fun, and he still had his figurines all over the place.

At some point things evolved and so did the studio, as great care was taken on our surroundings and at one point We made these very cool desks with quarter inches metal plates We found and a more surreal look was given to the office, they we're literally pieces of art.

At one point We had these very alluring posters of very beautiful and often very undressed models, but all with good taste of course! ;)

We also had these very cool peoples coming to the studio all the time, many we're models from a nearby model agency, We we're hip as heck and enjoyed it very much, I even dated one of them for quite a bit.

For my part, I always been a great fan of what are now called classical rock bands and I was listening to them all the time while working, either from my home office stereo or at work with my 4 tracks Walkman.

Today, the studio decor is much more subdued, the desks are plain white and lack any decor, my friend still has his Star Wars figurines, but not at his desk, the only posters on the walls are work related, still allot of peoples come to the studio, which got allot bigger by the way, but these peoples are work related as well.

My home office is almost monotonous, as I work at a 5 by 2 feet, plain white desk facing a white wall with only two monitors, two speakers, a graphic tablet and keyboard sitting on it.

I still love classical rock band music, but do not listen to them while working but only on my leisure time.

Now, why these changes over time, why did We let go of the things We love in our work environment?

The answer is simple, We unplugged!

Animation takes concentration!

From the moment You decide to unplug, that is, turn off the TV, radio, music, phone or any distractions in your work environment, You will see a shift in your work, it will become more abundant, more focused and maybe even a little better.

This is a trend that is more and more common in small as well as large animation and game studios around the world!

Just do a search on the Internet and see how plain professional animator's environments are in most studios these days, and see for yourself.



  1. Hmm, I've heard this said a lot lately. The first time was in the Richard Williams book. The only problem with these 'rules' is that they assume everyone is the same. I'm sure it's true that some people may be distracted by listening to music and their work affected. However, I'm sure that the opposite is also true and some people are more relaxed and inspired by having their favourite music playing or surrounded by posters etc
    Compared to some my desk is quite sparse. I have just a few small reproductions of Hammer Film posters that I don't even notice most of the time. Unless listening to a voice track of a scene I'm animating you would probably find me with headphones on listening to anything from ELO to Classical Music. If anything it helps me 'get into the zone' and AVOID the distractions of the rest of the 'office'.

    At Hot Animation we always had music on in the studio. We would take it in turns to play our CD's. I remember it as being a very relaxing and enjoyable experience and it definitely helped us work to the best of our ability.

    So, yes, I think true for some people but everyone is different.

  2. Hello Dale, and thanks for your point of view!

    I agree that everyone is not the same and that some peoples may enjoy their music or whatever distraction they want in their work surroundings.

    My advice here is based on personal observation and from what I saw at work and from other studios I have visited.

    Also, the fact that yourself say that there is allot of peoples saying the same thing may indicate that there is some truth to it.

    I also remember reading Richard Williams saying the same thing, and He is an experienced animator!

    All this said, this is just a guideline, so someone may try to unplug and see if it works for him or her, if not then by all means, let them have their music or any type of distractions they enjoy in their work environment.

  3. I find the article informative. And realize focus is important to the workflow. Sometimes for me it helps to add music to force my mind from roaming into unproductive places. I find this most true when I work on anything alone. When I have some sort of audio stimuli I am not distracted by thoughts of everyday stuff. But I am not so into my music that it would displace my main goals...

  4. Hello John, and thank You for your comment.

    Yes, everyone is different, as I said, these are guidelines, only to put emphasis on the amount of concentration needed to achieve good animation.

    The goal here is to have peoples at least try to unplug and see if it helps their workflow or the quality or amount of animation they can produce.

    Of course, if unplugging is not for them, then they should get plugged again and go on with their animation!

  5. Yes, you are right, everyone should try and 'unplug' as they may just see their animation improve. I haven't. Maybe I'm just rubbish to begin with! I have a lot of respect for Richard Williams but I do think he went a bit over the top on this subject in his book. I'm sure I read somewhere that certain Disney animators listened to classical music to focus their minds so obviously they didn't feel that 'unplugging' was a necessity. I think it's when people quote it as some sort of animation 'rule' it irritates me a little =0) I didn't mean to come across as it appears now I've read my original response back!

  6. Hello dale, thanks for Your comment.

    Yes, everyone should at least try, as it worked for most of the animator's I know, but some seem to work better with music or toys or any sort of distractions around them!

    Again, the idea here is to try it and see if it works for You.

    And yes, I also remember Williams going a bit nuts on his book on that subject.