DreamWorks / ACMI Pencil

Traditional animation tools

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“The Animation Desk kiosk by DigitalFish has proven to be incredibly popular….”
— Chris Harris, Senior Manager, Exhibitions and Touring, ACMI


Computer-assisted traditional animation — DigitalFish’s Pencil brings the drawing layers of 3-D animation systems we have previously built into a stand-alone, 2-D system built around the principles of traditional animation. Designed for drawing-tablet or light-table use, Pencil is equally well-suited to the drawing and timing needs of a lone student or a large studio. It includes an advanced X-sheet, levels editor, timeline and pipeline-integration functions. It is not a replacement for ink and paint systems, focusing instead on animation planning, drawing and review. DigitalFish collaborated with animators and production staff at DreamWorks Animation to deliver a high-end version of Pencil for studio-animation use.

Traditional animation for kids — Based on DreamWorks’ version of Pencil, DigitalFish created the Animation Desk kiosk as part of our work for ACMI’s touring museum exhibition, DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition. Animation Desk gives museum visitors the chance to casually and quickly immerse themselves in a computer-assisted workflow for traditional 2–D animation. The user input and display device is a Wacom Cintiq 24HD pen tablet with a pressure-sensitive stylus. Animation Desk provides a modestly simplified version of the system used daily by professional animators within DreamWorks.


DreamWorks Animation
Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI)

DigitalFish Contributors

Dan Herman, Mark Oftedal, Steve Johnson, Nathan Litke, Mickey Roberson, Paul Collins, Adam Wagner, Doug Epps, Lane Roathe, Jenny Ware

The Animation Desk kiosk by DigitalFish has proven to be incredibly popular with the exhibition. Our brief was for an interactive kiosk which would engage an audience of all ages in a fun way, but also provide a behind-the-scenes look at the machinations of developing an animated film, allowing visitors to become a digital animator. Both ACMI and DreamWorks were also particularly concerned that the kiosk would be based on software that DreamWorks animation artists’ used themselves at the studio. The intuitive interactive that is The Animation Desk meets that brief and in doing so the team at DigitalFish have shown their deep commitment to not only design, but to usability. We are eagerly planning additional kiosks within the exhibition.

—Chris Harris, Senior Manager, Exhibitions and Touring, ACMI