This is a guest blog post by Mack Williams, Animation Director at Pig Apple (pigapple.com)
It’s a great time to be an animator. Over the past few years, the demand for animated content has reached an all-time high. Meanwhile, advancements in technology enable animators like myself to create better content even faster and really push the creative envelope.
Along with this increase in capabilities comes an increase in demand from my clients. From directing Archer, to Pitchfork.tv’s first animated series Frames, my projects seem to be ever-increasing in both size and complexity. Nearly all of my work is done in Adobe Creative Suite, specifically Adobe After Effects. I need a powerful system that can handle the numerous assets, specialty plug-ins and large file sizes common to my industry.
For years I’ve used an Apple Mac Pro, but I switched to a Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation to create the latest episode of Frames. “A Brief History of PG-13” details the history of the PG-13 rating and what it means to movie culture today.
It was my first time working on a Dell in over a decade and I was amazed at the speed. The boot time alone was insanely fast! Starting After Effects took less than 20-seconds, all thanks to the internal solid-state hard drive. With the M3800, I could also power an extra monitor and my Cintiq 21UX. Expanding my workspace to three screens definitely improved my workflow. In After Effects I’m often animating over 100 layers at a time, which takes up a lot of screen real estate. With these extra displays, I was able to dedicate an entire monitor just to my timeline, keeping most of the layers and keyframes in sight as I worked.
The advancements in Dell’s technology really surprised me. This wasn’t the clunky old machine I’d used in college. This machine was able to handle every step of my animation process with ease; from reviewing storyboards, editing, and illustrating to animation and sound design.
If you are an animator looking for a new laptop that can really push a lot of pixels, then I suggest checking out the M3800. It’s a beast of a machine, and I was very happy with its performance. In the meantime, check out this video to get a behind a scenes look at “A Brief History with PG-13”.
Mack Williams is an animation director, illustrator, and motion graphics artist from Blackshear, GA. After serving as animation director and producer on FX’s Archer, he relocated to Brooklyn, NY. Since 2010 he’s been a freelancer animator and director for numerous clients, including NBC, ESPN, Comedy Central, FX, Nickelodeon, Pitchfork, College Humor, UCB, and Above Average.
Mack enjoys barbecue and professional wrestling. He wrote this bio in third person because he thought that would make it seem more professional.