Aaron Hartline was born in Hammond, Indiana – a small steel mill town outside of Chicago. From early on, he loved movies and drawing. While at Columbia College of Chicago, Aaron realized he could use animation to combine the two things he loved most as a child. During his first semester, life threw him an amazing curve ball; his girlfriend was pregnant. Upon hearing the news, he stepped it into high gear to make his dream a reality and took as many animation classes as he could for those nine months.
Aaron’s first gig as an animator was at Game Refuge where he animated pixel people getting eaten by Godzilla-sized monsters destroying cities in the video game Rampage: World Tour. One day Aaron and his coworkers went to see Toy Story during a lunch break. Blown away, he knew what he wanted to do: get a job at Pixar.
Aaron went to night school while working his day job so he could learn SoftImage, high-end animation software. At the end of the semester, his teacher offered Aaron a job at his company, Big Idea, as a Modeler / Concept Artist for VeggieTales and 3,2,1 Penguins! Every night after working 9 to 5 at Big Idea, Aaron would spend 5 pm to 2 am creating his own short films to submit to Siggraph. After three years of trying to get the attention of a major studio, he finally got noticed by Blue Sky Studios, who hired him as a character rigger for Ice Age.
After hours, Aaron animated his facial rigs to show in the animation dailies. The director took notice and after a year of rigging, Aaron got an entry-level animation position. He worked on Robots, Horton Hears a Who and the IceAge films where he was character lead on Scrat. Aaron worked his way from rigger to animation supervisor.
During the production of Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Aaron got the call he had been dreaming of for 13 years; an interview at Pixar. Years of perseverance paid off and so far, he has worked on Up and Toy Story 3 – bringing his dream right back where it started with Buzz and Woody. Presently Aaron, is working on Cars 2 which makes his 4 year old son very happy.
Aaron Hartline is one of the instructors at The Animation Collaborative.
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