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A picture of Nicole Stafford

Nicole Stafford

Freelance 2D animator (Souviens Ten-Zan), designer

in animator, designer, mac

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Nicole Stafford and I am a full-time freelance 2D animator and designer based in Los Angeles. I usually work for commercial studios in LA and also work on indie music videos and short films. I am part of a 12 brain collective called Souviens Ten-Zan which indirectly translates to "Remember It" in French. They are some cool buddies that I met at Gobelins l'├ęcole de l'image, the school I studied at after California Institute of the Arts. We are currently represented by the great folks at Passion Pictures Paris. We do commercial work as well as develop and produce our own films and projects.

What hardware do you use?

I got all my technology off of Craigslist from nice LA tech wizards who souped up the stuff I own. I was previously working solely on a 2008 MacBook Pro with 8GB of ram with a Wacom Intuos3 tablet but I recently moved back from Denmark and properly set up my home office. Since then I upgraded to a Mac Pro tower from 2008 with four 1.5TB drives, a 256 Corsair M4 SSD boot drive, 14GB of RAM, and two 2.8 GHz Quad Core Intel Xeon Processors, ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics card, and a 23 inch Apple Cinema Display monitor and a Cintiq 21UX. All hail Craigslist and the Craigslist wizards who blessed me with their technology.

I still use the MacBook and the tablet when I'm traveling, but the upgrade for home was definitely worth it when running fat animation programs, rendering stuff, and watching Netflix day and night. I also use one of those hot little half gloves to keep my sweaty hands at bay and an ergo grip for my Cintiq pen. They are excellent additions to any tablet setup and I recommend them.

And what software?

I mainly use TVPaint Animation software in conjunction with Photoshop for design and After Effects for compositing. I'm running off of CS.6 for my Adobe suite and TVPaint 10. I sometimes use Flash/Animate but only when the client or the studio prefers it. In my opinion, if you don't need rasterized output and are staying bit pixel anyways, TVPaint is the bees knees.

When doing group remote projects I have used HipChat, Slack, and now we are into Discord, which is a cool communication platform aimed at gamers, and it's free.

What would be your dream setup?

I pretty much have an ideal setup to be honest :) I could upgrade to a 24HD Cintiq but my 21UX has been cutting it so far. Maybe moving out of LA would be my dream setup actually. Hide in the forest with my technologies and maybe abandon the digital life altogether - haha, who knows.