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Jonathan Symmonds

Jonathan Symmonds

Freelance Animator / Online Instructor

Originally from Zimbabwe, Jonathan has excelled in 3D Digital animation and has worked for some of the biggest companies and Directors in the World today. He is passionate about animation and spends his free time teaching students.

Employment History

MAINFRAME August 2011-November 2011
Senior Animator
Project: Ultimate Me


  • Photo-realistic LIP-SYNC animation on Mo Cap female Bipeds using Autodesk Maya.
  • Being the only animator on the project and animating realistic facial characters interacting with themselves.
  • The final project would be projected into a hologram format so we used a 3D approach to the animation making sure all camera’s worked relative to the lip-sync shapes.
  • A lot of static animation, subtle yet full of thought and expression was needed with little lip-sync in some stages.

November 2008 – September 2009
Senior Animator- Contract
Projects: Avatar, Prince of Persia, Where the Wild Things Are, Nanny McPhee, Your Highness


All pipeline work was done in Shotgun.

  • Animating realistic top-end animation for Clients and Directors including James Cameron, Spike Jonze David Gordon Green, ITV
  • High end realistic Lip-Sync on motion captured characters for Where the Wild Things Are
  • Intensive and perfect animation for James Cameron on Avatar (Scorpion Planes- Amp-Suits) and making sure the soaped characters worked accordingly per shot through the pipeline. Ensuring animation looked good through two camera’s for the 3D.
  • Working closely with a team of animators to design and act out the action scenes in Your Highness along with Pre-Visualizing the animation and fight scenes in the film for the director prior to shooting. We also edited a lot of the action sequences together for the director.
  • Lip-Sync and subtle animation on the Knerten 2 film in the local dialect of Norweigen.

Project : Primeval 2 & 3

  • Responsible for animating realistic dinosaurs and pre-historic characters for the TV series Primeval.
  • Animating quadrupeds, flying insects, underwater creatures, mammoths, raptors, tigers, scorpions and lizards each with their own unique behaviour and movement weights.
  • Working with Junior animators and interns setting up scenes and introductory walk-through of the projects.
  • Designed the lay-out for the cover of the DVD

GLASSWORKS June 2012 (Two Weeks)
Senior Animator,
Project: BP Commercial


  • Responsible for the animation of engine parts that were constrained to a motion captured BIPED.
  • Animation completed in Softimage XSI and using XSI’s Ice Tree to animate the changing and “growing” engine pieces
  • Working closely with the Director on a one-to-one basis correcting changes relative to client feedback.

November 2009-August 2010
Lead Animator/ Senior Animator- Contract
Project: “Trollhunter” & “Knerten 2”


  • Designing the Rigs for the trolls working closely with Jimmy Johansson (rigger).
  • Testing out the rigs and creating morph shapes for the trolls
  • Leading a Team of 3 other animators, we completed some realistic weight intensive animation under the close supervision of the Director.
  • Working closely with a motion capture actor and the Director to ensure the performance required was worth using motion capture for some shots.
  • Lip-Sync and subtle animation on the Knerten 2 film in the local dialect of Norweigen.


February 2008-August 2008

Animator- Contract
Project: “BBC iPlayer Commercial, Commercials & Film The Nutcracker”


  • Working closely with the director on the film The Nutcracker doing 100% key framed animation in Softimage XSI
  • Lip-Sync animation for the film and collaborating with the other animators to ensure shots continuity.
  • Working on several commercials, animating, modelling and texturing in Sotimage XSI
  • Handling heavy scenes on the BBC iPlayer commercial by developing a string of constraints to help with the animation pipeline flow for other animators.

RJDM ANIMATION June 2011-August 2011
Lead Animator
Project: Disney/Pixar Kinect “Disneyland Adventures”


  • Creating cartoony 100% keyframed animation on relative Disney/Pixar characters including Nemo, Squirt, Peter Pan and other characters relative to Disney.
  • Leading a team of 16+ animators both in-house and remote using 3DS Max.
  • Responsible for the overall performance of the animation to an extremely high end standard.
  • Ensuring the Lip-Sync shots worked and the audio changes were applied upon changes to the relative audio tweaks and corrections.
  • Making sure the animation allowed for squash and stretch and referenced correctly by filming one another acting out the shots needed to maximize realism in weight blended with a cartoony approach to the animation style.
  • Reviewing the animation in Dailies and delivering and supervising changes.

November 2010-May 2011

Lead Animator – Contract/Freelance
Project: Dark Tide


  • Ensuring the animation was realistic with reference to underwater shark movements.
  • Creating Real-Time animation on Set with Director John Stockwell at Pinewood Studios for some of the re-shoots needed to complete the film.
  • Ensuring the animation Pipeline worked sufficiently enough to allow for quick changes to any shot as required by the clients and Director.
  • Designing and laying out the Pre-Vis needed for the shoots on set to help with production flow and to manage the budget monitored by Warner Brothers.
  • Working closely on set with underwater photographer Michael Valentine with different camera Lens tests in 3D (Pre-Vis) to ensure on-set shoots went smoothly.

Online Animation Instructor – PIXL VISN
Remote to Germany

I teach animation to students at PIXL VSN in Germany. I designed my own course structure and personalized lessons. I basically run the online course from here in the UK and my students are remotely connected in Germany. I am in my second year with the students now.