MBG Role Model: Anand Duncan, Warner Bros. Animation Designer

By Phill Powell

One of the coolest things about attending Digital Media Academy is getting the chance to interface with actual industry professionals, like Anand Duncan, animation designer for Warner Bros. Animation and producer of her own web cartoon, Gamma Girls.

We are excited to announce Anand as one of our Made By Girls Role Models. We had a great time introducing her to our Adventures in Animation students during a recent visit to our Stanford camps.

Warner Bros animation designer Anand Duncan
MBG Role Model Anand Duncan was a huge hit with the campers in our beginning animation course.

The kids in class could barely contain their excitement. When she introduced herself, saying, “Hey everyone, I’m Anand Duncan. I’m the prop designer for Teen Titans Go!” the room erupted with student comments like “I LOVE that show!” and “You are AWESOME!”

“I have known I wanted to work in animation since seeing Fantasia as a child,” she said. “I studied 3D animation in college and was exposed to tech at the computer graphics conference Siggraph. My first animation job led me to drawing digitally in Flash, and that’s what I have been doing ever since.”

Multifaceted Talent

Duncan works hard on Teen Titans Go – helping churn out 52 11-minute episodes per year for the DC reboot, now in its fourth season on the Cartoon Network. “We like bright colors and kind of wacky and goofy styles,” she said of the show.

But that’s not her only project. Anand is also the driving force behind Gamma Girls, a fun series of short animated episodes of two teenage tech girls who zip around in their spaceship, learning useful aspects of technology.

It’s a true labor of love, and one she tackles in her spare time, which means it usually takes her about six months to complete a 1-minute episode.

Check out this tasty sample of Anand’s super-cool Gamma Girls! (© 2014 Anand Duncan)

The Adventures of Pi and Beta

“A few years ago, I was approached at a convention about pitching my own idea for an animated show. When I sat down and thought about all the possibilities, I wanted to create a show that starred smart and funny girl characters. Girls who were interested in tech (STEAM) and also had fun goofing around,” Anand shares. “Creating the characters and stories was so much fun that when it didn’t make the cut to be a TV show, I decided to produce it myself as a series of animated shorts for the web.”

Part of what makes the Gamma Girls project great for Anand is that she works on the show with a friend she’s had since childhood.

“I’m the voice of Pi. My best friend from grade school, Simone Guiterez, does the voice of Beta. She travels all over the world as a flight attendant, so I’ll send her the script and sometimes she’ll hide in her hotel room closet [where it’s nice and quiet] to record the lines on her phone and send them back,” Anad explained to the class.

Her process is to scribble down funny ideas or doodles. After she and Simone record their audio parts, Anand will import those recordings into her computer and start building storyboards around them. Similar to working on a Wacom tablet, Anand draws on a Wacom Cintiq directly on the monitor before sending the work in to the director.

DMA animation student
Our Adventures in Animation students use a Wacom tablet and stylus to help them make their animated masterpieces!

Anand told our students that they were on the right track. “What’s exciting about today’s technology is you can make your own cartoons!” she said. “In this class, you’re basically making your own show, like I did with Gamma Girls.”

Animated Speaker

Anand Duncan was a great guest speaker for our Adventures in Animation course, and we all came away inspired by her talent, passion and commitment..

“There is no shortcut,” she said of becoming a successful animator. “You have to be passionate and driven about creating, and always working on perfecting your skills and growing as an artist.”

The kids at our Stanford tech camps loved her, and not just for her professional animation experience. Anand is a prime example of a woman making an impact in a tech industry and we’re honored to have her join us as a Made By Girls Role Model.

To keep up with Pi & Beta’s adventures, subscribe to the Gamma Girls channel on YouTube and visit teamgammagirls.com!