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Calabash Animation Adds CG Production Manager Chris Blake and Lead Animator Eric Meister

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Chicago-based Calabash Animation has added accomplished animation director Chris Blake as the company’s new CG production manager, and lead animator Eric Meister. In addition, the company is ramping up with a significant investment in technology, including several new CG workstations and software licenses.

“Our latest initiative has been to leverage our CG capabilities, and the market is definitely showing a lot of interest,”said Sean Henry, Calabash executive producer. “With that in mind we’ve brought in Chris to manage our growing CG department and Eric to take a lead role in our creative work.”

A veteran animator and Chicago native, Blake is very familiar with Calabash, its creative team and clients, thanks to many years of freelancing at the award-winning studio. Before joining Calabash, he was academic director at the Illinois Institute of Art, Chicago. Prior to that he was the director of animation at the Chicago-based Post Effects. His resume also includes stints at Film Garage, London, as well as running his own company, Blake Animate.

“This industry is ever changing, but to be successful you need to understand the basics of character development because that ultimately is what drives viewers, and that is something Sean and Wayne Brejcha, (Calabash’s creative director) have always stressed,” Blake said. “Business-wise these guys are on the right track, moving into different areas of animation such as high-end CG and web based Flash animation. They’re a very well-rounded creative company and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Since joining Calabash Blake worked extensively on “Everybody Flies,” the recent Lucky Charms ad that rendered the Lucky character in 3D for the first time.

In addition to Blake, Calabash welcomed Eric Meister as its lead animator. Meister is known for his deft touch in both traditional animation styles, as well as CG. Since joining Calabash he has provided art direction for the indie doc On The Shoulders of Giants, which features several minutes of traditional cel animation, and took the lead on a new Trix spot that combines both CG and traditional cel.

“Calabash is a close knit, very talented group,” said Meister. “There’s also a great diversity of work, which I love. Some projects might be CG or traditional or a mixture of both. You never know where you’ll be needed on a specific project. As an animator, working here keeps you on your toes.”

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