Irvine, Calif. -- Veteran animation creatives and longtime collaborators Mike Dietz and Ed Schofield have partnered to form a new animation production company, Pencil Test Studios.
The company’s founders bring a combined experience of more than 30 years producing quality animation for film, television, interactive entertainment, and commercials. They have previously partnered with a variety of high-profile clients, such as Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks, and Nickelodeon. Dietz and Schofield have collaborated on numerous successful video game franchises, including the cult classics Earthworm Jim and The Neverhood.
Early in his career, Dietz pioneered animation processes which allowed hand-drawn animation to be incorporated into games. While using these techniques in conjunction with his passion for animation, Dietz set the benchmark for animation quality on such games as Disney’s Aladdin and Earthworm Jim. Additionally, Dietz served as director for several episodes of the award-winning animated sitcom “The PJs,” and co-directed the short “Squirly Town” for Nickelodeon’s Random Cartoon Show. Recently, Mike won an Annie award for his efforts as animation director on Pixar’s Ratatouille video game.
Schofield has directing and producing credits on a wide variety of projects and has held the position of studio animation director for both Foundation 9 and THQ’s Heavy Iron Studios. Ed was the winner of the WAC award for “best animation produced for games” for The Neverhood, and in 2009 was nominated for an Annie Award in the category of “best animated videogame” for Pixar’s WALL-E.
Pencil Test Studios, based in Irvine, Calif., has completed two TV commercials for Disney’s theme park division, Disney Destinations, and is now gearing up to produce cinematics for a soon-to-be-announced Nintendo Wii title. The studio is also developing an original IP to be released as a short film and a line of games for Apple’s iPhone and other mobile devices later this year.
“Our expertise in creating CG, hand-drawn, and stop-motion animation for a wide variety of media including film, television, and interactive makes Pencil Test Studios a perfect partner for clients wanting to tell stories and reach viewers across multiple platforms,” says Schofield. Dietz adds, “We heart animation and it shows in our work.”