Aaron Hartline was born in Hammond, Indiana – a small steel mill town outside of Chicago. From early on, he loved movies and drawing. While at Columbia College, Aaron realized he could use animation to combine the two things he loved most as a child. During his first semester, life threw him an amazing curve ball; his girlfriend was pregnant. Upon hearing the news, he stepped it into high gear to make his dream a reality and took as many animation classes as he could for those nine months.
Aaron’s first gig as an animator was at Game Refuge where he animated pixel people in D-Paint getting eaten by Godzilla-sized monsters destroying cities in the video game Rampage: World Tour. One day Aaron and his coworkers went to see Toy Story during a lunch break. He was blown away and knew that was what he wanted to do: get a job at Pixar.
Aaron went to night school while working his day job so he could learn SoftImage, high-end animation software. At the end of the semester, his teacher offered Aaron a job at his company, Big Idea, as a Modeler / Concept Artist for VeggieTales and 3,2,1 Penguins! Every night after working 9 to 5 at Big Idea, Aaron would spend 5 pm to 2 am creating his own short films to submit to Siggraph. After three years of trying to get the attention of a major studio, he finally got noticed by Blue Sky Studios, who hired him as a character rigger for Ice Age.
After hours, Aaron animated his facial rigs to show in the animation dailies. The director took notice and after a year of rigging, Aaron got an entry-level animation position. He worked on the Ice Age films, Robots, and Horton Hears a Who.
During the production of Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Aaron got the call he had been dreaming of for 14 years; an interview at Pixar. Years of perseverance paid off and so far, he has worked as an animator on Up, Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Brave and the upcoming The Good Dinosaur – bringing his dream right back where it started with Buzz and Woody.
- Larry-Boy and the Rumor Weed (1999) (art director, animator)
- Ice Age (2002) (animator)
- Gone Nutty (2002) (animator)
- Robots (2005) (animator)
- Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006) (lead animator)
- No Time for Nuts (2006) (assistant production manager)
- Horton Hears a Who! (2008) (supervising animator)
- Ice Age 3: Dawn of Dinosaurs (2009) (additional animator)
- Up (2009) (animator)
- Toy Story 3 (2010) (animator)
- Cars 2 (2011) (animator)
- Brave (2012) (additional animator)
- The Good Dinosaur (2014) (animator)
- Aaron was the animation character lead on Scrat in the Ice Age films as well as Vlad the Vulture in Horton Hears a Who!
- He has a subconscious routine he does before he animates: He rubs his hands together really fast like he’s warming them up.
- Aaron started a blog, The Daily Post-It, as an excuse to draw every day since animation and family take up most of him time.
- You can also check out his other blog here.