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Animation Dock - the Vintage Animation Desk for Tablets's video poster

Celebrate the Golden Age of Animation with a traditional animation desk designed for non-traditional dreamers and doers. Read more

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This project was successfully funded on March 13, 2014.

Celebrate the Golden Age of Animation with a traditional animation desk designed for non-traditional dreamers and doers.

About this project

LESS THAN 24hrs TO GO. It's not too late to support us or pick up some wonderful rewards. :D

Inspired by the 1930’s Golden Age of Animation, the Animation Dock is an animation desk for artists who love both the past and the future. Based on the classic design of a traditional animation desk, this universal tablet dock takes style cues from the Art Deco and Streamline Moderne art movements of the time.

The Animation Dock is an animation desk designed for your iPad.

 Featured Backer Reward: The MiniDesk

 LATEST UPDATES (New to Old): 

NOTE: I'm doing my best to answer messages & questions as fast as I can. For live updates on what I'm working on at any given moment, follow us on Twitter. Thank you for being patient! :D 

Not only can you use the Animation Dock to rotate your digital canvas while working, but you can also use your tablet as a lightbox for tracing, animating, painting, and more. Each dock can be used with traditional paper animation thanks to the integrated Acme pegbar.

  • Support for 7" and 10" sized tablets (Only the iPad confirmed at the moment) 
  • Built-in industry standard ACME pegbar 
  • 360 degree rotating disc  
  • Lightbox protective cover
  • Two parts: Base & removable Desktop (for upgrading, customizing, couch drawing)
  • Easy to use Lightbox app (iPad only for now)
  • Built in Burbank, CA

Lightbox is a straight-forward, easy to use app that let's you use your iPad as a light source.

  • Adjust your screen brightness
  • Set custom rulers/grids
  • Import an image
  • Adjust size, position, and opacity of your image
  • Use image and grid options together

Where Does the Funding Go?

Bulk ordering our supplies & materials - Wood, acrylic, caffeine
3D Printer - Rapid prototyping (Makerbot Replicator - ~$2100)
Final universal holder prototyping - ~1 month of R&D and testing
Purchasing a CNC Machine - For more sizes & material choices (Shapeoko 2 - $299)
Renting a workspace - The bigger the production run, the more we need a workspace larger than our tiny apartment (~$1000/month if we're lucky.)

Where Does Stretch Goal Funding Go?

- Better CNC tools (Plasma cutter?)
- Better 3D printer (Makerbot z18 w larger build area)
- Additional months of rent at a month-to-month workshop rental
- Larger bulk order of materials for future production runs
- Paying our app developer back for his donated time
- Labor costs for the production run team/volunteers
- Financial freedom to release more of our project as open source for fellow makers
- Safety net to begin our larger road map for upgrades, Cintiq support, full-size 16f disc versions, and more

$11,000 - NEW STAIN COLOR. Backers will now have two color choices for Mini-Desks and Animation Docks.  

$12,000 - FREE KEYCHAINS. Free wood-engraved animation disk keychains will be included with every Animation Dock ordered.  

$13,000 - NEW STAIN COLOR. Backers will now have three color choices for Mini-Desks and Animation Docks.  

$14,000 - NEW STAIN COLOR BY BACKERS. Our backers will be able to vote for a new stain color of their choice, allowing backers to have four color choices for Mini-Desks and Animation Docks.  

$15,000 - FREE LIGHTBOX APP. We'll make our Animation Desk companion iOS app, Lightbox, available for free on the App store. Lightbox is an easy to use app that allows you to use your tablet as a light box to trace photos, load a background image for your paper drawing, use a grid for guidance, and more.

$20,000 - CUSTOM SIGNATURE EDITIONS. Add YOUR own signature on a small plaque to your own Animation Dock. (Only available via Kickstarter!) Backers will be required to send in a clear scan of their signature (drawn with a Sharpie on paper) via e-mail in order for us to be able to engrave it clearly.  

$25,000 - INK N PAINT UPGRADE. A new color set will be available to choose from AND you'll have to option to choose between magnets or wearable charm set options.  

$30,000 - FREE INK N PAINT SET. Free greyscale set will be available with every Animation Dock.  

$40,000 - DESIGN A TWO COLOR DOCK. Backers will be able to vote to create one custom Animation Dock edition that will be available to all as a new Reward tier. Both wood AND Acrylic colors will be customization.  

$45,000 - FREE INK N PAINT COLOR SET. Free color set with every Animation Dock  

$50,000 - NEW GOLDEN MINI-DESK REWARD. Special Limited Edition Golden Painted Mini Desk with built in LED light and special Ink n Paint set. 

$60,000 - FREE STORYBOARD APP. Free copy of our upcoming iOS app for all Animation Dock orders. Bring your stories to life with an app designed to create and share movie and animation storyboards.

Where Are We Now?

This is our current working prototype, built specifically for the iPad Mini for our own testing (note: This version pictured does not have the universal holder).  

We have mockups, designs, and rough physical prototypes for a universal holder to accommodate other tablets, but we're still finalizing the design. This is where we could use Time and Money: 

If funded, we want to use our Kickstarter funds to purchase a 3D printer so we can more rapidly prototype some different ideas and parts for the universal support feature, as well as future add-ons for the dock. Corey has the 3D skills to be able to perfectly utilitize this tech to make our ideas into reality. Once the part is finalized, we can quickly mass produce and implement it into all the models.


Production Plan

The production will be handled here in Burbank, California by ourselves in collaboration with a local laser-cutting workshop.

Currently, we're building all of our test models out of a 500 sq. ft. apartment and driving our neighbors crazy with power tools in our storage space (complete with 100ft extension cable haphazardly strewn about the lawn).

If we're funded, we'll be renting out a small industrial workspace for our tools and assembly process. We'll need to store a lot of lumber, woodstain and painting materials, and power tools in order to get this wacky thing off the ground. Fortunately, we already have a few places lined up and ready to go.

Initially, we'll have a crew of 4 people building the docks. If we receive (squee) overwhelming support, we'll give ourselves high-fives all around, and hire on additional help to complete the orders. Fortunately, we have worked out a process that should allow us to get quite a few of these made quickly and efficiently, so our manpower needs will be relatively low.



» Paintings from My Cat ($1)Exactly what it says. You will get a digital iPad painting by my cat. Don’t worry– She’s right here in Burbank, so it’s not more rampant outsourcing.

» Wood Animation Disc Keychains ($5)
Because there’s nothing like carrying some good hardware in your pocket.

» Ink n’ Paint Jar Magnets/Keychains ($15)
Hand-painted by your favorite Ink ‘n Paint ‘n Cat Lady with honest-to-goodness cel-vinyl animation paint

» Mini Traditional Animation Desks ($25)
 Man-made, cat tested. Add a little light underneath to make the world’s tiniest light box. What is this, a drafting desk for ants?!

» Animation Dock for Early Adopters ($100)
Get a limited edition, fully hand-made and finished Animation Dock of your own!

» Animation Dock ($175) Includes free shipping and keychain. Get a fully hand-made and finished Animation Dock of your own!

» Limited 1st Run Custom Editions ($250)
Choose your own adventure. Pick your wood stain color, trim color and additional details such as custom engraving.

» Stretch Goals?
If we reach stretch goals, we’ll be happy to offer additional colors, deluxe models and finishes, and more special features. More funding means better tools

Why Kickstarter?

We've been working on this by ourselves for months. We love the product. We created it because we want to have one on each of our desks. However, we need to establish that there's a market for this thing.

We're animators and designers. We've done game design, programming, studied Arduino, worked in stereography, and generally just attacked whatever we decide is the next thing we want to do. In short, we're detail-oriented control freaks... in a good way. We want to make something great, the right way, and for the right cost.

Frankly, we don't have a huge savings account, and we don't think we need one because we have plans to keep our overhead low. We don't want to involve investors, simply because we can't afford to lose any percentage of control over this thing to someone who won't understand why we're making this and why we don't want to overcharge everyone for it. We're perfectionists and weirdoes, and we'd like to think we know exactly where these products can go.

That's where Kickstarter comes in. For one thing, you all can help us prove that there's still a market for this kind of thing. There's something beautiful about hand-drawn animation, and we think we're not the only ones who see it and still get excited about it.

Secondly, having the money up front allows us to really push our production into full swing. We're going to need a reasonable amount of money to buy the bulk materials, rent the buliding space, and pay any helping hands we may need along the way.

Lastly, we believe this has the potential to be the beginning of something great. We're not looking for a pile of money to run off into the sunset with. We have plans, designs, and a pile of ideas sitting on hold at the moment, waiting for their time to shine. Some of these are features we'd like to develop and eventually add to the dock's functionality. Some of them are still animation-related but entirely different products altogether. If this thing manages to take off, you'd better believe that money will going straight back into new products for animation lovers everywhere.

Who Are We

We are a couple of animation nerds. We watch documentaries about the multi-plane camera and argue about whether or not something we're watching is rotoscoped. Animation and its history has always played a large role in forming who we are as both humans and artists. We like to take our love for animation and art and share it with our friends, and we always geek out out on things like old animation desks and art supplies. If you're interested in more specific information about us, here's a quick breakdown of our two project leaders.  

Corey & Tammy
Corey & Tammy

Tammy Smith
is a native Floridian who grew up with an above-average dose of the Disney channel and the Walt Disney World theme parks. Thanks to her family, she always had a strong background in science, arts, history, and sassy lady-ness. A winner of Terrible Timing, she made it to college just at the 2D animation programs were shelved. Ever since graduating from UCF as a Digital Media major, she has never stopped advancing her education on her own. She is a self-taught Illustrator, web designer, animator, model builder, & cat-enthusiast, and has more Twitter followers than her husband can understand.  

  • Technical background with 14+ years experience in IT including web, app, game design, & UI/UX
  • Artist & Producer - Experience running & supporting creative events, conventions, & more
  • Hobby Collector - Never afraid to teach herself a new skill to achieve a goal
Corey Smith is a country boy from Southern Illinois. He went to school for digital animation and spends most of his time working in the VFX industry. He lends some construction experience and power tool knowhow to the mix, having worked on two Habitat for Humanity projects, as well as building his parents' home in Southern Illinois. Whenever Tammy dreams up an idea, he provides a functioning 3D model of it. He also likes coffee, waffles, and pie.
  • VFX stereo-conversion vet with credits like The Avengers & Star Trek Into Darkness
  • 3D generalist - Modeling, Texturing, Animating, & more
  • Voice actor & general film production guy

Risks and challenges

While we are veteran artists, we don't claim to be product designers. One thing we've been lacking is solid input from experienced veterans regarding product design, manufacturing, package design, and shipping/storage methods.

None of that is going to stop us, of course. We've spent buckets and buckets of time doing research in any fields that we're lacking in. We feel like we've settled on an excellent design that's easy to reproduce, even if we have to build them in our garage.

It is conceivable (and likely) that we'll run into some sort of trouble along the way in one of these areas. However, six months ago, we'd never used a laser cutter before. Today, we have a slew of product templates designed for laser printing, and a pile of beautiful laser-cut desktops. This is the natural order of things for us, and we tend to find a way.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter


  • We want to get our hands on a Surface Pro before vouching that it's compatible. I really REALLY want to find a way to support the Surface, and it's definitely the second device in line for compatibility testing. I'm concerned about the weight and heat, and want to make sure it sits secure before recommending it. As soon as we get one, we'll have a better idea of how compatible it'll be.

    At worst, I think we'll be able to make a custom adapter/model for the Surface in the future after tha campaign, but I don't want to raise any hopes until we have one to try.

    Last updated:
  • The tabletop of the dock is about ~15 1/2" x 12ish" according to my small ruler. I'll hunt down a measuring tape and get you more accurate dimensions. The mini-desk is about 3"x4"

    Last updated:
  • At the moment, we're sticking to 10" as the max because the current prototype desktop size works for both 7" and 10". I'd LOVE to create a larger version for the Cintiq Companion in the future, but I'll need to get one first for testing. I'm worried about the additional weight and heat of the Cintiq tablets, since they're essentially fantastic desktop replacements.

    Last updated:
  • Yes! I don't want to take any chances scratching the screen, so it comes with an overlay that fits onto the Acme pegboard.

    This is it in the photo:

    Last updated:
  • Yes! 10f would be the best fit for an iPad Mini, though 12f might be usable if you don't mind it being a bit big on the desk.

    Last updated:
  • Your tablet will serve as the light, especially with our super easy to use app, Lightbox. There is no built in light source, yet. (Stretch Goal?)

    Last updated:
  • The Wacom Intuos Creative is my favorite to use, but the FiftyThree Pencil looks really cool and makes me feel fancy.

    Last updated:


  • You selected
    Pledge $1 or more

    19 backers

    SUPPORTER: Pledge at this level and we'll keep you in the loop with all the public and Backer's Only private updates to the Animation Dock.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    5 backers

    MOTIVATOR: Pledge at this level and you'll be listed & thanked as a backer on our website and receive a digital copy of a painting from my cat... because anyone can cook. /// (INCLUDES: public and private updates to AnimationDock)

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    7 backers

    KEYMASTER: Pledge at this level and you'll get your very own laser-cut wood animation disc keychain.
    /// (INCLUDES: public and private updates to Animation Dock, thanked as a backer on our site, & digital painting from my cat)

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $15 or more

    15 backers Limited (85 left of 100)

    PAINTKEEPER: At this level, you'll get a special set of custom laser-cut acrylic paint jars magnets that are hand-painted by us with real genuine cel-vinyl animation paint.

    /// (INCLUDES: public and private updates to Animation Dock, thanked as a backer on our site, & digital painting from my cat, & keychain)

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    31 backers Limited (69 left of 100)

    MINI-DESK: Get your very own decorative tiny animation desk! Hand-made and ready to keep you company on those long lonely nights during crunch time.

    /// (INCLUDES: public and private updates to Animation Dock, thanked as a backer on our site, & digital painting from my cat)

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    50 backers All gone!

    EARLIEST ADOPTER: For being the first to support us, we want to give you something special. This is a very low priced first run of docks and each one is limited numbered. /// (INCLUDES: public and private updates to Animation Dock, thanked as a backer on our site, & digital painting from my cat)

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    49 backers Limited (1 left of 50)

    2ND EARLIEST ADOPTER: We were floored by the incredible response. As a thank you for getting us half-funded in less than 9hrs, we are offering a second low-price run of docks for those who may have not had internet access during the day. These are NOT limited numbered, so the original 50 is still the most special. :) /// (INCLUDES: public and private updates to Animation Dock, thanked as a backer on our site, & digital painting from my cat)

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $175 or more

    9 backers Limited (91 left of 100)

    ANIMATOR: Get a standard Animation Dock for your animating/drawing pleasure! /// (INCLUDES: public and private updates to Animation Dock, thanked as a backer on our site, & digital painting from my cat)

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    0 backers Limited (25 left of 25)

    SUPERVISING ANIMATOR (DELUXE): Do you want a little extra pizzaz in your Animation Dock? Then the Deluxe option is for you! You get to choose your stain colors and trim options for a more personalized look. /// (INCLUDES: public and private updates to Animation Dock, thanked as a backer on our site, & digital painting from my cat)

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $400 or more

    2 backers Limited (8 left of 10)

    PRODUCER: Choose from a small variety of stain colors and trim options, AND we will work with you to engrave custom artwork on any part of the desk you'd like! Also includes signatures and a behind the scenes video of the making of your desk! /// (INCLUDES: public and private updates to Animation Dock, thanked as a backer on our site, & digital painting from my cat)

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

- (30 days)