September 10th, 2014

AniRef is a new app to help animators record, analyze and track movement arcs in reference footage from Mill 3D artist Paolo Cogliati. It’s the first app by the artist, inspired by a school project and created as a tool that helps animators easily capture and store references, and incorporate into projects.

Like many of the world’s great ideas, it all began with a problem. The creation of the app was sparked by Paolo’s frustration while animating a scene in “Serial Taxi”, a short film for his graduate thesis at Ringling College of Art and Design.

The scene involved a large and burly taxi driver named Boris dancing while driving. Paolo would generally film himself for references, but was having trouble recreating the type of movement he wanted from the character. The idea for AniRef came to him as he was drawing dots to track the dancing movement on his monitor and realized that there had to be a better way.

Serial Taxi Aniref 1

AniRef is a tool for animators to: record and analyze footage frame by frame at multiple frame rates, track movement arcs, spacing and timing by positioning trackers, view the tracking in four different display modes, and even bookmark key poses to implement in your CG/2D workflow.

Reference footage can be saved separately from personal videos with the library function and is easily be emailed with embedded trackers to import into your 2D/3D software for ease of workflow.

The one-month old app has already received positive reviews (with a 4+ rating on iTunes) and support from the creative community including CartoonBrew, various studios and schools, and of course, his fellow Mill artists.

Anirefscreens 2

Since launching the app, Paolo has taken to randomly recording and saving videos while roaming around NYC. One of these videos even helped bring attention to the app. It features a child walking into frame while spontaneously mimicking the iconic “Pinocchio walk”, one of the first things you learn in animation school.

Aniref Splash Screen 3

The suggestions and feature requests have been pouring in from other artists. Paolo is currently working on an Android version of the app and is planning to build a shared library in the next update.

Find out more about the app at and check out the “killer” animated short film “Serial Taxi”.

AniRef : Spontaneous Reference #1 from Paolo Cogliati on Vimeo.