Philip A Cruden

Position: Creative Director and Founder
Location: Glendale, AZ

Phil has a passion for film making and has been privileged to spend the past 24 years indulging that passion making animated feature films, TV shows and games.  He also has a passion for all things NASA!

Phil's 24 years of experience in the animation industry, as an Art Director and Production Designer on 2D and CG projects, on TV series, feature films and games has given him a very broad range of experience.  It has required him to work with the Modeling, Texture/Surfaces, Lighting & Compositing, Special Effects and Layout departments, gaining an understanding of how the design decisions made in the film's conceptual phase affect each department throughout the pipeline.  This experience has given Phil the in-depth knowledge of the making of animated projects that allows him to make creative design choices that work for the project's budget and schedule, while still maintaining the style and quality demanded by the director and producers.  It has long been Phil's assertion that with effective planning, a great story, intelligent design, a strong marketing plan and a team that knows how to get from A to B, animated projects can be made on a reasonable budget that is much more likely to ensure their financial success.  "Not everyone has a $150 million plus budget to make their feature film but with smart planning and intelligent design a small budget can be made to look like a lot more!"

Recent advances in internet connectivity and communication have enabled the creation of the fully remote studio and under Phil's experienced guidance the team at Go For Launch has pioneered and perfected the art of working remotely with clients, partner studios and freelance artists around the world. Creating beautiful and captivating designs is only one part of an Art Director's job on an animated project.  Ensuring that those designs are translated into the final product is the other, and when that work is happening in an overseas production studio, effective communication is paramount.  Phil and his team have designed a system of artistic and technical drawings that ensures that the production studio has all of the information it's artists need to model and design the project assets correctly, the first time.  This system keeps projects on time and on budget and has proven again and again that effective communication is the cornerstone of working effectively with remote studios.

When he's not working, Phil pursues his other passions; painting, photography, astrophotography, astronomy and all things NASA!  As a young boy Phil avidly watched the first moon landing in 1969 and has followed space exploration ever since.  In fact, his enthusiasm for NASA and the space program fueled the creation of a series of paintings that commemorate the space program and several of it's missions.   In 2010 Phil purchased a telescope that he could use to photograph the heavens and from there his passion for astrophotography was born.  In recent years Phil has combined elements from his paintings with his photography to create a series of images that are both familiar and hauntingly other-worldly.   To see some of this work check out Phil's personal site Billion Planets Quest

Most recently Phil has developed an interest in app games and their potential for providing entertaining fun while being a source of knowledge and inspiration. Given his passion for all things space, it's little wonder that the first game created by his company, Go For Launch Games, takes place in outer space!  Creating Spaceman Skip and The Nebublobs allowed Phil to combine his passion for space with his knowledge of film and visual direction.  This game is a fast paced, side scrolling, action, adventure game that unites a boy genius, epic Boss battles, a wormhole generator, Rogue Asteroids, Space Junk, lasers and Bonus Questions about our Solar System into a fun and funny game that combines the visual appeal of an animated film with the zany antics of a classic Warner Brothers cartoon!  Learn more about the game on our Games Page.


annie awardPhil earned an Annie Award nominationi in 2000 for "Outstanding Individual Achievement For Production Design In An Animated Feature Film" for his work on Titan A.E. while working for 20th Century Fox Animation.  Phil's company, Go For Launch Productions, earned a 2008-2009 Daytime Entertainment Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Animated Program for their work on the TV Series Back At The Barnyard.







Phil earned a degree in Classical Animation from Algonquin College in Ottawa Canada.  In his 2nd year at school he was privileged to spend a week with animation icon Kendall O'Connor (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinnocio), who inspired Phil to focus the remaining year of his education on Layout and Production Design.  After graduating Phil worked as a Layout Artist on numerous TV shows such as The Simpsons, Beavis and Butthead, The Pink Panther and The Critic, to name a few and then signed on for a 5 month gig as a Layout Supervisor on Urmel Of The Ice, for Hann Film in Germany.  Following the resignation of the show's director Phil was promoted to the position and Directed 26 episodes of this iconic European TV classic.   At the same time Phil was the Layout Supervisor of Benjamin Blumchen, also at Hann Film.  

While still in Germany Phil learned that famed producers/directors Don Bluth and Gary Goldman were opening a studio in Phoenix, AZ, under 20th Century Fox and he immediately applied.  Phil began working with Don and Gary in 1995 on Fox's first feature film, Anastasia, as a Layout Designer but was quickly promoted to Layout Supervisor and by the end of the film had assumed the roll of the Production Designer.  Phil then worked as the Production Designer on 20th Century Fox's second film Titan A. E.  While at Fox Phil also worked creating concept art for Ice Age.  

After leaving Fox in 2000 Phil took on the roll of Art Director on Adam Sandler's Eight Crazy Nights .  In late 2000 Phil met famed writer, producer, director and actor Steve Oedekerk (Barnyard, Back At The Barnyard, Planet Sheen, Bruce Almighty, Evan Almighty, Jimmy Neutron, Patch Adams, the Thumb Series and many more) and formed a lasting friendship.  When Steve opened his first studio, Omation in San Clemente, CA, he hired Phil to take on the rolls of Production Designer and Art Director on his first feature film Barnyard: The Original Party Animals.  Phil was the first employee in this brand new studio and played a large roll in planning and equipping the various artistic departments.  After spending almost 5 years commuting between Arizona and California Phil, with his wife Lorraine, decided to open their own design studio in Glendale, AZ.

Feature Films

- The Hero Of Color City - Production Designer, Art Director, Art Department
- Bunyan and Babe - Production Designer, Art Department
- Ratchet & Clank - Character Design and Breakdown, Set Design
- HOP: The Movie - Set and Prop Design
- Barnyard: The Original Party Animals - Production Designer
- Adam Sandler's Eight Crazy Nights - Art Director
- Ice Age - Concept Artist
- Titan A. E. - Production Designer
- Anastasia  - Production Designer

Direct To Video

- Lenny and Sid - Art Director
- Bartok The Magnificent - Visual Development

TV Series

- Dragons: Riders of Berk - Character Design and Breakdown
- Planet Sheen - Production Designer, Art Director, Art Department
- Back At The Barnyard - Production Design
- The LeBrons - Set and Prop Design
- Urmel of the Ice - Director
- Benjamin Blumshin - Layout Supervisor
- Bynnykins - Layout and Set Design
- Monster Force - Layout Supervisor
- Problem Child - Layout Supervisor
- Teddy Ruxpin - Layout
- Beavis and Butthead - Layout and Set Design
- The Critic - Layout and Set Design
- The Simpsons - Layout and Set Design
- Tales From The Cryptkeeper - Layout Artist
- The Pink Panther - Layout Artist
- For Better Or For Worse - A Christmas Angel - EFX


- Spaceman Skip and The Nebublobs - Creator, Artistic Lead
- Thor - Set Design and Promotional Video Production
- Kingdom Hearts - Set and Character Design and Promotional Video Production
- Disney's Epic History - Set and Character Design and Promotional Video Production
- Stargate Worlds - Set Design