Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The art of animation

In reaction to this post:

Well I don't feel like starting an argument right on his blog and take the next few days of my precious time on a pen war of any kind.

Let's just put it this way... this comes down to the argument of what is better animation by personal standards.

I disagree with his post about the lack of squash and stretch, HECK are you paying attention to the form changes in anime? They don't stretch their figures like Disney/Warner Bros and do all the exaggerated bounce doesn't mean they don't use it.
Using such exaggeration has a neck for comedy which is what Disney aimed for, it doesn't fit the series/drama anime usually tells. (Beauty doesn't bounce that much either compare to Donald Duck, she flows, twirl, use her head and her joints to show squash and stretch effect.)

Similarly, Japanese are using secondary action in the character's hair, clothing, and their exaggerated posture on push and pull to introduce the overall form of squash and stretch and the affects of weight. You can't look at different solutions the same way.
(Though I love how elastic American animation gets with their face. That's just awesome.)

The biggest argument would be timing issues... timing affects how many drawings you need in a second.
Let me argue about timing here...

Timing wise, there's two ways to appreciate timing:
1. Appreciate the timing of the acting in the consistent frame rate drawing (like Disney)
2. Appreciate the use of timing with limited animation, achieve more with less.

Animators in the US has this bias "more is better" and always want a lot of drawings for the feature film, like the Disney films. Because of the nice environment Hollywood has given them for the rich budgets and the what nots. (they sometimes try to achieve that with TV shows budget... not a great idea)

Japanese has the "less is more" bias instead.

Now after all these years of developments... I think USA still dominated the Feature film animations world wide, while Japanese dominated in TV series animation world wide. (judging by result of influence.)

Let's talk about TV series animation for now...
I argue that Japanese animation mastered the art of limited animation. That's why they flourished.

I don't want to talk about Miyazaki right now, why not look at K-on's animation? They won best animated series award in Japan after all.
How about Cowboy bepop?
What about Tokyo Godfather? Akira?
What about FateStay Knight the movie? It's 60 frames per second in their animation. Crazy smooth.

Why is it everytime we are comparing animation its always Miyazaki vs Disney?
Is it even fair to compare? The budget and size of both are so drastically different. Miyazaki works with a class size of animators while Disney work with an army size!

I personally admire Japanese animators as the gods of timing in animation. 

Because of their limited budget, their limited environment, they come up with the most creative ways to satisfy their personal achievement and perfection. They can achieve making you believe animation is smooth with their timing until you pause their animation and look at it frame by frame and realized how many freaken short cuts they have taken. I find that the most amusing, and amazing.
They haven't stopped fooling me.

I have seen great American animators using timing like this in the earlier days, but Japanese pushed it to the extreme due to constantly solving budget issues against their perfectionism. 

(manga is exaggrated you can tell... but its believable he would do something like this during that era. lol)
Itano is one of my heroes!

For example, and eye blink animation, what the animation book taught me needed 4-5 drawings for a good blink, a good Japanese anime fooled me into thinking there's 4-5 drawings when there's only 3.

Why draw 5 drawings when you can do away with 3?

They are superb with timing, and in my opinion, it takes MUCH MORE skill in getting that kind of timing down and achieve it looking good than always drawing 12 frames per second.

And because of that limited use of animation, they can develop illustrative quality to go with it.
And don't call using 3D cheating.
I mean WTH is with this trend of thinking that 3D is cheating?
3D opens up a new door to 2D animation freeing up the camera and allow us to control the budget more efficiently, allowing the film to be more dynamic.
And that's CHEATING?
It's mixed medium at best. Dear, mixed medium in film.

If someone prefers the painted look, go look at Old man and the sea or something...
someone still does it, go into indy films and search, ok?

Don't go calling 3D cheating!

it takes just as much time to prepare 3D as 2D until you stock up 3D stocks file.
2D has its own way of cheating without the 3D as well.

In my opinion, Feature film american animators has too good of a life with the rich budgets, they have a tendency to over animate and over spend and not know how to save time with short cuts and what could have worked easier.

Acting wise I have liked both sides they have different takes on what is important, timing wise, it depends on what budget, what time frame, and what result and fan following they have generated.

Overall rating between USA and Japan, I think Japan won the best timing and the most resourceful on production management for me.

I end my case. 

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