August 29th, 2016

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Learning To Animate: Simplicity vs Complexity

simplicity vs complexity

We had a question from a Facebook follower today… It was in reference to the motion studies Nicholas John Pozega has been posting every day… “What kind of relevance do the the motion and principles of cartoons like Popeye and Mickey Mouse hold to contemporary cartoons or cartoons with more realistic designs with anatomy and different styles of motion?”

That is an excellent question, and it goes to the heart of how we as human beings learn.

When you start out to master any difficult skill, you should learn it in a progression from simple to more complex. If you try to juggle too many complexities when you are just starting out, you end up making a high splat on the wall and you end up learning nothing.

The great jazz pianist Bill Evans discusses this idea in relation to musical improvisation in this video. Please watch this video before reading further. Don’t just skip by this video. It’s very important to what I am trying to explain here, and it gives an astoundingly clear demonstration of this particular principle in practice…


Bill Evans: The Creative Process and Self Teaching
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MSCReTIeH8

When you begin to play a musical instrument, you start with scales. You don’t start out playing Bach or Liszt. Animation is no different. Drawing volumetrically and solidly is difficult. Drawing a complex realistic human form volumetrically and solidly is extremely difficult. Animating a realistic human form volumetrically and solidly is completely impossible for someone just beginning to develop their animation skills.

The animators who created Snow White and Pinocchio all started animating in the rubber hose style. Using simple forms allowed them to focus on learning how to convey the spirit of a walk cycle or express personality through rhythms, gestures and expressions. The simplicity of the model allowed them to refine and perfect their basic principles… line of action, clear silhouettes, control of volumes in space, appealing proportions… without having to add the compounding difficulty of complex planes, anatomy, musculature and turning highly organic shapes in three dimensions.

When you have learned the principles one by one through experimentation and practice using simple forms, you can begin to add complexity a little at a time, and over a period of years, perhaps you will have the experience and understanding to attempt to animate a realistic human form. Milt Kahl and Mark Davis weren’t born with the experience and draftsmanship to be able to animate realistic human characters the way they animated them in Sleeping Beauty… They worked their way up to it by animating characters with more basic shapes and built their chops. They animated rubber hose characters. And the rubber hose animation in the early 30s Mickey Mouse and Popeye cartoons is drop dead brilliant. If you can’t see the genius in the Popeye walk cycles Nicholas has been posting, go back and look at them again and analyze them for the principles of motion, posing and staging they embody. I bet you’ll find that you were looking at the surface level- the model of the character- and not even considering the way it’s posed and animated.

Students are always impatient and they want everything now. That’s only natural But if you allow your impatience to prevent you from learning in a logical, orderly progression, your impatience can cripple you. Keep your eye on the ultimate goal, but keep putting just one foot in front of the other until you get there.

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Posted by Stephen Worth @ 6:37 pm

August 29th, 2016

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Illustration: Harper Goff in Coronet Magazine

Harper Goff in Coronet Magazine

Illustration by Harper Goff

Harper Goff in Coronet MagazineHarper Goff in Coronet MagazineHere’s another batch of illustration from late 40s Coronet magazines. This group of images isn’t interesting so much for their style as much as their authenticity. With a clarity of staging reminiscent of production designs for classic motion pictures, these paintings vividly show the value of careful research into period costume, props and decor. The first batch is a history of medicine by Leslie Saalburg. The last is a review of classic children’s literature by Douglass Crockwell. But the most interesting is the middle feature, Carl Sandberg’s "Blood on the Moon" illustrated by Disney imagineer, Harper Goff.

Harper Goff was born in 1911, and studied art at Chouinard Art Institute. He was an accomplished illustrator, working for Colliers, Esquire and Coronet. Goff was employed as a set designer for Warner Bros on classic films like Sergeant York, Casablanca and Captain Blood. He met Walt Disney in a model train store in London, and was invited on the spot to join the Disney staff.

Harper Goff Nautilus

Goff’s first assignment was to storyboard a True Life Adventure story dealing with undersea life, but expanded the idea into a feature film adaptation of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. Goff’s designs for the submarine and its plush interiors were the most striking part of the film, resulting in an Oscar for Art Direction and Special Effects. Goff played banjo in the Disney studio Dixieland jazz band, "The Firehouse Five" and was the designer of the World Showcase at Epcot. He passed away in 1993.

MEDICINE ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO
by Leslie Saalburg

Harper Goff in Coronet Magazine
Harper Goff in Coronet Magazine
Harper Goff in Coronet Magazine
Harper Goff in Coronet Magazine
Harper Goff in Coronet Magazine
Harper Goff in Coronet Magazine
Harper Goff in Coronet Magazine

SANDBURG’S BLOOD ON THE MOON
By Harper Goff

Harper Goff in Coronet Magazine
Harper Goff in Coronet Magazine
Harper Goff in Coronet Magazine
Harper Goff in Coronet Magazine
Harper Goff in Coronet Magazine
Harper Goff in Coronet Magazine
Harper Goff in Coronet Magazine
Harper Goff in Coronet Magazine

A TREASURY OF LITERARY CLASSICS
by Douglass Crockwell

Harper Goff in Coronet Magazine
Harper Goff in Coronet Magazine
Harper Goff in Coronet Magazine
Harper Goff in Coronet Magazine
Harper Goff in Coronet Magazine
Harper Goff in Coronet Magazine
Harper Goff in Coronet Magazine

Thanks to Rich Borowy for donating these great vintage magazines to Animation Resources.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

IllustrationIllustration

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit spotlighting Illustration.

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Posted by admin @ 12:54 pm

August 29th, 2016

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PODCAST: Sunday Screening Now Available On The Members Only Page

Cubby Bear

Every Sunday evening the Animation Resources Digital Archive Project hosts a screening on Facebook. This week’s podcast showcases a newly restored collection of Van Beuren cartoons produced by Advisory Board member Steve Stanchfield. Our podcasts are hosted on Facebook for 24 hours, then are archived on the Members Only page. Tune in to our Facebook page on Sunday evenings to see our screenings and JOIN Animation Resources to access the archive of past podcasts.

SUNDAY SCREENING 002: Cubby Bear
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“Opening Night” “Love’s Labor Won” “The Last Mail”
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“Bubbles & Troubles” (1933)

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Aired 08/28/16 / MP4 Video File / 34:13 / 875 MB Download


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Posted by Stephen Worth @ 11:00 am