Archive for the ‘theory’ Category

Monday, October 26th, 2020

Theory: Guts Vs Polish

Polish

I was talking about something with a friend this morning that I thought I might mention here…

There are two ways to approach a scene. The most direct way is to go straight for the guts of the idea- to think in the most direct and vital way possible to put the emotion and action of the scene across. The audience sees it, recognizes it and instinctually identifies with it. The ultimate proponents of this kind of animation are Rod Scribner and Irv Spence. (If you don’t know who they are, look them up!) Everything is super clear and grabs you by the collar so you can’t look away. It’s a straight line from the animator’s intent to the audience’s experience of it… like an idea wrapped in a laser beam.

The other way to approach a scene is to “finesse” it. You start with a solid basic framework of blocking and you start adding little details. Small hand gestures, secondary action like a hat sliding down over one eye as the character talks, overlapping action on clothing and hair like dingle balls swinging back and forth against the main accent. You stack up layer after layer. As the scene progresses, it becomes more fluid and smoother… glossy. The action seems more “real” because so much is going on at once and it is all so controlled and smooth and beautiful. Disney was the best at doing this sort of approach. Each scene Marc Davis and Frank Thomas animated was carefully wrapped up and tied with ribbons like a birthday present by a team of specialized craftsmen.

If you’re an independent animator, then working in “finesse mode” is a recipe for failure. The way Disney was able to pull that off required very low weekly footage counts for the animators and lots and lots of assistants tracking and following through on the layers and layers of overlap… incredibly time consuming and labor intensive. An individual animator making films by himself would never be able to compete with that. Getting directly to the guts is something that requires a great deal of experience and skill and judgement, but if you are really good, you can spit it out like a lightning bolt with no one helping you. The Disney animators were certainly able to do that if they wanted to, but the every department in the studio, from animation to ink & paint, was geared towards conforming each scene to the “Disney way of doing things”. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It produced a lot of very high quality animation. But for today’s animators building pyramids stone by stone isn’t a very good model to follow.

A lot of people look at animation and judge quality by how smooth it turns, or how polished the overlaps are. But audiences don’t care how much time it took you to animate a scene. They are looking at the performance of the character. They want to see something they recognize in the personality- something real. It’s easy in the frame by frame trenches to focus on details, but if you want to connect in the most efficient way, you should always be looking at your animation from a wider view… and trying to get the guts of the idea you are putting across. Anything else is just gilding the lilly.

If you become a *really* good direct animator, you will be so successful with audiences that you can afford to hire assistants to polish up your stuff for you. There’s no reason to focus on that while you are still growing and learning. Go for the guts.

Stephen Worth
Animation Resources


Fall is time to save when you join Animation Resources as a student member! For the month of October our Student Membership will be discounted to only $50/year! Best of all, you will continue to get that savings every year you renew as a student for up to three years! Yes, this applies to full time educators too! Why should you join? There are a million reasons why you should be a member of Animation Resources!

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Animation Resources membership is offered at a discounted rate for full time students and educators. After sign-up you will be required to email a photo of your current student ID card or proof of educational employment to verify your status. Renewals at the student rate is limited to three years. Invest in yourself by becoming a member of Animation Resources.


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Friday, October 23rd, 2020

Feed the Library of Your Mind

Library

If you read no other article today, read the one at this link…

Why You Should Surround Yourself With More Books Than You’ll Ever Have Time to Read

A lot of young animators seem to think that as long as they have Google, they have all the reference they need. But that isn’t true. POTENTIAL reference is no better than having no reference at all. You have to know exactly what it is that you don’t know to grow.

This article is about books and reading, but the same argument for the value of books could be made for a library of music, movies and artwork. A shelf full of music of all types, or classic movies, or art books about the old masters are directly relevant to your growth as an artist. It’s not enough to just create. You have to absorb your culture so you can reflect it in your own unique way.

A library is a constant reminder of how much there is to learn about and incorporate into your life and work. Life is short. Surround yourself with knowledge. Organize it and set aside time to browse. Once in a while select a specific subject that you should really should know more about and dive in. Analyze. Process. Learn.

Recently a book was published showing great artists in their studios. Their workspaces were all different, but there was one common denominator. They all had bookshelves packed with reference. If you want to be a great artist too, follow their lead and push your boundaries and expand your frame of reference by building your own library. It can be walls of books or hard drives full of images, movies and music. The format doesn’t matter. What matters is the impetus to know more than you already do.

It’s easy to build up a valuable reference library on cartooning and animation, and you don’t even need a shelf on the wall. Every other month, Animation Resources shares an e-book and still framable videos of rare animation with its members. If you had joined when we started producing Reference Packs five years ago, you would now have over 30 books and 15 hours of rare animation. Our Board and Advisory Board curate this material so you can have one of the world’s best libraries on the subject right on your hard drive.


Right now, it’s Back To School time at Animation Resources, and for the next two weeks we will be sharing reasons why students and educators should be a member of our important project. There is no better way to feed your creativity than to be a member of Animation Resources. Every other month, we share a Reference Pack that is chock full of downloadable e-books and still framable videos designed to expand your horizons and blow your mind. It’s easy to join. Just click on this link and you can sign up right now online…


JOIN TODAY!
https://animationresources.org/membership/levels/

FREE SAMPLES!
https://animationresources.org/join-us-sample-reference-pack/

Not Convinced Yet? Check out this SAMPLE REFERENCE PACK! It will give you a taste of what Animation Resources members get to download every other month!

Sample RefPack

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Tuesday, October 20th, 2020

Theory: How To Get The Most Out Of Animation School

piano

Imagine you want to be a concert pianist and composer, and you go to Julliard to study. What would happen if you arrived at Julliard on the first day of class and you were barely able to play “Chopsticks”. What could Julliard teach you when you don’t even possess the most basic pianistic skills?

Hundreds of animation students do exactly this when they enroll in college before acquiring even the most basic drawing skills. What can you learn about animation without even the most basic drawing skills?

I hear people talk about the Preston Blair course as if it is what you need to learn to draw. THE PRESTON BLAIR COURSE IS JUST THE BEGINNING OF LEARNING TO DRAW. If you want to be an artist in animation, you really should have accomplished the basics of everything Blair before attending college.

You can’t even BEGIN to learn without the basics. Going to college not being able to draw well will only lead to having huge debt in student loans with absolutely nothing to show for it. Schools are a business. If we went to a car mechanic and said, “Here is $500. Fix whatever you think needs fixing and keep the rest” do you think we would get our money’s worth? Schooling is not a passive endeavor.

Students don’t want to hear this. But the ones I see succeed are consistently the ones that were prepared to learn before they even began to learn.


Right now, it’s Back To School time at Animation Resources, and for the next two weeks we will be sharing reasons why students and educators should be a member of our important project. There is no better way to feed your creativity than to be a member of Animation Resources. Every other month, we share a Reference Pack that is chock full of downloadable e-books and still framable videos designed to expand your horizons and blow your mind. It’s easy to join. Just click on this link and you can sign up right now online…


JOIN TODAY!
https://animationresources.org/membership/levels/

FREE SAMPLES!
https://animationresources.org/join-us-sample-reference-pack/

Not Convinced Yet? Check out this SAMPLE REFERENCE PACK! It will give you a taste of what Animation Resources members get to download every other month!

Sample RefPack

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