Monday, April 13, 2009

Techinal Engineer

New drawings, actually just some thumbnails from Wonderpets and a caricature cause it seems the ol' blog is getting a little dusty (and some newbies are posting more than me!) and I don't have any real drawings on hand so I scavenged stuff off my desk. Here is a caricature of one of Michigan's own state senators, Gilda Jacobs.

And here is are some thumbnails from Wonder Pets, since they haven't aired yet, You get the chance to to check back at the blog every time a new episode airs, check if it is from that episode and compare the actual animation the thumbnails. Lucky You!!!

And here is some from the circus episode. I also included the animation because they changed the final.

Now some person is going to think they're smart. They'll think, "Hey, Jodie's posting these thumbnails and animation comparison on the day after Cartoon Brew posted that most of the animation in television requires so little unique animation, it should be automated by a computer. And one show he sights is Wonder Pets. Well, you are kind of right. While I have a problem with what he said about Wonder Pets, I have more of a problem about the factual inaccuracies of the entire article more than anything else.

Here's the link for those who haven't read it.

Now Amid makes hugely incorrect statements and comes to some questionable conclusions. First, why he has come to his conclusion about the state of the television animation based on a program called Xtranormal is beyond me. The program he says can replace animators looks so unsophisticated that I have vague memories of a Super Nes game that gives you the equivalent amount of freedom. Secondly, as an animator on the Wonder Pets, I can say that the show isn't made up entirely of preapproved animations, where only a select few of the animators make original animation, and I'll assume that goes for Little Einsteins and the other shows he bashes. South Park is not already automated as far as I know. Animators work crazy hours to make the show possible in that amount of time (Now whether that in itself is good and the process should be automated like the other shows he mentions is up for debate but he states that it already is automated). Super Jail is sighted as a show that need artists. It is a good show but does he use it as an example because the animation is so integral that is couldn't be done automated as the other shows he mentions or is it that every frame has to be hand drawn, and that in and of itself qualifies it as creative animation. The quotes he uses are alsp taken out of context. Thankfully he links to the sources so you can see they are misquotes. Jim Worthy, a bg designer on "Fairy Odd Parents" says in an interview that “After 7 seasons, I’m amazed how many times I still need to design Timmy’s bedroom" but then elaborates why that is but this part is not quoted. Amid also quotes a post on Fran Krause's blog says “New Website Makes Animators Obsolete.” While not directly saying Fran believes this, he doesn't say that he doesn't, which is apparent if you visit his blog. And how could you misinterpret Pat Smith's, a renowned traditional Animator, sarcastic remakes about Xtranormal.

Wow that's kind of long, but that is one of my pet peeves. Some statements are of the right or wrong, partially right and partially wrong, depends on the context of the situation type, based on your ideological viewpoint kind which make life kind of hard. And then there are those pesky little things called facts, which are either completely true or completely false from every viewpoint. Everyone has a responsibility when talking to someone else to give at the bare minimum, factual information that's in context. You have the potential to change some one's viewpoint and you don't want to give them false premises to come to your conclusion even if your conclusion is correct. It's called journalistic integrity, which I don't see alot of thesde days.

And that's really the tragedy of all this. Because if you disregard all incorrect information (which arguably makes up the bulk of the article), the point he is trying to make is valid about the amount of creative talent put into television in general vs the actual talent of the artists on the shows.

I've actually been thinking about this alot lately myself. Although, I will say that Amid is specifically talking about animation that is so bland and unspecific, in his opinion, it might as well be done by a computer, whether or not, someone uses stock libraries to animate it or creates it from scratch. That is a tight rope to walk on in regards to what warrants being animated as opposed to not. Sure, there are broad strokes you could paint but, like all art, when you start getting in to specific areas, you move from generally accepted opinions to your own personal opinions. (Sure, most people think Disney's hand drawn films are of high quality artistry (in terms of animation), but are they the only films of high quality art or even the best showcases of quality art?)

However, I do think that the animator could be given more opportunities to create quality animation, which is why I am more interested in areas where alot of time is spent on things that are not creative in nature but are still challenging, and or tedious to do, and have to be done one way or another. Basic television A-F lip sync(I know, Toon Boom has it. Hint, hint, Flash and After Effects, you major television production tools, hint, hint.), in regards to hand drawn animation some forms of inbetweening, and in my opinion, alot of forms of overlapping actions, etc. Alot of this could be done by the computer and probably will be one day. That doesn't mean animators will be out of jobs. The more an animator has to do on an animated television show, especially when it comes to tedious tasks that require time and energy($$$) but nothing creative, the less valuable each animator becomes, and the more inclined a studio is to send things overseas.

Sure, people will say, "If you want to create quality stuff, do it outside of work." That is all good, yes, do that. Yet, that's not justification for offering excuses on why the industry has to be this way, and not discussing the state of the industry and how it could be a more creative environment. Nothing's set in stone. So whether you think the current system works just fine or is creatively bankrupt(though you probably will be better off considering another career), I think we can all agree that even the best systems can be improved. Who knows, maybe we can even collectively fix a couple of things.

Wow, uh, that's long. I would probably not read this if I were you, but if you are reading this, apparently you have.


Blogger Victoria Rose Zalewski said...

You tell em Jodie!

10:32 PM, April 28, 2009  

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