Tag Archive: Walt Disney


 12 Principles of Animation

 

Applied to 3D Animation

In the early 1930s, Walt Disney and company sat down to codify the hand-drawn animation process that had been informally evolving at Walt Disney studios. What emerged became known as the “12 Principles of Animation,” and set the standard for hand-drawn animation.

At Saturday morning’s “The 12 Principles of Animation applied to 3D Animation,” Isaac Kerlow, Director of Digital Production at the Walt Disney Company, argued that the principles need to be adapted for the modern day. Using visual examples from well-known animated films, Kerlow reinterpreted the twelve principles as they would apply to 3D animation, and added a few new ones of his own.

The purpose of adapting the principles, Kerlow said, is to guide the development of 3D animation, a relatively new art form. Computer animation is very complex, and a well-understood framework can help artists and producers weave together the many separate aspects of character and scene creation, into an animated tapestry that will truly captivate an audience.

For each of the following twelve principles, Kerlow defined the intention of the principle, presented a visual example to back it up, and suggested a modern equivalent that would apply to character artists working in 3D.

 

1. Squash and Stretch

 

2389444869_d0f16fd9a6crop

 Original idea: In traditional animation, characters movements (particularly facial movements) had a very high degree of exaggerated, non-rigid deformation. (Imagine any Disney character whose face contorts wildly during a sneeze or a scream.)

Modern equivalent: The principle still holds in the 3D era, especially for cartoon-like animations. (Anime tends toward exaggerated subtlety.) Squashing and stretching happen within animation packages, using dynamics weighting or unusual IK systems.

 

 2. Anticipation

anticipation1

Original idea: Anticipation is the technique by which the audience’s eyes are drawn to where action will occur on-screen (e.g. a cartoon that begins making running motions before actually going anywhere). Anticipation announces the coming surprise and is a very useful technique for guiding expectation. (Again, Disney animation tends toward heavy anticipation, whereas in anime we see very little — given anime a more etheric, fantastic feel.)

Modern equivalent: Anticipation can be created by the skillful use of motion curves, expanding or contracting pieces of animation to create the anticipatory effect.

 

 

 

3. Staging

images (2)

Original idea: Staging refers to the way in which character motion and camera movements are set up to convey the mood and intent of a scene. (Example: in Toy Story, Buzz Light year’s arrival in the bedroom is shown with a close-up that begins at his feet and pans dramatically upward to his helmet.)

Modern equivalent: In 3D, staging can be expanded to include more detail, hide points of interest, set up for chain reactions, and so on. Staging is also useful in animistic, which establish a scene’s core movements before primary animation gets underway. Contemporary moving image techniques, such as 3-axis camera moves, slow motion, “bullet time,” and so on, also add to 3D staging abilities.

 

4. Straight Ahead  or Pose-to-Pose

extremos-427x311-custom

Original idea: In traditional animation, character actions were either drawn from beginning to end, creating an unpredictable look and feel, or they were broken down into a more predictable set of key poses.

Modern equivalent: In 3D animation, straight ahead animation corresponds to procedural animation techniques (e.g. motion capture and 3D rotoscoping); pose-to-pose would correspond to key frame animation. Modern artists can take advantage of layers or channels to intelligently mix both types of motion, or use non-linear motion curve editing to edit different aspects of a single character’s motion.

 

5. Follow-Through and Overlapping

1

 Original idea: Follow-through refers to the reactive animation that occurs after an action is completed, telling the audience how the character feels about that action. (Think of Donald Duck throwing a football, watching it for a moment, and then lowering his arm in disappointment.) Overlapping refers to the additional motions that overlap the main motion of a given character.

Modern equivalent: Follow-through can be done with dynamic simulation and scripts – especially for cloth and hair. Overlapping is achieved by using layers and channels to blend different types of motion into a sequence.

 

6. Slow-in and Slow-out

images (3)

 Original idea: If you look closely at movies animated in the Disney style, you’ll see that characters’ motions tend to be quicker in the middle of an action than at the beginning and end. This slowing of the intro and extra sections of a movement creates a “snappy” effect.

Modern equivalent: Fine-tuning animations using time-editing tools, such as dope sheets, curves, and timelines. Motion capture performers can also be directed to do slow-ins and slow-outs.

 

7. Arcs

face2

Original idea: Organic characters almost always move in motion arcs, as opposed to straight lines. Straight line motions make a character look sinister, robotic, or restricted in some way. (In The Iron Giant, the giant begins the movie with linear movements, and adopts arc-based motion as he becomes “more human” later on.)

Modern equivalent: In 3D packages, motion can easily be constrained to arcs. Motion capture performances can also be fine-tuned using arc editors.

 

8. Secondary Action

27-03-2011-5-52-221

 Original idea: These are small complementary motions that occur in a scene.

Modern equivalent: Using layers and channels to build up different aspects of secondary motion. Collision detection is another useful tool for generating secondary actions.

 

 

 

9. Timing

timing-and-spacing

Original idea: Timing refers to the precise moment at which a given character motion occurs, and how long it continues for. (Humor is often created through the use of clever timing juxtapositions.)

Modern equivalent: In 3D animation, timing can be refined using the time-editing tools, and frames can be easily added or removed to make the timing work. Using different animation tracks for different character (and sub-tracks for parts of characters) also helps create precise timing.

 

10. Exaggeration

exaggeration

Original idea: The essence of an action is often enhanced by the exaggeration of a given motion – especially for cartoon-style animation. (Eyes bugging out, jaws dropping, etc.)Modern equivalent: In 3D, this can be done at the performance level, using procedural techniques, and can also be worked into cinematography and editing.

 

11. Solid Drawing

Henpecked Hoboes-2

 Original idea: Originally, this principle referred to using appropriate weight, depth and balance to give drawings the desired look.

Modern equivalent: Kerlow suggested renaming this principle “Solid Modeling and Rigging,” since the same principles now apply to the optimization of models and IK skeletons to create specific “animation personalities” for different characters.

 

 

 

 

12. Characters’ Appeal

images (4)

 Original idea: The last of the twelve principles suggests that characters be well-developed, with interesting and distinct personalities.

Modern equivalent: In 3D animation, character complexity and consistency can be dramatically increased – and built in to a character’s design – so that appeal is not being recreated from scratch with every set of drawings. Kerlow pointed out that in gaming, walk and run cycles are especially important aspects of a character’s appeal. He showed a clip from Kingdom Hearts in which Sora, Donald, and Goofy are walking side by side, each with their own distinct style.

Traditional Animation

In the traditional animation process, animators will begin by drawing sequences of animation on sheets of transparent paper perforated to fit the peg bars in their desks, often using color pencils, one picture or “frame” at a time. A peg bar is an animation tool that is used in traditional (cel) animation to keep the drawings in place. The pins in the peg bar match the holes in the paper. It is attached to the animation desk or light table depending on which is being used. A key animator or lead animator will draw the key drawings in a scene, using the character layouts as a guide. The key animator draws enough of the frames to get across the major points of the action; in a sequence of a character jumping across a gap, the key animator may draw a frame of the character as he is about to leap, two or more frames as the character is flying through the air, and the frame for the character landing on the other side of the gap.

traditional animationTiming is important for the animators drawing these frames; each frame must match exactly what is going on in the soundtrack at the moment the frame will appear, or else the discrepancy between sound and visual will be distracting to the audience. For example, in high-budget productions, extensive effort is given in making sure a speaking character’s mouth matches in shape the sound that character’s actor is producing as he or she speaks.

While working on a scene, a key animator will usually prepare a pencil test of the scene. A pencil test is a preliminary version of the final animated scene; the pencil drawings are quickly photographed or scanned and synced with the necessary soundtracks. This allows the animation to be reviewed and improved upon before passing the work on to his assistant animators, who will go add details and some of the missing frames in the scene. The work of the assistant animators is reviewed, pencil-tested, and corrected until the lead animator is ready to meet with the director and have his scene sweat boxed  or reviewed by the director, producer, and other key creative team members. Similar to the story boarding stage, an animator may be required to re-do a scene many times before the director will approve it.

1In high-budget animated productions, often each major character will have an animator or group of animators solely dedicated to drawing that character. The group will be made up of one supervising animator, a small group of key animators, and a larger group of assistant animators. For scenes where two characters interact, the key animators for both characters will decide which character is “leading” the scene, and that character will be drawn first. The second character will be animated to react to and support the actions of the “leading” character.

Once the key animation is approved, the lead animator forwards the scene on to the clean-up department, made up of the clean-up animators and the inbetweeners. The clean-up animators take the lead and assistant animators’ drawings and trace them onto a new sheet of paper, taking care in including all of the details present on the original model sheets, so that it appears that one person animated the entire film. The inbetweeners will draw in whatever frames are still missing in between the other animators’ drawings. This procedure is called tweening. The resulting drawings are again pencil-tested and sweat boxed until they meet approval.

At each stage during pencil animation, approved artwork is spliced into the Leica reel.

This process is the same for both character animation and special effects animation, which on most high-budget productions are done in separate departments. Effects animators animate anything that moves and is not a character, including props, vehicles, machinery and phenomena such as fire, rain, and explosions. Sometimes, instead of drawings, a number of special processes are used to produce special effects in animated films; rain, for example, has been created in Disney animated films since the late-1930s by filming slow footage of water in front of a black background, with the resulting film superimposed over the animation.

History of Animation

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Studio System in the Production of an Art Form

“Animation should be an art….what you fellows have done with it is
making it into a trade….not an art, but a trade….bad luck”

– Winsor McCay (Father of the animated cartoon)

Thus Winsor McCay, father of the animated cartoon, pronounced the doom of the very industry he had inadvertently helped create.

From 1911-21 McCay nursed animation from a simple camera trick to full Winsor_McCayblown character animation that would take 20 years to be surpassed. McCay animated his films almost single-handed; from inception to execution each cartoon was his and his alone. He took the time to make his films unique artistic visions, sometimes spending more than a year to make a single five-minute cartoon. But the burgeoning world of cinema could not wait so long for so little, and so the modern animation studio came into being. The art of animation was no longer the work of one man; it was a streamlined, assembly-line process in the best Henry Ford tradition. But was the art of the animated cartoon sacrificed for the trade’s sake? That, of course, depends on the studios themselves.

Through the years several institutions have proven McCay’s prophecy at least partly false; indeed, without such positive collaborations of talent the art of animation would not have advanced to the level of sophistication it enjoys today. But who exactly was it “bad luck” for: the art, or the artists themselves?

Even before McCay had shown the world the true potential of the animated cartoon in his landmark film “Gertie the Dinosaur” (1914), the first animation studios were already around, trying to exploit the medium for what they could. Raoul Barre’ opened the first animation house in 1913, and within five years a new industry was born as more and more studios began to pop up around the New York metropolitan area.

Arguably the most successful and certainly the most influential of these early studios was the John Bray Studio. Bray created the first successful cartoon series, Col. Heeza Liar, in 1914. Future studio heads Max Fleischer and Walter Lantz honed their skills here. But the studio’s most important contribution to the medium was the introduction of cels. The process of inking the animator’s drawings onto clear pieces of celluloid and then photographing them in succession on a single painted background was invented by Bray employee Earl Hurd in late 1914. In the first of what was to be many such incidents, the studio swallowed all the credit and most of the revenue for its underling’s contribution to the art form. Hurd lent his patent to boss John Bray, whocharged royalties for other studios to use the process….an understandable business practice. Yet from an artistic standpoint this was as if Picasso had demanded exclusive rights to Cubism. It was a relatively moot point, however; the patent expired in 1932 and was not renewed. The only real loser, it seems, was Earl Hurd.

Like Hurd, Otto Messmer was another studio employee who never got due credit for his innovations. But whereas Hurd’s contribution to animation was a technical one, Messmer’s was an artistic creation that is still recognized the world over 80 years after its inception. Otto Messmer was employed by the Pat Sullivan Studio in 1916. Three years later he created Felix the Cat; it was a milestone in the development of animation as an artform. Not since Gertie the Dinosaur had a cartoon character exhibited such a degree of personality animation as Felix’s brooding, ponderous walk. But unlike Gertie, Felix was a studio character, which meant audiences could look forward to seeing him again and again, while affording Messmer and his co-workers the opportunity to explore the possibilities of ongoing character development in animation. Meanwhile, studio head Pat Sullivan took sole credit for the creation of Felix, earning millions of dollars in royalties over the years. Messmer continued to receive his usual salary. A quiet and unassuming man, Messmer never challenged Sullivan’s claim to be the father of Felix, even after Sullivan’s death in 1933. Indeed, Messmer probably would have taken the secret to his grave had not animation historian John Canemaker tracked him down in 1976 (the revelation produced quite a stir in animation circles….twenty years later the story was lampooned on an episode of “The Simpsons”).

For the first time a studio produced what may be considered true art, but in doing so took the credit usually given to the artist.

Hands Down the most influential studio (from an artistic as well as a commercial standpoint) in the history of animation is the Walt Disney Studio, which exploded onto the scene in 1928 with Mickey Mouse in “Steamboat Willie” and continued to dominate the field to this very day. It is at Disney that we see the studio system’s best and worst effects on the development of animation as an art form.

Without Disney’s streamlined organization of talent and creative collaboration the animated cartoon could never have advanced as rapidly or as beautifully as it has….yet, as at the Bray and Sullivan studios, in the process many of the men responsible for the studio’s achievements remain anonymous and forgotten. Had Disney animators Vladimir Tytla and Freddie Moore been alive during the renaissance their names might well have been numbered among Da Vinci and Michelangelo? For all their accomplishments, however, they remain totally eclipsed by the titanic figure of Walt Disney.

Walt Disney’s first important contribution to animation was to move his studio to Hollywood in 1923. Los Angeles had become the centre of live-action filmmaking, but the animation industry remained rooted in New York (with a few studios scattered throughout the Midwest, like Disney’s). Accompanying him on his move from Kansas City were Hugh Harman and Rudy Ising, who would eventually found the Warner Bros. and MGM animation houses. These three studios were to become the leaders of the animation industry. Disney’s decision to move to California was a pivotal turning point in the development of animation as a business.

Disney Studio’s artistic achievements derived from a sort of symbiotic relationship between Walt and his employees. Like other studio heads, Walt received all the public attention and praise for the studio’s work, but unlike many of his fellow producers he was at least partly responsible for the studio’s accomplishments. He was certainly a cinematic visionary, and can be justly credited for introducing the latest innovations in sound and color.

Walt was the one who steered cartoons away from the “rubber hose” style of the silent era (dubbed thus because of the way characters moved without regard to anatomy, as if all their limbs were rubber hoses) and encouraged his artists to develop a realistic, naturalist style of animation in the early 1930s. History 5He was the moving force behind such groundbreaking films as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (1937), the first full-length animated feature, and “Pinocchio” (1940), a film whose intricate levels of technical brilliance many animators feel have never been surpassed. But it was up to the studio artists to make Disney’s ideas reality.  It was Freddie Moore who led the movement towards realistic motion in cartoons with his re-definition of Mickey Mouse in such films as “The Band Concert” (1935).  Disney features like “Lady and the Tramp” (1955) and “The Jungle Book” (1967) could never have succeeded without the polished character animation of Ollie Johnston, Frank Thomas, Eric Larson, and others. Vladimir Tytla’s rendering of the demon Chernabog in the Night on Bald Mountain sequence of “Fantasia” (1940) might well be the greatest work of animation ever. These extraordinarily talented men, in alliance with the vision of their leader, accomplished what Winsor McCay had deemed impossible: high art in a studio setting.

The downside to all this was of course, once again, the studio head received all the recognition for his artist’s work. In Disney’s case, however, it doesn’t seem to be attributable to greed on the executive’s part. Walt certainly didn’t mind all the attention, but he seems to have recognized his artist’s importance to his success. Yet to this day the Disney staff remain unknown to the public at large (do you know that David Hand directed “Snow White”?). It seems to be an unfortunate side effect in the development of animation studios that individual contributions to the medium should go uncredited.

The men behind Warner Bros. cartoon juggernaut “Looney Tunes” and “Merrie Melodies” have managed to beat the odds and achieve a degree of prominence in the public eye. Then again, maybe that’s because they have such unusual and distinct monikers like Friz Freleng, Tex Avery, and Chuck Jones. But to claim thus would be to belittle their accomplishments, and for once in the history of animation’s Golden Age the names of the artists outshine the name of the producer.

“Looney Tunes” began in 1930 when Disney vets Hugh Harman and Rudy Ising teamed with producer Leon Schlesinger to make cartoons, to be distributed by Warner Bros. Three years later Harman and Ising left to form the MGM cartoon studio, and Schlesinger and his artists continued on their own. Unlike other studio heads who craved the limelight, Schlesinger (and his successor Eddie Selzer) seems to have been concerned only with making money. He left it to his directors and animators to meet the press, and  gave them complete artistic freedom at the office….so long as it was under budget.

The Warners artists used their creative freedom to take the medium in new directions. Directors Tex Avery and Bob Clampett broke from the Disney tradition that the other studios had begun to mimic and imbibed their films with highly exaggerated slapstick comedy. In Avery’s “Porky’s Duck Hunt” (the first appearance of Daffy Duck, 1937) and Clampett’s “Porky in Wackyland” (1938), the characters appear at first to be of the naturalist Disney school, but History 7are constantly distorted beyond all rationality, defying every  law of physics for comedic effect. The other Warners artists immediately picked up on the style, and eventually every other studio, even Disney, adopted the method. Slapstick ultimately proved to be the theatrical genre animation was best suited for.

Like Disney, the Warner Bros. studio turned the assembly-line-art system to their advantage and collaborated their talents to take the art to a higher level. Nowhere is this better exemplified than in the creation and development of Bugs Bunny, arguably the greatest cartoon character ever. It took over 10 years and 30 films for Bugs’ personality to coalesce into the suave and wily comic hero that he is today. During that period he was continually tweaked by various directors and redesigned several times by different animators, notably Bob McKimson. By 1950 Warners’ three animation units had reached a consensus as to who Bugs was and how he looked; while each unit made its own cartoons, it was the same Bugs Bunny every time. Without the tandem talents of Jones, Freleng, et.al. It is unlikely that Bugs would have been as fully fleshed-out a character as he eventually became.

It was when animation finally made the leap to television that the art truly began to suffer for business’s sake. The great Hollywood studios of the 30s, 40s, and 50s had been manned by people genuinely interested in making quality cinema. The denizens of the TV animation houses of the 60s, 70s, and 80s only cared that the product was there to market. The quality of writing was poor, and the animation itself was often so limited it barely qualified as animation at all. McCay’s prophecy had finally come to pass.

Cartoons made exclusively for television had been around since Jay Ward’s “Crusader Rabbit” in 1949, but production of TV animation didn’t really hit its stride until about 1960, when most of the cinematic cartoon studios had shut their doors. Bill Hanna and Joe Barbara, former MGM directors and creators of Tom and Jerry, dominated the market almost from its inception and continued to do so through the 1970s.

 

Unfortunately, Hanna and Barbara never understood that just because something works once, that doesn’t mean the same thing will work again and again. In their 20 years together at MGM they never made anything except Tom and Jerry cartoons. But at least Tom and Jerry had been well animated and cleverly written.

The duo’s television hits are considerably lesser in quality (one gets the feeling they succeeded merely because there was nothing better on), and the myriad self-imitations of every successful show they had were downright abysmal. Despite its flat, one-dimensional characters and campy, formula tic stories, “Scooby-Doo” proved extremely popular in 1969, so Hanna-Barbara made “Speed Buggy”, “Jabber Jaw”, and “The Clue  Club”, which were all variations on the same characters and theme. “The Flintstones “begat“ The Jetsons” and “The Smurfs” begat “The Snorks” It was a process that stunted creativity, giving the artists even less of a chance to infuse life into their work.

Other TV cartoon studios like Filmation and DIC proved little better or even worse than Hanna-Barbara. Desperate to conquer as much air time as possible, the studios churned out series after series without any regard to aesthetic. The situation improved in the second half of the 1980s when the two big studios of old, Disney and Warner Bros., entered the market. Shows like Disney’s “DuckTales” (1986) and Warners’ “Tiny Toon Adventures” (1989) were considerably better than anything their competitors were producing. Yet they still fell utterly short of the great cartoons made for the movies in the first half of the century. The budget restraints and hurried deadlines of the television industry simply prohibited artists from crafting the kind of art their cinematic predecessors achieved.

Finally in the 1990s the artists in the television cartoon industry began to figure out how to work effectively with the limitations of the field. 1992 saw the debut of Warner Bros. “Batman: The Animated Series.” Despite the fact that the History 6animation was contracted to various Oriental studios (by the mid 80s the practice was almost universal in television production….it continues to be so today) the show’s creators Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Eric Radomski, and others managed to infuse the series with a distinct visual style. Combined with the deep characterizations and strong stories, “Batman” was a first-rate cartoon. While they did not attract as much publicity as Disney’s theatrical department, the Warner Bros. TV artists were just as important to the art of animation, demonstrating that even a television cartoon series was capable of artistic achievement.

Back on the big screen the medium faced a different set of problems. Since the advent of television people were no longer spending all day at the movies, and short subjects were gradually dropped from the billings. While animation never completely disappeared from theatres, by the 1960s most studios had closed down; the ones that didn’t suffered from severe declines in quality. Only Disney retained its level of excellence, but Disney had ceased full-time production of short subjects by the mid-50s, earlier than anyone else. While there was the occasional Non-Disney animated feature, no other studio was producing them on a regular basis. By the 1980s no studio was producing shorts full-time, and even the Disney movies had lost their appeal.

The new generation of Disney artists breathed life back into animation with films like “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” (1988) and “The Little Mermaid” (1989). These well-crafted cartoons were celebrations of animation’s glory days, and the public proved just as nostalgic as the artists themselves. The new Disney crew proved that the studio system was still capable of turning out great art. In fact, the major flaw of the studio system, lack of artist recognition, dissipated. Gone were the producer-moguls of old, and with no Walt Disney public attention finally shifted to the artists themselves. While not exactly household names, directors John Musker and Ron Clements and animators like Glen Keane and Andreas Deja certainly received more press than Disney vets like Milt Kahl or Wolfgang Reitherman did in their heyday.

It was inevitable, in spite of Winsor McCay’s warnings, that animation would become a “trade” in the form of the studio system. The complexities of bringing moving drawings to life on the screen are too time-consuming and too expensive for it to have developed otherwise. Fortunately, through the years there have been many individuals working in the field who have been careful not to let business logistics overwhelm the artistic potential of the medium. The collective nature of the studio may prevent the artists from receiving the amount of praise an artist working solo garners, but the art attained is no less great. As long as there are creative men and women behind the drawing desk, the animated cartoon will continue to be the best of both worlds: a trade and an art.

traditional animationTraditional animation also called cel animation or hand-drawn animation or classical animation was the process used for  most animated films in 20th century. The individual frames of a traditional  animated film are photographs of drawings, which are first drawn on paper. To create the illusion of movement, each drawing differs slightly from the one before it. The animators’ drawing are traced  or photocopied onto transparent acetate sheet called cels, which are filled in with paints in assigned colors or tones on the side opposite the line  drawings. The completed character cels are photographed one-by-one onto motion picture film against a painted background by a rostrum camera.

rostrum

  Rostrum Camera

Rostrum camera is a specially designed camera used in television production and film making to animate still images or object.

The traditional cel animation process became obsolete by the beginning of the 21st century. Today, animator’s  drawing and the background are either scanned into or directly into a computer system. Various software program are used to color the drawing and simulate camera movement and effects. The final animated piece is output to one of several delivery media, including  traditional 35 mm film and newer media such as digital video. The “look” of traditional cel animation is still preserved, and the character animator’s work has remained essentially the same over past 70 years. Some animation producers have used term “tradigital”  to describe cel animation which make extensive use of computer technology.

Pinocchio-1940-posterExample of traditional animation movies Pinocchio (United States 1940), Animal Farm (United Kingdom,1954), and Akira (Japan,1988). Traditional animated films which were produced with the aid of computer technology include The Lion King (United  States,1994), Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away) (Japan,2001), and Les Triplettes de Belleville (France,2003).

. Full animation refers to the process of producing high-quality traditional animated films, which regularly use detailed drawings and  plausible movement. Fully animated films can be done in a verity of styles, from more realistically animated works such as those produce by the Walt Disney studio (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Lion King) to the more ‘cartoony‘ style of those produced by the Warner Bros. animation studio. Many of the Disney animated features are example of full animation.

. Limited animation involve the use of less detailed and/or more stylized drawing and methods of movement. Pioneered by the artiest at the American studio United Production of America, limited animation can be used as a method of stylized artistic expression, as in Gerald McBoing Boing (US, 1951), Yellow Submariner (UK, 1968), and much of the anime produce in Japan.Its primary use, however, has been in producing cost-effective animated content for media such as television (the work of Hanna-Barbera, Filmation, and other TV animation studios) and later the Internet (web cartoons).

. Rotoscoping  is a technique, patented by Max Fleischer in 1917, where animators trace live-action movement frame by frame. The source film can be directly copied from actors’ outlines into animated drawing, as in The Lord of the Rings (US, 1978), or used in a stylized and expressive manner, as in Waking Life (US, 2001) and A Scanner Darkly (US, 2006) . Some other examples are: Fire and Ice (US, 1983), and Heavy Metal (1981).

.Live-action/animation is a technique,when combing hand-drawn character into live action shots. One of the earlier uses of it was Koko the Clown  when Koko was drawn over live action footage. Other example would include Who Framed Roger Rabbit (US,1988), Space Jam (US, 1996) and Osmosis Jones (US, 2002).

Animation Principles

THE 12 ANIMATION PRINCIPLE 

The bible of the industry is the “Illusion of Life” by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston.These 12 principle became the gospel according to the nine old men of animation that worked with Walt Disney in founding the industry that you see today.

1. Stretch and Squash

2. Anticipation

3.Staging

4.Straight Ahead Action and Pose to pose

5.Follow Through and Overlapping Action

6. Slow In and Slow Out

7. Arcs

8. Secondary Action

9. Timing

10. Exaggeration

11. Solid Drawing

12. Appeal

STRETCH AND SQUASH:

1This action gives the illusion of weight and volume to a character as it moves.Also stretch and squash is useful in animation dialogue and doing facial expression.How extreme the use of stretch and squash is, depends on what is required in animating the scene. Usually it’s broader in a short style of picture and subtler in a feature. It is used in all form of character animation from a bouncing ball to the body weight of a person walking. This is the most important element you will be required to master and will be used.

ANTICIPATION:

imagesThis movement prepare the audience for a major action the character is about to perform, such as, starting to run, jump or change expression. A dancer does not just leap off the floor. A back wards motion occurs before the forward action is executed. The backward motion is the anticipation. A comic effect can be done by not using anticipation after a series of gags that used anticipation such as a pitcher’s wind-up or a golfers back swing.Feature animation is often less broad than short animation unless a scene requires it to develop a character personality.

STAGING :

A pose or action should clearly communicate to the audience the attitude, mood, reaction or idea of the character as it relates to the story and continuity of the story line. Staging directs the audiences attention to the story or idea being told. Care must be taken in background design so it isn’t obscuring the animation or competing with it due to excess detail behind the animation. Background and animation should work together as a pictorial unit in a scene.

STRAIGHT AHEAD AND POSE TO POSE ANIMATION :

images (2)Straight ahead animation starts at the first drawing and works drawing to drawing to the end of a scene. You can lose size, volume, and proportions with this method, but it does have spontaneity and freshness.Fast, wild action scenes are done this way. Pose to Pose is more planned out and charted with key drawing done at intervals throughout the scene. An animator can do more scenes this way and concentrate on the planning of the animation. Many scenes use a bit of both methods of animation.

FOLLOW THROUGH AND OVERLAPPING ACTION:

When the main body of the character stops all other parts continue to catch up to the main mass of the character, such as arms, long hair, clothing, coat tail or a dress, (these follow the path of action).Nothing stops all at once.This is follow through.Overlapping action is when the character changes direction while his clothes or hair continues forward.

SLOW -IN AND SLOW -OUT :

slow-in_out-copyAs action starts, we have more drawing near the starting pose, one or two in the middle, and more drawings near the next pose. Fewer drawing make the action faster and more drawing make the action slower. Slow-ins and Slow-outs soften the action, making it more life-like. For a gag action, we may omit some slow-ins or Slow-out for shock appeal or the surprise element. This will give more snap to the scene.

ARCS :

images (1)All action, with few exceptions, follow an arc or slightly circular  path. This is especially true of the human figure and action of animals. Arcs give animation a more natural action and better flow. Think of natural movement in the terms of a pendulum swinging. All arm movement, head turns and even eye movement are executed on an arcs.

SECONDARY ACTION :

This action adds to and enriches the main action and adds more dimension to the character animation, supplementing and/or re-enforcing the main action.The secondary action is a few strong gestures of the arms working with the walk.Think of the walk as the primary action and arm swings, head bounce and all other actions of the body as secondary or supporting action.

TIMING : 

Expertise in timing come best with experience and personal experimentation, using the trial and error method in refining technique. The basics are more drawing between pose slow and smooth the action.Fewer drawing make the action faster and crisper. Also, there is timing in the action of a character to establish mood, emotion, and reaction to another character or to a situation.

EXAGGERATION :

10 ExaggerationExaggeration is not extreme distortion of a drawing or extremely broad, violent action all the  time. It’s like a caricature of facial features, expressions  poses, attitudes and actions. Action traced from live action film can be accurate, but stiff and mechanical.Exaggeration in a walk or an eye movement or even a head turn will give your film more appeal.

SOLID DRAWING : 

The basic principle of drawing form, weight, volume solidity and the illusion of three dimension apply to animation as it does to academic drawing. The way you draw cartoons, you draw in the classical sense, using pencil sketches and drawing for reproduction of life.

APPEAL :

A live performer has charisma. An animated character has appeal. Appealing animation does not mean just being cute and cuddly. All character have to have appeal whether  they are heroic, villainous, comic or cute. Appeal, as you will use it, includes an easy to read design, clear drawing, and personality development that will capture and involve the audiences interest.Like all forms of story telling, the feature has to appeal to the mind as well as to the eye.

These are the main and very important principle of animation.

Cartoons TV Shows

Cartoon made exclusively for television had been around since Jay Ward’s “Crusader Rabbit” in  1949, but production of TV animation didn’t really hit it’s stride until about 1960, when most of the cinematic cartoon studios harocky-and-bullwinkle-crusader-rabbitd shut their doors. Bill Hanna and Joe Barbara, former MGM director and creators of Tom and Jerry, dominated the market almost from it’s inception and continued to do so through the 1970s.

Unfortunately, Hanna and Barbara never understood that just because something works once, that doesn’t mean the same thing will work again. In their 20 years together at MGM they never made anything except Tom and Jerry cartoons. But at least Tom and Jerry had been well animated and cleverly written.

The duo’s television hits are considerably lesser in quality (one gets the feeling they succeeded merely because there was downright abysmal. Despite  it’s flat, one-dimensional character and campy, formulaic stories, “Scooby-Doo” proved extremely popular in 1969, so Hanna-Barbara made “Speed Buggy”, “Jabber Jaw”, and The Clue Club”, which were all variations on the same character and theme. “The Flintstones” begat “The Jetsons”, and “The Smurfs”  begat “The Snorks”. It was a process that stunted creativity, giving the artists even less of a chance to infuse life into their work.

Other TV cartoon studios like Filmation and DIC proved little better or even worse than Hanna-Barbara. Desperate to conquer as much air time as possible, the studio churned out series after series without any regard to aesthetic. The situation improved in the second half of the 1980s when the two big studios of old, Disney and Warner Bros.’ entered the market. Shows like Disney’s “Duck Tales” 1986  and Warner’s “Tiny Toon Adventures” 1989 were considerably better than anything their competitors were producing. Yet they still fell utterly short of the great cartoons made for the movies in the first half of the century. The budget restraints and hurried deadline of the television industry simply prohibited artists from crafting the kind of art their cinematic predecessors achieved.

44bdbbea240f1ae6434120c1959f3f1e_full

Finally in the 1990s the artists in the television cartoon  industry began to figure out how to work effectively with the limitations of the field. 1992 saw the debut of Warner Bros. “Batman: The  Animated Series.” Despite the fact that the animation was contracted to various Oriental studios (by the mid 80s  the practice was almost universal in television production…it continues to be so today) the show’s creators Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Eric Radomski, and others  managed to infuse the series with deep characterizations and strong stories, “Batman”was a first-rate cartoon. While they did not attract as much publicity as Disney’s theatrical department, the Warner Bros. TV artists were just as important to the art of animation, demonstrating that even a television cartoon series was capable of artists achievement.

It was inevitable, in spite of Winsor McCay’s warnings, that animation would become a “trade” in the form of the studio system. The complexities of bringing moving drawing to life on the screen are too time-consuming and too expensive for it to have developed otherwise. Fortunately, through the year there have been many  individuals working in the field who have been careful not to let business logistics overwhelm the artistic potential of the medium. The collective nature of the studio may prevent the artists from receiving the amount of praise an artist working solo garners, but the art attained is no less great. As long as there are creative men and women behind the drawing desk, the animated cartoon will continue to be the best of both worlds: a trade and an art.

Walt Disney Studio

Walt Disney the most influential studio (from an artistic as well as a commercial standpoint) in the history of animation is the Walt Disney Studio, which exploded onto the scene in 1928 with  Mick Mouse in “Steamboat Willie” and continued to dominated the field to this very day. It is at Disney that we see the studio system’s best and most  effects on the development of animation as an art form.walt

Without Disney’s streamlined organization of talent and creative collaboration the animated cartoon could never have advanced as rapidly or as beautifully as it has…yet, as at the Bray and Sullivan studios, in the process many of the men responsible for the studio’s achievements remain anonymous and forgotten. Had Disney animators Vladimir Tytla and Freddie Moore been alive during the renaissance their names might well have been numbered among Da Vici and Michelangelo. For all their accomplishments, however they remain totally eclipsed by the titanic figure of Walt Disney.

Walt Disney’s first important contribution to animation was to move his studio to Hollywood in 1923. Los Angeles had become the center of live-action film-making  but the animation industry remained rooted in New York (with a few studios scattered  throughout the Midwest, like Disney’s). Accompanying him on his move from Kansas City were Hugh Harman and Rudy Ishing, who Would eventually found the Warner Bros and MGM animation houses. These three studios were to become the leaders of the animation industry.Disney’s decision to move to California was a pivotal turning point in the development of animation as a business.

Disney Studio’s artistic attachments derived from a sort of symbiotic relationship between Walt and his employees. Like other studio heads, Walt received all the public attention and praise for the studio’s work, but unlike many of his fellow producers he was at least partly  responsible for the studio’s accomplishments. He was certainly a cinematic visionary, and can be justly credited for introducing the latest innovations in sound and color.

Walt was the one who steered cartoons away from the “rubber hose” style of the silent era dubbed thus because of the way character moved without regard to anatomy, as if all their limbs were rubber hoses and encouraged his artists to develop a realistic, naturalist style of animation in the early 1930. He was the moving force behind such groundbreaking film as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (1937), the first full-length animated feature, and “Pinocchio”  (1940), a film whose intricate levels of technical brilliance many animators feel has never been surpassed. But it was up to the studio artists to make Disney’s idea reality. It was Freddie Moore who led the movement towards realistic motion in cartoon with his re-definition of Mickey Mouse in such films as “The Band Concert” (1935). Disney features like “Lady and the Tramp”(1955) and “The Jungle book” (1967) could never have succeeded without the polished character animation of Ollie Johnston, Frank Thomas, Eric Larson, and others. Vladimir Tytla’s rendering of the demon Chernabog in the Night  on Bald Mountain sequence of “Fantasia”(1940) might well be the greatest work of animation ever. These extraordinarily talented men, in alliance with the vision of their leader, accomplished what Winsor McCay had deemed impossible high art in a studio setting.