Saturday, April 21, 2007

Bill Tytla - Terrytoons - Pose to Pose Animation - character with fly swatter

I think this cartoon is inspired by The Dover Boys. The poses are extreme and graphic. The villain is very similar to Dan Backslide.

Terrytoons had a funny habit of copying what other studios invented and then misunderstanding it. Usually they waited a few years until after a west coast studio made a revolutionary cartoon before they would copy it, but this time they were right on the heels of The Dover Boys.
I'm pretty sure this is Bill Tytla. He is animating pose to pose, as the animators in The Dover Boys, but the way he gets to each pose is different. In the Dover Boys, the animators use big blurred inbetweens that have come to be known as "smears".

POSE TO POSE means you draw all the key poses first and time them so that they have the most frames on screen. The motion is less important than the held poses. That way you really see the poses, as opposed to "straight-ahead" animation which tends to keep the character moving constantly and you don't plan the poses ahead of time. You just go where your pencil takes you.

Here the inbetweening is more evenly spaced and the effect is softer than in Jones' pose to pose style.

It's possible that Tytla did the main poses and someone else did the animation.

The timing isn't as snappy as the Jones and Bobe Cannon stuff. Maybe that's because of Terrytoon's inbetweeners. Who knows?

It still looks really cool and cartoony and fun! I like this kind of thing a lot better than when animators try to imitate what they think is "realistic", because realistic animation looks corny and falls far short of actual real life acting.

These poses are purposely stylized and wacky. A real person would never strike these poses, but in a cartoon you totally accept them, because cartoons are supposed to be silly.



Jesse Oliver said...

Hey John

I agree with you 100% that cartoons and cartoon acting are suppose to be silly, wacky and crazy!

Your right, Serious cartoons are so corny, sappy and crappy! If ya want to watch a cartoon that looks to real go see Shrek! "YUCK!!!"

Ryan G. said...

Man! These poses are great! I used to animate straight forward but now im catching on and animating pose to pose. Its much easier and eliminates unneccesary frames.

Mattee said...

I love the hands aswell as the pose in the first and last picture a lot

Do you prefer pose-to-pose or straight-ahead animation? Or do you like to choose the method that best fits a scene?

Anonymous said...

hmm, i thought you were supposed to always plan your key poses before animating. key poses first, then inbetweens. is it correct to do it this way or is that just something i've had in my head forever? thanks again for all of the info you give us, John!

Kyle said...

I think there's a place for both wacky cartoon animation and "realistic" (that's the worst term to describe it, but I don't know what else to use..) Wacky cartoon animation is great for slapstick comedy, but I don't think it's capable of telling the same stories as say, Bambi. And Bambi animation couldn't tell a Bugs Bunny story the same way. Both are successful at what they set out to do, but I don't think should be judged against each other.

PCUnfunny said...

Kick ass poses John. I need to ask you question, how do you explain cartoons to non-cartoonist and not go insane ?

JohnK said...

What's realistic about Bambi?

Besides his legs?

I.D.R.C. said...

Wacky cartoon animation is great for slapstick comedy, but I don't think it's capable of telling the same stories as say, Bambi.

Bambi is a cartoon about babies, for babies. The orignal Rugrats, Muppet babies and Tiny Toons. Better than all of them, and far more beautiful, it's nearly as difficult for an adult to sit through. Relief only comes in the action sequences.

But to tell the story they still had to understand the same principles of cartoon exaggeration that Clampett and Avery used. They just had to blanderize them for a largely infantile audience.

So your point, put another way, is that if you choose to tell a mostly bland story, you can use mostly bland characters and mostly bland posing. I say you are correct. I just don't care for it.

"Realism" or "subtlety" are terms often errantly used to describe a kind of animation where the term "relatively unstimulating" or perhaps even "ineffective" would be better applied.

So I would have to disagree that they should not be compared against each other. Cartooning's strongest suit is exaggeration, but it's cartoon exaggeration that is an endagered species. Blandness is getting along just fine.

Gochris said...

Hey there-

Having trouble downloading the clip. What is the name of this cartoon?


PCUnfunny said...

Great point I Really Don't Care. People always seem to assume that just because animation like Lion King for example isn't as exggerated like a Bob Clampett toon it must be "realistic". Animation like that isn't a toning down, it's abosluetly nothing.A bunch of bland, boring drawings with lots in-betweens.

Jennie Rosenbaum said...

One thing I am curious about John- I was watching some Bill Plympton cartoons the other day and I found myself wondering (as I do with all cartoons I watch now) what do you think of his work? it's completely different from most of the stuff out there and combines reality and wackiness in unusual and sometimes unsettling ways. He has his own style and a uniqueness which I enjoy but I wonder how you view his work coming from your background?

Mattee said...

Actually, John and Bill Plympton are throwing together a program:

On May 25 - John K. will do a show of all his favorite short films, with Bill Plympton as moderator, and on May 26, Bill Plympton will be showing some of his shorts and "Hair High", with John K. as moderator. This will take place at the Portage Theater in Chicago.

Sounds incredible! Wish I could be there. Two of my absolute favourites.

Stephen Worth said...

What's realistic about Bambi?

At a screening attended by a bunch of the nine old men at the County Museum, a person in the audience got up and waxed rhapsodic about the beauty of the antlers in Bambi. He marvelled at the skill required to make them turn perfectly in three dimensions. There was quiet on the podium for a second, then Ollie Johnston said, "We rotoscoped those, didn't we?"


See ya

Raff said...

I find pose-to-pose really handy. You work out where the character starts, where he ends up and how he gets there, in that order, and all of a sudden complicated manuevers aren't so complicated.

>> cartoons and cartoon acting are suppose to be silly, wacky and crazy! <<

I'd go beyond that - I'd say that cartoons are all about finding the sweet points and accentuating them. In other words, using proportions, colors, poses, timings etc. to not only tell the story but super-tell it.

Isn't that what art is, anyway? Reducing to the essential elements and then rebuilding on the essentials?

Silly, wacky comedy is just the most readily available example. Bakshi's Fritz the Cat uses exaggeration and cartooniness to describe crisis, squalor, psychedelic hazes, disquieting questions, reckless lust and doom. And comedy.

And it can be done even better by someone in the future.

I.D.R.C. said...

In a hopefully not-too-unrelated point, in watching Clampett's BASHFUL BUZZARD, there's that scene with the baby elephant carrying the "I Am not Dumbo" sign with his tail.

Is it just me, or is the knot in his tail actually a fist with its middle finger extended?

NateBear said...

watching this clip makes me really crave the snappy Jones movements. There's just something really satisfying about it. Probably some instinctual instant gratification brain circuitry. You know, the reason why buttons light up and go "boop" when you press them. We don't really want anything to move. We just desire things to happen instantaneously. That might also be why Roger Ramjet is so fun to watch.


Jennie Rosenbaum said...

Thanks Mattee - Now I just wish I could see that! (grumble grumble Australia grumble) both John's and Bill's artwork gives me chills, I always find something new to enjoy.

Jason Miskimins said...

I totally agree here. Animation should be cartoony and wacky...because that is what animation can do that live action can't.

It's pointless to try to animate realistic's like you said - the best you can do is make something that looks not too awkward. You can never achieve anything more than blandness. Why not take advantage of the animation and make characters that are eye-catching and fun and unique.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting that, John!

I've always been confused about pose to pose. Now it all makes sense. Shooting on 2's is what messed me up the most in this approach, though. I was counting just the moves and not every frame.