Wednesday, July 11, 2007

How Can We Bring Back Cartoony Cartoons?

These close ups are in that style I thought was Willard Bowsky. Peter has cast some doubt in my brain as to who actually drew them, but whoever it is, is a real cartoonist and his stuff is really fun to look at.This is a cartoon that exults in being a cartoon. It's not trying to hide it.

It's not trying to compete with live action on its own terms.It uses what cartoons do best-funny magic.
Fun to look at pictures that do crazy things.
Characters with funny personalities and distinct funny voices. (Listen to the voices in that Ratatouille clip! Is there anything remotely distinct about them?)
This whole blog is dedicated to bringing back real cartoons. There are still many real cartoonists alive today who could do this really fun type of animation but there is no studio that will take advantage of them.
It's also hard to learn how to be cartoony, when nothing in the media is anymore and there are no schools that teach it. That's why it's great that there are so many blogs that are making a whole new generation of cartoonists aware that drawing can actually be really fun.

Wouldn't it be great to look look forward to coming to work every day and be able to actually use your imagination and think up ways to make people really laugh and pleasure their senses?
The reason I put up modern animation styles and make fun of them is to contrast them to this fun stuff. To really show how hugely different the philosophies are.
I'm not against having other types of animation on the planet, I would just like to have a reasonable % of cartoons doing what they do best.

The Pixars and Dreamworks and Disneys could exist if they wanna make the same films over and over again. If they want to abandon all cartoon tradition, fine.
But some smart studio oughta make room for real cartoons and really funny cartoonists and let them loose to actually use their imaginations.
If someone put 10% of the money that they spend on animated features or prime time animated shows into an unashamed cartoon studio, that studio would clean up. I think it would largely kill at least all the Pixar and Simpsons imitators.


Maybe the next generation of cartoonists will see all these possibilities on the blogs and then do what's so obviously fun and right.

BTW, if you click the label "cartoony" below it will take you to other posts about particularly cartoony cartoonists.

Isn't it crazy that we have to add an adjective to cartoons so that you will recognize the ones who actually draw cartoony?

I'll put up the clips from these scenes this weekend so you can see how much the animation is.

66 comments:

katzenjammer studios said...
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katzenjammer studios said...

Thank John for the post, it was a nice and inspiring way to start my day working on a non-cartoony show. The Mighty B seems like it is in the right direction but what do I have to do to change the culture? Would pitching to Random Cartoons who take more of a risk on first time creators help. Or do you just have to do it independently to save your sanity? I've found that most people here just see their work as a job and dont care about revitalizing cartoons. They dont draw at lunch or even watch cartoons as much as I can tell. I won't let them extinguish my spark but what does it take to reignite theirs? I dont want this job to turn me bitter. What do I do?

katzenjammer studios said...
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katzenjammer studios said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JohnK said...

Hi Katzenjammer

where do you work?

Ryan G. said...

>But some smart studio oughta make room for real cartoons and really funny cartoonists and let them loose to actually use their imaginations.<

You are that smart studio John..

katzenjammer studios said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
peldma3 said...

wow this sums it all up nicely with-out being mean to anybody!

Great post,... I think will see some good NEW cartoons soon!

Evan said...

here's my theory:

the reason for non-cartoony cartoons nowadays because most of the really popular cartoons like Simpsons, South Park, Family Guy are all for "adults" and they don't think that cartoony-type gags will be liked by adults. Looney Toons and Ren & Stimpy are probably the most successful cartoony cartoons, and they were both considered children's shows. Whereas shows like the Flintstones were more like sitcoms, and were watched by adults as well.

the theory then trickles down into cartoons that actually are for kids, they don't want to come off as too young, because kids today want to be little adults and have cellphones and ipods instead of toys of cartoon doggies.

what do you think?

Sean Worsham said...

>nickelodeon

I'm sorry Katzenjammer :(

Maybe you should work on videogames,
the schedules aren't too tight and you get to go home and do your own thing. I like making my own cartoons (no one can tell me what's good as most peoples opinions suck and has no relation to cartoons but LIVE ACTION!) and then I like to show my cartoons online where people who appreciate it can watch it regardless. C'mon Katz you can do it! I know how you feel.

JohnK said...

Evan:

How does that explain animated features?

peldma3 said...

to Katzenjammer-
I draw baby cartoons for sesame street and other boring stuff like that that's been done a hundred times, for what reason they need to do the owl and the pussycat AGAIN I don't understand ? .... But, I can't wait for a spare second where I can work on my own stuff!... I draw at work and come home and draw some more...I pitched a bunch of shows to the networks unsolicited , "I'm working on one now "... They kindly rejected them and even told me what they WERE looking for. , But it doesn't stop me!

I think if you want to make something happen , and nobodies doing it ... try it yourself.. the worst that can happen is ... nothing.
If you want to work on your own stuff , you won't stop !

Kali Fontecchio said...

Sure we'll bring back cartoony cartoons.....really sloooooowly.


Popeye has to be the most uninuqe character, well besides Olive Oyl!

Evan said...

I think animated features somewhat suffer from wanting to be more adult too, but because they want to appeal to adults as well. for features they ALWAYS mention, "Hey this is the cartoon the whole family can enjoy!" the kids will love it and there's some sexual innuendo jokes in there for mom and dad too that Jr. won't understand!

The second part of the theory on movies, is the damn 3d modeling. its too technical, anyone can't pick it up like drawing with a pencil, from what I know of the process, (I've had a class in Maya and Cinema 4D, which I hated both) it seems to me like more of a tool for creating realistic concepts of a building or automobiles, than to make good cartoons with. I'm sure there are some skilled people out there that could force the medium to do cartoony things, but they don't seem to be working for the movie industry, if at all.

and because you have to learn such an amazingly complex program to even start modeling, it probably ends up being a bunch of computer nerds doing it who aren't that artistic. (I have another theory that great programmers aren't often great designers as well and vice versa).

The holy grail of 3d animation seems to be, how realistic can you get your stuff to look. Look at the backgrounds in that new Ratatouille trailer posted on here earlier, it looks like cartoon mice running around in REAL backgrounds. And people always try to post their models of humans online that look completely real but WHAT! ITS A 3D MODEL?!?! WOW!!!

To me, we already have real people and real cars and buildings, why do we need to build and animate fakes ones? Yet for some reason, this is what impresses people at the movies currently.

Peter F. Bernard, Jr. said...

Slightly off-topic, but I was looking at public domain cartoons on americafree.tv last night and half the cartoons they showed were done by Tytla and Germanetti. Famous Studios stuff, very different style, but some hot chicks in the cartoons here and there that were cool.

Peter Welsiack said...

Hi John!

That close-up you just posted from Date to Skate is George Germanetti's animation without a doubt! I heard from a friend that Bob Jaques had identified the animator of the scene.

Your #1 Fan,
Peter Welsiack

Shawn said...

>>The Pixars and Dreamworks and Disneys could exist if they wanna make the same films over and over again. If they want to abandon all cartoon tradition, fine. But some smart studio oughta make room for real cartoons and really funny cartoonists and let them loose to actually use their imaginations.<<

THANK YOU!!! That's exactly how I feel! If people like the Disney and Dreamworks stuff they are doing now (and I don't know why anyone would), then that's just fine...but whattabout people like me who like cartoony stuff? I have NOTHING to enjoy anymore. Why does there ONLY have to be one way of doing features now, and why the Hell does EVERY friggin' movie have to be CG from now until the end of time? At least if they mixed it up a little, then the people who don't dig that style might have SOMETHING to look foreward to.

Thank God some of the cartoons from the 30's and 40's are being released on DVD, so I can at least enjoy something. If it wasn't for that, I'd probably just assume I hate cartoons.

Jeremy said...

I get allot of info from your blog but it seems like sometimes I have to take things with a grain of salt.

It seems like you're really against the way things are run in nowadays in the cartoon world. And would love to see things how they used to be.

do you think cartoons should always look like they did in the 30, 40 and 50s?

do you think all characters should look, act and animate like the examples you give on this blog?

should they all be funny and entertaining?

I'm not trying to come off rude or anything.
I read your blog everyday and sometimes I think that animation should really carry a vibe of something special instead of just a pie in the face.

maybe if it means something to the animator then it will mean something to the public.

.. or maybe I'm talking out of my butt.

JohnK said...

Hi Jeremy,

Thanks for your comment, but I have to say I'm baffled that anyone would defend blandness.

>>do you think cartoons should always look like they did in the 30, 40 and 50s?<<

That would be a lot more variety than we have now.

I'm tired of seeing the same thing over and over again and crave some creativity.

Do my cartoons look like the 30s to you? They were a new "style" but I followed the tradition of using the medium that most animators did back then. That's not restrictive. What we have today is extremely restrictive.

>>
should they all be funny and entertaining?<<

Heavens no, they should be bland and boring.


>>I doubt any of that formula stuff means anything to the animators besides a regular paycheck. It probably means something to the tasteless executives who rework it to death.

Peter:

Thanks again. George Germanetti's the man then!

Charles said...

It would be much easier to make a cartoony or edgy TV show than a major studio movie. All of those cost so much to make that they won't put anything in there that people haven't seen before. There might be cartoony gags in a couple of these movies but they'll be gags everybody is familiar with. There hasn't been a hugely successful animated picture for adults except for spin-offs of TV shows.

It's a shame that there's never been a cartoony animated movie, except for a few independent ones. The mind boggles to think what Clampett would have done if he'd had an hour and a half instead of seven minutes. If he'd made a movie things would be a lot different.

JohnK said...

>>There might be cartoony gags in a couple of these movies but they'll be gags everybody is familiar with.<<

and then they'll stage them with the wrong angle. Some Spielberg live action angle that kills the gag.

>>All of those cost so much to make that they won't put anything in there that people haven't seen before.<<

That doesn't assure their success. Look at all the bombs. They might as well make them entertaining and increase the chances of success.

Jeremy said...

>>should they all be funny and entertaining?<<

.. yeah that sounds weird, what I meant was should they all be slapstick and stuff?

would you appreciate a cartoon that isn't funny?

JohnK said...

>>would you appreciate a cartoon that isn't funny?<<

I haven't yet.

I like lots of live action that is "serious". But it's entertaining.

It's boring I hate. Not unfunny.

Slapstick is not the only kind of funny cartoon. Good funny drawings does not equal merely slapstick.

PCUnfunny said...

Katzenjammer: You pour soul.

BrianMORANTE said...

You make some really good points here, John. Something I've wondered over the last few years, where is the next generation of funny cartoonists going to come from? I learned by watching looney tunes, hanna barbara, popeye, and eventually ren and stimpy. A lot of those shows were on tv every day or every week for me but now (unless you have super deluxe cable, or buy $50 dvds)they are nearly non exsistent for kids. Every kid I meet today that draws cartoons is either drawing yu-gi-oh or drawing in "butch hartman style".

With all the technology we have access to and a world wide distributor the best way to bring back cartoony cartoons is everyones gotta start makin' them yourselves. Thats what I'm doin', but as Kali said above, "rreaaallly slooowwly".

PCUnfunny said...

EVAN: A need for animated features trying to be adult isn't the reason why they suck. There were plently of adult jokes in the old cartoons.They reason why these animated features suck is because they are artistically bankrupt.

Kris said...

I think the big problem here is money. They spend so much making kind of dull but moderately successful CG movies that they're reluctant to put money into anything else.

I hope Disney's 2D animation unit starts doing well again. If it does, maybe more studios would be open to 2D shorts or features, and someone might be willing to bankroll funny cartoons.

And I think Ratatouille looks like a cute movie. I'm sure it won't be very funny and it won't have an ingenious plot or acting, but it will be cute. Bad trailer, though.

peldma3 said...

it would be cool if a bunch of like minded anitmators or small studios would put together a modern fantasia like cartoony cartoon.
each team would make their own short and put them together into a film.

Ryan G. said...

>its too technical, anyone can't pick it up like drawing with a pencil, from what I know of the process, (I've had a class in Maya and Cinema 4D, which I hated both) it seems to me like more of a tool for creating realistic concepts of a building or automobiles, than to make good cartoons with.<

Its a skill. It takes awile to get good at modeling. Taking one class of Maya probably was frustrating for you, as it is for most. If you took one drawing class you would be ready to make 2d cartoons? Being able to model extremely well might take 3-4 years..while drawing extremely well definitly takes longer.(a life time for some) Maya is great for organic cartoony stuff..3D Studio Max for architecture and hard edge stuff.. You can make whatever you want in either program.

>it probably ends up being a bunch of computer nerds doing it who aren't that artistic.<

You would kill to have a fraction of the talent some of these 3D animator have. Its the same principles of 2D.

Its either sitting in front of a computer all day or sitting in front of a drawing desk.. We are all nerds with things we are passionate about.

The thing is, 3d still cant do everything 2D can..I do agree, alot of 3d needs improvement, but its not all crap.

Thom said...

Hi John,

I'm all for bringing back real cartoon shorts, but I don't think it would work very well in feature length films, because in order to capture our attention for that long we need a little more than funny drawings and slapstick (to be overly simplistic). We have to care about the characters and that's hard to do without some pathos. I'm in agreement that the character designs were generally more interesting in the past, and that we've overdone the "realistic" style of animation. Looking at the extended clip from Ratatouille really brings this in sharp relief. You're absolutely right -- we can't compete with live actors, so why try so hard? Having worked in feature animation for years, I can attest that it takes at least 10 times as long to animate this way than in the classic cartoon way. It gets quite dull to polish, polish, polish those f-curves all day long. So, yeah, I'm all for using the animated medium to its fullest extent, which means to me having lots of variety and going beyond verisimilitude of reality.

In a cartoon you can do anything! So why do we limit ourselves so much?

Marcelo Souza said...

I think that all boils down to human insecurity. Most people in this business don't know what they are talking about and can't see "real" quality if hits them in the face. They are waiting form someone else's opinion to form their "own". I had directors who loved my stuff in private just to trash it a few minutes later when the show's creator didn't like it for some particular reason. The boss's ass kissing that you have to hear everyday is vomit inducing. People tend to be competitive and mean also and they will use anything to put you down, so young cartoonists out there, don't be discouraged! Just wait and see when a truly good cartoony show breaks trough everyone is going to jump on the bandwagon, just like what happened with R & S.

JohnK said...

>>because in order to capture our attention for that long we need a little more than funny drawings and slapstick (to be overly simplistic).<<

Hi Thom

I can't believe how many times I have to answer this.

These movies have LESS character and depth than old shorts.

They are BORING. If an audience has to sit through a long period of time you should make things more exciting and fun than a short, not less.

How do people actually justify the argument that because features are longer they have to be less interesting?

Filler is filler.
I have never argued to make everything the same way. Quite the opposite.

What we get now is everything the same way.

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

We have to care about the characters and that's hard to do without some pathos.

I care about Bugs and Daffy. I root for them on a subconscious level, as my alter-egos. Bambi's mother got killed and I didn't care one bit.

Art F. said...

cartoony cartoons are what made me as a kid, want to become a cartoonist/animator. i tend to be of the opinion that kids don't know what funny cartoons are because they don't get to see them anymore. my daughter loves to watch looney tunes, felix, flintstones, and especially anything made by Tex Avery. she always laughs her butt off. she doesn't understand why other kids would rather watch two "cartoon" characters fighting each other endlessly instead of watching Foghorn Leghorn spank a dog with a stick.

Paul B said...

John, if one of these days you make a feature, it would be a completely new experience for all! a movie without filling, just fun.

Wow!

i hope that i be still alive to see it

Mr. Semaj said...

Has anyone noticed in the first Popeye image has has NO teeth? :-/

The better question would be "How Can We Make Cartoons FUN Again?" I've seen a lot of current cartoons, whether or not they're "cartoony", that have great concepts, but the hosting companies make them boring (The Wild Thornberrys, Juniper Lee) or annoying as hell (The Proud Family).

DTN said...

Thanks for posting these great Popeye stills and clips , John.

Weird how the Fleischer films were generally looked down upon by many of the West Coast animators . A comment made by Bob McKimson in an interview comes to mind :


"we tried to learn from Disney... but we would never look up to anything like Terrytoons or what Fleischer was doing. Popeye cartoons are terrible. They look like a child drew them."
-Robert McKimson, 1977

Matt Greenwood said...

All of those cost so much to make that they won't put anything in there that people haven't seen before.

I agree. I think a lot of this is due to cost. The bigger the industry, the more money they're dealing with, the more people working on something, the more the studio is gambling with, the less risks they'll take. I doubt Dreamworks can afford to take any risks and offend the massive group of idiots that are going to see what they loved about the first two movies.

It's the same with films. Blockbusters are rarely as good as lower budget films because the studios will take less interest in interfering because they're not risking as much money. And all of these Disney movies and CGI movies must cost loads to make because the result is totally playing it safe.

Dispite whether people think doing it the right way will make more money, it's hard to deny that a big budget will end up watering down a cartoon because executives who don't want to take any risks.

Roberto González said...

Well, that's more I like it.;)

Now, I really like you mentioned the voices, that whole famous actor thing has gone too far. Classic cartoons or even some TV cartoons have distinct voices and they really add a lot to the characters. I won't like Homer more if , I don't know, Bobby De Niro or someone would make the voice...if Bobby De Niro can make a distinct voice then fine, but probably there is someone who is not well known that can provide a more unusual voice.

Looney Tunes look totally great but it wasn't until I started watching them in english that I fully understood the characters. The spanish dubbing was ok-ish, but Mel Blanc WAS everyone of those characters, it was amazing, it is really surprising how different is Daffy's from Sylvester's character with a so similar voice.

LSDead said...

Mr. K I love you blog as it keeps me in high hopes that my son wont live in world without cartoons that are happy being toons like when I was growing up. How can I work for you? You share the same ideas and philosophies that I feel are true in cartoons and I couldnt think of anything better than to work for you. I'm a doodler and have a lot of drawings and can submit you art if you'd like. PLEASE let me know how I can work for you or a cartoon company like yours. Thank you so much. I am willing to move to work for you and my wife supports me 1000%

Bob Flynn said...

You hit the nail on the head. Animation should be fun and imaginative. I'm an illustrator, but i get a lot of my inspiration from cartoony cartoons of the 20s and 30s. And I hack my way as a Flash animator. The reason why I animate is to bring absurd drawings and ideas to life.

Rodrigo said...

Hey JK,

I've posted one of ten interstitials on my blog. Take a gander if you wish.

http://cidcartoons.blogspot.com/

Andy J. Latham said...

Hi John, what do you think about Disney going back to animated shorts? I realise that their style isn't the same as the Popeye one you used in this post, but it's got to be a good move for animation hasn't it?

Oliver_A said...

In my opinion, Disney should not continue to make hand animated films. I think they screwed up very badly in the 90's and 00's and I personally hold them responsible that animated feature films are said to be boring, bland and unexciting. And it won't get better considering the story of "The Frog Princess". The same shit as usual.

You know what animation also can do? It also can have a very poetic side. I'm not talking about Disney. Disney is unimaginative, dishonest and full of clichees.

No, I am talking about people like Hayao Miyazaki, whose animated features, IMHO, stomp every modern Disney production deeply into the ground. The artwork is beautiful in those movies, and he manages to create a serious, exciting, animated universe, making you dream. Spirited Away and Howls's Moving Castle blow every animated western feature of the 21st century away, including all this CGI crap.

John, what is your opion about Miyazaki? Can animation be fascinating and beautiful while remaining "serious", non cartoony?

Gabriel said...

You would kill to have a fraction of the talent some of these 3D animator have. Its the same principles of 2D.

That's a big stretch. I've modeled a lot, mostly in 3d studio max, before getting fed up with cg. Whenever I miss 3d, you know what i go back to? CLAY! There's no comparison, there's nothing artistic in worrying about vertices and vectors, that part should be invisible to the modeler. The technical side of cg is still a big obstacle to many artistically oriented individuals. It prevents them from doing their best andit scares them away altoghether. I happen to like computers and have no problem memorizing hundreds of keyboard shortcuts, but many people are not like that. Many people who kick ass in "real" sculpture are not like that, and i have yet to see a software that makes it easy and intuitive to them. Z-brush is a little better, but there's still a lot of room for improvement.

Ramon said...

Hi John,

From my own recent experience with CGI and Maya, doing cartoony characters is QUITE complicated.

With a pencil, you don't have other phisical constraint other than the screen borders. Models in 3D have serious constraints in terms of squashing and stretching. deformation abilities. I can tell, because I tried, and it was horrible.

So it is with other kinds of animation. Stop-motion or cut-out.

So far, the nearest-to-cartoon production I've seen was Madagascar (and wasn't that good, either).

Have you seen anything in CGI that you could tell "this is *near* what I'd like"?

Roberto González said...

>>Blockbusters are rarely as good as lower budget films because the studios will take less interest in interfering because they're not risking as much money. And all of these Disney movies and CGI movies must cost loads to make because the result is totally playing it safe.

Dispite whether people think doing it the right way will make more money, it's hard to deny that a big budget will end up watering down a cartoon because executives who don't want to take any risks.>>

Definitely. That's entirely the problem. We need more animated movies without a blockbuster philosophy, but good enough to make money. It's funny how in the old days of cinema they could both do a commercial movie that was also a masterpiece, and now they usually won't, though there is some movies tagged as "independent" that finally make pretty good in box office.

I think it should not be "independent" films or "blockbusters", only good and bad films, all movies should be more or less equal in advertising (or at least the differences should not be so big) and we won't give a shit about how much they have spent in the making. But apparently it's too idealistic to think like that.

Tibby said...

I really wish I could be in a studio and lend my talents to the pool. I am brimming with good ideas and have the talent to boot. But for some reason nobody hires me. And there aren't any jobs or studios where I live. Most are in Canada or in CA where you are Mr. K.

I am an extrordinarily talented cartoonist - always learning how to improve my techniques. And I can animate traditionaly - on paper, with pencil and ink, not a computer. Well - the computer assembles the animation for me ... but other than that - I try to avoid the Flash tween formula.

I would really give my spleen, liver, intestines ... anything to be able to work with someone like you Mr. K. And work on cartoons. But ... Like I said - no jobs and I always get passed up for someone else. It's a fiercly competitive market - and I really don't know what to do about it anymore. :(

At least you keep the spirit alive!

Tibby said...

Hmmm - some of the problem I think with the feature films (like Shrek and Ratatuolle- can't spell)

Is that the marketing department rules - not the animators or cartoonists. And that they put a huge chunk of money into getting semi-famous actors to do the voices. You know - from the sound aspect (and sound has a lot to do with cartoons), there are some just as talented , lesser known voice actors out there that can voice a character just as well as a "famous actor, A-List celebrity" type. BUT - the producer thinks that an A-List celebrity is what draws ppl to the film - not the art. It's a very bad case of mis-understanding of everything on their parts.

CG is not the downfall of cartoons. It is merely a different medium to work with. Anyone with enough drive can learn how to adapt 2D to 3D and do it well. There is a division between 2D artists and 3D artists - and they don't get along very well. But - if they did, their artwork qualities would greatly improve all around. Don't blame technology or CGI because it is not the culprit. The computer is merely a tool - like a pencil or a paintbrush, no matter what dimension you use with it. I can create both mediums - although I prefer 2D. But I use 3D lessons and a stage in my head in 3dimensions when I make a 2D cartoon. Sculpting is something every 2D artist should try - it really helps with perspective and depth.

Not all cartoons have to be wacky old style WB from the 30s. You can make more serious epics in animation. Anime' does it all the time, Akira is the best example of making a serious storyline. It is how one uses their talent and applies it that makes the show compelling.

Thom said...

JohnK said:
"These movies have LESS character and depth than old shorts.

They are BORING. If an audience has to sit through a long period of time you should make things more exciting and fun than a short, not less."

I emphatically agree with you, with the only exception being the Pixar films, which for all their faults, still manage to be fun to watch (at least for nearly all my non-animator friends -- I'm somewhat jaded myself). I agree that these could be much better by following the advise you give here.

All I was clumsily trying to get at in my post was that a feature length Road Runner cartoon, for instance, would lose most people's interest after 30 minutes or so. I don't think this is what you're advocating, so maybe my point is moot.

Anyways, I encourage you to keep offering an alternative to the current animation rut we're in. We can do much, much better.

Ryan G. said...

>>The technical side of cg is still a big obstacle to many artistically oriented individuals. It prevents them from doing their best andit scares them away altoghether.<<

I dont see the argument here...So if something is hard to learn then really talented people just give up? Thats BS. It seems like to me, really talented artistiic people go out of their way to learn what needs to be learned in order to better themselves at whatever medium they are working with. Unfortunatly, 3D software isnt something you can pickup overnight, like you can with drawing, or painting, or sculpting, or Photoshop or FLash, or Painter right?

Learning 3D will improve your drawing skills, just like sculpting with clay. If you animate with it, it will improve your 2D animation skills as well. Animating in 3D stresses pose to pose (keyframing), working with arcs, squash and stretch, follow through, secondary actions, timing, etc..

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

RyanG: In my opinion the industry rushed to computers too fast. They're the future of animation no doubt, but current programs are clunky, expensive and labor-intensive.

I pity the poor kid in Kansas who wants to draw at his kitchen table. Cartooning used to be a kind of grass-roots art of the people. Now it's the art of kids who can afford high-powered computers, expensive programs, $1500 cintiques, extensive courses, etc.

Imagine how far Impressionism would have gotten if tubes of paint had been $500 apiece.

I'm glad to hear that your drawing skill actually improved by using 3D programs but I know a number of people who were harmed by it. Thanks to 3D, drawing skills are considered obsolete in some circles.

Bob Harper said...

John - I agree a 100% that a "cartoony" studio would kick butt. Working at Cartoon Network on Fosters with Pringle has allowed us to push Flash in a more cartoony direction, but nowhere near the classics.

I find it odd that when Roger Rabbit exploded on the box office and Ren and Stimpy redefined tv cartoons that there was a quick abandonment to that sensibilty.

You have the power to make the change. You should finish your curriculum, have students pay you for your training by having them work on scenes for your feature. Find a way of segmenting those into shorts, get a sponsor to buy screen time at arthouse theatres to put their logo and intro to your short. get audiences excited about cartoons again, get the feature done and get it distributed. You have revenue from students and sponsors to make your feature, then you exploit it an own the rights and rake in the cash.

Students benefit with real training and credit on an animated feature plus those same sponsors could have creative product placement in the feature. If I had your standing and following - that's what I'd do.

Jay said...

Ryan G,

It scares them away from 3d because they have to focus on all this technical crap that has absolutely nothing to do with ART!

Why should I have to learn how to paint weight maps just so the arm will bend the way I want it to? And THEN I have to create corrective blend shapes, because the weight map alone makes the bend in the arm look unnatural?

Why should I bother with all that technical b.s. when I can simply draw it correctly from the get go?

If I want to do something 3d, I'll go with stopmotion. A wire armature will bend the latex puppet right from the get go.

With 3d I'm more focused on topology, weight maps, texture maps, rigging, scripting, all the fake gi, radiosity, lighting tricks. It's ridiculous! It's months before you can even begin to start animating, and even once you get to that point, you're limited! You can't do anything you want with your character! You're dependant on the rig you made. If you want to do something else that the rig won't support, you have to program another one! And you may have to create a whole new mesh, and weight maps, and blend shapes.

Tell me how all that technical stuff would be enjoyable to an artist?

3d was the first animation I got into, and now, it's the last type I would ever touch. It helped me appreciate how straight forward basically ALL OTHER FORMS of animation are. Other forms allow me to focus on the art, none of these technical steps that are required for someone working with 3d.

Thomas said...

Popeye and Olive should have reproduced. You can bet the result would NOT resemble anything like Swee' Pea -- it would make the baby in "Eraserhead" look cute. This fine commercial hook is exactly what King Features should condone onscreen to bring those characters back.

Tibby said...

I learned a smidgen of 3D in art school, and it was mostly geared to modeling for computer games. The 3D programs are full of complex math, vector points, and angles. But so is the real world. I'm also a hobbyist sculptor and can make a product from a drafting program like a simple Logo Keychain. If you play a lot of MMORPGs like Warcraft, you can get a feel for this. I know many game designers, and they know "simple triganomarty". My signifigant other is a Mechanical Test Engineer. It is not hard to start to learn a new trade or a gain a new perspective. It just takes effort and the willingness to adapt.

Mr. K, you wrote the single most important line in cartoon/entertainment history:
"If you want to survive, you have got to adapt". Muddy Mudskipper.

I forced myself to learn how to animate in Flash. I read thru the tutorials and developed a process that works for me. For animators who want to make Flash cartoons, but cannot get used to the interface of the program. I suggest TOON BOOM. It is a Flash program that is geared more towards the traditional animator's workspace. Using traditional animation terms and dope-sheet style planning. Some of the older traditionalists might find that program more to their liking. There is no mystery to it. And you can "ghetto" it and get along just fine without a $1500 Cintique. I Ghetto my animation with just my scanner and my tablet.

It all comes down to how much effort one applies. Not what tool you use. 3D artists have got a lot of usefull ideas to share. And they would like to learn some 2D ideas too.

btw That Fosters Friends cartoon on CN absolutely sucks. I hate the geometric, tweened, flat, typicaly Flash toon style. I was bored to death trying to watch 1 episode. It represents all that is bad with Flash cartoonism. It gives Flash toons a bad representation of what they could be.
Sorry Im so harsh , I suppose that hurts me - but I'm thru with namby-pambying around the opinion. I'm surprised that MY traditional art skills are thrown in the trash over the style of something like that Fosters Friends cartoon. It makes me ill, physicaly ill, like a blow to the gut.
I shall be ducking now - I am about to get punched ;)

Roberto González said...

I actually love Foster's cartoon. It has great dialogue and entertaining stories. Everything is based on the characters and feels very natural. It's equally entertaining for adults and kids. Best cartoon on tv right now IMO.

Visually it's a little in the limit of being too rigid and geometrical, and it can even have some (little) resemblances to South Park, but they use fun and exaggerated expressions in context every now and then and the colors are beautiful.

It is clearly not using all the range of expressions they could use and they eventually forget rules like the line of action in some characters cause they don't move so much. But the designs are good, it's only that some characters just don't change their posture very much. Though when they actually do you can see the people working on the show knows how to draw good and funny expressions.

Ryan G. said...

Gabriel, Eddie and Jay:
Hey guys, I agree with all the technical mumbo jumbo that goes on with 3D programs. Its very time consuming and not always artistically rewarding. No one gets into the industry wanting to be a rigger or paint weights for a living, but thats where you start off. I think we may be going off on a tangent here anyway.. Im not trying to defend 3D to the death or anything, I really like animating in 2D better. Learning to model could help some understand 3 dimentional form better and animating in 3D will help them become a better 2D animators. The fact is though, that we are all going to have to learn new programs like Flash, Photoshop, ToonBoom, After Effects, or 3D programs. Having an extensive knowledge of programs will only better you, and allow you to do more with your cartoons and animations.

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

I find Foster's unwatchable. Whatever might be good about it I can't stay long enough to find out.

The motion is so boring, it sucks the life right outta me.

Mr. Semaj said...

I just completed one urban planning course where we were given projects involving the use of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Macromedia Flash.

All of those programs, particularly Photoshop, are complicated, and it seems to depend of what the actual project is as to whether or not it's worth trying. So far, the best one would be InDesign.

Jim Rockford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim Rockford said...

John,you hit the nail on the head,what we have NOW is rigid and confining!
there is very little being done creativly now,everthing is very formulaic,a rehash,just do the same thing that sold the last time over and over just change the names and locations,this is true of not just cartoons,but in the entire entertainment industy,and product design fields as well,to the excutives this is just a bussiness,and as long as the public keeps eating the same dog food they keep dishing out,they dont see any need to be creative.
Take cars for example,back in the 50's and 60's (the late 50's especially) the designer was king,you could tell each car and model apart from the others.creativity was important back then.look at how stunning and dramatic Virgil Exners Forward Look cars are! nowadays the cars all look alike,the only difference is the name badge they slap on them.
Everything is very formula driven,uninspired and boring,yet we have people out there that still blindy think we have progressed just because they dont have the abilty to descriminate between daring and fun,and boring bland but modern.
They're plugging the hell out of the new shrek movie on tv,and if what theyve shown to entice us into going to the theatres in the commercials actually works it proves how this formula works.

Jim Rockford said...

<"the reason for non-cartoony cartoons nowadays because most of the really popular cartoons like Simpsons, South Park, Family Guy are all for "adults" and they don't think that cartoony-type gags will be liked by adults. Looney Toons and Ren & Stimpy are probably the most successful cartoony cartoons, and they were both considered children's shows. Whereas shows like the Flintstones were more like sitcoms, and were watched by adults as well.">






WHAT IS SO ADULT ABOUT FAMILY GUY?

That show is nothing but one fart joke and pop culture reference after the other! All Seth MacFarlane did was attempt to one up the Simpsons by being more offensive than them.
that show has really set a new low even for Fox.
why is it that crude humor,pointless pop culture references and the use of profanity ever few seconds for shock value is all it seems it takes to have a hit show now.
everyone is doing the same damn thing!

I personally dont think most intelligent adults think real "cartoony" cartoons are for children,
Ren and Stimpy was fantastic and funny,it was slightly subversive and it appealed to both adults and children,much like soupy sales and the three stooges do.
What about cartoons like "red hot riding hood" they could be both cartoony and "adult" at the same time?
Shows like South Park,The Simpsons,Family Guy and its clone American Dad are lazy cartoons for todays jaded "I gotta hear something offensive every minute" generation,they simply appeal to the lowest common denominator and bring nothing creative or original to animation.
they are written like present day sitcoms,they just toss out cynical, ironic ,foul mouthed, in your face remarks about society and spout pop culture references every minute or so in an attempt to seem "hip".
they are blunt and offensive rather than being inventive to be funny.
I would think the publics enchantment with this crap would be have worn off by now.
20 years from now those shows are going to fall apart.
The kind of people who would dismiss real cartoons as kiddie entertainment are the same morons who refuse to watch a show because it's black and white and doesnt have a hip-hop soundtrack,or has a plot that requires them to have an attention span of greater than 2 seconds.
I am sick of attitude and sarcasm everywhere I look,everyones doing the same show!lets make some cartoons that are funny and fun to watch again!!
I am so sick and tired of this present trend,even the commercials are all sarcastic and smart assed,nobody even pays attetion to them anymore.

Jorge Garrido said...

"the reason for non-cartoony cartoons nowadays because most of the really popular cartoons like Simpsons, South Park, Family Guy are all for "adults" and they don't think that cartoony-type gags will be liked by adults."

Uhh... no other show on TV right now has "cartoonier gags" than South Park, and that's a fact. Even if you hate it, they do things on that show that can't happen in real life.

A woman goes into rehab. The rehab is shown as a literal revolving door, with people in a huge line going in at the same time people are coming out in perpetual motion.

A family with butts for faces.

Someone blows up a building by putting marshmallow peeps in the microwave on Easter. "PEEEPS!!!"

A talking, dancing, and singing poo. And his family.

Cartman sits on a two humped camel, or so it seems. When he gets off it reforms into a one humped came. Cartman was just really, really fat.

Cartman kisses Osama Bin Laden on the mouth and smashes him with a giant hammer.

Cartman dresses up like a beautiful arabian princess to seduce OSama, and Osama falls in love, his eyeballs pop out of his heads, and his 7 foot long tongue unrolls out on the floor and rolls up like window blinds. He then kisses his love: THE CAMEL!!

After being blown up, Osama's teeth fall out to the tune of "America the Beautiful"

Need anymore evidence? Adults love cartoony gags.

Roberto González said...

Jim, The Simpsons have some flaws and John K. has already pointed some of them before, but this criticism can't be applied; cheap offensive stuff for the sake of having it has never been the philosophy of the show, not even in its worst episodes. Despite all the Bart Simpson fever during the early 90's, they don't try to be "hip" either, they usually avoid doing episodes about things that won't be remembered in the future.

In fact, one could argue that Ren and Stimpy APC was more offensive than The Simpsons and even Family Guy. The difference is that in APC you didn't know how things were going to turn out, while FG is all about boring and predictable gags, the most offensive part of the joke is how unimaginative it is.

VertMB said...

hehehe Popeye with boobs!