Monday, August 27, 2007

Amid's Gift To You

Amid Amidi sent me this clip and a note:


hey john - i think this is a perfect example of the generic stock
acting we see in cartoons nowadays. i wanted to punch somebody after
watching it:





hope all's well,
amid


I didn't think this was as bad as a cartoon as Amid did. It looks a lot better than the last one we looked at- that furry-grafitti style cartoon.

I found this cartoon very interesting. Yes, it has the zippy bounce from every pose to pose acting style we've been discussing, but strangely they've combined it with a big dose of Ren and Stimpy influence (and some Klasky Csupo). It's weird to see surface elements of my style but performed with modern cartoon acting zip-style.

The design, the gross stuff, abstract backgrounds and the gritted teeth are right out of Spumco cartoons. This is somewhat flattering but a mystery to me at the same time.

The one thing that I thought made Ren and Stimpy truly different than other cartoons was the detailed and convincing personalities.

These were conveyed to the audience through the:

Voice acting
Posing
Large amount of varied Expressions - In context to the story
Variety in acted timing- they didn't just bounce from one stock expression to the next, they thought about everything they were doing and saying

For some reason, the layered and human acting in Ren and Stimpy stuff hasn't seemed to influence anyone. Personality and Acting seem to remain formulaic and simple in cartoons of every budget and climate.


You know, it's actually fun to observe people's personalities and gestures and expressions in real life, and then to try to get some of that into cartoons. Or sometimes, to just make something up that you've never seen before.

I think that the main reason so many cartoons don't do that is because of extreme conservatism. Fear of breaking the habits. Every human endeavor has traditions and arbitrary rules.

Many people think . "Well a cartoon can't move like that, or make that kind of expression. It has to move and look like what we have been doing for so long."

Why?

Because that's the way it's done.

32 comments:

Anne-arky said...

I've seen this before, but in French.

I always kind of wondered why their blood is white. To make it less gory somehow? If you're going to send a chainsaw through a character's head, why not go the whole nine yards?

Just a thought...

ataricat said...

This just shows to go ya how much length has to do with accepting a crazier style. All this hectic, unstructured popping all over the place is fine for 3 minutes, but you'd have a migraine after 30.

Dume3 said...

That cartoon is so visually ugly. The mixed up too many things--calarts, spumco, pixar, anime.

Have any of you ever seen the show "Ben 10". It is the UGLIEST cartoon ever made. Look at the color palette. Disgusting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KRWRnlP3-8

trevor said...

well, people who do CGI and call it animation are a varied lot, but i think it's to do with the overt desire to make something, but the actual fear of failing overpowers it.

think about it. all of the variables that a computer works out for you ( remember -- i know only basic surface knowledge of CG ) beforehand, such as how far or near a character is to the camera, angles, shine, light sources, etc is essentially what an animator has to do on their own.

this is why i believe CGI will never do what cartoons do EVER.... because it's not trying to achieve the same thing, it's trying to immitate it. and also, when you have an artist creating something, versus someone who has an eye for things that are visually appealing trying to create, the artist's result is going to be ten times better every time.

there's definitely a spumco influence in that "cartoon". but they just noticed ren and stimpy, they clearly didn't study it.

Rodrigo said...

I agree. I think animation lacks character today. My favorite actors are the guys who have DISTINCT personalities and mannerisms: Jack Nicholson, Humphrey Bogart, Jack Black, Christopher Walken, etc . . .

A lot of these guys are a bit off, be it intentionally or not, but the point is, is that they have substance.

Do you believe it's possible for CG animation to capture that same characterization that 2D can?

TS said...

Part of what happens when something "grounbreaking" or "new" comes along is that people pick up on it and will tend to copy it in a more distilled form. You can see it from music, to movies, to cartoons. Eventually something has to give and a new paradigm comes along. Cartoons like this are the visual equivalent of drinking powdered Country Time Lemonade straight from the can.

I would have to say that I found this one particularly annoying though.

Brilliantpants said...

The reason the personality and acting of Ren and Stimpy hasn't influenced most people is because puting it into a cartoon requires thought and effort beyond "Hm, how many gross things can I cram into two mintues" Which is what most R&S knock-offs seem to try and do.

Drifta39 said...

That was quite good.

I just wished that they would maybe stretch a few of the gags (especially when the frog berserks) and make them a bit longer.

And it's TOO "zip zip zip pose"... it's almost as if they're doing it deliberately to prove the point you made before.

Matt B said...

This is off-topic, but I took that Oswald clip you posted a few days ago and broke it down and studied it. Here's the link to the work I did, if you want to see it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GSp9ATUty0

Jason Barnes said...

funny timing. it is a short that incorporates that spastic timing, however the characters fit with it. so it works. I also dug the brutal gags throughout. that end chainsaw through the head was priceless.

diego cumplido said...

I've hated almost all the CGI animation I've seen in my life, EXCEPT this little french short made by students:

"musicotherapie", does anybody else find it interesting?.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikz5hPONszM

I suppose I remembered it 'cause the similarities it has with the short you posted.

Roberto said...

I didn't really get this cartoon well. It was not funny, and it I got a strange feeling out of watching it (and it's not good). In fact, I'd rather watch the Surly Squirrel cartoon over this one any day.

BTW, you are right about the Ren and Stimpy influence. The part where the squirrel looks at the chainsaw and says "cool" reminds me of Ren.

The GagaMan(n) said...

Wow, that was a confusing 3 minutes. Everything happened so fast I never really got to take any of it in. I mean, what was there was done nicely enough, and the backgrounds were sweet, but it was just so fast and confusing and most of the time I had no idea what any of the characters were saying.

Ryan G. said...

The voice acting was bad..

Brad said...

a few points:

-the timing was on some damn drugs and I could barely follow it

-they should have scrapped the CGI and used the 2D cartoons you see in the end credits

-the voice sync was almost non-existent and the mouths didn't open wide enough to decipher who was delivering a line.

other than that, if you just took some speed it was pretty cool

Roberto said...

Off topic: You might like this Rod Scribner comic.

:: smo :: said...

i agree with amid.

this is like anime timing and what's going on with the synch?

some of it is interesting but i wouldn't seek it out or watch it again.

diego cumplido said...

"the voice sync was almost non-existent and the mouths didn't open wide enough to decipher who was delivering a line."

I suppose the original cartoon was made in french.

Sam L. said...

Nice little jab at TV Censor:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=TEmVWkLWB6w

Milkshake said...

"For some reason, the layered and human acting in Ren and Stimpy stuff hasn't seemed to influence anyone."

I understand your points in theory, John. But I am always a little confused when I read/hear you point out the above. I will accept that R and S's acting is specific but I never found their personalities to be particularly layered or engaging. (I want to make it clear that I'm speaking about what you claim is there and that you're surprised people don't copy... " the layered and human acting" and not anything to do with the obviously coveted puckered eyelids, dog lips, ball sacks, etc).

I heard in the commentary to the 'Stimpy's Fart' cartoon where Eddie Fitzgerald (I think) talked about how much the cartoon moved him. I didn't buy it. Stimpy went from not knowing what a fart was to calling it his baby with nothing in between. Just as there are zips between poses in modern cartoons, there were plenty of zips between Ren and Stimpy's extreme (if specific) emotions. I think this has been copied plenty by modern cartoons. They may be zipping between fewer emotions than Ren and Stimpy, but I don't think the characters are any less layered than Ren
"You eeeediot!" Hoëk or Stimpy "Joy!" Cat.

Jay said...

I've seen a lot of bad cg shorts, but strangely, I don't think this one's so bad! It's not good, but it's not bad either. It does zip around non-stop though.

gilbo said...

the characters all act pretty much the same and aren't unique enough from each other. theres no rhythm to it and its kinda like a repetitive beat with how it rushes around trying to get to each pose.

Clinton said...

why did the frog turn into the hulk? it felt like watching a dubbed episode of speed racer. the last part was funny, poor quack person. I did like the quack duck and the cat. some killer animation for CGI, lots of squashes and stretches.

James said...

The dubbing on this was so much like the typical stuff you get on anime imports that I couldn't shake the idea that it was a Japanese production at first. It'd be interesting to see it with the original voices.

Chickens And Beandip said...

Sorry to be so crass, but I think you guys are just getting old and cynical. I liked the cartoon alot. I loved Looney Tunes and Ren and Stimpy. I'd watch both everyday after school for years. But I still like Transformers, love South Park and Futurama. Hated Flinstones (as a kid I found the laugh track degrading), Tom and Jerry and Scooby doo. Everyone has different tastes. And to force cartoons back to the era of those styles would be just as stagnating to the industry as anime and the other styles are. I hate anime cartoons, but as a kid there were some I watched not knowing they were anime. I was at the crest of the bubble growing up. Had I been born 5 years later, I'd probably be a pokie freak. I had an animation teacher who told me something intriguing. It's the 14 rule. Everything you see after you turn 14 you hate. All the best everything happened before you turned 14. And it is true in most cases for me. There is some stuff that I like after but it is few and far between. We gotta remember that we aren't the target market anymore. I'm sure most of you played cowboys and indians as a kid, but if you tried selling that idea to a kid now you'd get laughed at. Times change. Each Style has it's own bonuses and draw backs. To each his own.

foist lastus said...

All the 3d characters are built upon the same mode of structure construction. Having pursued the maya learning to build 3d it is evident that all these characters (and scenes) are simple constructs which for the most part don't change in reaction to the other characters actions. The only thing that does change are the formula driven picture maps for eyes, blinks and shape de-formers for parts to move or resize.
The eyebrow animations are an example of this. The sexual undertow focused on characters butts doesn't drive plot and is unnecessary information.

Tommy Brierly said...

The characters here are more distinct than ones in the Surly animation, mostly through the voice acting.

This definitely had "anime" influences written all over it. Rapid fire talking, flashy moving backgrounds, and the expressions made by the frog when he was angry. Very fast paced, had to watch it twice to understand what was going on.

John Young said...

this cartoon is funny 'cuz it's weird. it might not have a lot of character jokes but the movement is bizzare and funny(albeit snappy pose to pose style.) I agree though that if it was any longer it might make you wanna die. I don't think it's ugly, and even if it is, ugly beats bland.

Marius de Moraes said...

Everyone is posting links, and I would really like to read John K's opinion about thisn spanish 'cartoon' for children, so here IT IS...

cemenTIMental said...

this is like anime timing
Not it's not. It does have some visual parody references to certain action anime but that's about as far as the resemblence goes.

Certainly the makers of this cartoon could have learned a lot about timing and direction by actually studying some Japanese animation rather than just pastiching the obvious videogame/dragonball surface stuff...

Friday said...

I, for one, am happy 3d is attempting to go beyond comfortable and realistic resting poses. Characters are popping in and out of action, melting, stretching, changing shapes.
You really don't see this much in 3d, partially because of the software limitations. You exaggerate a pose too much, and all sorts of icky creases and breaks occur in the structure of the model.

Not saying this is an entirely successful piece. The characters are rather lacking...character. Overall The timing and acting aren't working well together yet. I think this has potential, though. Never mind the fast pace - it could prove successful IMO, if the creators sharpen the timing, make it simpler and cleaner. As well as work on the personalities of the animals.

P.S. love those clouds!

Captain Napalm said...

Some of the expressions are pretty good and not totally generic, but they don't read very well due to that annoying even-keeled timing you've talked about. I think the reason so many cartoons get away with being "zippy" like that is because they're still more fun to watch than stuff that's just plain slow. There is some animation out there -later Simpsons in particular- that moves in a way that is both sluggish and inconsistent, to the point where it's like watching a person with carpel tunnel syndrome try to flip a flipbook. So when Family Guy comes on and it's that robot-on-speed popping the whole time, it's actually a relief, even though objectively it's terrible.