Thursday, November 06, 2008

Inbetweens Can Be Fun Too

I animated this scene sort of "straight ahead" - at least the part with Ranger Smith. I actually worked it out first in a tiny flip book at the bottom of a lined yellow pad - my favorite medium of invention.
I had every line of the cartoon memorized, and this was one of my favorite Corey Burton readings. He did an amazing Ranger Smith and I pushed him to his limits.
Anyway, I played the line in my head and quickly made this flip book, then transferred it to actual 12 field paper - which was not an easy task. Boy are guns hard to draw!
You can see that not only are the keys goofy looking, but so are a lot of the inbetweens.
Believe it or not, none of the drawings are at all arbitrary. They aren't just weird for weird sake. My ideas in drawing the scene are completely subject to Corey's reading of the line "YOU THINK I WANT THIS MORE THAN YOU???"

I don't want to animate something that competes for attention with Corey's great acting. I want to drive the acting home - to complement it.
Like I said in the last post - try freeze framing some live action actors sometime. You will see the craziest inbetweens as they wrinkle their brows stuggling to spit out certain words, or in the transition between 2 emotions. People's faces are in constant motion, not only the head action, but the crawling skin and writhing lips and twitching brows. Especially when they are going through a big emotion. Even pretty girls make nasty inbetweens in real life!

A lot of these drawings go by so fast that you don't see them all in real time, but they all add to the emotion - you feel them.
I sometimes hesitate to show stuff like this, because I'm afraid cartoonists will get the idea to just animate everything crazy. To me animating in context of the specific emotion of the scene is much more fun than just arbitrarily drawing everything wacky.
This still follows the basic concepts I talked about in the head-bob posts, although there are a lot more drawings here.
I've never been able to afford a whole cartoon of full animation, but now and then take the time to put a couple scenes in just because it's so much fun.


SoleilSmile said...

Your advice on observing freeze frames of actors reminded me of a great observation you told me to make.

"If you wanna get some great singing facial expressions look at people singing along with their car stereos."

SO true! Especially with me:) It was one of the lectures you gave that made me less afraid of you as a Cal Artian. Keyword: "less".

Rudy Tenebre, esteemed secretary. said...

Did they animate to prerecorded Blanc sessions?--at Warners in the day?

JohnK said...

By the late 30s, everyone pretty much recorded the dialogue first and then animated to it.

How else could you do it?

ArtF said...

very awesome post, John.

mike f. said...

You could do a whole book just consisting of frame grabs of in-between drawings from BBRW and R&S - I'd buy it!

In-betweens from those cartoons are funnier and more expressive than the key extreme poses from everyone else's cartoons.

Deniseletter said...

That's Amazing!To follow the prerecorded voice acting leads to have Expresionistic drawings.

carlo guillot said...

Hey John
Look what I've just found, viewmaster images of Hanna-Barbera's characters.


Hope you like them!

carlo guillot said...

Hey John.
Here's an awesome exhibition of the art of Warner Bros. cartoons, maybe you can go.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Wow! These Ranger Smith animation posts are full of interesting insights. Nice work!

Niki said...

that thing about freeze framing, I've done it before. there as some movie I was watching long ago, I can't remember what it was, this girl was talking and I wanted to draw her picture. So when I freeze framed she happened to be making the ugliest face in the world, and earlier I had thought she was so pretty.

and I always wondered when they recorded the voices

and soleil, about singing, I sing sometimes with my teeth almost clenched. I mean their very visible!

Niki said...

forgot to ask you Mr.John, do you remember this cartoon?

the plummer said...

Well said all throughout this post. I think that's why we giggle when we pause a live action film and it accidentally stops on a ridiculous face of one of the actors!

pappy d said...

Cool post! It just goes to show: there are no inbetweens in Nature.

SoleilSmile said...

In regards to pre-recording sound tracks, I had to animate a flash comic to no music at all for a gig a while ago. The music was added AFTER the comic was laid out. I constantly fought with my director over how long to hold frames for speech balloons and there were no standards on duration established at the studio. Subsequent artists who were hired after me, benefited from my mistakes. Made me kinda angry y'know?

I never knew I had such a problem with timing until then. Silence is NOT golden, in regards to animating.

Can you animate to thin air, John? If so, do you find it uncomfortable?

Larry Levine said...

John, Could you post some of the matching animation drawings? I'd love to see 'em.

Anonymous said...

While it's true that I didn't enjoy the Hanna/ Barbara cartoons you and your crew had put together, your notes & theories on these lost techniques are quite invaluable.

What I saw in some of the very early HB cartoons, funny drawings and decent limited animation, as well as great character designs and voices. It made me think, "Why couldn't we take these concepts and add funnier gags, situations and funnier, more specific expressions?"

Well, why the hell not?

"I got my first chance to try out this idea on a remake of the Jetsons in 1985. I found a bunch of layouts from that show if anyone is interested."

I would love to see those layouts, and any old drawings or doodles that you still have.

If I recall, you had posted a photo of your pop playing darts, and in the background I could see numerous animation cells from the shows you directed, as well for that 'Harlem Shuffle' music video. THAT is what I would love to see. That is, if you still have them.

Have a good one,

From an aspiring animator/ artist

Mr. Semaj said...

One of the only things I enjoyed about these Ranger Smith specials is that the casting for Yogi and Smith were spot on.

Rudy Tenebre, esteemed secretary. said...

Silly question from me, I suppose. I'm not a goddam animator.

Must've been swell to work from those takes.

Cartoon Crank said...

Umm, yeah.
Can we go back to Looney Tunes? Please?

HemlockMan said...

Yeah, but I'll bet no one has as much fun with inbetweens as you do.

Is this toon available anywhere? I saw one of the Yogi shows that you did for Turner. But only once. I'd love to be able to see the other one (there was a second, right?).

Niki said...

hilariously scary the possibility that years for now that these cartoons will be lost in time and some jackass will be analyzing family guy like you've done for HB and Looney toons...

Paul B said...

Hi John

Where i can see A Day in the Life of Ranger Smith cartoon again?

is there any site playing it?

Ben Forbes said...

This stuff is never aired in Canada, so we never get to see it. Is there anywhere online where we can watch it legally?

Jack Ruttan said...

Wow, animation looks hard.

X180 said...

I always loved this cartoon, but I have to say that this one sequence always bugged me since the first time I saw it. The audio and the animation seemed unsynchronized, and they still do.

Particularly when Smith says "YOU?!", his head does not turn to face Yogi to punctuate the explosion of that word; when you hear "You", his head is turned away, and when he turns his head toward Yogi, it's not punctuating anything.

I can't imagine that was intentional. But am I the only one seeing this? Or am I misinterpreting the reverb effect or something?

Rudy Tenebre said...

Viewing the Ice Goose Cometh, strikes me an important cartoon from which you'd develop many subjects and visual relationships.

Not irrelevent to the Ranger Smith genre, wherein rangers and mounties in an elevated lounge appear in Ice Goose, anticipating your Fred and Barney 'tinker-bell' bumpers, and the Ranger Smith variations (different iterations of Smith walking through the woods mutating behind successive trees) in your first R. Smith cartoon.

Likewise Gandy being lashed to Mighty Mouse's ankle while in flight anticipates the Pope and Powdered Toast Man, (then again G. Jetson boinking Mighty Mouse while riding on his back in that little profile in Animation magazine back in 88.)

These preoccuaptions, motifs, etc. really give shape to an artist, his/her tendency to return to them over the course of decades is intrigueing. We all draw from a certain bag of tricks, Chico Marx even disposed to use some of his gambling quips found in his films on his angry wife after playing cards all night: "That's whatta you call a finesse!"

CartoonSteve said...

> tiny flip book at the bottom of
> a lined yellow pad

I think it would be great to see some of those flip books! Tedious to scan one page at a time, but I may have found a solution with this new Canon scanner/printer (PIXMA MX310) since it has a 30 sheet auto feeder.

Great post, John!

Rudy Tenebre said...

Also, in Ice Goose your down and dirty rendition of Hashimoto as a Chinese fry-cook!!

This paen to Terrytoons in MM comparable to your paen to Hanna Barbera much later.

and blah blah blah

Hans Flagon said...

Is there any possible legal means of getting this pair of John K Yogi shorts? The cartoons that is.

It sickens me that I have only seen parts of one of these years ago on Adult Swim, and only dribs and drabs as John makes them available for comment. If they are on a DVD collection, I will buy the DVD. If they were sold in the iTunes store, I would pay for them there.

Ryan Kramer said...

goddamn those are fun to look at.

VanJen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vanoni! said...

Fun, fun, FUN, John!

I've been trying to spend whatever free time I have lately sketching quick, one page gag cartoons.
Trying to keep the poses fun and cartoony, and not repeat facial expressions or fall back on stock faces and poses is a task indeed!

These inbetweens (as well as comics like Jimmy's barber visit) are good reminders of how fun a cartoon can be when the artist(s) accomplish such a task.

Also - Is Ranger Smith's upper lip white for effect in the 5th frame? or just an anomaly in the screen capture?

- Corbett

J C Roberts said...

I can certainly understand your reasoning for not want to highlight these frames for fear of people getting inspired to go overboard with wild takes. Overusing dynamic accents everywhere underminds the ones that actually need them. This kind of intensity has to be earned by the story beats or it just gets headache inducing.

Showing some frames of them could serve as a good lesson on how to distort them while keeping them recognizable, though.

How often was the cheek line different from the HB stubble area's line in the old HB cartoons, though? I don't think they did cheeks that way much so maybe they never dealt with that. I usually make it part of that area's line, since it could start to look like clown mouth makeup.

Or as I once heard someone who obviously didn't fully understand cartooning say about Homer Simpson's stubble area "the father with the big brown lips". That'll make you see it a different way...