Sunday, December 28, 2008

Disney Principles 6a - Staging 2 - examples to compare and contrast

What's the difference between these 2 approaches?


HemlockMan said... the Disney one, there's nothing going on. It's static. There's really no story there, at all. That picture only tells as many words as the text that accompanies it.

The WB one, however, shows tons going on. Fred is a lazy bastard. Wilma and Betty are hard-working but nigh-brainless babes. Barney is doing all of the heavy lifting and he ain't too damned happy about it. Fred is just sitting there waiting while the frails cook up the steaks and Barney does all the work. Fred needs his ass kicked. least that's the way I see things.

Adam T said...

Here's what I noticed.

Bambi and Thumper are in the same plane. The elements in the composition are mostly horizontal. The Flintstones illustration is composed mostly vertically. With the characters in three different planes.

The Flintstones illustration implies a definite story too, where the Bambi one doesn't. I want to know more about what's going on in The Flintstones world if all I have to go on is each drawing.

The Bambi drawing has clear separation between the characters and the background. The green of the trees surround Bambi but the white of the snow still provides a buffer of negative space.

Also I noticed it's hard to tell if Barney is looking at Fred or the viewer. I guess that's a problem with all characters who have eyes that are just pupils.

Horganovski said...

Is it a matter of depth and/or importance?
With the Bambi one there's only one idea going on, the two characters looking at each other, while with the Flintstones one you notice Fred relaxing first, then you see his friends in the background working hard while he ignores them.

(Sorry if I'm way off..I'm new to this but very keen to learn..)

craigp said...

the hierarchy is more complex in the second one.
In the first picture the main (important) points are clear: Bambi and Thumper are first and the entirety of the backgrounds are second. the theory of staging here is like a play.
whereas on the bottom the hierarchy starts with fred and moves back into space. the background is still the least important but from there the remaining characters are not all equally important (and could be considered somewhat as more as background set pieces).

Shotgun_Mario said...

I'd say that the disney image is telling part of story, a single event, while the flintstones is a jumbled mess of different plot ideas, and could summarize the entire book it's in in one image.

In the disney, bambi is clearly outlined by the trees, and with the contrast of snow & evergreens, with the complexity, our eyes are drawn toward that first. We see his excited expression, then the outlines of the snow slope guide our eyes down onto the ice, where there's a good contrast between thumper and the ice, with another solid expression implying an activity out on the ice (either thumping or skating, it's not clear). This would work good for animation, as it's leading from one thing to the other.

The flintstones is a giant mess, and there isn't a clear center of action. There's lazy ass fred; up front, large, with a low contrast, so he somewhat muted, but then there's the action in the back; smaller, but more difference, with higher contrast, pulling your eyes there first (mostly from Wilma's dress). Fairly weak poses, none of the scenery enhances any of the individuals. This would work good as a poster, where you have plenty of time to understand what's going on, but would never work good in a animation.

Jonathan Harris said...

Purely artistic vs. functional?

Sodapop said...

The plane of the hill Bambi's standing on flows down and around the pond to pull the eye towards Thumper. It shows enough of the scene to tell you what the setting is without giving you too much information. As a piece of artwork it uses those elements appropriately. The way Thumper's standing might tell someone that he's inviting Bambi down onto the pond.

The tree and Fred in the hammock frame the action in the background. If you ask me, there's too much going on. It looks crowded to fit in that space, like the Pocohantus (feck speeliing) scene you showed us yesterday, except with a frame. And there's nothing on the top of the frame to balance. (Goddamn art class education, right?)

Wilma's on the wrong plane it looks like. The oven is turned the wrong way or something. And I can't tell what Barney's looking at. He may be looking at the viewer, or he may be looking at Fred.

...I feel like I'm getting nowhere. ]:<

craigp said...

the top pages (bambi) are more of a design.
the flintstones picture is more of a scene.

JohnK said...

Wow. you guys are smarter than me. You're noticing things I missed.

I'll give my breakdown tomorrow and some more examples to dissect.


Anonymous said...

The Flintstones is a scene. Bambi is a snapshot.

In the Flintstones page, everything is framed to make the scene readable. The story is told within the picture. Obviously Fred is the most prominent figure, but everything else is about equal (Barn being a smidge more noticeable than Wilma & Betty, due to his size and silhouette.)

Disney page is just an illustration of a snippet of the imagery in the text.

You have to READ the Disney book BEFORE you look at the pictures, otherwise you might use your imagination!

Gregg said...

One makes you look from the outside in.

The other from inside to out.

Frank Macchia said...

i actually like them both...but for different reasons.

in the bambi one, theres more room for your eye to move. the chacters are framed nicely (bambi by the trees and thumper by the ice). bambi's eye direction and the downward slope lead my eye down the page to thumper. However, its very 2 dimensional, everything feels lke it's on one plane.

The Flintstones one seems a little crowded to me BUT that's made up for by spreadig the characters out on various planes of depth (Fred in foreground, betty and wilma in mid, and Barney in the back.) Even though it seem's a little cluttered, my eye is still led around the page based on depth...although, there's no over lap..which kinda flattens it a bit

I'm not sure which i prefer. Both seem to have their strengths and weaknesses.

Harley said...

Looks like Fred just took a massive dump and Thumper's just barely squeezing one out.

Shingles said...

Hm.. The Disney picture is reliant on the text. I can tell that the writer (writers?) of the book this picture appears in meant the image to be reliant on the text, and not the other way around.

The first image is static in nature. Very cold (and in my opinion, unappealing) and at the same time, flowing. Like Sodapop said earlier, the composition of the picture pulls the eye around the image, ultimately landing on Thumper, but I still have no idea what's going on with the two characters without reading the text that goes with it.

The Flinstones picture, however, doesn't really need the text that goes along with it. You can derive the basis of the story just by looking around the image. Fred is relaxing, Barney wishes he were doing the same (apparently,) Betty and Wilma are doing the typical housewife chores, for instance, cooking. The image is warm and inviting, depictive of what exactly is meant to be portrayed, and has an appealing composition. The latter image can be summed up by calling it "Russian," meaning "self-reliant in its own way"

My former art school professors would prefer the former image over the latter, and for many reasons. That's probably why I dropped out of that school.

Anonymous said...

Artists like the first one. Cartoonists like the second one.

Anonymous said...

Both are beautiful, first of all.

The Bambi one stages everything very clearly, it looks great and it obviously gets the point across. It's also very blatant in it's staging. It's an in-your-face design. The whole picture is a figure eight, all the curves compliment each other, and the white spaces around the characters make them stand out and read perfectly. It's very mathematical. Bambi and Thumper each draw attention to one another.

The Flinstones picture also reads clearly, and you can tell exactly what's going on. You read the picture from front to back. 1. Fred is a lazy slob, so 2. Wilma and Betty are doing all the cooking, and 3. Barney is bringing home a box, and has no idea what's going on.

The Bambi picture is obvious at first glance, but there is no story. It's just a nice picture. As for the Flintstones, it's obvious that Fred is taking a nap, then the more you look, the rest of the story unfurls.

I have no idea if that's what you're driving at, those are just my observations. Personally, I like the Bambi one more, but that's just my preference.

Josh Heisie

Christine Gerardi said...

In the first one nothing specific is happening. It's just Bambi and Thumper. In the second one, three clear actions are present. Fred taking a nap, the girls are cooking, and Barney is carrying a thing. It has hierarchy.

NateBear said...

The Bambi illustration is as clear as can be. BaM!: Rabbit.. BAM! Deer! The background is completely designed to focus on the subject. The animals don't have to be neon or high contrast to stand out. The background is very simply colored with subdued tones that dont' everpower the figures, but still look rich and beautiful on their own. This is where good color sense becomes useful. They have lots of breathing room from the background details.

Th Flintstones one isn't the worst but there is no real composition. Nothing is framed, they're merely not interfering directly with each other. I guess in a failed attempt to stage the characters nothing overlaps. However due to lack of breathing and the patchy colored background the whole image reads as scrambled and flat. The background is only slightly different in tone and contrast from the characters and on top of that has lots of different color zones that don't read os cohesively as the Bambi picture.

In theory Fred and the try would be a nice framing device but instead of wrapping around the background figures he is just in front of them as if they were to pictures collgaged together. Betty almost looks like she's jutting out of Fred's elbow, and Barney looks as if her were just crammed into teh corner about Fred's head. Technically the whole thing is functional and everything is drawn and colored in a non-optically-offensive way, but is just lacks the elegance of the Bambi piece.

Niki said...

the way I see I got only a clue that Thumper is asking Bambi to ice skate, though I didn't read it. Bambi's framed by the trees, and Thumper by the snow. Thumper's head is cut off by that line behind it.

After I read it, I realize the part they painted is late in the story.

Fred, on the other hand is the biggest thing on the page so he's the subject. Everyone is preparing for a bar-b-q, while Fred just lazes about. Fred is framed by the trees and everyone else accept Betty. Her feet seem to interfere with Fred's space, although this puts her in the same area as Wilma. I like this one better, because I'm a color whore.

I think we should learn more on this before everyone can get it right.

Brendan M said...

While the Bambi one is certainly a very beautiful drawing, it's not telling much of a story other than "check out these two animals, they're staring and smiling at each other. One has a foot up"

The Flintstones drawing, while it has it's flaws (if you really want to over-analyze it) is much better at storytelling, and brings your eye into it more than the Bambi one does. How long do you want to look at a bunch of snow and arbitrary green pine?

On the other hand, I'm sensing real depth by the markings of the tree bark by Fred, and the flowers placed under the hammock. The sense of depth gets a little bit wacky in some parts of it, though, as we fade back into the picture some of it remains just as detailed as the front, but that's OK because at least SOMETHING interesting is going on, and there's SOME sense of depth.

Also, at least in the Flintstones one they all have different facial expressions relating to their poses, which are also different, unlike the Bambi still. You can sense a really dopey feeling from Barney's face, despite blank eyeballs.

Also, Bambi might be pretty, but the color scheme to the Flintstones drawing is great. It jumps out at you but not too much. It's framed very well. It looks like a decent amount of time was spent thinking about the negative space and where to place the characters.

Hans Flagon said...

What bothers me about the Flintstones picture is that the lawn needs cutting. The lawn was never in that shape in the cartoons. The flowers under the hammock seem superfluous to the story, and I bet they are.

Disneys Horizontal pan seems to travel further and the poses suggest Thumper is suggesting the ice to Bambi.

You would never see the Flintstone image as a set up for a Flintstone episode, but perhaps that is the point on having a story book. Barney is wondering why he is carrying a wrapped gift when the girls seem to be cooking a steak for Fred.

Both are pregnant with possible story points. The Disney scene could work as a greeting card.

You could see the Disney scene as two separate , even unrelated, illustrations, that just happen to be connected. Because of this The time compression in the story points seems drawn out in comparison to the Flintstones scene, and -might make you think more of the characters interior motives.

There is a danger of the Flintstones scene being read as a Dream of Freds. So it is more ambiguous, possibly more confusing. It is not drawing out a single moment as much as loading it up with circumstatial possibilities, which can bode well and ill for a story. The colors threaten to clash more than buffer the negative space.

Which would be more appealing to a certain age group? Which would appeal to younger kids?
One of the reasons I think Manga has taken off in the US culture, is, they are like puzzles, there is so much going on that the kids seek them out AS A CHALLENGE (while at the same time, there may be nothing going on at all, but their plots can be damn convoluted.)

At a certain age, kids love convolution, they want to ADD details to a story, and carry it onto tangents and dead ends that actually are counter to the main story. They prefer "Destroy All Monsters" to "Godzilla", or "Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein", to "Frankenstein". They would consider Bambi the "baby story" at this age, and get into the complications of The Flintsones and Rubbles everyday interactions.

The Butcher said...

The staging in the Bambi page is clear, but nothing much is going on yet. Like it's about to establish a premise, but hasn't done it yet.

The Flinstones page is a bit more crowded, but not hard to read. It's already established what's going on in the scene and isn't just leading up to it.

Every bit of the Flinstones page is filled with color and objects with text on the bottom, while the Bambi page has artwork framing up a big chunk of white space filled with text, making it a little more showy.

The Flintstones page tells you more about the characters from their faces and what they're literally doing in the page. The Bambi page is basically two cutesy-pie characters gazing into eachother's big, glossy eyeballs. It doesn't really tell you anything even though it is artistic.

I would have to say the main difference is the Bambi page focuses purely on art, while the Flintstone page is more functional in telling the audience what is going on, both storywise, and with the characters.

crystalrbogle said...

...At first glance, the Bambi scene told me the fawn's about to join the bunny on the ice, and the Flintstones scene--not sure what the hell is going on in that one, I'd have to stare at it for longer than 2 seconds and think about it.
...So does that mean your point is that-- the staging in the Bambi scene makes the point of the scene crystal clear and the Flintstones scene is unclear? Please lemme know if I got it right. ...That's what I got out of the two pictures...

SMIT SHAH said...

I think, both the compositions have heirarchy.

Bambi stands on a higher ground than Thumper and their eye contact makes a definite composition that stays within the image. Its sort of a closed composition.
The one with Fred also has heirachy in a foreground-background kind of language.

However unlike Flintstone layout the colours in the Bambi layout make a contrasting difference between the characters and the background.

Drawn said...

Much better and more competent contrast handling in the Bambi picture. The stuff leaps off the page.

Background is in blues and blue-greens, characters are in warm hues. A cliché, but it works.

Light against dark (snow on branches), dark against light (branches against white/blue background), curves against spikyness (curves of snow vs branches), small curves against large curves (overall branch form against larger character forms). Precise, realistic ice crystals on the snow on the trees and generally detailed handling of snow on branches vs impressionistic low-contrast sweep on the ground. Overlap of snow on Bambi's hind leg creates depth (but the other hind leg is badly handled, talk about unintentionally sexual children's books!). ...Dark part of branches frame Bambi. Surprising use of pure white on edges of snow on branches for added contrast.

Small trees at left balance composition, creating an open space for Thumper and an overall triangular shape. Again, a cliché that works.

But: Superfluous curvelet of ice cuts Thumper's throat and creates mess with jutting hind leg. And the general perspective seems a bit off there.

Fred: Excellent, strong drawing, but a really badly planned color scheme. All colors appear somewhat similar. Oven blends into ground and into green tree shadow framing device at right. Weirdly handled fire seems to float in the air, Barney walks on Fred's hair (a subdued hair highlight would have been useful here). Good attempt at structural contrast with the deftly handled flowers in the FG, but green-against-green was a bad idea. Why the flourish on the grass blade, is it important? Black eyes of BG figures look weird. Promising handling of tree trunk at left.

ArtF said...

why does Fred have a Betty coming out of his elbow?

Anonymous said...

The most obvious difference Is how they guide the viewer's eye.

The bambi scene guides the eye in a rough "U" shape starting from the left and ending at the right. You read the paragraph then see the small rabbit, who's discovered Bambi. Then lastly your eye is drawn to the right where bambi is framed by the flora, emphasising his importance as the main character and the moment of discovery.

With the flintstones scene, your eye is guided straight through the scene. You start at Fred who, as the main character, dominates the picture plane. Then your eye is guided on to Wilma and Betty, then to Barney who is in the foreground.

They're both very standard compositions, infact, What you see in the Bambi composition is exactly what Hokusai does with the composition of his famous painting "The Great Wave off Kanagawa" except it's been reversed.

Looking at Hokusai's famous painting (
You can see that it starts from the right, and draws the eye is a rough "U" shape to the left. This emphasises the huge wave building, about to crash on the boaters below.

It's been reversed because traditionally westerners start looking from the left of a page, where as the Japanese start looking at a page from the right. This is because the writing systems are different and traditionally start at different ends of a page. That's also why Japanese books are "backwards", because the Japanese eye starts from the right.

J Hobart B said...

Aesthetically, I like the Bambi one more than the Flintstones one, because it's clearer, more readable, and the artist allows it to sprawl across two pages.

The Flintstones one is cluttered and you have to work harder to figure out what's going on. It looks like it was a struggle to fit everything on one page.

That said, the Flintstones page rewards you more for looking at it. Even though it's not as instantly readable, there is a story in the picture. The Bambi image is staged better, but there's nothing going on that earns that clear staging.

Vit said...

Sorry for an off-topic but why do you always compare with Disney?
What do you think about studio Ghibli? They have made the whole spectrum from realistic "Grave of the Fireflies" to caricature "My Neighbors the Yamadas". And this are modern 2D films.

Ted said...

The image is integrated with the text layout in the Bambi example; the image would only work with certain amounts and placement of text. The Flintstone image is more or less independent of the text layout.

Bitter Animator said...

Well everything has been said already, I guess. Yeah, the Bambi one doesn't really tell a story in itself but I think it's a lovely image. It's simple, one character leads to another and I just think there is something actually rather beautiful in the characters and colours. As for not telling a story itself, it looks like it is designed to compliment a text story. It's not a comic book as far as I can tell. So I'm not convinced that matters massively.

The Flintstones image has some fun to it and does tell much more of a story. Fred's character in particular comes across really well. But, man, that's one messy composition. Barney looks pasted over the top, very isolated. Betty's feet being cut neatly off is awful and it's difficult to settle anywhere. In general, I just don't like it which probably says a lot as I would have been far more likely to prefer the Flintstones simply based on my character preferences.

trevor thompson said...

The most obvious thing is that you have to read the text in Bambi's story to understand what's going on. Why are they on the lake? What's going on? They are happy, but why? Who are these characters, they look empty.

But the picture of the Flintstones doesn't need a single word. You not only know the situation, but also the characters. You know one is blissfully lazy, the others diligent and one of them is a bemused heavy lifter.

Plus, the poses in the Disney book have been done before, and the Flintstones one has poses that are exclusive to the story at hand.

There's a lot more to break down, and I'll have a closer look at lunch.

- trevor.

Deniseletter said...

Flintstones: are in 3 different planes as a "Z".They rely in attitudes and expressions to enhance the mood.Hurt my eyes because they have too much reddish colors.
Bambi: The dinamic background has organic movement in its design contrasting with the 2 characters that are about to begin an action.And is interesting the fartest trees are as if were behind the text.More relaxing degradation of colors
Is only what I think:In this particular case Bambi scene is more appealing.

Anonymous said...

Almost a couple tangents in that Flintstones pic. I like the technique in both examples.

Also, flat plane vs. multiple planes, three dimensions, etc...

tobor68 said...

lotsa good stuff in these comments.

i have to go with bitter animator here.

the bambi comp is a nice, swirling, figure eight design that keeps your eyes moving over the scene. the BG and FG are there to provide the setting and don't interfere with the characters.

the flintstones, though nicely rendered, needs more separation of FG, mid ground, and BG. barney is too big, bettie's feet cutoff at the ankle, and the trees, though helping frame the comp also create a little bit of claustrophobia, or that could just be me.

looking forward to tomorrow's post!

Brendan M said...

Well, one more thing..

I have yet to read the text in the Bambi picture, but I DO understand that one character is inviting the other character to ice skate.

Does that mean it's good staging? No, I don't think so. Put one character on the ice, looking at another character and make his face look like so:

and put another outside of the ice, literally ANYWHERE on the picture plane, and make his face also:

and You'd get the impression the character on the ice wants the other character join them. I don't think it has anything to do with staging or poses

MLP said...

Thanks to everyone who posted his or her analysis of JohnK's challenge! I *very* much enjoyed reading them all; comparing them to John's own subsequent post taught me a *lot*. Well done!

MistahB said...

Well, from what I can see, The Bambi one looks more planned out, it has a pleasing composition that is very clear and helps the story.

I can tell that they planned it out with simple shapes first instead of details, that way the picture can be detailed later and look tons better.

The Flintstones on is more cluttered from what I can see, but I can tell that it's also planned out instead of doing it 'head on' you can tell whats going on, but the characters can be staged alot differently so it can have more clarity. That's what I think as far as I read about staging.