Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Essential Principals VS The Extras - Will Finn

Fancy-ass full-Disney-quality-animator Will Finn just wrote an illuminating article about what animation really boils down to as its basics and illustrated it with a fun clip himself.

I fully intended to inbetween it, but I was surprised to find it didn't look all that awful on its own. I think the color had a lot to do with it, which says a lot for how much color can validate a drawing. I decided to push on forward and see how much I could do without:

No Inbetweens

No Squash & Stretch

No Anticipations

No Follow thru

No Overlap etc...

These are the things that are considered essential,especially in "full animation" obviously. These are the things that took me long hard years to learn. But I kind of realized as I stripped them away, that I had confused them with what "makes" animation, when they are really just things that enhance animation. Maybe all these years I have been confusing the forest with the trees"... - Finn


my 2 cents to add:

With the "enhancements" Will left out, that leaves us with these principles:

...which for some reason Frank and Ollie put at the end of their list of principles. I have been posting all of Frank and Ollie's principles and agree with them in theory, but I changed the order to put what I think are the most important ones at the beginning.

I agree with Will and believe that this is the problem with most animated feature films. Every one who gets the chance to make one says that "Story" is the most important element in a cartoon (which is not on Frank and Ollie's principles list), but then spends hundreds of millions of dollars on layering tons of "enhancements" to distract you away from the fact that nothing interesting, original or clever is happening.

When it comes to "solid drawing", "appeal" and exaggeration, you don't see much of that anymore either. Even timing has been turned into a system of formulaic rules. Hey Will, maybe you could tell us some modern timing tricks that have become commonplace in features.

You should be able to judge the pure entertainment value from a good animatic that has none of the enhancements but has the essentials.

I would add "Funny" to the essential principles. Maybe even "Clever ideas" or "Imagination". How about "Interesting or entertaining characters"?

I think you can find the best examples of what Will is talking about in Fred Crippen's Roger Ramjet cartoons. But maybe Will will disagree, I don't know. Maybe I am completely misinterpreting him. I'm sure he'll tell us and correct me at Lamplighter.




Appealing fun specific characters :


Roger Ramjet cartoons deals in only the essentials - which are much cheaper than the fancy expensive polishing process that goes on in the big studios. In fact Eddie and I often cleanse ourselves with Roger Ramjet cartoons right after watching a spectacular well polished, pore- filled blockbuster. Usually about a group of unlikely companions who get thrust out of their familiar environment (their womb-arena) and into a new harsher one. Through their arbitrary trials and solitary pathos scenes they learn to get along and become sweet friends and kindly democrats, thus teaching us that love, togetherness and character arcs are much more important than the blind corporate greed and abuse that creates these pictures.

Many of the movie clips on my Roger Ramjet posts have vanished into the ether, but there are lots of funny drawings in them. Perhaps world famous duck-scientist Marc Deckter knows the secret of where the clips are. I owe him a pizza so I'll ask him if they exist and will repost the buggers myself if they do.

But you can just go ahead and buy the cartoons if you and your family like to laugh and don't wanna be preached to by moguls who don't believe in their own lessons.