Saturday, March 14, 2009

Morning Desolation in Limited Animation

One of the things I love about studio animation VS Independent animation (or kids in their basement doing Flash) is the collaboration with other artists. When you are lucky enough to be surrounded by top talent, like I have been, you get to witness lots of different styles and combine ideas that you by yourself might never come up with. This sequence opens up with Aaron Springer scenes. I gave him only general direction and maybe a rough storyboard, but told him to draw it in his own style - jumping off of HB's and mine. Oh - and to never draw Ranger Smith the same way in any 2 scenes of course. He came up with these 3 stylish scenes that really stand out from my blander scenes that follow.
http://www.cartoonthrills.org/blog/HB/JohnHB/DayInLife/Aaronsmall.mov
He loves his gnome feet.
I always say I want strong styles in my own cartoons, but even I would be taken aback and inititially outraged by Aaron's scenes. They would be so much weirder and cartoonier than my own, that I would be shocked to my core. It's not easy to shock me. Even I would be tempted to change his stuff, either because it was just TOOOO weird, or that I was jealous. I would fight off the urge to tone down his stuff, because I knew it would make for a better picture if I just locked myself in the bathroom and counted to 10. I imagine this is an internal fight executives and producers have every day over stuff way less creative than what Aaron can do. So by direct experience, I know the ugly feeling bland people get when they have the overpowering urge to make everything "consistent" at the expense of the film entertainment. The difference is I have will power and can submerge my considerable ego for the sake of the film. Plus I wanna be a fan of new stuff.

One thing I've learned is that the longer time oozes by, the less radical, radical drawings seem and the more I am glad I didn't tone them down.

Here's my blander part of the section:

Ever have a job where you have to get up really early in the morning? Like, before everyone else? It's still dark out and your only company is the lowly hooting, screeches, grunts and calls of animals mating or ripping each other's flesh and fur apart.
I had a job smelting steel once that was like that. Being up at 4 in the morning dreading a long boring day where you might be vaporized by molten steel. Or having to go work on the Smurfs. That's how I feel right now actually, up at 5:30 making inane blog posts for you. I hope you appreciate it as you sleep in till noon in cool linen sheets dreaming of when your Harem comes to awake you by rubbing grapes over your naked toes and turning on Dora the Explorer for you.
This lonely morning desolation was the feeling I was trying to evoke in this sequence using the meanest of limited animation. Going to a routine job every day with nothing to live for, out of the lonely need for sheer survival.
I think it should have been painted darker and dingier to get the feeling across.Something like this.
Some of my limited tricks. I love limited animation when it doesn't try to hide.
Well, I better try to get some more winks in and be lively for Dora. I don't wanna miss out on a nice lesson in tolerance. Should they change the show's name to be more topical?"Little Drug Cartels"? "Gangland Babies"?

http://www.cartoonthrills.org/blog/HB/JohnHB/DayInLife/limitedHats.mov

28 comments:

Niki said...

Well I've haven't had one of those jobs yet, but I was in the Boy Scouts; It's pretty similar considering how much you probably wanted to kill yourself. Another thing, the only harem to make my day special just happens to be Dora, and she ain't too much on the eyes for a goat like me.

Austin "oppo" Papageorge said...

"That's how I feel right now actually, up at 5:30 making inane blog posts for you. I hope you appreciate it as you sleep in till noon in cool linen sheets dreaming of when your Harem comes to awake you by rubbing grapes over your naked toes and turning on Dora the Explorer for you."


Whoa, John! At least I'm awake two hours before noon!

ArtF said...

"Going to a routine job every day with nothing to live for, out of the lonely need for sheer survival."

Damn, John. you captured the exact way i feel getting up at 3am, 5 days a week, to go to my crappy soul-numbing job.

thanks for all of the blog posts, man. i certainly appreciate them in the wee hours of the day.

Ted said...

I think the initial choice was better for the lighting; morning desolation in the modern world involves harsh, blinding, artificial light that cuts into your brain through your eyes. If anything, it could have been brighter and colder.

Frankie said...

You're freakin' amazing John K. I savor every post.

Jonathan Harris said...

The line "They stink of government trees!" cracks me right up.

Niki said...

This is one of my favorite experiences with super limited animation I absolutely love 'Space' he's crazy!

drawingtherightway said...

The big question is what job was worse: smelting steel or working on the smurfs!

JohnK said...

Actually, the Smurfs was.

Brendan said...

Teeth in a straight line?

A.M.Bush said...

That was a great post. I totally get the feeling

NewArms said...

John, if noone else appreciates your posts (which they do), then I of all people certainly do. I've been exposed to so much more learning over the last few years that I've been following your blog.

I'm getting more out of your lessons and observations than out of my BA/MA in Design/Animation.

They never taught us none of th'good stuff. So I thank you, John, from my sleepy head to yours after having gotten up at 1pm from my fine flanel sheets!!

PS>Dora is the devil. I worked on it and ohboy, i still have PTSD from it.

Ryan Cole said...

I got me a good ol fashioned Avery cartoon on VHS that I think really conveys that 4am mood all through the picture:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghbj_lPfS0s

Ah, memories.

ciacco said...

HIlarious walk cycle, thanks for all the great teachings John. I've been doin a lot of copies the last few days, and was wondering if you would take a look. bandaners

gracesix said...

"Inane?" Never inane. Do you know how many people are afraid to write to you because of the potential GRAVITY of your words?

Masked Stinker said...

This lonely morning desolation was the feeling I was trying to evoke... Going to a routine job every day with nothing to live for, out of the lonely need for sheer survival.

I can certainly relate to that.

I guess the big question is why do you get up early to do "inane" posts?

Is because you like to torture yourself?

Or is it because you have a "messiah" complex: "I going to save cartoonyness by spreading the word!"?

Just kiddin'.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

ciacco said...

href=htp://brettciacco.blogspot.com">bandaners

Leedar said...

Hey John, have you done any full animation that you'd make an article on?

Nothing against creative limited animation; I'm just wondering if you've had the chance to make something you like in full animation.

Rick Roberts said...

"I hope you appreciate it as you sleep in till noon in cool linen sheets dreaming of when your Harem comes to awake you by rubbing grapes over your naked toes and turning on Dora the Explorer for you."

What ? No rant about us damn kids in our music, old timer ? :P

No I kid. I really try not to sleep late anymore and work harder at drawing and at my job. I just wish I was more motivated. :(

Ben said...

I really appreciate your posts. Recently I haven't had time to comment because of school/portfolio work, but I read it every day.

I really loved the limited hat animation. This was a really funny cartoon. I wish more were made!

Thanks for all the insightful posts :)
-Ben

patrick said...

That scene does have a certain stark, uncomfortable feeling to it. Now it all makes sense!

Cotton Gin said...

"Well, I better try to get some more winks in and be lively for Dora. I don't wanna miss out on a nice lesson in tolerance. Should they change the show's name to be more topical?"Little Drug Cartels"? "Gangland Babies"?"

How about: "The little girl of questionable ethnicity meets Joel steinberg"

Ivan D said...

This was a really entertaining post, John! I love how you candidly reveal your own conservatism, inflated ego and jealousy.

Your comments about waking up early to write blog posts had me laughing out loud.

I truly appreciate your efforts to improve the state of contemporary animation and preserve the work of talented artists from yesteryear.

Jorge Garrido said...

I think it's a law in Canada that every man has to do manual labour or trade work at some point in their life.

Elana Pritchard said...

Wow I am looking for one of those inane, potentially life-threatening jobs right now so I can buy a computer and actually go on with life- but hopefully the record store will hire me so I can skip all that.

SibbSabb said...

Is this what they call 'riffing'?

SibbSabb said...

I also want to add to the blog readers: I clicked on the tag 'limited animation' in John K's blog, and what came up was a treasure trove of more posts like this. It is my favorite tag!

JesseHughes said...

Bland people! That was the term I couldn't quite find when I was defending Transformers: Animated from the haters. Haters who prefer the bland, bland BLAND style of the imported anime Transformers. I have a feeling, though, that John wouldn't be too big a fan of any Transformers cartoons.