Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Inverted Curves Theory

A while ago Rex and I were discussing how ugly modern animation design had become and why. We discussed what the ugliest of ugly styles was.

We decided that Dreamworks wouldn't count because everyone pretty much agrees that they make the ugliest "toons', - even the folks who subscribe to other modern animation styles.

I suggested one modern style that drives me nuts - the inverted curves theory of cartoon design. I don't know where it came from, but I started noticing it about 10 years ago. It's the theory that all objects-even characters- need to look like they are made from apple cores. Or--they look like they are made of play-dough that has been squeezed by sweaty gorilla hands.

I was in Meltdown the other day and I found a huge section of books teaching you all the mistakes you can get away with in animation today. There were a zillion "How To Be A Character Designer" books - more of them than there are pimples at the SDCC. And they are filled with anti-construction applecore inverted curves characters. These imploded characters are very hard to read at one glance because they have so many awkward dents breaking up their silhouettes. It's like taking a cheese grater to your eyes. I'd love to know who started this trend. I wonder if his anatomy bends inwards instead of outwards like the actual world of forms.

It seems that everything current is the opposite of what makes sense. It's cool to be backwards.Pretty soon I'll overhear kids arguing about what the best flavor of ice cream is- armpit or gym socks.

The inverted curves theory is especially popular in Canada. That means it must be at least 15 years later than when it was cool here.

There is only one thing nastier than an inverted curves character, and that's a "toon" with inverted curves and 'tude.