Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The Ingredient That Made Me Want To Be an Animator

The essential ingredient of cartoon animation is not on this list.



I had a great clip reel that Kedz made for me but I no longer can post clips on my blog for some mysterious reason. It used to be easy, but Internet Jesus has changed everything without telling me so the same steps I used to use no longer satisfy Him.

You'll have to use your imagination and pretend all these pictures are moving.

55 comments:

Crystal(RB) said...

The essential ingredient not on this list...
...surrealism?

Trey Brown said...

what's the name of the daffy duck clampett cartoon the last picture is from?

Cord Nielson said...

Baby Bottleneck, I think. Really good one.

Noor Red Eye Mula said...

It's always the crazy surrealism within Animation which drives me to keep improving myself and get better. :)

Paul B said...

I'm sure the ingredient is FUN!

JohnK said...

Nope. Fun can be had in any medium, although it is surprisingly absent in much modern animation.

Zoran Taylor said...

Is the word you're searching for "magic", John?

markus said...

me not need to pretend, since i know the pictures from fredrikstad. btw john, is it true you will publish a book next year?

HemlockMan said...

That last one is from the cartoon that made me laugh the loudest and hardest when I was a kid. That particular scene I found so absolutely hilarious as an eight-year-old that at first I just sat there in stunned amazement before I started laughing. I don't know if I've ever seen quite as funny a sequence in a cartoon (with the possible exception of SPACE MADNESS).

BlakeJ said...

You can draw the IMPOSSIBLE! You can breath life into impossible creatures, places, and people!

Stefano Camelli said...

lets see... the thing that made me want to become an animator was to be able to draw takes!

Amir Avni said...

Cartoony!
Humor that originates in the drawing and movement

SparkyMK3 said...

I'm guessing the missing ingredient is animation doing actions that are impossible to do in live action.

Evham said...

It has to be non gory dismemberment and pulling things through things... and knights with the ghosts of steaks floating around them.

Archie said...

Is the missing ingredient Imagination?

Or the ability to have go beyond the restrictions of live action?

She-Thing said...

Unique + Specific CHARACTER doesn't just make you want to draw them, but you want to build TOYS of the guys!!

http://en.sfcollector.com/media/catalog/product/cache/2/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/g/o/gorillaz_kidrobot_figurine_murdock2.jpg

bergsten said...

To me, the list gives a bunch of "how" but no "why."

So, my guess is "character," and "story."

Or, forced to a single word, "soul."

iamcurt said...

I like how terrifying animation is when you freeze it on a particular frame.

Steven M. said...

I believe the ingredient is the ability to do whatever pyshically impossible thing you can do that you can't do in any other medium.

SunshineFox said...

funny drawings

Trevor Thompson said...

Is it funny drawings?

The Butcher said...

The ingredient is funny drawings.

Stephanie said...

At first it didn't make sense to me what I was looking at, but as I looked through the rest of the images, I realized why: these kinds of things just aren't physically possible. Nice irony, ha :P

And sadly I do agree much modern animation is missing the fun. Great post!

AdamLore said...

Impossibility!

Ceu D'Ellia said...

Actually the idea that this list comprehend all the animation principles is a misunderstanding. That is (maybe) the list of Disney animation principles (according to Thomas & Johnston).
There is a lot of other ways to do animation that does not include all these principles. And maybe other principles that are not listed, as you precisely put.
Tezuka Osamu sad that the freedom on change forms is the animation principle.
To many, Timing & Spacing are the only real animation principles.
And maybe even the Disney principles would be others if Kimball had wrote the book.

ogman said...

A head pulled off, body still standing; another body inflated several times it's size; bodies turned inside-out; heads, hands and feet floating in pieces unattached; a leg stretched out impossibly while still running...and NO fatalities. Animators can defy gravity, physics, space-time, and create immortal creatures (which not even The Big Guy Upstairs can do). Don't know about the knight (Snafu?) on a horse, though.

TheDan said...

Cartoony, right? Not ALL animation has to be cartoony, you know.

JohnK said...

No it doesn't. But it oughta be visually imaginative.

Otherwise, what's the point? It can't compete with live action on its own terms.

Elana Pritchard said...

Maybe you should try talking to Internet Mary Magdalene. She'll help you with your problems, I'm sure.

Erik B said...

"The essential ingredient not on this list...
...surrealism?"

I think these points about animation is surreal... These points don't sound creative, while animation is a creative medium.

John Rouse said...

I wonder what the invisible bodies of those UPA characters are doing in that frame. Surely not what I imagine.

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"to be convincing"

bergsten said...

Somebody has to say it, so I guess it's me:

Low pay? Long hours? Abuse? Derision? Callouses? Back aches? Wrist cramps? Thick-framed glasses?

Juz Capes said...

rotoscoping?

BOBKE said...

When I pay for media I want it to be better than life. I want a performance in the true sense of the word, one that'll blow my mind and make me want to tell my friends about it. - Uncle Eddie

Michael Polvani said...

Hey John,

I don't think I've ever seen the film that the knight on the horse is from. What's the title? It looks very interesting.

Thanks!

kurtwil said...

"Visually imaginative" does make animation unique.
For drawn animation, "Fluidity" is also unique and important.

It's very hard for CGI to be as fluid given it's usually locked to mocap/skeletal data. There's tons of tools now to edit/reshape/stylize that data, but at the end of the day it's still a skeleton you're moving around.

Niki said...

It's the ability of invention. One of my favorite comic books, Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, is actually very privy to the secrets of creativity in art. It's also one of the reasons I'm so persistent in asking you to post more info on perspective and why I want to ask that you be my mentor JohnK. I plan on making a good comic book before February and I will have perspective drawings.

K-T said...

Suspension of disbelief?

The Mush said...

Is it...exagerated movement? Since comics can also look exagerated if needed, but animation has the advantage of movement.

Esperanza said...

Things that would never happen in real Life that's missing in the list.

Ex. Character taking shelter under an umbrella from a falling anvil. Only to be totally safe and unharmed as the anvil bounces to the side or cracks apart like a dinner plate. All for the sake of comedy of course!

ca60gregory said...

Surrealism cant be it, Turbo Teen, and Gilligans planet are surreal but also boring and crappy, you already pointed out why it cant be fun, must be impossibility! Just look at the new shows on Fox, Allen Gregory? You have to be bloody kidding me, unremarkable obnoxious characters standing around making rude statements back and forth, hardly taking the medium to its limits.

Vegetarian said...

I think being an animator is cool!

Mike Amron said...

ha ha ha ha ha... oh, humor :)

Mckay Boxberger said...

What about Exaggeration, Timing, and Solid Drawing? those don't help make up a cartoon at all?

JohnK said...

Exaggeration is probably #2 for me.

Solid drawing is a good tool but not as unique to animation.

Timing is a also a good tool, but no substitute for imagination - although many today seem to think so.

The Droopy cartoons that came after Tex Avery left use similar timing techniques but are not as funny, for example.

Isaak said...

Did you hear about the SOPA bill that would make it much easier to report and take down websites that "breach intellectual property."?

Also, do you remember the scene in Hunchaback of Notre Dame where the villain has a dreamlike song with what seems to be the devil? It didn't have the magic of Clampett, but was pretty impressive given that it seemed to be law for animated characters, with few excepetions to be as bland as possible, FOR THE CHILDREN.

Isaak said...

This is the segment in question. Of all modern Disney films, it comes the closest to realizing animation is possible of things live-action cannot do. I cannot speak of the animation quality, but represents a sliver of the sense of creepiness vintage Disney was capable of.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyS3weMlxLA

I understand if you can't post the link because of copyright concerns.

Ross Irving said...

I think you guys are taking the post too literally.

What John seems to be saying is that while the list includes qualities that obviously apply to the screenshots below, hardly anyone really embraces the imaginative examples of those qualities, certainly no one with a business sense and the resources that could possibly bring creative stretches like the pictures below to life. People say they want exaggeration and for something to be cartoony, but then when you have an imaginative execution that does just that, we start to feel unsure of ourselves and our definitions. In animation that's especially easy since you're doing one drawing at a time, when it's necessary to think in totalities, just like any other art form.

It's about having guts and to embrace these qualities listed, but also to relax and to draw as fast as you can think. They only act as a springboard.

Sorry for the long comment.

Tom Sanders said...

Hi my name is Tom Sanders and I am a freelance animator in London, England. I graduated in 2009 and did the whole travelling thing the year after and for the last 7 months I have been starting out as a 2D animation freelancer. I have had a few bits of work here and there working for big companies such as IKEA and Nokia, doing mainly internet commercials and corporates. My main aim is to work within the childrens industry, creating and producing cartoons for television and film. Obviously this is hard what with the current lack of tax breaks for the animation industry. However I am very positive that I will succeed and am always trying my hardest to improve my animation and build up both my contacts and skill base.


This year I decided to make a Christmas film that showcases my skills as an animator. It is a 2D hand-drawn film that was produced solely by myself and took me approx. 2 months to complete. I am a big fan of your blog and understand the high upstanding it has within the animation community. I wondered if you would be so kind as to put my film on your blog and help me reach a wider audience and hopefully help me grow as a freelancer. I would really appreciate it if you could do this or if you have any criticism of my film then that would greatly received as well. Here is the link to it on my Vimeo account: http://vimeo.com/33457170 and my blog is http://tcs16.blogspot.com/


Thanks for your time and I look forward to all your posts in the New Year

Merry Christmas

Tom Sanders

http://tcs16.blogspot.com/
tcs16@hotmail.com

John Celestri said...

For me, the essential ingredient for animation is believability. I was attracted to animation because I could play Cartoon Animator God, and as such I can set the rules for what happens to my characters. It's all believable as long as I obey the rules I have set up.

Shotgun_Mario said...

use the cartoon medium to its best advantage! Do what you can do ONLY in the animation medium! Why make a tv show or movie if its just going to be a talking soap opera or something that only mimics life?

Makes no sense!

It's not going to be any funnier if you rely on dialog only, or simply 'good' animation! Why (or, more accurate: why SHOULD) a director choose animation to tell a story? Because you can do anything in animation, including breaking all those pesky rules like 'physics' and 'reality' and 'logic' that real life can't!

It comes at a great price, and great cost though. Animation isnt cheap or easy... so by that sense why waste all that potential on producing something that isn't pushing the medium to its limits?

You should make fun of the real world, mock the real world, and break all of those real-world rules to tell the most compelling, hilarious, bizarre story possible!

Don't be like most of Adult Swim, or most of Disney; move your characters beyond from a 'stylized' reality into an alternative reality; the cartoon reality! Put the toons back in toontown with toon physics and toon logic and toon rules!!! Cartoons need to start doing what only cartoons can do!

Brent Robie said...

Hey,

I'm trying to animate a coconut. I can't seem to get the shell to open up in perspective.

I can only animate on the weekends right now, so I think I'm going to try this weekend again.

Dudo, do you ever feel like it's wiser to stop, or do you think my coconut animation will be welcome by the world?

Sometimes I wish God would just give me a sign if I was really welcome as an animator. Do you ever feel that way? If it's not the right path I can go in another direction.

There is a secret surprise at 5 pm I heard, but only if you want it.

Anyways, I'll quit being cryptic as I just want straight information, not games.

Anything would help me at this point.

Brent