Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Grim Natwick - Drawings and Ideas are part of what animation is

Marc Deckter put up a really good post about Grim Natwick.


This is animation from 1930-before there were any "rules" about how to animate. They didn't know much about squash and stretch, overlapping action, maintaining volumes, smeared inbetweens, cushions, secondary actions, etc...It isn't super smooth like Disney became a few years later.

But it has something that much "polished" animation that uses all the principles sometimes neglects.



Drawings and motions that are fun and funny.

In the early days, animators thought in terms of entertainment first. How funny can I make my walks and dances and dialogue?

Grim did his best stuff before he was swayed by the mass hypnosis that Disney cast over the whole industry in the late 30s.

Once animation got "smoother" and had weight and all these other abstract properties, many animators started losing track of what cartoons were all about in the first place.

I personally believe in knowing all the fundamental principles of animation, but I don't think that is enough to make entertainment.

Smooth movement isn't entertaining by itself. It's impressive, but not as impressive to me as fun drawings and actions and ideas moving. The principles of animation should be in service of the drawings and entertainment, it shouldn't be an end in itself.

Here is a clip from Cats Don't Dance. The movement is great for sure, but what is being animated is just standard drawings that we've seen a million times before.

It's a polished version of Tiny Toons designs and poses with some Don Bluth thrown in.

Don't get me wrong, I think these animators are hugely talented and would love to be able to work with a great crew like this and have a similar budget to make a fully animated movie.

I just lament that the business uses such strong talent to do the same stuff over and over again. -and to make each animator basically design, draw and move things the same way.

Here's Betty and Bimbo in an unprincipled highly imaginative and entertaining cartoon: