Saturday, March 07, 2009

Color Theory 13 - Ranger Walks 6 and 7 . building specific variations from a general Idea

What does Sleeping Beauty have in common with Ranger Smith? Besides trees.
I love to take an idea and think up variations of it.
Not only the different ways to do limited walks, by varying which part of the body is held, which pans up and down, which parts move etc.
I also figured out a general way to make colors seem richer -well I got it from studying Disney cartoons and painters I like. If you want something to be a general color but not seem flat - say blue....break up the design elements into enclosed parts....
The shirt has a collar and cuffs, he has a hat and pants. If they were all painted the same shade of blue, he would look monochromatic and very flat.
By taking each part and varying the:
Value: How light or dark it isTint/Hue: how pure or mixed the blues are- mid blue, next to violet-blue-next to greenish blue, etc.Saturation: How much or how little gray is mixed in with the shade of blue
All these slight shifts from the main color emulate light and shadow and reflective light in real life. These variations from the main color make the overall image - while still actually flat - appear to have more depth....just by the use of colors. In Sleeping Beauty, each character has an overall color scheme. Aurora has neutral colors. There is a blue bird, a brown squirrel, a red bird etc, a purplish villain etc...within each of the main color idea there are parts that are all variations from the middle color in different non-mathematical proportions. Each character reads well against each other because of the central color, but each character isn't overly flat by being too mathematically flat and pure.

You can take this idea of varying a general idea and apply it to every aspect of creativity, not just color or funny walks. And it's really fun to do it. It makes the idea get more and more creative and rich, the more you experiment with it. It's controlled evolution.

The basic idea of the scene was: Ranger Smith starts the day recognizable as the standard homogenized Ranger of 1960. Then as he walks behind each tree he emerges as a variation. The variations get more extreme with each tree, until finally he ends up back to normal as the 1960 model sheet Ranger. Even when I used the standardized Ranger I couldn't bring myself to paint his uniform all one color like the original.I just like rich and subtle color too much. That's why it burns the crap out of me when they "remaster" classic Disney and other cartoons. They pump up the middle colors and take out all the subtle variations in hues and saturations. This makes the old cartoons look like modern Saturday Morning cartoons. Flat and monochromatic.

Ever try to animate a finger snap? It's a bugger.


moving the slider up and down you will see the color change hue. If you keep your design bits within a range of the main color, it makes the overall color seem richer.

I'm not suggesting you use Photoshop to color your cartoons. I just like their color sampler, because you can see these concepts very clearly this way.
Moving the circle to the left or right changes the saturation of the color. Combining variations of saturation, with variations of hue makes your colors all the richer and deeper.


Austin "oppo" Papageorge said...

Strange that Spumco cartoons follow that lessons of classic Disney animation more closely that modern Disney features.

Thomas said...

I like the goofy change of pace with the blue Ranger Smith.
The backgrounds aren't moving because he's running. He's running because the backgrounds are moving.

The sound effects, dialogue and timing are very funny throughout the sequence.
When Smith say's, "Hello, Mrs. Possum."; it's funny primarily because of the timing.

gracesix said...

I never would have thought to purposely place variations of the same color in an outfit. My first instinct is always opposing colors. Thank you for reminding me of what my color classes were about!

ComiCrazys said...

John, I have the Color-the theory and practice of painting section of the Famous Artists Course in Commercial Art, Illustration and Design. I was going to scan and post it as a supplement to the Cartooning Course.

It's 38 pages and I have to scan each page in 2-parts, then merge them. So it may take a couple of days but it's a great resource. I'll get on it tonight. So maybe mid-week I'll have it up.

Niki said...

Another JohnK page to bookmark. I'm now up to 22-23 one of those.

Bob said...

Say John if you don't prefer using photoshop to color cartoons, than what should cartoonist use now a days to color them in.

Deniseletter said...

Since you changed some elements,your blog has something different and agreable.This good post worth a reread.Colors always are important.Thanks!

nktoons said...

I really liked the texture of the paintings. The foreground/background has great contrast. They are little masterpieces of color. "Controlled evolution" is a great way to describe it. Nice keys from the thumbsnap. I want to try......

Niki said...

It's actually very understandable how this colorful idea could deteriorate over the years. I found out that when you don't think about it, it's like your squinting your eyes, so if you try to paint it then you only use like, two colours. I actually ended up doing that a while back.

Thunderrobot said...

Great Post John!!!

I have never though about color this way. It's a great theory and it makes perfect sense.

Timefishblue said...

Really interesting post. Now I want to play with colours :)

Hans Flagon said...


Hey how the hell are you? This is Conglomerate Suitrack, from the network. Yeah, love the work baby, BUT....

You don't seem to understand what we mean by limited animation! The idea is to limit it, and push that crap out! For the Kids!

You keep putting work back INTO it. Two Colors of Paint? Are you crazy? That's going to double the budget!

Martin Juneau said...

"You don't seem to understand what we mean by limited animation! The idea is to limit it, and push that crap out! For the Kids!

You keep putting work back INTO it. Two Colors of Paint? Are you crazy? That's going to double the budget!"

What you talking about? John knows a lot about limited animation because he studied it and then, understand. Limited animation existed since the 50's with the UPA banner and it was the same today, I think you need to revise your arguments before to try to playing your "Mr. I-know-it-at-all" because John is enough wise to know the difference about quality animation.

Elana Pritchard said...

It looks like I have a lot to catch up on and it's only been a week! You waste no time, Mr. K.

Thomas said...

I think Mr. Suitrack was blogging in jest.

Spam Fighting Dave said...

Long time reader, first time poster here. I have no real interest in art design, but somehow your blog always opens my eyes. Now I really wish I had an art teacher that impacted me earlier in life.

I've referred countless people here and look forward to each new post. Thank you Mr. K.

- Dave LeClair

Rodrigo said...

Thought provoking post.

This makes me think of animation & movement, where it's good to try and find those areas where you can sprinkle in contrast, variation, and "ugly" analogue texture that is truer to life than just cold digital perfectness. CG is a pain in the ass in that sense.

megabulk said...

This is an interesting online color mixing tool, to play with different palettes:

rodineisilveira said...

Johnny K.,

On this final part of this sequence (which involves the Ranger Smith's various designs), we see the Dick Bickenbach's Ranger Smith design (who looks like a military), seen on the episode Bear on a Picnic ("You're a shame for your brothers, Yogi Bear!"); and again the Tony Rivera's design - from the early 60s ("OH, NO! I LOST MY WALLET!").
And, before the Dick Bickenbach's design, one of design variations that you done, where Mr. Ranger looks like an elf (I laughted very, very much when I saw this part)!
I remember of having seen this reference from Mr. Ranger looking like an elf, at the (now extinct) SpĆ¼mco's site.