Animators by day Animation teachers by night.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Let's put this 2D-3D thing to bed. Shall we?

Dr. Stephen has been posting some great stuff recently. Most of all, that last Milt quote. I read a comment from that post questioning whether Milt's statement carries the same weight when compared to how things are done today with CG animation. We've tried to state this fact in previous posts, but let's try to tuck this one in and send it to bed.

I think it's vitally important to remember in these CG days of ours that everything in Milt's quote is more relevant than ever. The problem with a lot of CG work is that people who have never learned to draw, design, or study composition fail to think about their work graphically, and for some reason believe that the computer will carry part of the load. For that matter, they neglect to think about their work at all. Yes, you can easily turn something in space. No, you don't have to worry about your ability to draw. But 3D Max does not have an "appeal" filter. There is not a mel script on the planet that can create fresh and exciting, organic timing. CG does not let you off the hook. It takes discipline, work, and an eye that a computer can never give you. I hate to burst any bubbles out there. Truth be told, a pencil can't give it to you either.

Pencil or mouse, the struggle doesn't change. I don't care whether you think you can draw or not. Think and thumbnail! Animation is too time consuming and too messy a medium to go into without having invested a good deal of thought and care into what you're doing. 2D animators of years gone by had to deal with draftsmanship, yes. They also had to deal with timing, appeal, performance, story, and entertainment. Nothing has changed. If the classic masters invested this amount of forethought into their work before composing their drawings, don't you think it's equally important to have thought things through before you start manipulating a model that has over a thousand controls?!?!?

Please try to get it out of your heads that animation is a trade that can be learned once you acquire the right amount of knowledge or learned the right software. It is an art form. And like any art form it takes an eye, discipline, and an ability to observe what is around you. I wish I could tell you that it takes this, or it takes that. Believe me, having such knowledge would make our lives a whole lot easier. Alas, it's not the case. Animation is as good as what you bring to it and what you are open to learn along the way. We can give you tips and insights based on the successes of our predecessors in addition to what we might have learned from our own mistakes, but in the end it's all up to you. We're recording some more roundtables in the days ahead and Andrew has another great Splinecast interview planned, so stay tuned. Thanks again for visiting the blog.



Blogger Marcos Gp said...

What a great spline doctors post lately!

1:57 AM

Blogger Rafi said...

I love it when you guys aren't in crunch-time - the recent posts have been awesome, and frequent! keep 'em coming guys, it's really apreciated.

2:28 AM

Blogger Olivier Ladeuix said...

ohh but that blog has been pretty active lately ;-) I'd better come here more often!

3:43 AM

Blogger Rocky said...

i check this blog hundred times(not exaggerating) daily... hoping someone wud post something... but being professional animator i can understand how hard it is to maintain balance between work and other activities... and i also want to say that the doctors are doing an amazing job... i'm writing this comment after something amazing hapnd to me.. i believe i've posted a similar incident earlier.. for the past few days i was feeling a litle burned out and less inspired to animate... but today i decided to listen to the anim-roundtable again.. and after a while i started animating as the audio was running and my work was progressing like a breeze... its like magic.. thank you spline doctors...


3:53 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have a suggestion for any roundtables that might be recorded in the future.

One thing that is sometime stressed is that each animator should bring something special and unique to the table and I was wondering if you guys could shine a little more light on that as what is it mean exactly?

I mean, for the most part and for most animators, we all learn the same principles, we all read the same books, we all watch the same classics, we take more or less the same classes in artschools and do the same homework and we are all tought in the very same way as far as the artform and how to use it and so, one would think that having gone through the same route and taken the same steps to become an animator, we all should be more or less the same as far as what we bring to the table.


3:55 AM

Blogger Justin Falgout said...

I think that problem goes back to why Walt started Cal Arts, so that theres outside influence, real life influence, on the medium. Animators cross paths with musicians, who cross paths with painters, etc. To keep things fresh and appealing, and to stay inspired, I think you really have to look to whats around you, not at the medium of animation. The doctors had a great post about that a while back. I think Brad Bird said it best with "You can't create the illusion of life if you haven't lived one."

9:09 AM

Blogger Ninja Dodo said...

It's about your own personality and feelings, your own history and observations that you bring to the table. As long as you tap into that any animation you do will be uniquely yours...

10:10 AM

Blogger Frank Spalteholz said...

wow ... man you deserve your title! well spoken and to the point. nothing to add accept a big thx for your mind!

a trusty patient

5:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But 3D Max does not have an "appeal" filter."

AMEN, BRUDDER! And too many studios do not understand the word "appeal." To most, it seems to equate with "Cutesy" or worse (?!!( "Disney."

Appeal is good taste, and it's subjective. But animation and design that goes out of it's way to be "not cutesy" or "not disney" without having a clear idea WHAT it's trying to be is often just lazy and ugly. 90% of video games fall into this realm.

Keep up the great work.

8:48 PM

Anonymous Rob said...

I was taking a walk yesterday afternoon (one of the first sunny days we've had out here in Jersey), and listening to the Animantion Roundtable podcast for the 5th or 6th time. And I thought, "I'd love to hear more Roundtable discussions!" So I'd just like to say it excited me a great deal to see promise of more to come!

9:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was F*@#iNG awesome. Thank you Doctor Burke.

11:41 PM

Blogger samacleod said...

Great great great post! "It is an artform" And one of the most powerful artforms for sure.

12:51 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brilliant Words of Wisdom,
Thankyou so much for enlighting all learners around the globe.

3:30 AM

Blogger Bobby Pontillas said...

Re-reading Milt's quote reminds me of why most of the best animators are always the most humble.

1:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a question, it's kind of irrilevent to the curent post but maybe you guys could talk about it in the roundtable or in another post.

When someone is making a short film and it's a one man production, does he need to make story reels and animatics?

becasue for the most part, the point of making these stuff is to communicate your ideas to others in a studio environment so everyone would know their role and what is expected of them. But when one is making a short completely on his own and he has the whole film in his head, what is the advantage of making a animatic or story reel?

6:52 AM

Blogger Dr.Burke said...

It's important to do story reels and animatics because none of us our perfect. Pre-conceptualizing and storyboarding helps us to flush out what is not working with an idea and is a process that you should trust to serve you. It could be an interesting experiment to see how a "stream-of-consciousness" style short might look, but I would not recommend it as your normal work method. Even Dr. Stephen Hawking probably jots down a few notes and crunches numbers before he starts telling us about the secrets of the universe.


8:11 AM

Blogger Frank Spalteholz said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:31 AM

Blogger Frank Spalteholz said...

an animatic is great and really helpful, doesn't matter if you do a short by your own or with others. the animatic is your first step to get an idea of your sequenses and scenes. you can easily and quickly play around with different scene-lenghts, diffenrent camera-positions and -transitions. that's your first over-all-timing that will show you how long your story will be. another important point is, that by making an animatic you start thinking about your animation. you might THINK you know how to handle all your movements and stuff but doing it the first time by thumpnailing it for the animatic will show you what was NOT in your mind. so you can think about strong poses, staging and even layout far earlier before pulling the strings. believe me, that will help you later on! you might think: "oh i got this all in my head and i don't need it to visualize it with ugly storyboard-thumpnails" but don't forget, you make a film that should be understood by everybody and not only you. so make your animatic and show it to people which know nothing about your story and then talk about it. they will be your first audience and if they will have problems with some sequences or scenes then think about it, 'course they can't read your mind.

wish you good luck!


9:17 AM

Anonymous Paul said...

At a recent ASIFA-SF event, a Wild Brain animator said the following regarding CG, and I wrote it down to share with my students:

"Don't think that by learning a tool you're learning a craft."

Truer words were never spoken.

8:39 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Paul's quote:

Thas a nice quote...explains so much to me. IT's so hard to learn animation...but then you have to learn the graph editor, too!?!?

Animation is a b!tch.

10:37 AM

Blogger Eddie Fitzgerald said...

I'm afraid I still think 2-d is a more expressive medium. It's cheaper, the character can be drawn slightly differently at different angles for maximum impact, slightly off character perspective adds to the appeal, it's easier to invent and add new would be a long list. And what about the kid in Iowa who can't afford a zillion dollars for the computer equipment and classes?

12:08 AM

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2:00 AM

Anonymous Noreen said...

It will not work in fact, that is exactly what I think.

3:03 AM


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