Tag Archives: animation
G’day all. For this post I want to talk about Paperman, the breathtaking short animation from Disney studios. If you haven’t seen it yet then you are a pillock and should watch it immediately.
(Sorry, couldn’t find a decent full version of it on youtube)
Once again Disney has knocked it out of the park, which is sort of expected by this point but even they seem to have outdone themselves this time. That’s what I and a lot of other people in the 2D and 3D industries are trying to focus on, just how amazing this is but unfortunately, inevitably Paperman has also been a jolt of energy to one of the oldest and stupidest arguments in the animation industry. “Will 3D replace 2D?”
The reason this question has reared its ugly head again is because of the method by which Paperman was made. A special combination of 2D and 3D animation overlaid to create the finished result but regrettably, this has made some folks assert that this is the future of 2D animation. Many of them taking to well established blogs and magazine articles to talk about classic animation as if it’s some form of quant niche entertainment that can’t possibly survive into the future without a surgical graft of 3D to keep it alive and current.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. No, 3D is not going to replace 2D. 3D animation takes just as much time and on average, about the same amount of money to produce as 2D so it always comes down to the personal preference of the storytellers (Creator, writer, director, producer, etc.) and last time I check there were still a lot of people out there who prefer 2D animation over 3D.
I’ve also heard the argument about less people taking an interest in 2D and there for not learning about it or choosing a career in it. That, good sir is also bullshit. There’s just too much cross over between the two. Too many skills in 3D animation that are forged in 2D and needed for success. For example, DreamWorks won’t hire a 3D animator unless they have at least some professional 2D animation work under their belt. You can’t learn about 3D without 2D coming into it somewhere.
These two methods of visualisation are not separate entities. They are overlapping, intertwined inescapably joined to one another in a way that will never truly be able to be split. If anything that’s what Paperman proves above all else.
So if you’re talking to someone who thinks that 2D and 3D are in some kind of vicious death struggle for supremacy, it would probably be a good idea to punch that person in the face. That’s just my opinion though.
See you next week
Evening all. let’s jump right into this.
So I went to see Rise of the guardians last week and it was really good and the graphics were amazing and the baddie was boring and Kiddie Christmas cannon fodder blah blah blah the end. But it did get me thinking about films aimed at kids that are made today and the relative lack of complexity.
Now before you jump all over that statement. I don’t think children need to be watching stuff like Kingdom of Heaven (directors cut, not the original. Completely different movies) I just think that kids can handle the concept of a bad guy having motives beyond “being a dick.”
The reason I’ve been thinking about this is because of the films villain, Pitch. A character so diametrically Black and White that I’m starting to think that his colour scheme was meant as sort of a subtle joke. Every single scene with him in is a protracted explanation of just how horrible he can be. Every now and again the film flirts with the idea of Pitch being a sympathetic character, With him stating how little he has and how hated he is but before any kind of emotion can be applied to these notions, he quickly switched back in to Dick-Dastardly mode and jumps right into an evil monologue.
I’m assuming the reason for this is that the creators don’t want anything too emotionally difficult for the kids to deal with but I think that’s bunk. Children always seem to be underestimated when it comes to crap like this but plenty of stuff has been made for kids in the past that dealt with more challenging problems, like The Snowman. He freaking DIES at the end and kids love that one.
Modern films aren’t completely bereft of this either. Both Kung-fu Panda films have villains that were undeniably bad but had a history, reasons for being bad and showed some emotions to indicate this beyond moustache-twirling villainy.
I guess in a very very VERY broad sense I’m saying kids don’t need to be protected from reality as much as we think. I mean kids go out of their way to watch horror movies that they’re not meant too but it doesn’t instantly turn them into serial killers. In fact, I’m starting to think that a lot of the things we’re told turn kids into serial killers actually don’t.
If a kid comes out of a movie and is a bit quiet because they’re “thinking about it” I mark that as a success. I still think that children’s stories should have a happy ending because that’s what we should always be working for in real life. I just don’t think everything needs to be black and white. Give them a problem that doesn’t have a perfect answer and see what they do with it. Chances are they’ll surprise you.
Anyway, what do you think?
See you on Christmas Eve!
Have you ever been to see a 3D animated movie and thought “wow, this film looks shite with a capital BALLS but I lack the necessary knowledge in 3D to properly tear it a new one. What can I do?”
Well wonder no more! Here are 3 nit-picks you can make about a 3D animation with evidence to back it up so you too can sound like you know what you’re talking about.
So you’re watching this awful film when some random object comes really close to the camera and the surface looks all blurry and pixelated. This is because the textures aren’t big enough. It’s like when you zoom in too far on a picture. If something’s coming close enough to the camera to be seen in detail, it needs to have some big-old textures. The director should have seen this and needs to be scorned for not fixing it.
You can say something like “if they knew they were bringing it that close, they should have used higher resolution textures. That’s just bad planning.”
I could write 20 blog posts on all the things that can go wrong with lighting but the worst thing that can be done with it is messing up shadows, specifically how sharp they are. Unless something’s being hit with a really strong direct light like, for example the Saharan sun shadows usually have pretty fuzzy edges. So when a character is sat in a dimly lit room in the dead of night and the shadows still look as sharp as a razors edge, it’s time to fire up the criticism. “Why are they using a directional light source? A nice area light would work far better.”
(quick explanation: Motion-capture is the recording of real people’s movements and using them on an animated character)
Let me make this clear. If you’re making an animation with cartoony characters, you don’t use motion capture. Motion capture is for photo real affairs. Cartoony characters, cartoony movements, simple as that but plenty of idiots seem to think that even in cartoons it will look better if everything’s mo-capped. Two of the worst offenders of this are ‘Monster House’ and ‘Mars needs Moms’. So if you’re watching a movie and a Bugs Bunny-esque character is moving like it’s just some guy running around a motion capture studio, say something along the lines of “uhgh, why did they use motion capture? They should have let the animators do their job.”
So there you go. Everything you need to look your nose down on the 3D art of others and sound like a real smarty-pants.
See you next week!
So with the imminent release of Brave, Pixar’s latest sampling of visual cocaine I thought an appropriately topical blog post was in order.
It’s no secret that Pixar are the Zeus, Budda and Chuck Norris of the 3D animation world all rolled into one. Well Pixar itself is well aware of this fact as well and every now and again, they like to remind the rest of us none-Pixar animators of who they are. Effectively saying “we have a more talented artists than you as footstools.”
The way they do this is by adding one or two shots that show off some of the ridiculously complicated techniques that they’ve used in the film. Just so there’s no confusion, Pixar didn’t come up with any of these 3D tricks, they just improved the living shit out of them.
It’s pretty obvious what Brave is trying to show off……… pitch prefect Scottish accent simulation. Every actor in the production was actually speaking in a thick New-Delhi accent. That’s how good Pixar is.
In A Bugs Life it was crowd control, the possess of controlling a large group of characters with some simple instructions. Watch it back and you’ll notice there are quite a few lingering shots of the big crowds.
Monsters Inc was Pixar showing that it can do Fur simulation better than real life can.
Finding Nemo – volumetrics. All those pretty underwater shots were made possible by volumetrics.
They were subtle in The Incredibles, most people probably didn’t even see it. There’s one single scene where Bob is talking to his boss and for one quick shot, we cut to a close up of the guys hands as he interlocks his fingers. That was it, soft deformation. May not seem like much but at the time, it blew our freaking minds.
Cars was all about the lighting. All that damn neon was no small feat.
And remember that one shot in Up where the sunlight is shining through the balloons onto a building in over-saturated Technicolor. That’s colour bleeding and it’s complicated as hell to do properly.
So now you know, pretty much every time there’s an out of place shot in a Pixar film, it’s actually them waving their big 3D balls in our collective faces. Hopefully that mental image will stick with you for a bit.
See you next week!
So I’ve been blabbing about 3D for a while now so I think it might be time to pass on some of the fundamentals to anyone who’s interested. Ever wanted to learn 3D? Now’s as good a time as any to have a crack at it.
As with every other guide I’ve done, this is for absolute beginners. If you want to give 3D a try, hopefully this will make your first experience a bit easier. I’m going to be giving you the barebones of the interface, only what you need to get started.
I’m using 3DS-Max, specifically the 2009 version but trust me they haven’t changed anything important in about 10 years so this stuff should work no matter what version you’re using.
Alright, enough talk. Let’s get this shit rolling.
Don’t worry, it’s as complicated as it looks but we’re only going to be looking at a couple of buttons today.
Step 1 :Navigation
Those four windows are called viewports. Each viewport gives you a different view of the workspace from a different direction. You can see which direction each viewport is showing by looking in the top-left corner of it. The viewport with the yellow boarder around it is the active viewport so it is the one you’ll be working in. If you want to change the viewport you’re working in, just click one of the others.
Each of these buttons does something to help you get around the workspace but for this lesson, we’re only using the two at the bottom-right.
The first one which looks like a yellow cycle with arrows coming out of it is the orbit tool. Click it and a yellow cycle will pop up in the active viewport, like the one in the first image. Now you’re ready to move around a bit.
Hold down the left mouse button over the active viewport and the camera will spin round on the spot. If there’s an object in the scene and you’ve got it selected, the camera will orbit the object.
If you roll the scroll wheel in the middle of the mouse, the viewport will zoom in and out.
Finally, if you press down the scroll wheel, the viewport will move in the direction you drag the mouse.
If you ever move things around to the point where you’re not sure where you are, just hit the Z key and the window will either move back to the centre of the workspace or focus on a selected object.
The second symbol that looks like two boxes with an arrow is the Maximize Viewport Toggle. If you click it the active viewport expands to fill the screen. Press it again and you go back to the four windows.
Step 2: makin’ shapes
To put one of them in the workspace just click on something from the list, move over to the viewport and then drag the shape out.
Once you put a shape into the workspace, the column will change to give you options for what you’ve just created. You can get back to the shapes list by clicking the arrow at the top –left of the column.
Step 3: move it, spin it, stretch it, work it
You know how to make objects. You know how to move around them. Now it’s time to change them.
Fairly self explanatory. The Move Tool let’s you move things, the Rotate Tool let’s you rotate things and the Scale Tool lets you scale things. Once you select an object to move/rotate/scale, the tool will appear over the object so you can alter it in the viewport. If you want to make more precise changes to an object, just right click on the move/rotate/scale button and then you’ll be able to enter numbers for all 3 dimensions.
And that’s it! You’ve got everything you need to get started. Have a play with the controls and see if you can get a handle on the interface. Once you’re a bit more comfortable with the software, try building something.
If you have any questions or get stuck on anything just send me a message and I’ll get back to you forthwith.
See you next week!
Little something I wanted to share.
They guy who made this has said before that this is something that he and his friends did in their spare time…… he fails to mention that he and his friends are some of the most prominent animators in the 2D animation industry. Pretty good friends to have.
Oh and while I remember, Happy Halloween!!
Want to know a secret? The majority of the animation industry hated the new TinTin movie before any images had even been released. Why? Because the majority of the animation industry doesn’t like animation for animation’s sake.
Spielberg and Jackson have been going on about how they’ve used the same technology as Avatar and have been waiting for animation to catch up so they can make this film (don’t even get me started on that statement). So they’ve used the most advanced 3D technology ever developed to create the most photo real characters ever. Ok fair enough, quick question. Why not just use real people? They’re probably cheaper and don’t need as much processing power.
And before you say it. Yes, I can see that these are caricatures with proportions leaning closer to the cartoon then real life. I even heard an interview with Peter Jackson the other day saying that he tried casting actors for the rolls but it just didn’t ‘feel’ right and it had to be done with animation. Alright, so why try and make it photo real? Why not just make a cartoon? If you’re that determined for the budget to be over 100 mill then just buy the animators solid gold computers.
Full realism and cartoony style doesn’t mix, with Jim Carrey being the obvious exception.
Just to clarify, I’m not ragging on the film it’s self (I’ll wait until I’ve seen it to do that). I’m ragging on the mentality behind it. This film didn’t need to be 3D but Avatar did well sooooo… I guess that means it did. I’m sure some people will be surprised to hear this, but the audience isn’t stupid. If you blatantly rip off something from another movie without the reasoning behind it, they’ll notice.
Alright, that’s all I got. Have a fun Halloween. Remember, it’ll looks suspicious if we all call in sick tomorrow so try not to drink too much.
See you next week!