I'm ill and not fit for much so thought I'd avoid juggling words for 20 minutes on that stupid 280 character limit site and try NG's blog.So for now, some short rants/thoughts that come off the top of my head regarding animation.
Does anyone ever consider that most screen-time is usually showing inbetween drawings? Inbetweens are the indistinct after-thought drawings for the most part, and the ratio of inbetweens vs extremes only gets more ridiculous the closer we are to "full animation".
Even more crazy, is the prevalence of the inbetween drawing directly preceding or following a key drawing being cleaner than the key. It's no more solid, it's practically tracing the sloppy key. All in the name of having smooth easing in/out.
The solution is to treat every drawing as a key, extreme, or breakdown in of itself. And what few inbetweens you have left, give them something interesting to do. Let viewers register the drawings you're most proud of, while giving a unique performance that can either be zany, or get deeper into the psyche of your character or idea than any easing out ever will.
This isn't some exclusive anime-frame-rate vs. Disney ones rant. The point is bang-for-the-buck. Only the "buck" isn't strictly led by cost. It's to double-check if this specific drawing is worth existing; worth reducing other, more interesting, drawings' screen time. Smoothing everything out can condense time, and can lose focus. You can significantly hamper your "bang" by increasing the "buck".
Some animations I'd watch as a kid couldn't be arsed to animate anything complicated at all. If a characters riding off into the sunset, they'd just have 5 keys and cross-fade between them! And there's nothing wrong with that at all; it's dream like, saves time, and the animators' mental health. Would you get away with that today? Probably not because since tween animations out of fashion again, directors want their smooth tweeny animation only done traditionally. Good morning, RSI!
What's with sakuga people making up terminology that no animator has ever said or thought about before? Framerate modulation, what the hell's that? It's like critics who just make up theoretical/philosophical terms to appear clever. No one will question your word if you just made them up, I suppose.
"Animating on twos is an economic answer to an artistic question." says the man who couldn't finish a film which sole purpose was to boast excess. Look at how much money has gone into making the animation smooth!
I think it's especially important for children's animation to be obvious how they were made. I really enjoyed Tom & Jerry as a kid, but they were magic pristine shapes. I'd never seen acetate sheets used for anything other than over-head projections. I also watched such Smallfilms as The Clangers and Ivor the Engine, and Bob Godfrey's studio's Roobarb. They were each made on tiny budgets and couldn't be more obvious how they were produced. The Clangers were knitted mouse creatures with holes in their feet so they could be mounted to the floor; Ivor the Engine were watercolour drawings, cut-out and floating around under the camera rostrum. Roobarb was drawn with Magic Markers, wobbling and boiling moving at a frame rate that even a child could identify as induvidual drawings. Had I never seen these, and only saw Tom & Jerry and Spongebob, I probably would never have given animation much more of a thought.
The irony of this "be honest with your medium" moral is that doesn't leave much for digital animation. It's possibly even dishonest of me to recreate the effects of film and paint in my digitally composited and coloured works. (Which kind of ties into my hypocritical rant about everything now trying to resemble the "artful" media of the past although this is already getting long winded)
Speaking of responsibilities often neglected when it comes to children's animation, I like to think of what Oliver Postgate has to say about the logic of The Clangers:
"They're surreal but logical. I have a strong prejudice against fantasy for its own sake. Once one gets to a point beyond where cause and effect mean anything at all, then science fiction becomes science nonsense. Everything that happened was strictly logical according to the laws of physics which happened to apply in that part of the world."
I don't blame kids for the way they behave looking back based on what obnoxious trite they played on the telly since 20 or so years ago. Doesn't inspire thought, neither artistically or curiosity; just shovels down colourful and noisy screaming shapes and ties it up with in a non-sequitur "eat your vegetables" bow.
And while I'm just plonking quotes, here's what Bob Godfrey had to say about his animation (retold by Richard Williams):
"He said 'The trouble was, these animators, the professionals are all stuck in a rut. And the amateurs aren't good enough. I'm an am-pro. Am-pro is the solution!'"
I haven't proof read any of this yet, still a bit delirious and headachey. But curious how any of this is received by other animators. Thanks for reading!