Monday, March 07, 2005

Another log on the fire..

While I'm on a roll with this whole CG-animators-had-better-learn-to-get-comfy-with-
a-pencil-in-their-hand kick
, I strolled on by Jim Hull's uber groovy Seward Street blog and came across this note from Glen Keane....

The question asked of Glen was, "If you were to be starting today trying to become an animator, what do you think you would need to do?" And his answer was...

Well, if I was just starting as an animator I would take drawing really seriously. A lot more seriously than probably a lot of other animators would say, but that's me; that's how I approach it..... To me, if I feel like if you're going to really push into where I think acting needs to go, and we're going to really compete with live action, then our acting needs to go to levels where you're really dealing with subtle, deeper human emotions. The only way you can really capture that, besides being in touch with your own heart in your acting, is to be able to draw how you feel. It requires a real understanding of anatomy and to be able to draw really well, to communicate.

Safe to say Glen's a guy worth listening to on this whole burrito. And it's also safe to say that Jim's got a killer blog running. In case you didn't know he's the fella who put up those tasty Milt Kahl MP3's a while back. My favorite track is #4 about Getting the Most Out of a Scene. Good stuff!



Virgil Mihailescu said...

Yes, I agree, but I have to add that even though drawing skills are important, computer animation is different from hand-drawn animation, and we have to look for better ways to study motion & emotion (e-motion... :) )
I want to give an example of a fabulous pearl...It's not entirely wrong actually, just... exaggerated: “The creation of mood is the stock-in-trade both of the cinema and the theatre. It is also important in animated films, but as animation is a medium of exaggeration, it is advisable to avoid subtle shades of expression.” (Whitaker, Halas: Timing for Animation)
Even though it sounds strange nowadays, they are actually right, to a certain extent. Which means that cartoon animation is very limited, but computers allow the creation of extremely detailed and “subtle shades of expression”.
I think computer animators should spend more time studying life and video recordings of it, or films, or any kind of animation already existent, and spend less time drawing. The great thing about life drawing is that you get to understand volumes better, but that’s already given for free when you work with puppets, or digital puppets, right? So we need to concentrate on those “subtle shades of [motion and] expression”, I believe.
Computers not only revolutionized animation, but they changed it considerably. A Lasseter film is different from a Disney film not only because of the means of expression, but also because of a different approach to animation, an approach dictated by the new medium: the computer.

Keith Osborn said...

Drawing from life sharpens observation skills so I have to agree with Klango (and Glen) that it's vital for an animator (regardless of medium). Even if you can't draw to save your life, it's the process - not the result. Good post Keith!

Anonymous said...

The escence of Keith's post suggests that CG animators should be able to draw, not as good as Milt Kahl or Leonardo Da Vinci, but at least be comfortable enough to draw their own thumbnails to communicate the idea, to put down on paper what they have in mind. Enough has been said about planning by almost every legend animator and drawing is a major part of planning, wether in hand drawn, CG, stop motion or any other medium.