Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Manufactured Image: Something different (part 2)

cont'd from part 1...

As if the clear silhouette weren’t enough all of the vanishing points here draw you right in. Even with the crowd all a mish-mash of colors it still works.
irongiant 3.gif

Dark character on light bgrd, then light character on dark character. It seems so simple.


This one is particularly genius. The screen right waitress and mom are almost at the same exact place in the world. Same depth from camera, literally within 3 feet of each other in the same room and presumably under the same fluorescent light. But check out the shading on the other waitress. They made her dark to go over the light background, then put the lighter mom on the dark background, letting that high contrast pull you right where you need to go. Even with all the details, they’re pushed back using color harmony to pull the characters. And then you add the vanishing lines of the background push your eye screen left. Superb. If you lit this the ‘right’ way physically it would be a mess. But this thing totally violates the rule of consistent spatial lighting that throttles CG like a death grip - and it sings! Man that’s awesome.


Another amazing one. The entire background, all of the elements in it, are of one color theme. Characters, walls, windows, blinds, decorations- all of it a variant of that sea green hue. It pushes it all back, lets all the detail there fill in the space and keep the scene interesting without overpowering it. Anybody who has built, textured and lit an environment in CG knows that this is not typical at all. No way would anyone texture a complete portion of an asset (the diner set) to be ruled by one hue for one camera angle. And this is especially true for characters.

But not all is roses. It wasn’t as easy, but I did find some klunkers in the IG mix.



This one could have been something if they hadn’t shaded the background characters and trucks the same tone as Mansfield in the foreground.


But that’s all the klunky ones I could find online.

Some folks in recent comments have said that I’m being a bit too nitpicky about the layouts and compositional choices in my Accidents example. The argument is that the motion of animation is what carries the scene so it’s not fair to use image composition as a metric for artistic success. Yet TIG has motion- lots of it. It’s a high action film. Yet the artists who made that film didn’t shrug their shoulders at the value of integrated composition of motion and background.
So why does this stuff work better? Is it because it’s all hand drawn? Actually, it’s not. The giant and many mechnical elements in this film are CG. So something else is at work here. I do think it’s the pipeline. What about this production system made it easier to think in terms of complete imagery? All animated feature films need some kind of production structure of economy or else they’d never get done on time or on budget. Animated feature films need some kind of factory based pipeline. Pipelines are not all bad and we do not need to overthrow them in some kind of artistic bolshevik revolution. But some pipelines are better than others at doing certain things. The traditionally animated film pipeline (if one is to believe the visual product) seem to be geared towards allowing people to create more integrated artistic imagery. I believe that there are some things about the way the tasks are done- their order and the way they’re thought about- that hold back scenes artistically in typical manufacture/assemble Cg systems. No, we don’t need to throw the whole thing out. But like so many areas of Cg we could benefit from seeing how it was done before there ever was a thing called CG. We need to investigate and see how much of what we currently do is merely a result of the inertia of ignorance.
Next post- What are the key differences between Cg pipes and traditional pipes?

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