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The Wacom Cintiq 21UX moves us just one more step closer to paperless 2D animation production which is fine by me. I think pieces of technology like this could spark more home grown 2D animation.
Software: TVPaint Pro, Harmony Standalone, Storyboard Pro, Maya, Modo, Arnold, V-Ray, Maxwell, NukeX, Hiero, Mari, RealFlow, Avid, Adobe CS6
Hardware: (2) HP Z820 Workstations + 144-core Linux Render Farm + Cintiq 24HD Touch
Well, I've been watching Madagascar, and Over the Hedge (not Incredibles yet), and I'm going to make myself even more unpopular and say there was really nothing in these movies that I cared for at all. If either are supposed to show what's possible in terms of 3d animation, it didn't excite me; if either are supposed to embody the revival of good story-telling, I don't see how they did (with tales that would be more fitting for 12-24 minute episodes on TV). I couldn't help but think, as I finished watching them, "Who's going to want to see these again in 10, 20 years?", the way folks still enjoy Secret of NIMH, or Lion King, or Snow White, or Fritz the Cat. I think 3D's going to age badly, unlike 2D.
The visual details are fun (even if they look virtually the same from film-to-film, which is another problem), but there's no heart in graph-tweaks and whatnot, and one feels it while watching. Every character's motion is all coked-up -- nothing's taken slow, nothing's held long enough to sink in, it all plays out like some hyper Punch and Judy show.
Maybe it can be done better?, maybe it can be done differently?, I don't know. I know what I like and I don't like what I've seen, though I can imagineer-up little 3D scenes that seem nifty and that makes me want to explore it - once I've gotten somewhere with learning 2D.
That's my take on the versus, is all. :)
You're entitled to your opinion. My heart pumps graphite blood, so it was with a measure of planning and patience that I accepted that the medium in which I would practice and train on the principles would be 3D. There's a lot to enjoy there for me, but I can do shitty 2D animation and it still gives me a high and a thrill. With 3D it is long hard hours and then a payoff if something goes right and then I get bit by a bug here and there. Because it's hard to guage whether that's the process of something circumstancial I don't yet know.
Neither movie you mentioned is famous for story, certainly not Madagascar, but I think when you're exposed/saturated to the details, the skinny of production, when your eye and taste are developed or more importantly when you yourself have been in the thick of it over a long time span doing concentrated work (not just running the software but actual animation) you tend to pick up on more stuff that makes you appreciate it; if not for the possibility then for the difficulty.
Personally, I've only seen Snow White once, went 7 years before seeing any part of The Lion King again (with little kid cousins) and don't even know who Fritz the Cat is. I think if your argument is for story then you can't really say "unlike 2D" because you're making a generalization about the stories being told in some direct associated with the -visual medium-. There's a ton of 2D garbage, for decades, and it's out there festering. Just nothing you'd show if you see 2D in a graceful light =)
You make it sound like today's features are alien modeling tutorials from 1991. A lot of headway has been made to take out the look and feel of CG that everyone is so averse to. I see Madagascar and see stuff that at the time I didn't know was possible on the computer. Talented people are behind those characters, and they also take a lot of time and effort to make something appealing even when there isn't a lot to work with writing/story-wise (as you say). The heart is built right in. Besides, from a technical and logical standpoint, tweaking the graph editor would mean you'd be less likely to notice visual and "look and feel" errors associated with them.
Madagascar was pretty manic and wiry but if you're looking for a convo there it can't be with me. Of the two that was the craziest and there just plain -are- all kinds of places where there are holds and things being still. I don't know how to address that if you can't see it. Hell, in Over the Hedge some chars go seconds upon seconds in an almost perfectly still pose...
Well, I'd prefer not to get into nitpickings of various specific instances - suffice it to say, there were probably some holds I didn't notice, but the impression that's left on me is that there were some spots holds were needed where they just weren't hold. I won't make a laundry list or anything, but, well, just to take one example, just to make my point, howabout when the Lemur King's aye-aye sidekick makes a comment about "what big teeth" Alex has. A few seconds later, the Lemur King gasps nervously, rolls back his eyes, and strikes a pose - and it's held about half as long as I feel it would've been appropriate to hold it. You don't really get to "soak in" the expression he makes, in the short amount of time it's onscreen. A lot of other poses/expressions that aren't nearly as interesting are, however, held, sure, but it just didn't strike me as appropriate. I'm not saying I want "holds - period", but "appropriate holds".
Neither movie is known for its story, I guess. But when I read threads championing 3D, everyone goes on and on about how in the last few Disney 2D features, the stories stunk - "but now everything's different in 3D!", and - huh?! I didn't like the last few Disney movies either, but I don't think these other movies are any real improvement. Toy Story had a good story, actually - but, you know, the fact that Toy Story kicked-off the whole 3D feature trend, and yet there really hasn't beena movie since that's topped it in terms of story, is kind of proof that things aren't "different" now -- just one movie was different.
I have an (admittedly limited) appreciation of what goes into animating a 3D character. I don't think it's easy. I've poked around in Maya, I've seen folks' work-in-progress, I've read the interviews that talk about completing 4 seconds of animation per day. I don't think it's a cakewalk compared to 2D. I just don't see being done in 3D animation anything that really touches me. There's a lot of movement, a lot of principles at work, sure - overlapping actions, weight, etc. But I love Bluth, I love Kricfalusi, and there's something they can do that makes me feel for their characters -- whether they're tender or wacky -- more than I feel for any of these 3d characters. I don't know enough about art and animation yet, I suppose, to put my finger on it, and that's why I keep bugging folks with these questions about 3D and 2D - I honestly don't know what's making that difference in how I'm, personally, affected, and I want to figure it out so I can understand how to create emotionally touching scenes of my own someday.
As for your personal exposure to certain films I've named, well, I dunno what cartoons you like to watch!, I really can't throw out some more names with any real purpose -- but regardless, they're considered classics, they were huge, they left a mark. You really should see Fritz the Cat!, it's such a wonderful movie. :)
Anyway - nobody believes me, but I still really don't know what I think, what with all the variables of technology, talent, intention and perception to consider. I just know what I like, but that doesn't help me figure out what I can/am going to do. ...which is the only reason I bring any of this stuff up -- not to start an argument, but just to figure out what the hell to do with myself, where to go, what to learn, etc. :P <- edit-addition
...But when I read threads championing 3D, everyone goes on and on about how in the last few Disney 2D features, the stories stunk - "but now everything's different in 3D!", and - huh?! I didn't like the last few Disney movies either, but I don't think these other movies are any real improvement. Toy Story had a good story, actually - but, you know, the fact that Toy Story kicked-off the whole 3D feature trend, and yet there really hasn't beena movie since that's topped it in terms of story, is kind of proof that things aren't "different" now -- just one movie was different.
I don't know if I've read a thread here that someone has said that.
You are taking some of the poorer 3D films and compairing them to some of the stronger traditional films. You also got to remember as well, traditional animation has about 50 years of experience on 3D animation. While some of animation principles translate over from traditional to 3D some do not. While I didn't care for Madagascar, I give PDI a bunch of credit for trying something new with the animation. Even if it didn't work. Take a look at Toy Story then watch the Incredibles right after. There is a huge difference in quality and storytelling between the two, and there was only 10 years between the two.
3D will only get better as time goes on. Will there be stinkers along the way? Of course, but you learn just as much if not more from what doesn't work than you do from what does work.
...we must all face a choice, between what is right... and what is easy."
I loathe these conversations, because it's like discussing religion or politics. People have their belief set, and they never move off of it regardless of what points someone on the other side of the argument presents. It all boils down to...
There tend to be "2D people" and "3D people", and precious few who think in terms of "animation." That attitude is on display on these very forums in abundance. We're all so busy defending our favorite technique that we completely gloss over the notion that it's all animation, and it all has the ability to move us.
2D features have been around for nearly 70 years. In that time, there have been brilliant works of filmmaking, and steaming piles of wasted celluloid. To expect 3D to have as many exemplary films in 1/7th the time is ridiculous. If one wants to base their 2D over 3D bias on that, they're welcome to, but it's a weak basis at best. Still, that doesn't stop 2D enthusiasts from cherry-picking films like "Beauty and the Beast" while completely ignoring disasters like "A Troll In Central Park."
Lots of bad 3D is on it's way down the pipe, and some has already violated our eyeballs (Final Fantasy, Hoodwinked, etc). But so far the track record has been pretty good, given the dramatically shorter history 3D has.
A final thought: when one denigrates any film based on how many D's it has, keep in mind that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of animation artists who poured a big chunk of their lives into the film and care about issues like story and holds just as much as you do. Probably more, since their work is the work up on screen that will be picked apart endlessly on forums like this one. More often than not, said issues are beyond their control and all they can do is the best they can do.
No nitpicking, nor argument.
And incidentally, one can be for animation (I've probably made my views clear in that respect 30-odd times) and still have a preference for what they like to do. Is animation independent of medium? Yes, and I champion that, and I hope it spreads. Do I find myself more consistently pleased and appeased by the characters of drawings in time? Yah.
The problem with 2D vs. 3D discussions, I think, is like "red state vs. blue state" (I'm going to kill whoever came up with that sh--)...people think allegiance to one idea is mutually exclusive to owning another idea as well. It's not really an either/or situation.
Well, I don't know where people are getting the "bias" idea from regarding me - I'm trying to make it very clear that I feel a bit lost, and I'm just trying to state what I like and what I see and ask some questions about what's possible, all in the hopes that the dicussion will somehow make it a bit clearer to me what I want to do -- which I honestly don't know. A week ago I wanted to immerse myself in all the 3D stuff, focus on it solely -- and now I'm considering putting animation as a whole on hold and taking a few years of drafting, like Williams says to in his book, like Bluth went through before he began animating, etc. I go back-and-forth on what I think of 2D and 3D all the time. I'm just trying to figure this stuff out fast, try to get myself on a course I'll be happy with without losing much more time. :| Everybody says, "2D and 3D can both touch people emotionally equally well," and yet I've been touched by 2D and not by 3D and I just want to figure out why - if it means I wouldn't be able to do anything I'm happy with in 3D. I think I've come to the conclusion that I want to learn everything I possibly can about both - but don't know where to start. :P < end of livejournalish rambling> ;)
I can be just as cruel to the 2D classics as I've been to the 3D releases!, made some Disney fans really hate me. And I enjoyed the Wallace and Grommit movie, which was neither 2D nor 3D but stop-motion. I love the idea, in 3D animation, of having tons of textures, and lights and whatnot.
Just setting the record straight on the question of my having bias, I guess. :P :)
But, when you say, "A final thought: when one denigrates any film based on how many D's it has, keep in mind that there are dozens..." Well, first off, I don't mean to denigrate a film based solely on how many D's it has - sorry if it came off like that. I was just criticizing, I thought, how in a lot of the 3D features I've seen, the holds really don't seem nearly as well-done as what I can find in a lot of C. Jones, Clampett, Avery, Kricfalusi or Bluth cartoons. Goethe once wrote, and I hope I'm quoting correctly, "In art, the best is good enough." I take that to mean, if you're not creating something that's better than anything else that's come before, you've got to try harder. I, personally, am not offended by opinions, only by insults, so I'm not in sympathy with someone who would be. But I do appreciate that there a lot of folks who've put a whole lot more work into these films than I've put into any art I've ever tried to create in the course of my life. I spend time bitching about what I think they did wrong because I think what they're doing - and what they can do better - are important.
So - just to set the record straight on that, too. ;)
Anyway, I'll drop out of the thread unless someone asks me something pointedly, I've caused enough trouble. ;)
I'm not one to participate in these argumental threads, but feel like I should say something. I will be brief though.
Animation is animation. 2d and 3d are simply mediums, none is better than the other. Animating in 2d and 3d is essentially the same. Sure there are technical differences and both have their pros and cons. But I speak from experience when I say they're both pretty much the same. The medium doesn't matter, its the story and will always be the story that determines ow successful the film is. The medium has no effect on wether the story is good or not, and thus no effect on how successful the film is. The more I talk to feature animators the more I see that animation is animation. While I've always believed that (thus the mixture of 2d and 3d animation in my portfolio), it's great to see the pro's do too. In my opinion, though some of us may have favourites, true animators love to animate no matter what the medium.
"Animation isn't about how well you draw, but how much to believe." -Glen Keane
Animation is animation. 2d and 3d are simply mediums, none is better than the other.
Amen. I'm in the same boat as you, Mew - my professional experience encompasses both 2D and 3D, and it's all animation.
Except for stop-motion; those guys rule! :D
Everybody says, "2D and 3D can both touch people emotionally equally well," and yet I've been touched by 2D and not by 3D and I just want to figure out why
Maybe it just doesn't work for you. Nothing wrong with that, except in making the assumption that your experience implies a similar one in every other moviegoer. Clearly, that's not the case.
I was just criticizing, I thought, how in a lot of the 3D features I've seen, the holds really don't seem nearly as well-done as what I can find in a lot of C. Jones, Clampett, Avery, Kricfalusi or Bluth cartoons.
You're comparing apples and oranges. Shorts vs. features (different goals, different restrictions). The only name from your list that might even be considered is Bluth, and he almost never holds anything (he's interpreted full animation to mean constant animation). Different directors exercise different levels of control - Lassetter has been known to tell an animator to add a single frame to an action or take one away. At that point, who is responsible for the performance? Yes, it's all animation, but it's also a product of it's time and the forces that brought it to completion. And no one, save the director and the animator, are fully aware of under what circumstances a particular shot (hold, if you will) was created.
And incidentally, one can be for animation and still have a preference for what they like to do.
Absolutely. Human nature. What irritates me is the mirror of that - when people view the style they prefer at the more valid one, the one more capable of delivering an emotional impact, the "truer" form - whatever.
\:^/ <- the face you get from me.
Is 3d, computer-model-based animation capable of achieving the same sudden, extreme changes in form, volume, shape, and appearance that one might find in cartoons similar to the following - or can't it?
I would love to show you just how far we pushed our characters on Mad, but I can't, so you'll just have to take my word for it. You may or may not like Mad or Hedge, but the animation principles we employed in each film are exactly the same as those employed in traditionally animated cartoons.
Scattered is absolutely right about the animation style, we have plenty of 4 / 8 frame holds that serve to juxtapose an extreme action in those films. (More so in Mad).
I love both techniques, and really can't understand why people see one as better than another...
I would love to show you just how far we pushed our characters on Mad, but I can't, so you'll just have to take my word for it.
No we don't. Anyone with the DVD and the motivation to step through it frame-by-frame can find out for themselves. You might want to point out a handful of relevant scenes, so we don't wear out our DVD players... :D
Along the same lines, I attended the presentation at last year's SIGGRAPH where extreme deformations in Madagascar was discussed. 'Twas very impressive, and proof that 3D is every bit as capable of doing cartoony deformations as 2D. There's a lot of it in "Chicken Little" as well...
Well, that all depends. It's sometimes easier to see how stretched the characters are in 3D rather than screen space, eh? :P
Three good examples would be:
Alex running along the beach and avoiding the tide coming in. Dan Wagner did a great job on that.
The little porcupine character getting scared and curling into a ball when the lemurs are on the plane. I can't remember who did it, unfortunately, but it's amazing.
When Gloria lets go of Marty's tail when they're on the beach and he wants to run and find Alex because the boat has arrived. Denis Couchon did that one.
Well, that all depends. It's sometimes easier to see how stretched the characters are in 3D rather than screen space, eh? :P
Maybe, but since the point of the stretching is ultimately the screen image, viewing the final frame is the most effective way to compare what you guys did to what's done in 2D, right? The 3D space is the means to an end - getting that classic cartoony feel into the movie is the ultimate goal.
Besides, the screen images convey the stretching quite nicely. I still remember the examples shown at SIGGRAPH vividly - both from Mad and CL.
OK, fine. I stand corrected.
The problem with 2D is that it's expensive and (unlike 3D) the elements that are created for it cannot be so easily reused and repurposed for additional materials which can bring additional profit to the IP franchise. Which is important to investors and the bean-counters who sign the checks.
I think it is true. My animators are bent over frames and frames of processing and somehow they seem never ending. I do agree that backgrounds and props in 3D are costlier - but you have 3D shops selling everything, I don't remember seeing a 2D prop shop (except clip art quality).
Finally the main issue beyond this, is that most of the clients (I am not talking of film makers) have a feel/ opinion that 3D is more expensive, and hence are ready to pay more for a 3D project and that does matter!
http://www.3danimationtrainingstudio.com I still have not told my story! - Vineet Raj Kapoor
It's easier for an audience to be entertained by 3d animation than it is by 2d animation,
It's easier for an audience to feel sincere, warm fondness for a 2d character than a 3d one
That's like saying it's easier for a viewer to have a warm snuggly feeling for a painting than for a sculptural relief.
Those hypotheses have no basis.
i LOVE 2d digital (Tamura Shigeru, dr katz, etc)
I just think this thread is so silly and should NOT be a "sticky".
It puts a negative spin on the Animation Cafe- to have folks arguing right up front.