Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Animation Today

It feels wrong to have a post without images, but I lost my tech help for one week, so for now I'd like to share some thoughts with you on the current state of animation.
Recently I had the chance to spend some time at DreamWorks and at Blue Sky Studios.
I found the energy and enthusiasm in both places very exciting. It still feels a little bit odd though to talk to animators who grew up on the films I worked on at Disney. Comments like "I was eight years old when I saw Aladdin, and that's why I wanted to be an animator" make me feel.....old for one thing, but they also flatter me. After all, I was about ten when I saw "Jungle Book", which changed my life.
To know that Disney animated films from the 1980ies and 90ies had the same effect on young aspiring artists is simply incredible.

The work being done at DreamWorks and Blue Sky is beautiful, there will be some great films released in the near future. And I know that Pixar and Disney also have amazing titles coming up.
And yet.......I am waiting for a studio to show the courage for an artistic left turn.
There is nothing wrong with photo realism, which is the current CG style. The degree of caricature might vary a little, but ALL studios and ALL CG films are being presented in this hyper realistic world.
Come on....I need to see something that challenges my imagination more than this!

Hand drawn animation is so much about leaving things out, showing only the essence to communicate something. The line is your tool. The viewer is challenged to accept drawings as living beings, which gets him involved.
I remember watching "The Lion King" stage show for the first time. It has so many wonderful abstractions, you see the puppeteers and the mechanics, there is a joy in being in on the process. (I said this before, I prefer the show over the movie, you don't see any bad drawings.)
Hand drawn animation is similar in that way, you are invited to accept something abstract as being real.

A few years ago my buddy Mike Gabriel at Disney directed the short film "Lorenzo".
Mike asked me to animate on it, but at that time I was assigned to another project.
The pencil animation was done at Disney's AMAZING French studio. When I saw the finished film, I couldn't believe my eyes. A perfect fusion of hand drawn animation and CG treatment. No traditional cel painted look here, rough brush paintings moving with the kind of weight you see in good traditional animation. I honestly thought, this is the future, a new concept for animation.
Unfortunately nobody has followed up on this, for now it's a one time shot.

Some of my last conversations with Frank and Ollie centered around CG and pencil animation. These guys were amazed at this new type of film making with a sense of "what they can't do these days".
Frank Thomas expressed hope though that their kind of animation would survive, because when done well it affects audiences in a unique, personal, special way.

I couldn't agree more.

80 comments:

  1. Sure there are great artistic animations out there.
    They're just not coming from the big studios, but rather from the individuals who then submit it it festivals. The hyper realistic 3d animation is just where the money is at. It's safe so the studios apply it.

    A while back I saw this beautiful (unfinished) animation on the internet. You should really see it if you haven't already.
    This is the link:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dIznsAdTOE&feature=player_embedded

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  2. Dear Andreas,

    I am Bram 22 years old and I life in the Netherlands. I think you know about me, because Floyd Norman hase tell serval times about me. I still waiting on that drawing of Scar that you have promise me. I think you have fergot it because you ae verry busy. I love too get the drawing as you like and also too talk with you. I have also nice story´s I love too share with you!

    Hope I get a response of you!
    Bram Bruers

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    1. Andreas,you better get on this one...

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  3. Exactly. I still think about the path that was being paved with Fantasia and then Bambi. Using the medium to experiment and make ART. There's still a lot of possibilites out there!

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  4. The problem is that modern audiences like extremely realistic animation that connects with them through their reality. The 'high art' approach to animation is an extremley practical use for hand-drawn animation, and deserves to be explored, but such films may not appeal as much to the general public.

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    1. @ Zartok-35 I beg to differ. I was back home for Christmas this year, and my brother and sister (ages 6 and 7) were going on and on about an old 1949 Donald Duck short they had recorded off the Disney Channel. They asked me to watch it with them, and were literally glued to the screen. Every other second my sister would shout "Oh oh! Watch this part - are you looking?!" Half the time she would tell me the gag before it happened because she was so excited to share it with me. I've seen them excited about films and TV shows before, but this was different.

      Today's audience respond to strong characters and stories with or without hyper-realistic styling. I guess we just need a new film to prove it.

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    2. It's hard to understand this because you saw this kids going crazy watching this old Donald's Cartoon, but when there is a release of a 2D animated movie on cinemas the movie is never a success like the CG movies. Maybe the children still believe in drawings moving in the screen but is harder to convince the older public.

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    3. Compare the same ideas to fine arts - If I were to say something like, "digital painting is always more successful than watercolor", or really, "(any medium) is always more successful than (any other medium)", I'd be assuming that the medium is the most important thing without considering the subject matter, the artist, the style, the level of artistry, etc. There are a lot of things that make a movie or a piece of art successful. In my opinion, the medium is not one of the most important things. I'm optimistic about hand-drawn animation - I think it will prove successful once again.

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    4. ere, I think you're right - parents and anyone older are probably going to look at a hand-drawn marketing poster and be more swayed instead towards the 3d film poster, cos it looks less 'like a cartoon'. Also, I think it's in part that the last film Disney released was called "The PRINCESS and the frog". I know the phrase 'don't judge a book by it's cover' should apply, but I mean come on: I can't help to think this title may have dissuaded lot of the population(esp. males,teens+single male parents, anyone above 13 say) from even considering it. The audience result was probably majorly mothers/parents taking their young children to see it (except fans of course!)
      The audience/general public just don't know that they still want cartoons man. As with everything though marketing plays such a crucial role. (W-I-R's assumingly gonna perform way better in this respect)

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  5. Hello Mr. Deja! Yes, that's right. Thank you for this text.
    I'm waiting for a beautiful, interesting stories in 2D animation.
    But a pencil and a computer is just a tool.
    Man breathes life into a work of art.

    I like the pencil works (2D animation, stile) of these guys:
    http://headlessproductions.blogspot.com/
    What do you think of their works?
    Max. Russia.

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    1. Max,
      I love the work by these guys from Spain.
      And I loved "Nocturna".

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    2. Wow. That looks amazing. This seems to be a nice blend of 2d animation with CGI...Rare to find that, for me. Andreas, Really nice to hear you speak "candidly" about our current state of affairs. I wish (and I'm sure I'm not alone) you would do this more often. We need to hear masters like you speaking out for change. I agree that the stuff that is coming out is beautiful in it's photorealism, but we can't forget the masters and masterpieces that came out as a result of the invention of the camera and photography! Impressionism was a philosophical revolt from the artists and as they say - well, the rest is history!

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  6. I was fortunate enough to participate in Disney's Inspire Days this year and we were given a special treat, a screening of their new short "Paperman". They've melded traditional hand-drawn animation with CG seamlessly. It was one of the most visually stunning pieces of animation that I've ever seen. I'm hoping that they make a feature using the techniques that were used to make the short, and soon.

    I believe the short will be released with their new feature this year, Wreck-It Ralph, so be on the lookout! You'll have to see it to believe it.

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  7. The problem isn't the audience. The problem is the executives making decisions that should be left to the artists, and pushing what they think will make more money. People still go crazy for great hand drawn animation. The re-release of Beauty and the Beast made a lot of money and it still is. Hand drawn is will draw a crowd just as much as CG can, or stop motion, or live action. However, Hand Drawn animation, when done right, is more magical and has an appeal that cannot be matched.

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  8. Images or not, it was still a great read!

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  9. It's good to hear your thoughts on this ongoing debate Andreas.
    Never even knew about Lorenzo-just watched on utube- the style is brilliant, and once again with hand drawn what seems to have excelled - character!
    I'm curious why CG films are not making their mark in quite the same way.
    This may sound trivial, but there is less focus/ability on camera move in 2d- does this not help center on character and their expression (take tangled water dam escape against). Likewise, texture/clothes-the limited 2d flatter palette distracts less and focuses viewers look to face? (would be interesting to generally compare close-ups within 2d/3d films to see if 2d generally have more). Is it due to the more spread out 3d studio set-up as well? Songs are a big part of Disney history and again are very effective tools- not that they have to be all 'song and dance' (Fox and hound is one of my favourite 'unique' disney films)

    I keep on asking myself, why are 2d films not really being pursued any more? And people say budget - ok, is ink and paint costly? but surely the only reason movies ever cost colossal sums is in part due to colossal pay packets! I'm sure there are thousands of people my age wanting to work for Disney (for FREE!,well,for enough for living!)...but I guess the harsh issue as always is whether I/they are good enough.
    Enthusiasm as you say is surely the most important thing though - isn't that what you guys faced when making Mermaid - not great working conditions, but you all had one thing in common- wanting to make the best movie you could) and you were all close together - you could hear the 'part of your world' riff being played down the hallway (dvd my info source!) Everything's a lot more specialised/separated thesedays isn't it?
    Obviously I can't really comment as I haven't properly worked in a studio yet.

    I still love 3d and it seems so much more controllable/practical animation wise. But for me Monsters is a better film than Up for example, because of the characters.
    And hearing lots about it, I can't wait to see Paperman!
    Uh oh, I think I've written a bit too much.

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  10. Andreas we met briefly at the CTN2010 I was trying to get projects off the ground and you asked me if I wanted to show you something on my iPad , now We are currently producing 2 CLASSICAL animated short films for cinemas in Colombia, and I´m proud to say It´s a better move, since audiences MISS the graphic feel, they are tired of 3D animals with fur and fluid moves. They want to see stuff like Hades getting mad at hercules and exploding in fury with hand drawn animated flames but graphic styled teeth.

    here´s a link to see our short: http://juanmanimation.blogspot.com/

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  11. When you look at the production methods around Lorenzo or the DeepCanvas method in Tarzan... (whereby I can only look from afar)... you realize that 3D is only really being explored as a monoculture approach to realistic image creation.

    We've been trying to find out what a dedicated non-photorealistic authoring environment would look like and stumbled across what I'm sure will become a way to bring the best of hand-drawn digital animation (control, reduction, expressiveness, off-modelness) and 3D (re-use, deep-level editing, on-modelness) together.

    Some glimpses:
    www.drawdee.com/content/antjeDemo.mp4
    www.drawdee.com/content/diffusion07-1.wmv
    www.drawdee.com/content/LLT_HD720.mov
    www.drawdee.com/content/SKATER_Maryna.flv
    (last one for ITFS trailer, by Maryna Shchipak)

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  12. Love hearing your insights on stuff like this Andreas. I had never really considered your idea here, that traditional challenges the audience a bit more than CGI does. I guess that's probably true, though that might be up to the individual audience member too, whether being challenged and engaged in that way is a good thing or not. If I can be so presumptuous to offer my two cents on the matter. I do think that Disney suffers a bit from it's own reputation, and in a way is only able to make certain kinds of films. It's long history of family fare and, for the most part, timeless (meaning non contemporary) stories, dictates what people expect from them as each film comes out. This perception of what the audience wants, limits the kind of stories that get greenlit and made, and probably pervades every decision taht gets made along the way. Now that shouldn't excuse the situation- it's up to a brilliant director or writer, or whatever, to come along and ignore those preconceived notions about what a traditionally animated Disney film can be, and to make the film great regardless. However, I do think that it's a hindrance that other studios don't have. From the moment Toy Story was began, it was perceived as "different" and Pixar has done a great job of making each of their films unique, so that even after 11 (?) films you can't quite say what type of film is a Pixar film. Brave looks like it will further widen their spectrum.

    As for the photorealism, I am glad that most CGI films now seem to have gotten much cartoonier with their characters, making them look more like little cartoon sculptures than attempting the look of real flesh and blood beings, however, you're right and it still is being ultimately rendered as real objects in a real world.

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  14. Definitely agree about waiting for an artistic left turn! Directors have so many options as to what their films can look like, more than ever before. Seems crazy that with so many artistic possibilities at the ready, today's animated films -at least in America - look more similar then ever.

    Thanks Andreas - your blog is a pleasure with or without images (although I do love the images!)

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  15. I wish to applaud you for this post. Thank you for being a constant inspiration Mr. Deja.

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  17. Hey Andreas,
    Really great post - so good to hear your thoughts on the current state of animation and your visits to DreamWorks and Blue Sky.

    It was very interesting to hear about what you thought about the artistic style of the films, but what do you think of the current CG films acting and style or inventiveness of movement etc? I was really blown away by the acting and animation in How to Train your Dragon and I love the very pushed and cartoony movement in Horton Hears a Who and Rio. Is there are CG animation that stands out to you?

    Thanks again for the amazing blog too!
    Mike

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  18. The animation in Lorenzo is so beautiful, I was entranced by the music and loved the colour palette! I would love to see more animation that is this brave! It reminded me of Dumbo's dream sequence

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  19. I hope also that there came more hand drawing. because it is a art that never gets old. Hope I get your drawing of Scar. You and your work means so much too me! Bram of the Netherlands.

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  20. I really hope hand drawn animation will survive.
    Unfortunately, Disney's last hand drawn project I've heard of, Frozen, isn't going to be hand drawn. Do you know about any new projects?

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  21. Disney animation is the only reason I like animation as much as I do at all. It's the only style I want to do right now. It's cool remembering watching the old ones like Jungle Book and the new ones like Aladdin when I was little, because I was watching the movies for what they are and not just watching the animation.

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  22. Agree wholeheartedly, Andreas. The photorealistic look of CG is the standard, and it's profitable, but I honestly wonder how many folks would notice -- or mind -- if the studios took a more stylized direction with it. I'm occasionally surprised by models like those on the Star Wars: Clone Wars series -- those character models in particular have a kind of Gothic-sculptural gravitas. Perspective and lighting are among the best things one can manipulate in CG for EMOTIONAL effect, and I don't see those being explored nearly as much as getting the nitpicky textures right, which themselves could be more stylized. I love CG in and of itself. But as you said, a lot of the recent films don't engage the viewer's imagination -- they cram all the possible detail in.
    You made a great point with Lorenzo. I loved that short to death. It was bold evidence that 2D can be pushed further. Besides which, 2D is easier and faster in most respects. The fact that photorealistic CG films still need to be DRAWN OVER to look as fluid as 2D features firmly underscores the fact that CG is still playing catch up. How much headache are studios willing to take to make a cartoon?

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  23. My six year old son gravitates to 2D, traditional hand-drawn animated films as opposed all the CG animated movies currently out there.

    Traditional hand-drawn animation is in no way dead or dying, IMHO. It's alive and well, and waiting to for it's next resurgence (which I believe is still to come and hopefully Disney will once again lead the way!).

    Andreas, thanks for keeping this unique art form alive! :)

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  24. Frank and Ollie and Milt and Chuck Jones and all the rest of the old guys never imagined a day when animation would be separated from its roots in cartooning. The problem with animation today isn't really computers or puppets or drawings... it's the abandonment of the fundamental principles of cartooning- exaggeration, caricature and clarity. Animators should be proud to see themselves as cartoonists. If they don't, animation will devolve into becoming just another special effect.

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  25. Nicely Put. Thank you, Andreas. I'm still waiting for a studio with enough courage and cash to create the next big 2D movie and I hope I'm there to help out on it. Cheers.

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  26. creating realism - yes, it works when our animation is combined with live action { Lord of the Rings, King Kong etc }.

    But having the style be BASED on reality, BUT not copied exactly, is when animation works best. Pushing the graphic look, pushing the performance. And I think the audience welcomes that 'style' as they have for generations.

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  27. Lorenzo blew my mind when I saw it. But I don't understand why Disney's been hiding it for so many years. It's a real treasure, and Mike Gabriel should be given a trophy for it!!!

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  28. I saw LORENZO only once, years ago at a London Animation Festival- it blew my mind too! At last, I thought, Disney have found a way to fuse CG technology with 2-D animation- then they shut down the Paris studio! Brother Bear and Home on The Range put the last nails in the 2-D coffin and it was completely abandoned for several years!

    Disney have enough modern shorts under their hat to make an all new Fantasia! John Henry, Lorenzo, Paperman, Little Match Girl, hendel Butoy's 'African' short, Destino . . .

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  29. Couldn't agree more. Especially in regards to background paintings and settings. Take Andy's room from the Toy Story films. Same flat lighting and "real" perspectives on all 3 films. If it were a 2D painting from Mouse Detective or something similar it would have "forced" perspectives and dramatic lighting/staging etc. Those kinds of things help set the stage and mood for the characters and the audience as well. Gives us something more visually interesting to look at as well. I rarely get that from 3D animated films.

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  30. I am aspiring animation here in Brazil, it started with The Lion King the best animation of all! I miss animations as well. Thank you Andreas!

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  31. Andreas, have you seen Disney's "Paperman" yet? I was lucky to be able to see it a few weeks ago at Inspire Days at the studio, and I think the beautiful combination of CG and traditional animation was mind-blowing. I hope Disney goes on to do a feature in that style.

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  32. Andreas I had a post way back and said somethings about 3d animation. What you have said is what I meant. 2d is a whole new world every time you watch the films from the golden era of Disney to the renaissance of the 80's and 90's. I like 3d but my heart will always be in 2d.

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  33. That's a really interesting topic you mention and thanks for sharing your thoughts with us! I think a lot of us have been thinking about it.

    Personally I think things are going to the right direction. There seems to be more experimentation in the visual style of the animated films now. Maybe it's because of the increasing comptetion among the many animation studios around the world or because of the fact that not all cg movies are as profitable as they were 10 years ago but there seems to be more experimentation in the visual style of the animated films now.

    Hand drawn animation seems to be making a comeback with Disney producing 2D films again and Dreamworks including traditionally animated sequences in their films ( Kung Fu Panda 2, Me and My Shadow). Actually Kung Fu Panda 2 had 3 different animation styles in it (CG, traditional and cut-out for the very first sequence in the film)!

    Also, there are 3 stop motion films coming out just this year (Pirates, Frankenweenie and ParaNorman). And then it's really interesting seeing Disney and Warner Bros try to transfer the style of their older traditional animations in cg with Tangled and the Looney Toons shorts (both vis dev and animation)!

    I think a lot of people working (or not) in the industry have the same point of view about the state of animation nowadays... and I hope that's going to have a positive consequence for animation as a whole.

    Personally, I can't wait to see what's coming next.

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  34. I was fortunate to attend Inspire Day at Disney as well and had the pleasure of viewing the special screening of "Paperman". The beautiful blend of 2D and CG animation was incredible and moving. I think we are all seeking a new concept for animation and I believe the students at Inspire Day witnessed a glimmer of that future in "Paperman". I hope this new style continues to inspire many to push the boundaries of animation.

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  36. Long time reader/fan; first time posting.

    Two questions, Mr. Deja...

    Do you know where we can see Lorenzo (DVD/BLU-RAY?) and when will we have some news on your next animation move? I, personally, can't wait to see some more of your work in a film!

    On a personal note: I too was one of those kids who saw your films at a young age and then ran home to incessantly draw! That we can communicate with you directly through this blog to tell you that is a treasure itself.

    Best of luck, sir.

    -- Scott

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  37. Great post Andreas! Hope our generation can begin to think outside the box : )

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  38. A very enlightening post (even without pictures :D); thank you so much for your thoughts, as well as to all the great commenters on here. :D
    I agree that many of us were (and still are) the kids who watched amazing animated movies and were so inspired to draw or say, "I know what I want to be when I grow up." And I agree that there is still so much possibility for animation in the future, but traditional ideas are still very much alive.
    And now I must go hunt down Lorenzo :D

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  39. Here here! :D

    Is there anywhere we can see Lorenzo? I've only ever seen one short snippet, but I'd love to see the whole thing.

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  40. Man, I REALLY hope you and others are teaming up to bring animation back to it's roots - and that you're hiding a great secret you'll share soon about a new big hand drawn project your working on. Bitte Andreas!

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  41. very nice post and unfortunate about no tech guy, would of been good to see a drawing :D

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  42. Wonderful post, as usual. I couldn't agree with you more!

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  43. Unfortunately I've never seen Lorenzo, but the trailer looks so fascinating!

    I think I know what you mean in terms of the 3D films. While they do certainly have different aesthetics, the level of detail is always similar: they're all 'hyper rendered.' Where if you look at Gobelin's short After the Rain, the CG character has more of a gradient look to it. It almost falls into the same danger as old video game graphics where it's just because we can, doesn't mean we should. It's also just sticking to what we know the medium is good at.

    Hmm... if that's the case you should look at the design on Okami. It's a video game, but it definitely has a different look to it than you usually see. (Clip of Okami, start at ~30s if it doesn't start there automatically) My apologies if I'm preaching to the choir here.

    Also let me know if I misunderstood, because I definitely could have read that wrong.

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  45. Leave Disney, start a new studio with Glen Keane and a bunch of young ambitious animators, make your film your way, profit???

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  46. Wonderful post. I, like those young animators you mentioned grew up on Disney. I saw Dumbo when I was 5 and that was it, I wanted to draw! I don't remember a scene in any movie that had the affect Bill Tytla's mother/son scene ( where she cradles him in her trunk while locked up)had on me. I just don't feel the same warmth from a computer generated 3d image. I studied hand drawn animation and I'm currently studying with animation mentor, and I hope in the future that what your saying takes hold. how great would it be to take advantage of the opportunity we have with technology to push this great medium further. At the moment it just doesn't have that sincerity and heart, like everything these days, it feels a little hollow and rushed for profit. Let's hope somebody takes that risk soon

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  47. I agree. Im hoping with the many budding studios entering the industry that there is a shift into these uncharted territories. Mike showed me Lorenzo when I was out there. What a beautiful film! That type of artistry and fluidity is rarely found in mainstream feature animation today...what a shame because its so wonderful.

    It was great to see you again! Hope you enjoyed my film

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  48. I hope traditionnal animation survives... I'd like to see new stories most of all. New characters. New cartoons - I love short films so much better.

    I'd like to go into animation, but I'm hesitating at the moment, because the animation industry has a tendency to repeat itself. Also I couldn't bear to spend my life in front of the computer. That's the two things I hate most : routine and computers. I wish I could be an animator in the forties.

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  49. Andreas, I just want to tell you.

    I've dream of a world where all audiences treated all mediums of animation equally.

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  50. Isao Takahata's My Neighbors the Yamadas was also trying to translate a pencil+watercolor look to the animation.
    And coming out this year, there is the french film "Ernest & Celestine" that looks quite promising, also with a style showing the line and working around blanks and watercolor-like treatment of colours... The first seconds of finished animation can be watched here at 02:40 : http://vimeo.com/33600901

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  52. Many are going to dislike me instantly for what I am going to say, but it's my sincere opinion and I want to express it. For me, CGI animation has (and still is) killing traditional animation. Because of the cost, mainly, and because of the speed. But there is absolutely no way to replace, let's say Prinecss Jasmine with Entangle's CGI Rapunzel. Just look at both their eyes and the coldness of the computer just comes thru. Should they make The lion king all over again CGI version, the animals would be very real, but it woudln't be the same. No matter how advanced the computers are, they cannot capture that little spark of personality animators draw onto their characters. And it's sad that people are buying these new products and not forcing the studios to go back to traditional animation. Or aren't they? What is this desperate need of re-releasing classics? Maybe we'll be lucky after all and traditional animation is finding its way back!

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    1. Amen to that! In fact, I hope traditional, hand drawn animation makes such a comeback, it'll make Jeffrey Katzenberg regret he ever ditched his 2D studio!

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    2. Hi Noelia! I agree with you.
      The computer helps the movies to look more real, but in some points...It is not real.
      some things we buy from other movies because
      they are animated in 2d by hand. When we see them, we know that we are an unreal world. Unreal but REAL in emotions, in some movies of course.
      Some characters (TV ones) when we see their 3D cgi version, I almost freak out.

      I agree that the 2 mediums are needed but not as they are doing it! Enven the kids, I spoke for mine. They saw Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Tv cartoons in 2D and they love them. And they saw UP, Nemo and others in CGI with the same joy. THey story is the most important.
      Adults is different - When they are seeing Up, Shrek(good grief) and CGI 3D real stuff - is ok, but if the same movies were in 2D, they don't saw them. Kiddie stuff!
      Come on!!

      2D is about line and textures too, in a different way - artistic too.
      Sorry my english.

      You are right Andreas!!
      Thank you for giving me Jafar, Gaston, Roger (Rabbit) and so many others.
      2D movies I can sit in fornt of the screen and stop frame by frame to see the real movement. CGI no. I don't see frame by frame. But love the both. Of course that they are really rotten cgi films. Don't move like real and have real looks. Awful
      and tthe films like TIntin, Beowulf, motion captur ones for me don't exist - I never saw them excep in some scenes. I never loved zombie filsm. They look like zombies. Some people are hating me for that but they are for me.
      Walt Disney knew at that time that we have to refine the movement when transiting to animation..
      Oh well...

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  53. I agree with you mr. Deja. I'm 30 and don't dig those new films. I satay with your work! best,

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  54. I caught this in a magazine recently, and it made me think of this post. And it also made my heart feel light: Maybe we can finally see the boundaries of Photoreal CG pushed into something much more expressive and abstract!
    http://www.outside-hollywood.com/2009/07/outside-hollywood-at-siggraph/

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  55. As one of the people you mentioned who grew up watching the Disney renaissance of the late 80's-early 90's, it is indeed disheartening to see such a shortage of beautiful hand drawn animation in theaters. While it seems most big studios have seemed to have tossed in the towel for their 2d features, I see hope still in small studios and individuals. We live in a time now where more animators than ever exist and software is accessible to buy for the home in many places around the world. Also, there's always the Asian market, they still love 2d over there. At least Disney is distributing Studio Ghibli work over here.

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  56. Andreas Great post. Probably one of my fav. since I share your point of view. I'm trying to find that Lorenzo film. Is there a place I can see it at least a scene. I'm dead curious.

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  57. Dear Andreas:

    We are starting a 2d studio in Valencia Spain. We hope to survive making 2d animated tv spots and others, such as illustrations and other services. We want to grow from very little and produce 2d short films with our own themes(mainly family value themes for every public in a mature sense).

    We really not know if we even get to survive, but we are going to try anyway because this is what give sense to our lives. To draw and portrait time.

    I want to thank you for this blog. Is very useful to us. If you ever want to visit us you can stay in Valencia for free with us. We have a very good guest room. We are going to Annecy 2012, if you go we would love to say hello. We have little experience in animation but we love it so deeply we would like to do anything else with our lives. So the journey is on.

    We haven't upload our web page yet but you can see my blog.
    www.alenz01.blogspot.com . I have take the liberty to link your web page to my blog. If you would prefer not please tell me so.

    I have notice that your blog ends in .es Could you be here in Spain? If that is the case, we would love to meet you.

    Thanks for being you.

    Miguel

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  58. Thank you for this Mr. Deja. I have always wanted to work for Disney and have been working towards it for years, but with the push for 3D, I have questioned my amibition. I am an artist first and foremost and very much wanted to work in 2D. I feel the reason why Disney's movies, especially in the 90's were so successful was because they had three great things. Musical-esq style, a great story, and heart. I was and have been more moved as an artist and person by 2D animation than I ever have been with a 3D. Yes pixars movies have for the most part great stories. But for me, 2D, Disney 2D has soul and charm. That is something that I have missed

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  59. I do enjoy watching a good movie - 2d or 3d - but the art leaves something to be desired in the 3d realm. I have yet to have a breathtaking moment, like I did when watching The Secret of Kells the first time. The physicality of 3d is nice but if it's all the same, I'd be perfectly happy watching gorgeous 2d versions instead.

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  60. I feel the same way. I grew up wanting to be a Disney animator, but what I found most enchanting was the fact that I was watching drawings that moved and talked and made me cry and laugh. As nice as 3D animation is, it just doesn't feel the same to me at all. I gave up animation and went into illustration because of this recent push for 3D...

    I trust you are familiar with Studio Ghibli -- I can't imagine that you wouldn't be -- but do you know Studio 4C? It's a Japanese animation studio and they do a lot of really interesting stuff. You might want to look for "Tekkon Kinkreet", if you haven't seen it yet.

    On another note, it was you Mr. Deja who inspired me to start drawing when I was a child (in the 80s). Thank you for that.

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  61. Well said. I was one of those 8-year-old kids watching Aladdin. I would love to see an artistic left turn as well, we don't need photo-realism, that's why we have live-action films. There is so much potential for animation and I don't think it's been used to it's fullest.

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  62. Hi Andreas Deja! I Know this is out of context, but I just looked upon a post that was made in april when you shared your thoughts about how animation was done today, all the big switch to GC and finally your comment about the medium needing a "brand new thing" or technnique or something.

    Recently I found some info about a new Disney short called Paperman, that will use a mix of 2D and 3D, but to overall look like a 2D drawing, kinda like what you and your colleagues did with the CAPS system back in the 90s. At a Disney forum some guy who had already watched some parts of the short (I,ve seen some stills and they look wonderful) says that is the future, like animation but with depth or something like that.

    Have you seen that short? What do you think about it? It would be the future like what happened with the CAPS system? I would love to know your point of view in this.

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    1. little double posting, i thought for a moment I was posting on the "lilo & Stitch" post, thats why I thought it was out of content! If my head wasn't glued to my body I would definitely lose it :)

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  63. Dear Andreas, nothing can be more true than your words. I'm waiting like you to be amazed again watching simple lines becoming alive on a screen, that was the true spirit of animation. Now animated movies try only to duplicate reality like a photocopy, but the old Xerox cels of Jungle Book or The Aristocats will always seem more alive than the digital perfection of the last CGI blockbuster. With love and respect for your art.
    Nunziante

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  64. Dear Andreas Deja,

    I'm a furniture maker in cahoots with animation students at the California College of the Arts with a project to build animation desks that can accept traditional disks and integrate tablet and desktop computer capabilities. Former Disney Animator-cum-teacher Ed Gutierrez referred me to you for references, as you apparently have the Disney Archives in your closet. I'm trying to look for what is needed in an animation desk for the modern age, while instilling the gravitas of the old.

    I'm hoping my experiment in mating traditional and modern animation platforms will create friction between the natural instincts that comes from using those tools and perhaps inspire something interesting. Wishful thinking perhaps, but a great challenge nonetheless.

    I understand you must be terribly busy, but I hope you can help me out.

    Sincerely,
    Mateo Hao

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  65. What you say here is interesting, but I believe that CGI isn't as mature as 2D yet. I am a 3D artist and I have seen plenty of incredible CGI images out there... True, not in movies, yet, but making a lot of noise in the community. I think you should check the french movie "Le Tableau" ("The Painting"). It's a really different style of CGI, actually it contains more than one style. Definitely worth your time, if you have any.
    I have been reading your blog for a few days now, reading from the most recent to the oldest post (maybe I should have done the opposite, but well, too far to turn back now), and I really enjoy your insights into the profession. I learned a lot in those few days, and I will now watch my movies differently, having in mind the first design of some characters or pausing to see frame by frames. Thank you.

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