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Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Let's talk about Animation Drawing !

This week, in Maribor, there is the 'Stop Trik' festival. It is a Slovenian/Polish festival about stop motion animation, and it is the only one in Europe now, which is entirely dedicated to stop motion. The first edition came out in 2011.
We already had a lecture on monday in the morning, about politics and philosophy into animated movies, by Michał Bobrowski and Olga Bobrowska, respectively programme director and festival director of Stop Trik.

And while we're at it, I will speak about animation movies in general (not only stop motion). Because I am really passionate about it. For me, it is the best field of art, the most complete. When you are working in or around the field of animation, you can do anything in the field of art. You can be of course a drawer, a painter, an animator, an illustrator. You can be a scenarist, a film director, a story boarder, film editor, a sound designer... You also can be a stylist, a photographer, a sculptor, a plastic art artist, a musician, an actor, a dancer... Because all of this can be needed in an animation movie. For example, when you are doing animation, and when you try to animate a character, you have to act first to understand which movement you need to put in this character. So, you are some kind of actor, with a smaller public (your team). Here is an example in this video, at 1:40 (and the whole video is a making of, also interesting to see, it takes place in Les Gobelins, one of the best animation school in the world).

Techniques of Animation
Do you remember those people tight in some dark suit, with little balls all around their bodies? This is called motion capture (actually it allows to save time and energy, rather than creating all the movements, but then it looks natural for sure).

 There is of course the traditional way of drawing, on the paper, in 2D, with an inclined desk with an animation disc which is also a light table to see the different layers (You can see it concretely in the first video of this article, at 2:49). Before and not really today, the coloring part was also traditional with most of the time gouache for the background, and flash (kind of painting between acrylic and gouache) for the characters. In that family of techniques, you have different ways to obtain an animation: you have the classic animation (like the old disney's), the flip book, or the rotoscope (using a real movie and drawing upon it: ).. Cut out animation, which is near stop motion because you take pictures for each move, and the difference with traditional animation is that you don't need to draw all over again your character. You have puppets, objects and background made out of paper. Example here:
In 2D still you also have computer assisted animation. It's possible to have one traditional part made, and another part on the computer, for coloring and layering (putting elements under or over others). You have Flash animation (a lot of animated series are made like this today, you can easily recognize it), made out of that software of Adobe named Flash. And, you can also draw directly in your computer, for example in Photoshop.

Of course, you also know about 3D animation. In this family, we have the classic 3D movies (Disney or Pixar. Personally I think they are doing great stuff). We already talked about a technique which is motion capture. And I will include stop motion again, with 3D objects this time. Like Wallace and Gromit made out of clay, check it out immediately if you don't know it, here is an entire movie: Actually, stop motion animation is a technique itself. Inside this family, you have the cut out we just saw, the puppets animation.. You also have Pixilation, in which you animate live actors instead of objects, clay or paper.

You can have also a bit of everything combined, 3D, flash, photoshop animation, photo for the background, special effects... In this good animation series: . About the traditional part, it is not lost, there is still productions made in traditional technique. There is just more computer made productions than before.

There is a lot more techniques (Gif animation, After Effect to do motion design.. Which is used a lot to do commercial small ads on webpage, or to do more elaborated work).

Animation is not only for children :)
Now I will show you all what we can share through an animation movie. Nowadays, There is so much artists doing this art, and so much various styles of animation that it's crazy. Let me show you some of my favorites. They are mostly short movies in 2D.

First I have to bring a little bit what I saw on Monday during the lecture. Animation can be also useful to bring messages through symbols and metaphors. Like in the work of Zdzisław Kudła, a polish film director, scenarist, and who was active during communism. Or Jan Švankmajer, a Cezch surealist director. They are not my favorites, but this is a first kind of subjects for animation.

This is an extract of 25 other movies, which look like real paintings. According to my researches, it reflects the key moments of the history of animation: The adventures of Pinocchio by Gianluigi Toccafondo you can see that he used painting, and also for sure a little bit of rotoscope with distorted images. At least real images for the faces.

Animation to 'illustrate' one work of Lakmé, as the opera is not so popular nowadays, this kind of work can help to introduce young people or everybody in it. I used to watch it when I was little: The 3D is old now, but it's still great.

Animation about memory, non linear narration.

Strong and engaged

Of course animation can be funny :)

Silly and have off-the-wall humor

It can be video clip, be animated according to the beat and the atmosphere of a music

Speak about human problem like shyness, or.. (I won't say it for the last one!)

Be about Speed dating and human behaviors

Be horrific (For all audience though, this is an EVS blog! :D):

Be weird or disturbing (in a gentle way)

Have interesting making off and studies: (by the way, Richard William is one of the best, and his book 'Animator's survival kit' is a reference for every animator beginner).

And to close this article, I will finish with a little short movie in stop motion to go back to Stop Trik festival subject. For this movie, Pes won an Academy Award nomination in 2013:

I kindly invite you to watch also the related videos, to discover more animation movies. I am sure I've still missed a lot of amazing videos. And I'm waiting impatiently for the new creations!
To be continued!

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