onsdag 24. september 2008

Traditional vs Cutout Animation

I have loved Disney movies since I was a kid, especially 'The Lion King'.
It looks so living without being real.

But how much work is it to create it?
Let's say, one person can animate 3 seconds of smooth 24 frames per second every week. To create 5 minutes, you need to work almost 2 years! Yikes!

Cutout is a technique to reduce work in the animation process. Instead of drawing every frame, the pieces are moved from frame to frame or animated with key frames like in Stickman. It's limited but effective.

Many of software packages try to bridge the gap between traditional and cutout animation. They hope to get the best out of both worlds. Stickman is very untraditional. For example, the 'Create Figure' editor (good old Elemento) are more like a programming tool than a graphics designer.

Programming is a way of controlling the relationship or logic between elements. In 'Create Figure' you can add skeleton and program attributes with expressions. It's exciting to see how a sketch drawing becomes a figure.

So, with programming, it is possible to fake some of the effects created with traditional animation. For example, squeeze & stretch, eye control and skeleton. I don't say cutout animation is better than traditional animation, but it is more effective. Cutout and traditional need to be considered as two different and separate genrees of animation.

If you work with traditional animation, your time and your skills is your limit. In cutout, you don't need drawing skills that much, but storyboard planning is more important.

Storyboard is like a comic strip of your movie. It helps the animator and director to cooperate. One scene can be very easy or very hard to animate, depending on how it is planned in the storyboard. The important thing is that the director and animator agree about how the movie will look at the end.

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