Traditional Animation, Dead,Dying or Just Napping? (Editorial from 2003)

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Old 10 October 2012   #1
Traditional Animation, Dead,Dying or Just Napping? (Editorial from 2003)

Rob note: It has been almost ten years sonce this editorial came out, and I am wondering if there is a shift coming?
Television is now filled with outstanding 2d animation (like Avatar)

and Disney is now experimenting again with traditional animation:
(Paperman short)

So what do you guys think? Is there something to be gained by looking into traditional animation?

Looking forward to your comments..

"One thing the phenomenal success of some 3D films has done is open the flood gates for production of more of the same. With Disney, DreamWorks, Sony, Warner Bros. and Twentieth Century Fox all dedicated to cranking out as many as two computer animated films a year, we could very well see the kind of market saturation that causes a decline in overall box office. Even arthouse champion Miramax is getting into CG feature development with the LEGO BIONICLE series, which will eventually make the leap from video shelves to the big-screen. With such fierce competition, we are likely to see the money spread around a little more evenly and may also see the newness of 3D start to fade like a tee-shirt thatís seen one too many washings."

For a fantastic 2d short check out this piece:
In Between
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Last edited by RobertoOrtiz : 10 October 2012 at 05:26 PM.
Old 10 October 2012   #2
This is a tough topic, because being that 3d is only a medium and can be used to express any type of movie genre, then it must be that the variety in 3d films is fading away like an old t-shirt, not 2d, 3d or traditional movies.

To me, 2d animation met its end with toy story, not only because of the impact of 3d (although it was significant), but because of recurring themes that bore audiences to death.

If more variety is shown in movies then any medium can succeed. Hopefully 3d, with all it's limitless possibilities, will succeed.

Last edited by leif3d : 10 October 2012 at 06:29 PM.
Old 10 October 2012   #3
There is always the middle road, which is rendering 3D animation with NPR shaders, so the end result looks and feels a lot like traditional 2D animation.
Old 10 October 2012   #4
The next big thing is 4D
Old 10 October 2012   #5
I think traditional forms of animation will always stick around, it is our foundation in learning great 3d animation. There are styles and abstract expressive forms that can be presented in 2d animation that would be difficult to have the same organic flow in 3d. It takes much more work to draw each frame which to me makes watching it feel more rewarding. As 3d artists we are limited to what our rigs and meshes can do, 2d simply draw what they want and it happens without worrying about stretching textures or breaking rigs. Ultimately I don't think we will see another golden age of 2d animation like Disney had though unless a new studio rises up to the calling or Disney retraces its steps.
Old 10 October 2012   #6
Pendulum swing. What's old will be new again.
Old 10 October 2012   #7
Japanesse people will never give up drawing manga
Free rays for the masses
Old 10 October 2012   #8
Right now I'm in the phase of my life where I found traditional animation from Europe ( France, Spain ... ) and Japan more pleasing than anything that is coming from Hollywood.
Old 10 October 2012   #9
Originally Posted by DePaint: There is always the middle road, which is rendering 3D animation with NPR shaders, so the end result looks and feels a lot like traditional 2D animation.

Yep that looks super and I know the poster of the above is smashing their way through boarderlands 2 Jealous me. Anyhoo 2d animation never went away. I loved the 2d avatar series on telly and also really dig the cell like tron series atm.

I am a 3d fanatic but there are some things 2d is better at and the use of such has not declined even a teeny bit (hows that statement for exact numbers research).
The terminal velocity of individual particles is directly related to pink rabbits on a bank holiday.
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Old 10 October 2012   #10
Rock... Scissors... PAPERMAN!

Hand-drawn animation isn't dead. It was just waiting for Vector technology to evolve.

Frankly, I'd like to think of hand-drawn as a very good medium and I find that in the workflows for producing animation... Ultimately planning for a hand-drawn animated picture and a CG animated picture is pretty much the same all the way up to the motion-planning part.

In some cases, you even use CG just to get a sense of the volumes and you can go either or (or as Paperman showed, you can do BOTH).

I think as a skillset it'll never go away.
"Your most creative work is pre-production, once the film is in production, demands on time force you to produce rather than create."
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Old 10 October 2012   #11
How about we stop focusing on the medium and focus on the message. I'd watch a movie with shadow puppets if it told a great story.
Old 10 October 2012   #12
The point is that traditional animation got hit very badly at the beginning of this century.
The thing is is that there is a certain power and fexibility to the medium, that can be explore more with better tools.

Kida like what Laika has done in their hybrid approach to stop motion +3d printers approach.

And BTW I am not talking about cel shading, I am talking more about a way to capture the flexibility of the line.

To see what I am talking about see this breakdown from the short Paperman.
The so called "cell shading" was done by traditionally trained animators using a new vector based tool.
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Old 10 October 2012   #13
the 2d animation look will never die for one essential reason, it's easy to digest, especially for children. Overall, young children seem to follow the simplicity of colors and depth with 2d animation. Whether its done with tradition means or digital tools is another question. I think there are far more technical artists out there than traditionally trained or artists with traditional skills, including animation. I still watch 2d animation movies like "Animalympics" just to check out the short cuts, repetition, squash and stretch and other techniques to see how to implement them in my 3d work.
Old 10 October 2012   #14
I understand what the point is and I appreciate what you're trying to get across. Technological advances are all well and good but if they are not in support of good storytelling then it amounts to nothing. Ask yourself why there was a second "golden age" in traditional animation and why it ended? Was it because Disney didn't have the latest bells and whistles to make their animation better? And what about the amazing 2d animation from Europe,France especially or from Japan. It seems to me that it didn't go anywhere in these places. For some reason it's not thought of as a medium for children in these places,maybe because they choose to tell more adult oriented stories and tell them well. So,again in my opinion story will save the medium, not the latest gizmos.
Old 10 October 2012   #15
I was doing some reading on the CAPS animation system. I had heard they used it since the start of the 90s but that they weren't using it anymore. Along the way I found this video - it gives a good summary of what happened.

Coupled with what I've read elsewhere I think it was all just a misunderstanding. Disney was on the forefront of the 2D animation field, then they made some flops. After Home On the Range, they gave up thinking it was because of the medium. Other studios took the cue, figuring Disney knew what they were doing. Thus, 2D Animation "died".
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