Oblivion Island Japanese CG interview

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  04 April 2013
Oblivion Island Japanese CG interview

So the day before yesterday I found an article on Oblivion Island, a Japanese CG anime movie. Although some of you may know already but this was released back in 2009 but it is not until now on 1st April 2013 that it has made it to DVD in the UK! Shocking I know. Anyhow, this film has only been to my attention in the past few days.

The article that I read had an interesting interview with the storyboard artist of Oblivion Island, Naoyoshi Shiotani. It may say he's a storyboard artist but he's also been an animator, concept artist and a director. Most noteable is being the animation director for Blood+, the concept designer for Blood-C and recently holding the position of director under chief director Motohiro Katsuyuki for the anime series Pycho-Pass.

http://www.mangauk.com/?p=to-cg-or-not-cg

It's interesting to see Naoyoshi Shiotani views on CG in Japan and how even now that Japan will still stick to hand drawing in pencil but also how this traditional art form is becoming lost with technology, and drawing has become digital.

There are suggests in the article that Japan may be headed to CG only films like in the west. It's unlikely in my opinion and even in the article, 2D animations are still dominant in the top 5 Japanese Box office. I would also hate to see 2D animation disappear, however I do see emerging CG in Japan, as more animations like Berserk head in that direction. Also I find it amusing to see that Pixar and Dreamworks are not top of the animation market for once.

Another point is, I watched the trailer(judging from that) for Oblivion Island and it still looks refreshing in style, even though it's been years since it's release. I would like to see Dreamworks and Pixar maybe change their style more to give viewers something new. Also I would like to see their target audience aim for more mature audiences, it's nice to see family films but we don't get to see anything more complexed in story. Do people think it will ever happen?

Last edited by Darkherow : 04 April 2013 at 08:30 PM.
 
  04 April 2013
Well Darkherow it seems you and I are very much on the same page. I've been aware of Oblivion since it came out in 2009 and I've been anticipating a western release. Knowing the quality of Production I.G.s work on in blending 2D animation with CG and I was eager to see how they would approach a fully CG film. Japan has been integrating CGI in there 2D animations for years and while studios like Digital Frontier have been leading the way with CGI films I don't them becoming the dominant type of animation in Japan any time in the near future.

The anime influence is obvious in the look of Oblivion Island but I must say that I'm glad they didn't try to adopt the-this-is-how-CG-look style Pixar and co have seemed to be content with these days. The .hack// Movie is another great example of not following the hollywood crowd. And don't even get me started on their target audience. Yes I've heard all the excuses people make for the too. PG rated movies bring in more money, they can make a killing on the cars 2 toy line blah blah blah. And it's not that the movies are bad, it's just seems like they are limiting their general appeal just for maximum profit. For once I'm like to see them tackle something a more intelligent and adult in nature you know. Something where they don't feel the need to throw random humor at you every couple of minutes just to keep the kiddies interested.
The day I see a studio like Blue Sky or Pixar produce anything on the level of Ghost in the Shell or Princess Mononoke I'm going mail them a hundred dollar bill signed "it's about F*@$%!#& time." lol
 
  04 April 2013
It is notable that whereas Japan has been recently criticized as falling behind in animation and video games, people like Shiotani demonstrate a clear, concise, and profound understanding of what their view of animation is (regardless of technology) and how the product is made.

I am impressed by the people who made Oblivion Island as well as the result of the film on-screen. It really does the most of what it can while still retaining a somewhat pleasant experience and a sense of wonder even if technically it doesn't seem to be the most cutting edge film.

And this isn't me being lenient to "cheap animation".

Basically when the girl reacts to something awesome.. it is.. to a certain degree.. really awesome. They kind of ride with whatever limitations they have and are unafraid to go for it with the trains, the planes, the giant creatures, the haughty laughing bad guy.

In my view it works. It lays down a look and owns it.
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  04 April 2013
Ohh THIS movie. I saw it a long time ago and had forgotten about it. Even this many years later, there are n signs of 3D overtaking 2D in Japan. Look at how the audience reacts to the new Berserk or other CGi films made in Japan. Many people just can't relate. They like drawn characters.

It is interesting the connection the artists makes to the culture. Many have said that manga has its roots in Japanese wood block painting, which is black lines and limited colors. Anime has its roots in manga, with a dash of western animation techniques. He is not kidding about black lines being an essential ingredient. I have also read where many Japanese viewers feel there is some kind of magic in the hand drawn black line that just doesn't exist in CGI.

Of course CG films will become more prevalent in Japan. Still, with nearly 100 series per year and a dozen or so features, 2D isn't going anywhere. The economy simply won't support the change over.
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  04 April 2013
I worked in Japan for a couple of years around the time Jurassic Park was causing a stir. Their style of animation, comics etc. is hugely popular, possible still more so than CG.
 
  04 April 2013
Originally Posted by wildjj: I worked in Japan for a couple of years around the time Jurassic Park was causing a stir. Their style of animation, comics etc. is hugely popular, possible still more so than CG.


Yeah,it's true! Japanese animation and comics are very very popular in Asian countries,styles and stories are special.But CG industry in Japan is developing quickly in recent years,it's promising for me.
 
  04 April 2013
Originally Posted by teruchan: Ohh THIS movie. I saw it a long time ago and had forgotten about it. Even this many years later, there are n signs of 3D overtaking 2D in Japan. Look at how the audience reacts to the new Berserk or other CGi films made in Japan. Many people just can't relate. They like drawn characters.

It is interesting the connection the artists makes to the culture. Many have said that manga has its roots in Japanese wood block painting, which is black lines and limited colors. Anime has its roots in manga, with a dash of western animation techniques. He is not kidding about black lines being an essential ingredient. I have also read where many Japanese viewers feel there is some kind of magic in the hand drawn black line that just doesn't exist in CGI.

Of course CG films will become more prevalent in Japan. Still, with nearly 100 series per year and a dozen or so features, 2D isn't going anywhere. The economy simply won't support the change over.


I think the next stage lies in not just sticking to "black drawn lines", nor in copying Western use of CG, but in studying what it is about the black lines that is so important.

My personal opinion is that in the translation to CG the most important "black lines" are the ones for the eyes and the black lines that serve as shadows to accent an image. I think if a strategy can be focused on kind of abstracting that and re-encoding it without LITERAL drawn black lines.. that will be the one that works in Asia.

But that's just my personal theory.
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  04 April 2013
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