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How Online Animators are Revolutionizing Anime




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Blanchimont



Joined: 25 Feb 2012
Posts: 1297
Location: Finland
PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 12:57 pm Reply with quote
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Go to animation school. Draw in-between frames for 3 years. Become a key animator. Earn a “living”. This is the generic pathway...

...But we're now in the trendy year of 2017, where the internet has transformed unconventional approaches into reasonable strategies for breaking into the industry, causing the pathway to change into something more like this:

Learn animation. Post your work online. Take feedback. Improve. Be recruited onto a high profile project as a key animator.

This is how China or South Korea or someone else will build the foundation for an industry that might stand equal with its Japanese counterpart. Not the 'cloning wholeheartedly' approach used so far(that admittedly did work for a lot of other fields...). Resources may be there, but the deeper know-how in the processes was always missing...
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GeorgeC



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 348
PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 1:46 pm Reply with quote
It's about the money.
The money is what killed the 2-D feature industry in the US.
They produced too much over-budgeted crap in the 1990s and it went down the drain.

There's very little hand-drawn animation done in the US now. There was tons of it done for advertising all the way through the 1990s but now? Not so much! It's mostly CGI for ads in addition to feature motion picture work. Most of the direct-to-video animation produced for the US market was and still is animated overseas just like 90%+ of the animation you see produced for Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, and the Hub is! They may have done storyboarding and character design work at small studios in the US but not the final animation!

You can't blame the problems all on one factor or single group but it's definitely the case that the people who funded these feature projects (in the 1990s and early 2000s) and foolishly interfered and jacked up the budgets were the same guys who shut down the 2-D/hand-drawn feature production studios.

To give you an idea of how expensive it go to produce animation in a VERY short period of time... The Little Mermaid (1989) was produced for under $30 million. The Lion King* (1994) reputedly cost AT LEAST $110 million to produce. I think I've heard it was closer to $140 million minimum! Those films made money -- the problem is the budgets stayed high and the returns on later films were not so great hence the plug was pulled on traditional animation across the board in the States.

The powers that be in the US industry were NOT patient and did not understand basic economics and the fact that animation is NOT produced like live-action. They let CG ("polygon films") survive because they believed it was more modern and would adapt better to their plans than that old-fashioned hand-drawn stuff they never understood. The CG films are just as expensive as the old hand-drawn films but they're generally employing fewer people on production crews if my understanding is correct.

I think the average Japanese animated feature is still produced on a budget far less than $30 million. That's why animation survives in Japan. They're brutal on keeping budgets down and keep the frills in the animation down. Most of the animation in even the features is limited animation. It's cheaper that way. They probably do a better job of producing films with limited animation and making it count to the maximum than they ever did in the US or Europe.



* I never understood WHY The Lion King cost that much to produce considering all the story and character development was done for that other "white lion" project they did in Japan in the 1960s! Funny thing is the "white lion" TV series actually got shown in the States, too! The names of the LEAD characters in the two "unrelated" animation pieces rhyme, too! Hmm... What DID they fund with all that production money because it wasn't an original story!
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relyat08



Joined: 20 Mar 2013
Posts: 3044
Location: Northern Virginia
PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 1:50 pm Reply with quote
Very cool and inspiring article. I think this move for the industry and the increase in webgen guys is a fantastic thing for animation as a whole. And I'm not particularly worried about them losing the fundamentals of animation that they aren't getting from a more traditional animation education. It seems like there is a general self-awareness within the community to the necessity of the 12 principles that has really kept people in check. And of course the animators who end up going furthest tend to have a good understanding of those basics anyway. Okay, so, just because this seems like a good opportunity, people should check out Shingo Yamashita if they have interest in some of the most accomplished digital animators. The guy is a master.


GeorgeC wrote:

I think the average Japanese animated feature is still produced on a budget far less than $30 million. That's why animation survives in Japan.


That's about the average for a Ghibli film, with outliers like Kaguya at $50 million being the most expensive. Typically though, anime films are made for less than $10 million. Paprika had a budget of $3 million according the the making-of(it looks great, by the way!), and most other projects are within the range of $2.5 to $7 million according to various interviews and statistics that I've seen.
Though to your main point. I don't know how admirable it is that Japanese animation is so much less expensive. It's about the money on both sides, really. In the US, you have a lot of business guys deciding that they can't make 2D animation because the cost of labor is too high. In Japan you have a bunch of business guys paying their animators well below a livable wage in order to keep things running. Neither method works very well. I am hopeful that the influx of international web animators could help the situation though.
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MarshalBanana



Joined: 31 Aug 2014
Posts: 1850
PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 3:26 pm Reply with quote
GeorgeC wrote:
To give you an idea of how expensive it go to produce animation in a VERY short period of time... The Little Mermaid (1989) was produced for under $30 million. The Lion King* (1994) reputedly cost AT LEAST $110 million to produce. I think I've heard it was closer to $140 million minimum! Those films made money -- the problem is the budgets stayed high and the returns on later films were not so great hence the plug was pulled on traditional animation across the board in the States.

The powers that be in the US industry were NOT patient and did not understand basic economics and the fact that animation is NOT produced like live-action. They let CG ("polygon films") survive because they believed it was more modern and would adapt better to their plans than that old-fashioned hand-drawn stuff they never understood. The CG films are just as expensive as the old hand-drawn films but they're generally employing fewer people on production crews if my understanding is correct.

I think the average Japanese animated feature is still produced on a budget far less than $30 million. That's why animation survives in Japan. They're brutal on keeping budgets down and keep the frills in the animation down. Most of the animation in even the features is limited animation. It's cheaper that way. They probably do a better job of producing films with limited animation and making it count to the maximum than they ever did in the US or Europe.



* I never understood WHY The Lion King cost that much to produce considering all the story and character development was done for that other "white lion" project they did in Japan in the 1960s! Funny thing is the "white lion" TV series actually got shown in the States, too! The names of the LEAD characters in the two "unrelated" animation pieces rhyme, too! Hmm... What DID they fund with all that production money because it wasn't an original story!
I think technology for the Lion King would of been really expensive. It was made only a few years after CAPS was created, and I assume they would of had to keep it constantly updated, and being the first company to us D.I.P there would not of been many midleware programs available, so they would of had make and maintain their own bespoke programs. Having a computer in the early 90s that could digitally colour and compose a film must of cost a huge sum of money.
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grooven



Joined: 16 Aug 2006
Posts: 1174
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 4:36 pm Reply with quote
Lemme say it is a lot of work to animate and by hand with 2D even more so by keeping the volume. It amazes me what people can create these days.
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Galap
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Joined: 07 Apr 2012
Posts: 1910
PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 4:12 am Reply with quote
Great article! and one very close to home to me. I love being a part of the web animator community and really like to see and talk to all the people.

I'm an animator also; for anyone who's curious you can look at some of my stuff here.

It's a really small community-- I know or at least know the work of pretty much everyone in this article. Which goes to show that without the internet it wouldn't be possible for english speaking 2D animators to really communicate with each other like we do. I love being able to get to know such amazingly talented and creative people!
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CheezcakeMe



Joined: 31 Dec 2015
Posts: 222
PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 7:15 am Reply with quote
Where did you get those numbers for The Lion King? Wikipedia says it cost $45 million, and made almost a billion.
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thekingsdinner



Joined: 25 Sep 2010
Posts: 796
Location: Terheijden, Netherlands
PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 10:37 am Reply with quote
Man, all of these animations look miles better than any CG anime...

Seriously though, I find these animations wonderful to look at. I find it simply outstanding that there's people how can draw and animate this well, all on their own!
Animation has always been my main draw towards anime and I continue to be impressed each new season with all the new shows coming out. Perhaps I'm easily pleased, but these animations I'm seeing here in this article are fantastic. It's been a dream of mine to be able to animate as well as this, but unfortunately I don't have the talent to draw well, let alone animate.

Loved this article. 2D animation rules.
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relyat08



Joined: 20 Mar 2013
Posts: 3044
Location: Northern Virginia
PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 10:39 pm Reply with quote
Galap wrote:
Great article! and one very close to home to me. I love being a part of the web animator community and really like to see and talk to all the people.

I'm an animator also; for anyone who's curious you can look at some of my stuff here.

It's a really small community-- I know or at least know the work of pretty much everyone in this article. Which goes to show that without the internet it wouldn't be possible for english speaking 2D animators to really communicate with each other like we do. I love being able to get to know such amazingly talented and creative people!


I remember seeing some of your work on anipages in the same thread alongside Bahi back in the day. I haven't stopped by lately to see if the thread is still active, but it is always really cool and crazy to see stuff like that.
And, of course, I see you just hanging out on sakugabooru all the time. Wink
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PFdaCIA



Joined: 01 Apr 2017
Posts: 54
PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2017 12:50 am Reply with quote
Bahi JD, Hakuyo Go, In Seung Choi, Jafrey Lai: are just some of the foreign names of talent I know. Some worked in Japanese series, and others in American series. All with exceptional talent. You owe nothing to anyone. I hope to see you in more work. And I hope to see more talents from outside.
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Galap
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Joined: 07 Apr 2012
Posts: 1910
PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2017 3:43 am Reply with quote
relyat08 wrote:

I remember seeing some of your work on anipages in the same thread alongside Bahi back in the day. I haven't stopped by lately to see if the thread is still active, but it is always really cool and crazy to see stuff like that.
And, of course, I see you just hanging out on sakugabooru all the time. Wink


You should check it out again! It's definitely still active and there's been a lot of really great stuff on there. A few people featured in the article have been posting recently.

And yeah I see you on sakugabooru a lot too Cool
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Karl2



Joined: 16 Nov 2015
Posts: 43
PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:35 am Reply with quote
It was a great read and I can't wait for whatever future project the JoJo director is going to do after what I read that he wants to move to full digital and what project is going to be mostly/fully digital of his.
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