Gravestone made from balsa wood, gray wash paint
This is for a close up shot of my head, the brain looked cooler before it was all mushed together.
It's a fucking pillow. What do you want?!?
Deitch practically calls a war on CG animated films. (I use the term CG out of respect for Deitch's 2D/3D complaint, which is essentially correct.) He call for a return to hand drawn animation. And he's by no means the only one.
I am constantly finding that in the animation community, in fact the art community as a whole, there is a hatred for CG and the CG look. It's not organic, not artistic, and not quality. It's not like hand drawn where we aren't bound by technology.
I completely disagree with this; but here's the annoying thing: I'm one of them. I don't like the CG look. It's not because it's not organic, or it's not artistic. I believe that CG animation is incredibly artistic. When one of my hero's, Don Hertzfeldt was asked about CG animation he gracefully said that he feels CG artists often get a bum rap because "people seem to think that computers have a 'make art' button." It's not until you attempt it that you realize the mind that makes "good" CG animation is a brilliant mind both intelligently and creatively. I use the term "good" because face it; there's shit in all forms of animation, even hand drawn.
People also hate the flash and computer inked look of animated films. Here I am in complete disagreement as well. Flash is a tool that helps animator animate easily. It's so easy to create a crappy looking film with flash, and many do. This does not mean that flash is not a viable program for beautiful animation. The flash animator simply needs to realize that animation will always take a fuck-ton of work. Tweening and key pathing can still be tools used to create beautiful animation, but one cannot forget their basic timing rules. Because these animation friendly tools that exist to make animation quicker exist, people so often choose the easy way out and use them without thinking of how long an action still takes.
I've seen this from really good hand drawn animators. I'm still a student and in a class we made a digital puppet in after effects, which we were supposed to animate using hold key frames and linear key frames. When we watched the students' work some of the best animators in my class had jumpy or "dreamy" (linear) movement in their animation. I know these people can animate stunningly well, but when given the lazy, easy way they take it. Sure, they probably just didn't want to spend the amount of time needed to animate well, but who does when you can animate it sub-par. And these are talented animators who can get shit done; you must have a good work ethic to be an animator. (Not necessarily true, yes I very much realize this.)
I think it's because of these easy ways out that these computer based art forms are looked down upon by so much of the animation community. Like every art form, they have a majority of crap and a minority of golden beautiful work. It's the crap animation that gives these computer based animation medium a bum rap. But we gotta realize that hand drawn animation is about as full of crappy animation as computer animation. Let's not forget some of the crappiest animated Hanna-Barbera and Japanese traditional animations. It's simply that today that crappy animation that would be done hand drawn is done on a computer because it's cheaper and easier. It's as if the computer animation has absorbed the hand drawn crap, therefore adding to its bum rap.
Amid Amidi recently wrote a post about Jonathan Demme planning to make an animation feature from the book Zeitoun. In it Amidi wrote a cautionary note telling Demme that traditional hand drawn animation is the only way to make this film. "I beg you not to use cheap Flash/AfterEffects-style animation. Don’t Waltz with Bashir this film, and compromise the personal impact of the story with mechanical movement." I liked the visual style of Waltz with Bashir. It looked beautiful and it was different, finally. I think it's pretty extreme for any artist to make such a bold claim that there is only one way to animate this film successfully.
Now, it's time for me to once again take a step back. Everything I have said here is what I believe. I fully believe that flash animation, even with its tweening and motion path tools (used with discretion and most importantly thought) can create beautiful animation that rivals any hand drawn animation. I also believe that CG animation can, and certainly has proven it, create beautiful animation that rivals any Disney hand drawn animation. But, I still don't like it. I don't like the look of Pixar. I prefer the look of Plympton, Hertzfeldt, and Bakshi to Pixar any day. I agree that Pixar is amazing visually (and can be really good with story, but that's something completely different from what I am writing about.) I just don't like it. It's too smooth, too pretty, and not gritty enough. And this isn't by technological set back; it's an artistic decision. The same is true of flash animation, for the same reason. Often too smooth, not gritty enough. Much like a scientist, I joyously wait to be proven wrong.
But, in the end, none of this matters. All of these visual styles are a means to an end: storytelling. In the end for me, the only thing that matters is the story. I love South Park, Hertzfeldt, Aquateen Hunger Force, Bakshi. None considered greats of animation, but they know the story and have made truly great films. The counter-example to these is Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. No one has ever called this a great movie, but the animation was beautiful. The story sucked. In the end, I don't give a shit what it looked like.
To finalize, I'd like to be a picky asshole. Deitch says in his speech that drawing is traditionally the basic origin of animation. What the fuck happened to stop motion? Need I remind the world The Adventures of Prince Achmed? I joke, but seriously, where does Stop Motion fit in this war? I actually know the stop motion position, we apparently hate CG. Working in stop motion, we're always up against CG for jobs. So, I guess I now have to hate CG. Damn, I really wanted to stick to my principles on this..... Eh. Death to all computers!
I welcome any and all comments from the family of loved ones that died while actually reading this post.