Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Assignment 2 - Cel Animation

Thoughts on Traditional 'Cel' Animation:
At first glance the phrase 'cel animation' may cause a state of nostalgia for different reasons. On one hand, you could be taken back to health class in high school. Watching how the HIV virus implements itself into the healthy human. On the other hand, if you are familiar with animation it will bring you back to the roots of modern animation and digital painting.

Cel animation refers to a traditional animation process using clear "cels" to separate portions of a scene (similar to using separate layers for foreground, mid-ground, and background in Photoshop).  This innovation allowed animators to make a character move through a scene without having to re-draw the background. This was important for many reasons, paramount of which was reducing the cost to produce animation. By reducing the need to reproduce backgrounds thousands of times, animation studios were able to re-use scenes.

Typically a cel animation is drawn or 'inked' on one side, and painted on the other. Here is an example:

Once a cel is inked and colored, a special camera is used to photograph each picture. You will often see the use of 'cel-shading' in animations because of the inherent ability to keep the shadow shapes uniform throughout the frames. cel-shading is also found in many 'manga' and other graphic novels. The effect this workflow has made on entertainment is still around today as video games and movies take a cel-shaded approach to bring a fresh take on an older technique. Some of these titles include: The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker, and A Scanner Darkly.

For more information on Cel Animation:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditional_animation (this was also one of my primary references)
http://www.ehow.co.uk/about_6692380_traditional-cell-animation.html (simple and easy to digest)
http://bp0.blogger.com/_AunTXXTfpQ8/RuVTUxTqvXI/AAAAAAAAALY/3WUcKy6vuQc/s1600-h/nemo-all-layers.jpg (example from Little Nemo, courtesy of Joshua Abegglen)

A Few Traditional Animators:
http://joshabegglen.blogspot.com/ (he does other stuff too, but I liked his 2d work)

A Few Animators who took it further

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