AnimationNation Forum

AnimationNation


Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | | search | faq | forum home
  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» AnimationNation   » General Discussion   » The Artistic Soul

   
Author Topic: The Artistic Soul
Don Bluth Productions
IE # 89
Member # 2512

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Don Bluth Productions   Author's Homepage   Email Don Bluth Productions         Edit/Delete Post 
A few weeks ago, I was re-reading an old college textbook that was pointing out the differences between leaders and managers and I couldn’t help but wonder if our animation art hasn’t become a managerial nightmare. I would compare leaders to creative minds that are movers and shakers; original, inventive and imaginative, and full of surprises. We think of great generals from David and Alexander et al, sharing their beans or maze with their men; calling them by their first names; marching along with them in the heat; sleeping on the ground and are first over the wall. For Managers, on the other hand, the idea of equality is repugnant and indeed counterproductive. Where would management be without the inflexible paper processing, dress standards, attention to proper social, political, and religious affiliation, vigilant watch over habits and attitudes, and so forth, that gratify the stockholders and satisfy security?

I remember once in my life I was privileged to visit the Louvre and gaze upon the painting of the Mona Lisa. It was breathtaking. I’m sure there was a smile on my face as I was drinking in the beauty of it. But then, suddenly, I remembered my cousin, Louise, back home in California who had also painted the Mona Lisa, only her version was a paint-by-number rendition; a wonderfully controlled painting to be sure, but also lifeless.

You will probably think I’m crazy for saying this, but the computers, bless their mathematical little hearts, can never be artists nor creative, but they can diminish a creative soul by gradualism. Ever so slowly you could surrender your privileges as an artist to the numbers crunchers. Computers are tools, nothing more!
Recently, I’ve been told, Disney has spent tons of money exploring the Cintiq Tablet as a new economical way of producing their animated features only to discover that its capabilities are limited, and to date cannot reach the standard of a hand drawn feature. The hundreds of tiny judgments needed to finesse a drawing into an illusion of life must still be done on paper. The computer can have the drawings once they are created but let the artist have first toss at it.

--------------------
 -
http://www.donbluthanimation.com

IP: Logged
bigshot
Member
Member # 1024

Icon 1 posted      Profile for bigshot   Email bigshot         Edit/Delete Post 
I wish I could be a luddite and blame technology for the soulessness of animation today, but I'm afraid that tools aren't the problem. The reason animation lacks soul is because too many animators apply formulas and imitate what's already been done instead of thinking things out for the picture themselves.

I did see an animated feature the other day that gives me hope... Fears of the Dark. It looked nothing like any animated feature I have ever seen before, it moved nothing like any other animated film and it had its own rhythm and mood. It was a horror film. It wasn't perfect by any means, but at least I wasn't sitting there feeling like I had already sat through this film before.

Fears of the Dark incorporated computer animation in a way that didn't compromise texture, design, expression or feeling. On the contrary, it heightened all of those things.

The problem isn't new tools, it's using them with one's creative brain turned off. A pencil running on stock formulas is no better than a computer doing the same thing.

IP: Logged
GaryClair
Member
Member # 3164

Icon 1 posted      Profile for GaryClair   Email GaryClair         Edit/Delete Post 
Great topic!

I agree to a degree about computers, but one of my favorite musicians, Bjork once reacted to criticism about using computers to make music.
She said "If there is no soul in electronic music, it's because no one put it there."

I thought it a good point.

I personally think computers make art too clean, and it lacks "the grit" which adds so much to the over all feeling.


I had a teacher who said "Art is created in the mistakes. If you accomplish what you set out to paint, then you've failed as an artist."

..I think this is what he was referring to.

Going back to music, computers are like an over produced polished boy band on cd vs. traditional art, which is like a gritty Miles Davis jazz album on vinyl.

Vanilla Ice sold 10 million albums. I don't know one person that will admit buying one, or still having it. But Miles Davis will be relevant for ages.


But that's a rough generalization. I can think of a couple digital artists who put the soul and "oomph" so naturally into their work..

Bobby Chiu & Kei Acedera http://imaginism.deviantart.com/gallery/

Kyle Baker:http://www.kylebaker.com/

AN's Jasen Strong: http://jasenstrong.artstooge.com/

IP: Logged
tstevens
IE # 234
Member # 801

Icon 1 posted      Profile for tstevens   Author's Homepage   Email tstevens         Edit/Delete Post 
I think we can all agree that the computer is a tool that, when placed in capable hands, can create truely amazing images yet just as easilly it can create a train wreck when run by someone without any skill. I would also say that the same can go for pencils and paper as well. In the end, it is all about the user.

Regarding paperless animation using wacoms, much of it is generational as well as tactile. Kids coming up through the system today are much more comfortable animating digitally than most of us who got into the industry back when Oxberries were in most studios. I think as time passes paper and pencil will always be an integral part of the process though paperless will almost surely become the dominant means for production due to budgetary and time reasons. As much as I don't like Flash and ToonBoom I can honestly say that they have helped to keep production in the states.

--------------------
http://www.foogersnarts.blogspot.com

IP: Logged
SNAKEBITE
IE # 101
Member # 17

Icon 1 posted      Profile for SNAKEBITE   Author's Homepage           Edit/Delete Post 
Its funny, as a digital painter and designer I totally rely on my drawing skills to be a competitor and so many digital artists are tweaking their approach to look organic....seems kinda bass ackwards, use a computer to mimic organic mediums....like playing guitar hero for hours to feel like a rock star when those hours could be spent actually learning an instrument and BEING a rock star.

I remember years ago a good friend of mine would take creative meetings with these executive leader types, they would constantly make insane corrections that would totally delay production but felt like there was some button to push that would fix it...I think one of his last meetings he threw the pencil across the table and said, "Show me"....too bad leaders of today don't learn the skills of the leaders of yesterday.

The reasoning is always financial, and money, well that has no soul and actually steals souls...and I have argued on occasion that the artists feel the same way...since ours is a medium of visual expression I feel like theres more money to be made if the artists in question are allowed to express themselves outside of expressos...and bottom lines, especially when that bottom line is flexible for the executive pay and bonuses, but not the creation itself. I feel executives and their poor management skills and so called creative decisions hurts productions and takes money away from investors....and the sheep that make it possible in the form of artists just enhance the souless experience.

BUT, Artists should manage artists. In animation executives should be hired by creative types and given a fair ammount of pay to do their job and take their noses out of production.

Computers are just tools, like pencils, like executives. I agree with Bjork, computers are souless if the people behind them or in front of them have none or lost theirs. We control that, but the wrong studio atmosphere can suck the soul right out of you.

ok, now I'm gonna go to the tattoo shop to learn how to poke the hell out of people, forcing my soul into their skins.lol

Anyone want a tattoo? let me know, no souless computers used.

--------------------
contact@animationnation.com
www.artbysnakebite.com
www.myspace.com/mrbite
www.redskystudio.com
www.myspace.com/redskystudio

IP: Logged
toonedbob
IE # 45
Member # 422

Icon 1 posted      Profile for toonedbob   Email toonedbob         Edit/Delete Post 
I have been recently listening to Bill Moyer's interview of Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth. He has an interesting take on computers that leads me to the same conclusion as Steve.

We, as artists, are the soulgivers to the tools we use. Which is a better drawing, one done with a blackwing or a ticonderoga #2? Wouldn't it depend on the artist weilding either one. I've seen wonderful pieces of work that have that "magic" which were completely created in computer. I've also seen terrible pieces of work created by pencil and paper.

I also don't believe that Pixar films have suffered from lack of hand drawn animation.

IP: Logged
Mr. Fun
IE # 63
Member # 352

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Mr. Fun           Edit/Delete Post 
I discovered computers back in the seventies. I bought my first in the eighties, and I was excited about this fantastic new medium that artists could add to their tool kit.

Alas, idiot managers don't see computers as tools artists use. These boneheads think computers are time saving, money savers. That explains the eagerness to abandon hand drawn traditional animation. Computers were going to save the studios loads of money -- or so they thought.

I love computers, and that explains why I eagerly headed for Pixar in the nineties when few people had any faith in the little Northern California start up. However, the creative fire in Pixar's belly was not technology. They were simply smart enough to use the technology properly. The art came first.

The knuckleheads down south were slow to learn this simple truth. They thought all you needed to do was purchase hardware and software, and build the infrastructure. Then sit back, and watch the money pour through the doors.

It didn't work out that way, did it? Disney Northside, anyone?

Computers are cool. I know. I've got a dozen of 'em. However, art comes first. Always has -- always will.

IP: Logged
Graphiteman
IE # 218
Member # 2092

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Graphiteman   Author's Homepage   Email Graphiteman         Edit/Delete Post 
Everyone agrees the computer is a just tool. But as I would agree it is not the magic box panacea as some producers would have; neither is to blame for lack of creativity, that will always be human fault. Those crappy 70s TV cartoons used pencil and paper and that didn't make them any better.
I think it can be exciting to be given a medium with a "limitation" and something inventive visually, and yes, even animation-wise, will be dictated by the medium. I mean, each media has its own limitation and advantages to one another.

IP: Logged
bigshot
Member
Member # 1024

Icon 1 posted      Profile for bigshot   Email bigshot         Edit/Delete Post 
The one advantage that computers have over hand drawn for executives is the ability to go back into a scene and revise things like character model, camera angle or staging. If you want to move the camera a little bit or make the character look more like a celebrity in hand drawn, you are redrawing the whole scene. Noodling is a big part of production now... because they can. But that isn't the computer's fault.
IP: Logged
Greg B
IE # 118
Member # 886

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Greg B   Author's Homepage   Email Greg B         Edit/Delete Post 
If you're a real artist, anything you touch or use to express yourself will become art.

Don't get no more complicated than that.

There's art and then there's "process".

Bluth spoke about his kin who did paint by numbers.

That's "process".

Art is one of those things science can't fully define, qualify nor quantify. There's been a heap of attempts but soon as they figure they've got it bottled up some fool comes along and does something unexpected and makes more art that boggles the minds of men.

There are courses and classes that teach "process" step by step to within an inch of it's life. That's the method to structure an image. When us artists gets to tearin' our asses on a piece of paper or wall or canvas we do best when we have no danged clue what the hell we're doin'. It just appears and next thing you know business folks are standing around trying to take it over and jealous folks trying to tear it down.

So I guess you know you're an artist if ya' got misery to some degree and it's all because you did something you didn't know what the heck you were doing and it was done so well more folks than you are interested in what ya' just did.

--------------------
http://www.boonestoons.com
http://www.spacefool.com

IP: Logged
Mr. Fun
IE # 63
Member # 352

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Mr. Fun           Edit/Delete Post 
Bigshot makes a good point, however.

Today, "the process" has gone nuts. Frankly, there's way too much "process," and that's allowed the executives to meddle like never before.

In the old days we worked on simple storyboards and story reels because every artist understood the process, and how films were made. Today, we waste huge amounts of money on overproduced animatics so that the knuckleheads can see the film before it moves into production.

What happens next is to be expected. Executives get "creative," and begin to screw with everything. Of course, they're mainly trying to cover their own butt, even though they don't know squat about film making or storytelling.

We're all "painting by the numbers" today, and that's why this work has lost its appeal.

IP: Logged
SNAKEBITE
IE # 101
Member # 17

Icon 1 posted      Profile for SNAKEBITE   Author's Homepage           Edit/Delete Post 
Necessity is the mother of invention.

--------------------
contact@animationnation.com
www.artbysnakebite.com
www.myspace.com/mrbite
www.redskystudio.com
www.myspace.com/redskystudio

IP: Logged
dermot
IE # 193
Member # 1575

Icon 1 posted      Profile for dermot   Author's Homepage   Email dermot         Edit/Delete Post 
It all comes down to judgement and motivation in my opinion .

Ceo's arent motivated to produce hits in the same way that artists are....and the priorities fail from there . I had coffee with the CEO of a large animation company a couple of years back and tried to offer my suggestion that artists can indeed be trusted to be a part of the studios management IF they choose wisely . The rebuttal was simple ; " I hear you on the creative thing but we know what we're doing"

Strangely that same company is doing half the revenue it was doing 10 yrs ago where it ought to be doing double or more .

No doubt some folks are afraid of change.....but change in an environment they don't understand....well maybe Mr. T said it best " I pity the fools "

--------------------
http://zoomfrog.blogspot.com/

IP: Logged


 
Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:

Contact Us | Animation Nation

Animation Nation © 1999-2012

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classicTM 6.5.0