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Sheet Timers A Thing of the Past?

Share your views on the state of the Animation Industry.

Sheet Timers A Thing of the Past?

Postby Davelyman » Thu Sep 16, 2010 9:32 pm

According to The Animation Guild, over all employment is up, but: "the rising tide hasn't lifted all boats. The steady expansion of digital storyboarding, par example has meant more board artists can build animatics at their desks. And as animatics have proliferated and grown more elaborate, studios have cut back on timing directors".
Sheet Timers obsolete? I didn't see that one coming!
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Re: Sheet Timers A Thing of the Past?

Postby EAllen » Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:40 pm

Well, with more and more manual duties being digitally automated and/or consolidated into other processes (and positions), it's not very surprising.

Now would perhaps be a good time to re-train or expand some existing skill-sets . . .
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Re: Sheet Timers A Thing of the Past?

Postby JDC » Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:38 am

been going on for a while. A lot less time to do a lot more work.. for the same pay. :roll:
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Re: Sheet Timers A Thing of the Past?

Postby Charles » Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:38 pm

In 1992 I was getting quotes for a production I was planning and part of that involved ink and paint services and camera. At the time there were businesses in Burbank dedicated specifically for shooting animation. Huge, multi-plane cameras that took up entire rooms and could handle six levels of animation at once.

Then the following year, I heard of digital animation production software for sale at a place on Magnolia Blvd in Burbank. I went to check it out and there was this little 486 PC, the model just before the introduction of the Pentiums, that could do ink and paint and camera with 100 levels of animation at a price that dwarfed what it would cost for either of those services traditionally, and at a higher quality as well.

It was at that moment that I saw the future of animation production. I told as many people as would care to listen to me about it and most of the time, it went right over their heads or they simply didn't care. It was desktop animation production, and artists would be producing animation at home in a corner of their living room or den or studio or wherever. It was the liberation of the production process, making it accessible to artists at a level where it never was before, and I knew that things would never be the same.

The lesson I learned from that early experience is that when a new technology emerges, embrace it. Be among the first to delve into it, explore it, utilize it, and you'll always be ahead of the curve or at the very least, riding the wave of change to your advantage.

Nothing stays the same, nothing is stagnant, in our industry, everything is fluid. When change is on the horizon, adapt to it. The trend towards the integration of every aspect of animation production into a seamless creative stream will continue until the only thing that matters is the filmmaker himself or herself. We're seeing this even in 3D animation, as I've been told by people in the know working at the highest level of feature animation production.

Even live action directors will be able to come into animation with virtually no training or experience in the medium and be able to make a film from the utilities and assets available to them through these new technologies.

With every passing day, it's no longer enough just to know how to draw or time out a scene. Artists increasingly are being expected and even required to be specialized in technology.
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Re: Sheet Timers A Thing of the Past?

Postby Davelyman » Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:10 pm

I agree wholeheartedly Charles. Having been in the animation industry for the last 20 years, I've always known that it's important to keep learning and stay current or else become obsolete. A vast majority of folks my age aren't even on the internet, whereas I spend most of my time and spent most of my career on a computer. But good old fashioned sheet timing is something I can do and do well. I thought long and hard and couldn't conceive a way it could or would go obsolete. I thought it would always be there to fall back on. Well, it found a way. I've been an animator in gaming for the last 5 years and now games are on its butt. So I fell back on timing to find its not there anymore!
Eventhough I try so hard to stay current, obsolescence constantly nips at my heels.
So now I'm at a crossroads. Do I train for good old fashioned storyboarding? Or go the Maya route? Or what is this "change on the horizon" your friends "working in the highest levels of feature animaton production" speek of? Whatever it is, I need to jump on it, or I'm out.
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Re: Sheet Timers A Thing of the Past?

Postby EAllen » Wed Sep 22, 2010 6:07 pm

Also getting certified in Flame or Flare goes a long way towards keeping your skillset relevant!

Still a shortage of Flame artists, what's going on? I can't believe this!
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Re: Sheet Timers A Thing of the Past?

Postby Charles » Thu Sep 23, 2010 11:05 am

Dave, from my perspective, it's always advantageous to learn storyboarding. Comparatively speaking, it is much more economical to pick it up than high end production software and especially with your experience with timing, I think you'd be that much more suited for it.

The way I teach the subject, I have my students purchase Gregg Davidson's book, "Storyboard Cinematics Workshop" and I direct them to read it beforehand. That way they have an understanding of the subject prior to beginning with me and we can focus on content straight away. We then access live action scripts and start boarding from there.

When it comes to Maya or other software that deals with digital animation and all things that go with it, I'd say you're better off knowing it than not knowing it if you want to stay up with what's happening in production.

Another word of advice for what it's worth, if it's time to move on to something else in life, then embrace the change. I did it some years ago and moved to the education end of things. It suits me for the kind of person that I am, plus it affords me the opportunity to stay involved with animation even though I'm not working in a production environment.

What I referred to earlier about live action directors being able to use animation production technology has to do with what I was told by someone who's on top of what's happening in feature films. The emerging technology will let directors seamlessly access all of the assets of a film in progress so that he or she would be able to go straight to the cinematic aspect of it and work the scene out from there. It's hard to explain as I'm only able to relate what I was told, but it had to do with a further streamlining of production.

Whatever you choose to do and however your life goes, I wish you all the best. Stay creative and stay happy.
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Re: Sheet Timers A Thing of the Past?

Postby EAllen » Thu Sep 23, 2010 12:05 pm

It never occurred to me that you were ever outside of the production aspect, Charles!

I have a feeling you can get back in anytime you wanted to!

Anyway, not to stray too far from this topic, since I have minimal experience with this situation to start, but I 150% agree with Charles--staying creative and finding ways to make a living from that is paramount.
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