Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Willing to Ink and Paint?

A feature film guy is penning a new episode of The Simpsons:

"[Seth Rogan] wrote an episode we'll be reading soon, where Comic-Book Guy creates a superhero comic which then gets made into a feature film. Homer plays the lead and to slim down, Seth Rogen will play his personal trainer."

-- Matt Groening

But that's not what attracted my attention. It was this ...

"Every episode is still drawn by hand but we no longer have animators willing to ink and paint actual stories, so it's all done on computer."

-- Matt Groening Again

Uh, I've been through the studio any number of times in recent weeks, and everybody is more than willing to ink and paint ... or draw with Number 2 pencils.

Except a few months back, the studio imported a mess of Cintiqs for artists to draw on. Now don't misunderstand, the artists are pretty much fine with drawing on computers, and have adapted to them fine.

But not willing to "ink and paint"? Hardly. The boys and girls in management decided that drawing on digital screens was the way to go, what with the new wider screen, high def format to which The Simpsons teevee series has now converted. (Also, the desire to be more cost efficient.)

But I'm glad Seth Rogan is writing a new episode. Because it's one more new episode for the artistic staff to work on.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

""Every episode is still drawn by hand but we no longer have animators willing to ink and paint actual stories, so it's all done on computer."
-- Matt Groening Again



Always assuming of course that the article may have misquoted Mr. Groening , but this comes off as an inanely ignorant comment from someone who should know better.

I like how he uses the phrase "no longer willing" as if the artists who labor on his shows have anything to say about it ... They do what they are told : draw with pencils , ok. draw with cintiq tablets , ok . Yes boss. I do the pictures for you boss. Thank you, boss.

Anonymous said...

I've been doing this long enough that I go back to the days when you had no choice BUT to ink and paint traditionally. As soon as I could switch to a computer I did, and I've never looked back. Count me among the animators who are no longer willing to ink and paint traditionally.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing that Groening's understanding about how animation works is so slight that he's using the term "ink and paint" in reference to non-cintiq drawn boards and layouts. Not in the way anyone who knows anything about animation uses the term.

Anonymous #1 said...

"I'm guessing that Groening's understanding about how animation works is so slight that he's using the term "ink and paint" in reference to non-cintiq drawn boards and layouts. Not in the way anyone who knows anything about animation uses the term."

----

Yes, exactly. That's why in my comment above I said: "this comes off as an inanely ignorant comment from someone who should know better."

I don't think many of us in the industry are pining away for a return to literally inking and painting cels. (well, I speak for myself. Maybe some people would prefer that ?) . Personally, I love working on the Cintiq. I understand what Anonymous #2 meant when he or she said "I go back to the days when you had no choice BUT to ink and paint traditionally. As soon as I could switch to a computer I did, and I've never looked back. "

But I don't think that's what Groening meant by the phrase "ink and paint" .

My point was that Matt makes it sounds like the animators on his shows are empowered enough to drive the technology used on the shows ("we no longer have animators willing to ink and paint ... so now it's all done on computers.") whereas in reality the decision to animate on paper or go paperless is a management-driven decision. The artistic staff will adapt to whatever tools they are given. Actually, I'm kind of amazed that The Simpsons didn't switch over to something like Flash years ago . In jumping onto the paperless bandwagon now they're latecomers.

Anonymous said...

There's a lot of speculation about what Groening meant when he said "ink and paint," most of which seems to move the comment to a place where he can be slagged for it. How 'bout we assume he meant what he said, rather than what you think he must have meant?

I for one, would be very surprised if, after all this time, Groening didn't know just a bit more about the process than you're all giving him credit for.

Anonymous said...

"How 'bout we assume he meant what he said, rather than what you think he must have meant?"

Assuming he wasn't misquoted, I really don't see any way to interpret what he said in a positive light.

Anonymous said...

"I for one, would be very surprised if, after all this time, Groening didn't know just a bit more about the process than you're all giving him credit for."

I think you're being very naive. He probably has as little knowledge as to what goes into making the Sim,psons as one of the voice actors.

Anonymous said...

"I think you're being very naive. He probably has as little knowledge as to what goes into making the Sim,psons as one of the voice actors."

Man, what happened? Your test didn't get you a job on the show?

You seriously believe that, after nearly 20 years, he'd have no knowledge of how animation is produced? And you call this guy naive...

Anonymous said...

Man, what happened? ou just get hired by FilmRoman and actually belkieve Groening is going to sit down in a cubicle next to you and work on the assembly line with you?
There are proucers that have been on that show (most of them more than likely - including Brooks) that couldn't even tell you which comes first storyboards or layout much less Groening. In fact there are probably many artists on the show in Layout and boards that don't ahve a clue about how it all works.
Just because he's an 'artist' don't get confused and think he understands animation.

Been there... said...

This is a very silly debate. Groening is still very much involved in many aspects of the show. He had a lot to do with influencing the studio to go digital. He was almost certainly misquoted and/or paraphrased. Long ago and far away, I had the experience of being interviewed for a newspaper article. What finally hit print bore so little resemblance to what I actually said, I couldn't believe it. It was almost as if the writer tore the quotes into pieces, put them in a hat and randomly picked them out and pasted them together. The quote is probably a combination of two different answers to completely unrelated questions. I think we are unjustly attributing the writers ignorance to Matt.

Anonymous said...

" almost certainly misquoted and/or paraphrased. "

"I think we are unjustly attributing the writers ignorance to Matt."


Could be.

The first comment alluded to the possibility that M.G was being misquoted. It certainly happens a lot and it does seem that journalists often act as if animation is a subject they need not do any serious research on before they write something on the subject.

Anonymous said...

Matt may have been referring to the switch to digital ink and paint that happened a few years back. The studio was forced to make the switch because the overseas studios in Korea said no one was making cels anymore and we had to switch to digital color. The overseas studios still do the inbetweens and clean-ups with a pencil and just scan and color the drawings digitally.
I don't think Matt is referring to the recent change at film roman to try drawing layouts on cintiqs. The layouts are still posed out unlike many other shows that just send boards overseas without doing the key animation here first.

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