Thursday, February 26, 2015

Hand Drawn Animation

... receding in the rear view mirror.

I keep reading articles saying how hand-drawn cartoons are on the cusp of a comeback. Maybe in Europe, where hand-drawn features continue to be produced, but not in Southern California. A Disney animation veteran recently clued me in as to why: ...

I've worked on CG features and I've worked on hand-drawn features. And hand-drawn features are harder to make. Hand-drawn cartoons take a year to produce. Once you've produced sequences, it's hard to change the work. You have to go back and do everything over.

But with CG, you can animate the movie in three or four months, change things close to the release date. You can't do that in hand-drawn animation. If you find out the story doesn't work when you're two-thirds done, you're stuck. With CG, we change the story and rework sequences until late in the process.

It's close to live-action in that way. You can rework until late in the production. With hand-drawn animation, the plot, action and dialogue has to be locked down way earlier, or the picture won't get done in time for its release.

From a production standpoint, hand-drawn animated features are clunkier and take more production time. But from the executive suite, the superiority of CG animation over hand-drawn is glaringly obvious.

It makes a hell of a more money than traditional animation. The faster production time for CG long-forms is simply icing on the cake. Hand-drawn features have small-company disciples in Europe and elsewhere that create them, but the big entertainment conglomerates are done with the old style.

Sad, but the way it is.


Unknown said...

No one cares. The world would rather have a good movie than care about technique. How about focusing on that?

Besides--hand drawn animation is bigger than ever. Just not at the majors.

Ju-osh said...

I'm not trying to start an argument, but what do you mean by "hand drawn animation is bigger than ever"?

Are you referring to popularity, production or something else?

Steve Hulett said...

Quite true that hand-drawn animation continues to be made in Europe and elsewhere. But in terms of big box office grosses, CG is where the action is.

Greg Manwaring said...

Come on Steve, you know that's only because that's what the majors are getting behind and putting out in 3000 theaters. If they put their marketing machines and distribution behind a handdrawn film (one with a good story) they would see great results. Frozen would have done just as well if it had been handdrawn I believe.

Steve Hulett said...

Don't thump the messenger, Greg. I'm just reporting what's going on.

Frozen started life as a hand-drawn projects and got put on the shelf when The Princess and the Frog didn't perform up to the Mouse's expectations.

The company ultimately turned it into a CG movie and it made over a billion dollars. I thought "TP&TF" was a terrific film, but it made a third of that.

Frozen might well have done as well being hand-drawn, but we will never know. And the results are what they are.

Unknown said...

Bob Iger and the executives are nothing but a bunch of greedy anti-hand drawn animation jerks. I don't hate CGI, but I want to see Disney doing another hand drawn animated feature. We're living in a America that's full of greedy Hollywood executives.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jean Morel said...

Tswade2, I think you need to understand that Hollywood is a factory that produces entertainment for the masses utilizing the latest techniques.You wouldn't ask a live action filmmaker to make a movie using old hand cranked film cameras from the twenties now would you?

Unknown said...

Well, no, of course not. But that's besides the point. I don't hate cgi animation, but they can't give up hand drawn animation.

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