Episode 10 - Animation Part 2 (3 replies and 1 comment)
Team Deakins is joined by two acclaimed filmmakers, Yong Duk Jhun and Andy Harkness. Masters of their craft, they serve as head of Layout and Head of Lighting respectively. They have worked on such films as Kung Fu Panda, Moana, The Croods, Shrek and Zootopia. The conversation ranges from the actual process of getting an Animated film off the ground, to specifics in lighting, composition, and the technology behind it all.
Release Sunday May 17th at 9 AM PT
Spent the first 2 weeks of the lockdown trying to learn Blender - a free, open source and very good computer animation program just to understand what this stuff is all about by following YouTube tutorials. Anybody can download free it from blender.org. (It actually has an easy and fun sculpting program in it)
I got through a good part of the famous donut tutorial (up to making cake texture) and building my own house, I was amazed by all the possibilities how it can build virtual sets, any geometric object but the amount of work it takes is a high hill to climb to get to the fun creative parts. But some people can do it. And they have stock objects for free or paid ones just to get you going.
No matter what medium you are in, animation, photoshop, perhaps even film.the core visual challenges still seem to be the same.
Even with all the tools these programs give you out of the box, it's still a ton of decisions so I see what they are saying about all the challenges in lighting, shots and animation in their work (and needing help!) It's like building matter from the ground up just to get to the point to do the creative parts. It's tough work.
Taste-wise in animation, I prefer Japanese animation, Akira, One Punch Man. French do cool stuff too -like more flat graphic computer animation. . Seeing too much hyper-reality takes me out of the story some even though I appreciate it.
The quest for an even greater reality i seems like a defining character of the representational American arts nowadays so that probably why animation is more on this track. Art schools and ateliers in New York (even the Art Students League) the past 15 years are basically hyper-realist and most people just try to outdo each other painting a greater detailed head to the point where you can't tell who painted what. Haven't seen that much expressionism or impressionism for a long time now, It taken over representational painting basically, this obsession with realism.
I think ultimate realism equals ultimate skill somewhere in the current American creative psyche, at least from what I'm seeing on the art side. Maybe there's something like that in movies too. Where technical fixations are to the point where they needlessly overtake the art. If animation studios halved the realism and technical stuff some , they would still do fine I bet.
What I like about the Japanese they pump out tons stories instead of every 4 years technique showcases like here..., for comics, they only do covers in color and keep the inside black and white or grayscale to simplify productivity. Practical but effective. More stories get made and more often. There manga industry are still a book publishing force and dwarfs the American comic industry. So simplifying your tools for more story has its benefits.
Thank you for posting these two wonderful podcasts on the Animation field so far. Your thoughts on cinematography in the Animation process are inspiring.
I'm curious what kind of changes you feel could benefit the animation process to allow someone like yourself to make better decisions earlier in the process?
Specifically talking about digital lighting in animation, I feel the technical part of increasing the fidelity of the image, ie render artifacts etc, may better to set later on in the process. But with improving technology now, many creative aspects of lighting can be moved to one or many different part of the process. What kind lighting information would you like to see as you are working with the camera?
We did what was almost real time lighting on some reference images for 'Rango' at ILM but usually it is a case of giving notes and seeing the result days later. The best experiences I have had have been sitting with a lighting artist, working on a shot and seeing the results together.