Tag Archives: anime

Paperm’n

The wife-o-tron and I went to see Wreck-It Ralph last night and the experience has stuck with me. It was a wonderful date night filled with film and food. But it’s not the feature itself that really resonated with me. Albeit Wreck-It Ralph is an incredibly good movie, carefully handled and lovingly crafted, it’s more the short film that preceded the movie that I can’t get out of my head.

The name of the short is “Paperman”, you can probably find stuff about it on Google or any of the other menagerie of search engines out there. But if you can’t, here’s a small taste of it:

Here’s a video of the director of the short, John Kahrs describing the look, which basically pares down to hand-drawn characters interacting with pre-rendered three dimensional backgrounds.  And you’re probably like, “Yeah?  So what?  It’s been done, who cares?”  Yes, it has, but it’s never been done quite this well, at least not that I can remember.  Usually when studios try that kind of integration, they do some cheap cel-shaded look which, in my opinion, looks absolutely godawful and kludgy a majority of the time.  But here it looks like the characters fit with everything.  There’s some subtlety to the way that the characters are animated, they’re fluid, they’re not stuck in some weird axial movement like CG rendered characters.

In this article Mr. Kahrs describes the expressiveness of the drawn line.  How just a few strokes of a pen here or there can change something so incredibly.  A shift from a zenith to a nadir can mean that the character is happy as opposed to sad, and yes, this is obvious.  But it’s not so much what’s relegated to the paper, but also the feelings of the person behind the tool.  A hard line might mean that the artist was upset with something, or it could mean that he was trying to convey that the thing he was jotting down was an impressive or imposing figure.  You can’t easily get that kind of nuance with CG animated characters at this juncture in technology.

Wreck-It Ralph does look incredible, fluid and wonderful.  It’s incredibly polished as a film, but why couldn’t it have been drawn in this style instead?  Ease of use?  Probably not, it still takes one and a half to two years to finish one of these productions with the same amount of manpower.  It probably has to do with the industry standard, Pixar and their ilk, much to their credit, has made it so that it’s incredibly hard to market a traditionally animated film, which I think stanches the overall output of animation, which I hold in incredibly high esteem.  In fact, I regularly wanted to do something in animation, though I never cared enough about my art to begin even trying.

I love cartoons, and anime, and 3D CGI stuff, but there’s room for all of these things in the marketplace.  I remember watching Kung-Fu Panda years ago and being really disappointed that more of the movie wasn’t done in the very fluid, traditionally drawn style of the opening sequence.  I thought it looked gorgeous, and I think there’s just something soulless to everything just being rendered out from a giant server farm in polygons, as opposed to done in some sort of Photoshop equivalent on a handful of drawing tablets.  We have the technology.  Let’s start doing something like that.

Let’s change the paradigm so that all forms of animation are openly accepted and released in the consumer space.  I’m game to start something if anyone else is.  It’s not like I do anything else.

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Exteriors

Man, I haven’t actually sat down and written one of these damn things in about two weeks.  So this is going to be kind of off the cuff and perhaps I can make the blog a bit more topical without seeming gauche and ridiculous.  But I won’t, because that’s what a respectable person would do.  And I’d enjoy staying awful and undignified.  I shall break your brain with gusto and panache.

As such, what does one write about when they cannot think of a thing to write about?  Whatever comes to mind first.  And you are stuck reading it because, my loyal readers, you are kind and responsible and driving home my narcissism and special brand of egotistical egolessness.  Yes, I have created yet another word.  But I’d prefer you not feed my starving ego, as I enjoy being an egalitarian.  I don’t even understand what I’m doing here.

There’s a thing I wrote down in a notebook at one point, and I think I might touch upon it now because it seems the thing to do.  My previous train of thought has left the station and, as such, I have to make a transfer.

I’ve found it hard to pick up a hobby you once had after an extended period of time.  I’ve experienced this in two ways recently: one is Magic: The Gathering, the other is manga.  I was last into these two endeavors about eight years ago, at which point I almost entirely lost all interest in both and became an angry youth filled with ire and malfeasance.  But I still talk to people who play Magic regularly and I find myself wanting to experience that again, but I know that there are a ridiculous amount of mechanic changes and even new keywords for old mechanics I would not understand and would find absolutely off-putting and disgusting.  And if there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that I don’t care to put myself in off-putting and disgusting situations.  So, I mean, I could acquire knowledge in the field once again and research and what have you, but then I’d remember that I’m terrible at the game and that’s why I quit in the first place.  Not to mention the fact that, hey, not having money is the worst.  So maybe that one is out.

But bringing up the nostalgia of my younger, less self-derisive personage, I really enjoyed reading those crazy Japanese comic books, and I still don’t understand why.  Aside from a few things I have been paying attention to recently, I pretty much fell out of the crazy Japanese comic books phase pretty abruptly to the point where I don’t even know what the hell anyone’s paying attention to, anymore.  It wasn’t until recently that I found out that a few series I was collecting are now ending and ones that were hard to come by when I was in my zenith are being released as Omnibus editions for far cheaper than grabbing the individual volumes.  Plus, hefting around an 700 page book always looks a bit more impressive than some pencil thin tome.  But my standards for this kind of stuff is so ridiculously high that I doubt I’d even try to venture past the stuff I’m familiar with.  Not to mention the fact that, hey, not having money is the worst.  So this one is out, too.

It’s a strange introspection on my part, because I know that I’m limited by my familiarity with my previous experiences and unwillingness to stifle my standards.  I can’t just leap back into these things I used to adore because they are no longer the things I loved to do, to read, to experience.

They are a new generation’s.  A generation I cannot fit in, because I am far too jaded and cynical to view their world in the same saccharine light that they do.