Art and animation

iaian7 » blog   John Einselen, 14.05.08    

I’m gearing up for a pretty hefty animation project at work. My first “real” character production, and it’s going to take a lot of research to do it right.

First off is character rigs. I can handle the modelling, and certainly the texturing, lighting, or rendering aspects (my background in VFX seems a bit overkill here!). But the ever elusive character rig, especially in Lightwave, seems to… well, elude me. I can manage minor expressions, understand IK and FK, have even tried some procedural and reactive flight simulations using purely native Lightwave solutions. As I try to rig an expressive character, though, I’m reminded just how much I have yet to learn!

Also, character animation in Lightwave sucks. emoticon It’s doable, but man, is it painful. Anyway, as I learn more about the workarounds and techniques needed for a stable rig, I’m trying to pick up as much knowledge as I can about the art of animation itself. I have a lot of catch up to do, but through tutorials, articles, and blogs, I’m starting to get the animation education I never thought I’d need.

Which brings up an interesting topic, something I’ve touched on before. As postulated on an animator’s blog discussing the differences and similarities of 2D art versus 3D animation, there is essentially no difference in the art of animation, merely in the path, the medium, to get there. Be it film, animation, illustration, photography, or otherwise, good art is always recognisable.

A visitor then left a comment asking wether they should use 2D or 3D animation to make a film that connected with adult audiences. I can think of few questions more misplaced!

Cowboy Bebop and Advent Children are both (admittedly youngish) adult films; one using hand drawn 2D, the other hyper-real 3D. Both are successful, and both have been lauded as highly artistic films.

Story trumps all; if your story doesn’t connect with the audience, nothing with fix it, and an arbitrary technique for telling it will only further deface the sad and desolate remains.