Saturday, September 25, 2010

Still Lookin' Good

Here's the shot directly following the shot posted yesterday.

The animation is tighter and loses the vibrancy of the more cartoony work shown yesterday.

Look at the face of Vinnie, the lead character.  It's all hard angles -even the curves are flat.  The lines don't give him form or shape, they simply define a space.

Compare to Eva (the heroine).  Her design is softer, giving her three dimensional form -and an ample bosom.

The scene is like a Gary Panter drawing interacting with The Little Mermaid.


Eva, pre-implants?

The language of animating a Panter-style character is very different from a traditional doe-eyed cartoon dame.  Integrating them in one shot is even more difficult.  The Bakshi designs aren't Gary Panter, but the simplification of Ralph's ambitious characters for tight rate animation flattens Vinnie into a single plane drawing.

This sequence contains one of the cardinal sins of animation (and film, in general, but a something like this can fly in live action).

The jump cut.

Above: the last image of a shot.

Below: the first image of the next shot.

Editorially, you can "cut on an action".  Meaning:  if Vinnie's hand is moving towards her face and she's pulling the jacket down, the cut can work.   It won't be jarring.

At least two things would have to happen between the frames for this to hook up:  Vinnie has to let go of the jacket (exchanging it with Eva) and he has to reach for her face.  Those are two distinct gestures.

Compounding the problem is the relative distance of the camera.  We're only opening up three or four fields and keeping the same angle.  There isn't enough visual distinction between the shots to warrant a cut.

I imagine that production issues compelled this edit.  The film was animated over the course of several years.  It's possible that two animators worked on it, or that one shot is a reuse.  Any number of obstacles could have necessitated this edit.

One of the great things about Bakshi's productions is that he never lets these obstacles prevent him from making his film.

Above:  Tissa David once told me to never have a "bird's eye view" unless you're a bird.  Only god can see the world like that.

Her underlying point is that while the camera can do things the human can not, the staging of cuts need flow from how we inherently see things.  Obviously this isn't true to many styles of storytelling, she was referring to naturalistic films like this one.

Above: the last shot in the clip the above clip.

Nice, dynamic staging.  Good expressions on Dad and daughter.

More on this sequence within the next few days.


Hutch said...

Loving this, Richard. Something I see from young cartooning students, worse than the bird's eye view (which can certainly work at times) is the Straight Overhead shot. Directly 90 degrees up the x axis from the subject. I think it comes from too much video game playing, and it never works. It's hard to read, harder to draw, defines nothing except directions (NSEW.)

Anyway, thanks for posting these. Can't wait to see if Vinnie's head gets some volume or not.

roconnor said...

Thanks, Tom!

Video games have really influenced the way the next generation sees things.

I haven't seen any successful translations of that manner of cinema -the kind of shot you're describing, the POV, the free floating camera, et c. but I think it's only a matter of time before some of those tropes become acceptable in comics and motion pictures.