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Saturday, April 23, 2005

I'm participating in a fascinating interview with a Russian animation fan. The interview will appear on his site in Russian so I am taking the liberty of printing one of my answers to his questions, in English.

The question was a doozy. One of the best I've ever been asked, Alexey, and that is the truth.

Why, I was asked, should anyone try to make good animation when it was possible to settle for animation of mediocre quality?

Here's my answer.

Why go for good animation when one can settle for mediocre? Good question!

But then, why build a beautiful and well made house when you can make a cheap and ugly one; why wear well cut clothing when you can wear a dirty T shirt and torn jeans; why eat a well cooked meal when you can have junk food; why make a lovely piece of music when one can simply make noise?

It all comes down to what delights the artist and the audience. The delight in watching artwork move is one of the joys of animation. It is the delight of seeing a piece of artwork coming to life.

Mediocre or poor animation does not create the illusion of life. This can be because of the technique showing, or because the production is poorly made and the story and animation weaknesses are glaringly obvious to the viewer. Animation is about MOVING things. But they can also move so much that there is a visual overload.

Overanimation was always a problem with cartoon animation and is starting to be with computer work as well.

A good piece of animation in any medium is a dance with art. It is a pleasure to behold if it is done well.A great deal of modern animation relies more on dialogue than on movement. This is a technique that covers for the lack of actual animation. The films may be entertaining, they may even have gripping stories, but they are not a joy to watch like a well animated film is.
This doesn't just apply to cartoons.

Well designed computer animation that moves well is a pleasant thing to watch. Poorly designed and over-rendered computer animation that does not move well is tiresome and annoying to watch.

Quality will out. It's no different in any medium.