Initially daily but now sporadic blog about anime and world animation with a specific focus on the artists behind the work. Written by Ben Ettinger.
May 2007
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Archives for: May 2007, 19

Saturday, May 19, 2007

07:30:51 pm , 352 words, 4138 views     Categories: Animation, Indie

Chinese animation studybook

I was in Beijing for a bit during my trip, and managed to visit a big bookstore. I was curious to see what they might have on animation. There were a few history books about Asian animation that seemed tantalizing, but I didn't get them since I can't read them. My big find was a 4-volume set containing examples of key animation from a selection of the films of Shanghai Animation Studio. Each volume is about 40 pages, so it's only 160 pages in total, but it's still a nice find. There are excerpts of key drawings from various shots in many of the more well-known films - Nezha, Uproar in Heaven, and Cowherd's Flute, to name but a few. I was particularly happy to find examples from the latter, as it (and all of Te Wei's other films) features some of the best movement in any of the studio's films that I've seen. Many of the other examples are from more recent productions that I haven't seen, and, judging by the examples, don't need to. Unfortunately, these occupy a large proportion of the book. I would have preferred to see more from films like Cowherd's Flute and Where's Mama, although these being brush films, I suppose you'd be better off just analyzing the film frame by frame yourself. The main problem with the books is that the line drawings appear to not be original key drawings. It looks like they were traced by someone from the originals, which significantly reduces the books' value IMO. I guess this gets to one of the things I've always felt about the studio. Their cel work has never been their forte. Where the studio really shined, for the most part, was in experimenting with different media other than cel. So I think the books kind of shortchange them in that they don't show the studio where they're really good. Still, despite the flaws, it's a real pleasure to find books like this putting the focus on their own productions, and I'd like to see more material like this from other studios around the world - Soyuzmultfilm, etc.