Japanese animation theory

Discuss anime, non-Japanese animation, indie animation, animators, or just introduce yourself

Japanese animation theory

Postby Leedar » Sun Jul 22, 2007 5:43 am

Does anyone know of any English language resources on Japanese 'cel' animation theory, especially on the Web?
Leedar
 
Posts: 886
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2007 5:23 am
Location: New Zealand

Postby St. Toledo » Sun Jul 22, 2007 8:40 am

Wished I knew of any, but that's an interesting point to make since it would be nice to read up on that to better understand what often makes anime different from the way cel animation is often perceived and produced here..
User avatar
St. Toledo
 
Posts: 242
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2006 1:44 am
Location: Toledo, U.S.A.

Postby Muffin » Sun Jul 22, 2007 1:02 pm

I agree that this is a overlooked and all-too stereotyped subject(even fans usually rely on reductive cliches to explain away the uniqueness and complexity of japanese animation and comic-art). I'd actually say the best resource is to read through Ben's blog archive, use your imagination and put two and two together. It's all in there really.

But yeah, it's all in a very scattered and elusive form, obviously.(It's not a beginner's guide or FAQ, exactly)

It also depends on what manner one means to "use" this resource. Personal? Or for teaching the masses etc etc...
Muffin
 
Posts: 146
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2006 1:35 am

Postby Leedar » Sun Jul 22, 2007 4:40 pm

I'm an animation student, and I'm interested in hearing the ideas behind Japanese animation from the animator's perspective, both the technical and the artistic.
Leedar
 
Posts: 886
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2007 5:23 am
Location: New Zealand

Postby H Park » Mon Jul 23, 2007 1:05 pm

Leedar wrote:I'm an animation student, and I'm interested in hearing the ideas behind Japanese animation from the animator's perspective, both the technical and the artistic.


Hey another fellow animation student! Unfortunately most anime sites don't dabble into techincal side of Japanese animation. Like Muffin said, fans are engrossed with surface details and they tend to ignore technical aspect. Ben's site is the closest of anything that explores the technical side in English. Except some of animating methods, they are no different from anyone else on drawing. Observe, recreate, and re-imagine. And style is relative. It's the fundamental that counts, not the style.

I hope one of my rough translation of Toshiyuki Inoue interviews can be helpful:

Q & A session 1: 25 questions from Horikawa to Toshiyuki Inoue

Q1. In case when you concentrate om theatrical project, how many cuts do you set as your yearly goal?

If they are hard scenes, about 120 cuts.

Q2. For TV series key animation, how much do you need to draw per month?

If it's Ghost in the Shell, about 50 cuts. For normal ones, 70-80 cuts.

Q3. For example, if you do that amount of key animations in one month, how many weeks for layout and how many weeks for key animations?

Layouts: 1 week. Key animation: 3 weeks. (1 day average for layout: 12-13 cuts, 1 day average for key animation: 4-5 cuts)

Q4. Do you proceed first from rough drawings? Or do you proceed from continuity's head sequence number? Or do you proceed from easy ones?

Layout is drawn and organized roughly through one scene at a time. Otherwise, composition, contrast, and etc cannot be established. It is better not to have finished (cleaned up) drawings on every single cut. For Key animation, I stubbornly try to do from the head sequence number.

Q5. What is the relationship between age and technical progress?

Key animation relies on half talent and half discipline. If you practice difficult discipline at young age, you can reach some level of skill right away. After that, you'll improve little by little.

Q6.How many inbetweens did you drew per day?

30-40 sheets (1000 sheets monthly)

Q7. How many cuts of key animation did you drew on one month?

90 cuts for "Stop! Hibari-kun". 100 cuts for "Gu-Gu Ganmo"

Q8. For animation worth watching, how much sheets of animation do you think is required for TV series?

Depends on continuity. If it's flexible, I wouldn't settle at 3500 sheets.

Q9. From what time to what time do you draw key animation?

2:00pm-2:00am, two meal breaks

Q10. How many animations do you check per week? What is your selection standard?

Now, 5-6 books for TV series. Selection standard is in sequence of key animator, animation director, and technical director whom I have a matter of concern with.

Q11. How many key animators (except yourself) lives in Japan?

I don't know at all.

Q12. Have you ever thought of doing something else if you don't want to draw?

Yes. I wanted to be like bamboo craftsman. I would like to watch (TV) special on that craftsman.

Q13. When was the first time were you called charismatic?

It was "Anime Style" Issue #1. I overlooked magazine manuscript check, so it was published as it was. I would like them to stop it because it's embarassing.

Q14. I think you've been always working with similar people on theatrical project, but does rise of average age affects your work?

Yes. I want to rise to perfection.

Q15. Does knowledge of technical direction need in animation? Was the effort made?

Although it is necessary, particular effort is not made. When you explore animation, you automatically put a step into domain of technical direction.

Q16. When a beginner sees you marking a frame on a time sheet, does he or she find it interesting?

There aren't enough people who can understand from the cause of motion to the end of motion. Mostly not enough people needed to draw motion.

Q17. Do you get angry when someone calls your work (of art) as (piece of) product?

No, not at all

Q18. Were you dissatified with your income?

Few times

Q19. What is the reason why you don't want to be animation director?

I have no desire to say to draw certain way.

Q20. When you draw, do you find a theme of expression?

You could say that.

Q21. Which key animation that makes you angry?

Inbetweens and key animations without consideration on clean up.

Q22. Which Key animation excites you most?

Key animation with unexpected expression, yet effective.

Q23. How come there is a coffee stain on your animation paper?

I always drink coffee while working. (unconsciensiously done)

Q24. I believe you have hard time refusing numerous key animation requests. Is there a way to refuse nicely?

If there is a way to refuse nicely (not to hurt feelings), I want to know. {Horikawa's note: I was refused when someone said, "don't refuse key animation because you want more money". it was unexpected. (Laughs)}

Q25. Do you know that I headed toward Hino-shi without sleeping?

Since you're saying that, I can't believe you.
H Park
 
Posts: 761
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2007 12:12 am
Location: San Francisco, USA

Postby Leedar » Tue Jul 24, 2007 1:24 am

Ah, thank you for your effort. :-) I presume by 'cut' you mean 'scene' (AKA 'shot' in live action terminology).
Leedar
 
Posts: 886
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2007 5:23 am
Location: New Zealand

Postby H Park » Tue Jul 24, 2007 6:41 pm

Leedar wrote:Ah, thank you for your effort. :-) I presume by 'cut' you mean 'scene' (AKA 'shot' in live action terminology).


cut = shot
Last edited by H Park on Mon Jul 30, 2007 2:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
H Park
 
Posts: 761
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2007 12:12 am
Location: San Francisco, USA

Postby Brian » Mon Jul 30, 2007 12:29 pm

H Park wrote:Yes. cut = scene = shot

Not to be too pedantic (as is my wont), but those three terms are far from interchangeable.
Brian
 
Posts: 79
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2006 4:08 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Postby Ben » Mon Jul 30, 2007 1:19 pm

Brian's right. The Japanese use the word "cut" to mean shot. A scene is different. A scene is a sequence of sequential events, like a scene in a play, and comprises any given number of shots.

And thank you very much for the translation, H Park. Inoue's interviews for PA Works are a treasure trove about the nitty gritty of working as an animator in Japan.
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 369
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2004 12:48 pm
Location: Vancouver, Canada

Postby H Park » Mon Jul 30, 2007 2:14 pm

Thanks guys. I'll correct my mistake. Anyway I visited PA works website few days ago, and some of T. Inoue's interviews are missing due to their website face lift. I hope they bring it back online.
H Park
 
Posts: 761
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2007 12:12 am
Location: San Francisco, USA

Postby Tony Mines » Tue Jul 31, 2007 3:52 am

Not to be meta-pedantic, but:

In animation, the Japanese do most often indeed use cut to mean what is usualy termed in live action as a shot.

However, just to compound the confusion, western animation - particularly cg production - often uses scene, in the same context, to also mean what would usualy be termed a shot.

Use of either term is not exclusive to either country though, and westerners might use cut just as likely as Japanese or Koreans might use shot. Especially in international co-productions, where one or other party will conform to the understood terminology of the other for convenience.

Basically there's no consistent system, and you have to use your powers of deduction to interpret what terminology is being used at any time.

As if it wasn't complicated enough already, when speaking publicly and in interviews, animators (American ones anyway) often do the decent thing and describe their activities in terms of the more commonly understood live-action terminology - even though they might not use those terms in-house.

So when H Park first wrote cut=scene=shot, he was actually closest to the mark.

If anyone is wondering why this is, its the inevitable byproduct of any given animation image, being comprised of multiple elements.

If you're making a live action movie, and shot 36 is of an elephant, you can call it shot 36: Elephant. But in animation, that 'shot' might be made up of 36a elephant, 36b elephants eye, 36c elephants shadow, 36d background, 36e clouds etc. All as separate elements being worked on by different people in different departments - so 'shot' becomes 'cut' or 'scene' or 'sequence' or just about anything (including, sometimes, shot).

Got a headache yet?

The short form for working it out, is that if an animator or animation director says 'scene', then they almost certainly don't mean scene in the Shakespearean sense. If a director, say Brad Bird or someone, talks about a 'scene', he probably does mean it in the Shakespearean sense.
Tony Mines
 
Posts: 210
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 6:21 am

Postby Brian » Tue Jul 31, 2007 4:48 am

Thanks for the clarification, Tony. I was still in a Film 101 mindset since I just finished teaching such a class a few weeks ago.
Brian
 
Posts: 79
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2006 4:08 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Postby Ben » Tue Jul 31, 2007 5:33 am

Indeed, thanks for the international viewpoint on the terms, Tony. These are live-action terms being ported over into a realm where they don't always apply in a clear-cut way, so I guess confusion is inevitable.
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 369
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2004 12:48 pm
Location: Vancouver, Canada

Postby Tony Mines » Fri Aug 03, 2007 7:36 am

Muffin wrote:even fans usually rely on reductive cliches to explain away the uniqueness and complexity of japanese animation and comic-art


Reduction. Theres an idea there...

For the lack of any resource on the matter (I would love something like that too) you can work out something of japanese animation theory by a process of elimination.

Read some of the definitive texts on western animation theory, see what you know from anime that they don't cover- and equaly, watch some western animation and see what they're not doing, that makes it different from anime. Many of the answers will lie in that absense.
Tony Mines
 
Posts: 210
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 6:21 am

Postby neilworms » Sun Aug 19, 2007 8:29 pm

Japanese anime theory is still based off of disney theory quite a bit, though its simplified in motion, more complex in design...

I'd check out Yasuo Otsuka's joy of animation (I don't remember the japanese name) a documentary with english subtitles produced by Studio Ghibli about one of anime's biggest animators explaining how animation works from his prospective...

I think that's the best I can do...
neilworms
 
Posts: 65
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2006 2:56 pm
Location: Chicago IL, U.S.A

Next

Return to Main forum: Animation Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: TurnitinBot [Bot] and 3 guests