There’s a recent trend in animation of using flash based programs to create inbetweens. In other words, programs like Adobe Flash are being used to automatically generate frames that go inbetween key frames. They can digitally squash, stretch and move parts of the shot to avoid having to make more animation drawings.
Flash tweening seems to be becoming more popular. It can be seen in anything from Masaaki Yuasa’s recent works all the way to shows like Bob’s Burgers. It’s a great time and cost saving tool as inbetweens can be tedious and costly to draw. It’s also controversial in some animation circles as some see it as a way of doing less work.
But a few thoughts on that. Reading the Illusion of Life, it’s clear that a lot of Disney animation techniques came about as a way of making things easier. Walk cycles were created to make easily repeatable movements. From 101 Dalmatians onward only black outlines were drawn on characters (as opposed to the many different outline colours that were used in the past) so they could be xeroxed and therefore inked more easily. Budget saving tricks can be used to produce something artistic.
There’s definitely a particular feel to flash tweened animation. It feels buttery smooth and CGI-like. But I can’t say I think this is better or worse than what traditional inbetweening gives us- it’s just different.
A shot from Lu Over the Wall that uses flash tweening.
There’s something controlled about traditional inbetweening that makes me prefer how it feels. But I think this is just my taste. As more animated works use flash tweening it’ll stop standing out as much. Like how digital compositing slowly overtook the old process of cel photography.
But I don’t think traditional inbetweening is going anywhere in the near future. There’s too many purists in the animation industry for that to happen. I think flash tweening does give us an insight into what the future of animation could look like though.
I wonder how hard is it to make inbetweens using flash?
Sakuga MADs are animation highlight reels, made to collect, celebrate and appreciate the work of animators. There can also be craft put into the making of these MADs themselves as they can give the viewer a way to experience animation they may have seen many times before in a new light. Good MADs highlight the effort that goes into animation and can make you look at a body of work in a different light.
I thought it could be interesting to talk about how I make my videos, some editing techniques that are common in Sakuga MADs and what, I think, makes a good Sakuga MAD.
This is the first of a series of blog posts I plan to do where I’ll give an overview of an animator’s career, highlight what they’re most famous for and say what they’re doing today.
Today’s post is about James Baxter. Baxter is a British animator who did his most well known work at Disney in the 90s (1). The first credit he has as an animator is on Who Framed Roger Rabbit. He animated Roger, Jessica Rabbit and the Weasels in some shots (1). His animation style is soft and rounded with complex physics. He complemented and helped set Disney’s softer animation style in the 90s.
I thought I’d start a series of short daily blog posts to get myself writing regularly. I’m most likely to write about animation but I’m probably going to talk about film and other stuff as well here.
I’ll start this off with a topic that a YouTube comment got me thinking about- recent sources of non-anime sakuga. I’d like to write a proper blog post about this sometime but for now I’ll just report what I know.