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CS294-7 Presentation A Comparison of Animation Techniques Between American and Japanese Animation Overview American animation techniques are very broad, impossible to generalize, but best known for full animation.

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Cs294 7 presentation l.jpg

CS294-7 Presentation

A Comparison of Animation Techniques Between American and Japanese Animation


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Overview

  • American animation techniques are very broad, impossible to generalize, but best known for full animation.

  • Japanese animation, or “anime”, is not as well documented in the Western world, but best known for limited animation.

  • Differences seem to be more style and plot devices than technique.


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Brief History - America

  • 1900s to 1920s

    • Silent age cartoons such as Felix the Cat, Mighty Mouse, and Betty Boop.

  • 1930s to 1940s

    • Golden age of Disney cartoons.

  • 1950s to 1980s

    • Television era dominated by Hanna-Barbera Productions.

  • 1980s to present

    • Decline of Saturday morning cartoons.

    • Resurgence of adult-oriented animation.

    • Mainstream popularization of “anime” in American culture.


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Brief History - Japan

  • 1900

    • First known animation of a boy wearing a sailor uniform saluting the camera (50 frames).

  • 1963

    • First popular anime series, Astro Boy.

  • 1970s

    • Anime develops, separating itself from Western roots.

    • Emergence of “mecha” anime genre.

  • 1980s

    • Golden age of anime.

    • Rise of “otaku” subculture.

    • Mainstream acceptance of anime in Japan.

    • Akira sets record for production costs in 1988 with over 160,000 cels and meticulously lip-synched dialogue.

  • 1990s

    • Anime economy bubble bursts in Japan.

    • International growth, such as Pokemon, Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, etc.


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Limited Animation

  • Emerged in 1950s.

  • As opposed to realistic animation championed by Disney.

    • For example, rather than lip-synching every word, just create certain mouth shapes and re-use them. Rather than animating each walk cycle, just animate one cycle and repeat it.

  • Pioneered as a result of low budget television cartoons.

    • Hanna Barbera Productions and United Productions of America.

    • Seen in most Saturday morning and prime time television cartoons.

  • Heavily utilized in anime.

    • An extreme example is Dragon Ball Z.

    • Philosophy that more time should be spent doing few good animations than spending time doing many mediocre animations.

    • More effort placed on animating “money shots”.


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Wild Takes vs Face Faults

  • Wild Takes

    • Well known in Looney Tunes

    • Exaggerated facial expressions

  • Face Faults

    • Symbolic things representing certain emotions.

    • For example, sweat drop, nosebleeds, forehead veins, large shining eyes, flames in eyes, giant hammers.

  • Commonalities

    • Hammer space: pulling ridiculous objects out of thin air


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Physics and Timing

  • American Animation

    • Gravity is negated by fear.

    • Prolonged death scenes.

    • Everything falls faster than an anvil.

    • Arms and necks holding heavy objects can stretch to infinity.

  • Anime

    • Dramatic moments distort time.

    • Also prolonged death scenes.

    • Scenes repeated in different angles for emphasis.


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Camera

  • “Anime regularly uses close-ups of faces, establishing shots, background shots, rack focus, over the shoulder shots, low and high angles, long takes.” http://www.animenation.net/news/askjohn.php?id=1352


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Anime Influenced Animation

  • Styles and techniques are recently influencing American animation.

  • Examples: Teen Titans, The Boondocks, Aeon Flux


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