Do you still like CG animation?

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Ezekiel

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#1  Edited By Ezekiel

As I'm watching Moana, I keep thinking how much better it would look in traditional animation. It's by Ron Clements and John Musker, the directors who made nothing but traditional animations, until Disney decided they wouldn't produce them anymore. Because, apparently, people don't like traditional animation anymore. They think this in spite of big hits like Adventure Time, Regular Show, SpongeBob, Rick and Morty, South Park and Family Guy. (I know what you're gonna say. That kids don't watch adult cartoon shows anyway. I did when I was a kid. A lot of kids I knew did. Besides, I'm pretty sure these Disney movies are also watched by a lot of adults.)

I've had Wall-E for six months and I still don't feel like watching it again. I saw it only once, in a cinema. I don't even remember when I got so sick of CG animation.

In Moana, the environments are highly detailed and the hair looks real, but the faces are bubbly, round and exaggerated/cartoony. It's kind of shit. It's on Netflix, if you wanna see for yourself.

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liquiddragon

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I think it really depends on the movie but also on my mood. I use to be really into checking out all of them but my interest has definitely waned.

I've been meaning to check out Moana 'cause it reviewed so well but I just can't get myself to really care.

The last one I saw was Kubo and the Two Strings and I just couldn't enjoy it at all even though I really liked their last one, Coraline, which made me thing I'm done with CG movies but before that, I saw Zootopia and maybe my expectations had something to do with it but I thought it was fun and the Bunny was soo adorable.

I'd like to see more traditional animation but either way, it takes tremendous amount of time and talent and neither guarantees a good film. I think the last one I saw was The Red Turtle, another well reviewed movie, and I just couldn't connect. So at the end of the day, I don't think there is anything wrong with CG but it takes a lot to stand out with so many out there.

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duke_of_the_bump

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CG isn't the villain, it's lack of imagination. You can do some cool things with CG but most people don't. I thought everything that took place in the girl's head in Inside Out looked fantastic. One of the best-looking animated movies ever. I wish there was more stuff like Pixar's paperman film from 2012. CG movies never have any styyyyyle.

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TheHT

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#4  Edited By TheHT

Sure! But when I think of the really incredible/charming 2D animation, it doesn't compare in my opinion (the 3D stuff doesn't compare I mean).

I don't think it's quite like I could look at Moana or Frozen or Inside Out and say they'd necessarily be better in 2D though.

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Teddie

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#5  Edited By Teddie

I'm pretty sick of the generic Pixar-style CG movies that get pumped out, mostly because traditionally animated stuff used to have very distinct styles (early Disney stuff maybe less so, but Lilo and Stitch looks completely different than Treasure Planet for example). Your point about Moana probably looking better in 2D just reminds me of that early art for Frozen that looked a billion times better than the actual movie did. It's not even like they couldn't do something different-- the short that played before Moana had way more personality in the animation and the designs.

It's definitely a bummer that it's fallen by the wayside in movies, but Disney is a corporation and they're always going to go for the safe thing (look at The Force Awakens). Their last 2 traditionally animated movies flopped, and that coming after a decline in their popularity over the years basically sealed the deal. Frozen being the most successful animated movie ever probably doesn't help.

Honestly though I'm more put-off by the live action remakes that only exist to make a quick buck.

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DrFlapjack

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@liquiddragon: Coraline and Kubo are both stop-motion films. They have some CG elements, but that's mostly for vfx.

I'm more impressed with 2d animation, but I can still definitely appreciate 3d animation as well. I'm more interested in subject matter over style.

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glots

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I'd love to see more traditionally animated movies these days. I just watched the newly released Iron Giant blu-ray recently and that movie looks excellent. I can only imagine how good a new 2D Disney one could potentially look in this day.

But I do like CG stuff too. I thought Zootopia looked great and colorful. It does obviously also help if the story 'n all that jazz works too.

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liquiddragon

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@drflapjack: oh right, Kubo seemed like it had a ton though. Still found it quite disappointing, really like Coraline.

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Ezekiel

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#9  Edited By Ezekiel

@teddie said:

I'm pretty sick of the generic Pixar-style CG movies that get pumped out, mostly because traditionally animated stuff used to have very distinct styles (early Disney stuff maybe less so, but Lilo and Stitch looks completely different than Treasure Planet for example). Your point about Moana probably looking better in 2D just reminds me of that early art for Frozen that looked a billion times better than the actual movie did. It's not even like they couldn't do something different-- the short that played before Moana had way more personality in the animation and the designs.

It's definitely a bummer that it's fallen by the wayside in movies, but Disney is a corporation and they're always going to go for the safe thing (look at The Force Awakens). Their last 2 traditionally animated movies flopped, and that coming after a decline in their popularity over the years basically sealed the deal. Frozen being the most successful animated movie ever probably doesn't help.

Honestly though I'm more put-off by the live action remakes that only exist to make a quick buck.

The Princess and the Frog did okay. It didn't do amazingly because kids are racist and the premise, two frogs trying to break their spell, wasn't that appealing. I liked it, but it wasn't a very good movie.

What was the other one? Home on the Range? Home on the Range was poorly reviewed. I doubt it would have done much better as a CG movie.

I feel like they barely even tried in the years prior to ceasing 2D animation.

I just took a look at some of the early art for Frozen. You're right, it did look better.

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Teddie

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@ezekiel said:

What was the other one? Home on the Range? Home on the Range was poorly reviewed. I doubt it would have done much better as a CG movie.

It was a Winnie the Pooh movie which was pretty good, but they released it the same day as the final Harry Potter movie and it got completely overshadowed. It was also suffering from the fact that Disney gave Winnie the Pooh a really bad "babies only" stigma between the release of the classic movie based on the books and the newer one, so it probably lost the family appeal too.

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I enjoyed it since for the most part it was just light-hearted comedy routines.

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imhungry

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@drflapjack: oh right, Kubo seemed like it had a ton though. Still found it quite disappointing, really like Coraline.

If Kubo seemed like it had a ton of CG to you then that stands as a true testament to their animation process. The animation in that film blew my mind and made me go look up a bunch of behind-the-scenes stuff which just impressed me even more. The story in the film is unabashedly a standard Hero's Journey, though one I'd argue is executed brilliantly. That aside though, the things they pulled off with stop motion are really really amazing.

On topic, I'm fine with CG animation but definitely miss some older traditionally animated stuff.

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deactivated-5b031d0e868a5

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I think a poorly done CG film is a lot worse than poorly done traditional animation film if only because I'm aware of the difference in work effort needed to create a traditional animation film.

When they're done well though I'm indifferent as each as their own distinct benefits.

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ragnar_mike

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@ezekiel: I don't know about the others, but South Park is done in CG. Their work window is too small to outsource to Korea, India or China (like I believe Family Guy does) The characters are all done in maya, 2D, but CG for sure.

I'm going to school for CG and have tried my hand at both film and games and the like. CG is like cinematography or editing or screenwriting. It's an element to telling a story that can be done poorly or masterfully. I have to chuckle when people say they don't like CG and then list movies and shows that rely heavily on CG for set extensions. In reality, what that don't like is CG for the sake of spectacle, and with that I can agree. But any movie you've seen in the past 20 years that had people in a car, or a nice vista in the background, or celebrities with "clean faces" that's all CG.

Here's a fairly commonly used video that shows most of CG artists opinions: We love telling stories and it hurts sometimes because we're seen as fluff because Hollywood treats us as such with shrinking budgets/timelines.

Loading Video...

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Ezekiel

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@ezekiel: I don't know about the others, but South Park is done in CG. Their work window is too small to outsource to Korea, India or China (like I believe Family Guy does) The characters are all done in maya, 2D, but CG for sure.

Oh yeah, I know that but forgot, probably because it's designed to simulate... Wait, the paper cutouts from the pilot weren't "traditional animation" either. I don't know why I mentioned it.

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Ezekiel

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I'm going to school for CG and have tried my hand at both film and games and the like. CG is like cinematography or editing or screenwriting. It's an element to telling a story that can be done poorly or masterfully. I have to chuckle when people say they don't like CG and then list movies and shows that rely heavily on CG for set extensions. In reality, what that don't like is CG for the sake of spectacle, and with that I can agree. But any movie you've seen in the past 20 years that had people in a car, or a nice vista in the background, or celebrities with "clean faces" that's all CG.

Here's a fairly commonly used video that shows most of CG artists opinions: We love telling stories and it hurts sometimes because we're seen as fluff because Hollywood treats us as such with shrinking budgets/timelines.

Loading Video...

That's not what we're talking about at all.

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TwoLines

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Moana/Moana's look described as "kind of shit"? Man.

If I knew I'd be watching animated movies of THIS quality when I was a kid, I would be so hyped. I love traditional animation, but Pixar and recent Disney movies look so choice, it's hard to be a curmudgeon about it. Especially Moana, with its beautiful water effects, which simply couldn't be done in traditional animation, and 90% of this movie takes place around, on, or in water.

So, yes. I do still like CG animation very much.

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Jesus_Phish

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CG isn't the villain, it's lack of imagination. You can do some cool things with CG but most people don't. I thought everything that took place in the girl's head in Inside Out looked fantastic. One of the best-looking animated movies ever. I wish there was more stuff like Pixar's paperman film from 2012. CG movies never have any styyyyyle.

This is sort of where I'm at too. CG looks great, except when it's used boringly. The "human" parts of Inside Out are second fiddle to the stuff going on inside, so it's not too bad. But those characters are so generic and stock looking that they almost look like templates that Pixar pull out of a folder.

I wouldn't say CG movies never have style, lots of them do. The problem is that most of the Pixar ones that feature humans don't have stylish humans. The Incredibles by comparison, has style. Those people don't look like people the way the people from Toy Story or Inside Out do.

I do wish that we had more traditionally animated movies though. Although even now, almost all cartoons/animations are done on computers. What I miss is when you can see the pencil drawings. Go back and watch something like 101 Dalmatians, The Jungle Book or Sleeping Beauty and you'll see the lines on the characters edges flicker back and forth because they're all drawn by hand.

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Ezekiel

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#18  Edited By Ezekiel

@twolines said:

Moana/Moana's look described as "kind of shit"? Man.

If I knew I'd be watching animated movies of THIS quality when I was a kid, I would be so hyped. I love traditional animation, but Pixar and recent Disney movies look so choice, it's hard to be a curmudgeon about it. Especially Moana, with its beautiful water effects, which simply couldn't be done in traditional animation, and 90% of this movie takes place around, on, or in water.

So, yes. I do still like CG animation very much.

I liked Ponyo's water better. Because it looked cartoony, like the characters.

I have to admit, I enjoyed Moana overall. But still...

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@ezekiel said:

That's not what we're talking about at all.


Is it not? If this is just a thread about not liking animation then that's fine. I was roundabout discussing why you don't like them. Fully animated movies and VFX have basically the same pitfalls and feelings, so I thought it was germane to the conversation. Having a discussion about personal opinion doesn't really do anything, since I'm not gonna try and sway your opinion. It sounds more like you don't like the art style, which is perfectly fine, but switching mediums wouldn't really fix that if they kept the same designs. The whole bubbly cartoony faces thing you brought up is true of Lilo and Stitch as well. It's apparently how Disney likes to portray Pacific Islanders.

Most of the discussion here is about how either CG is bad or that even bad animation is better because at least there is effort put into it. I was trying to show a bit of why that's not really the case.

Another aspect to consider is that CG films, when given the proper budget, can come out way faster than animated films. And that because back in the day there were less studios doing quality hand animation, you had bigger gaps between releases. Much like super hero movies, perhaps you have burnt out on CG thanks to Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, Sony, etc all releasing several CG movies a year when back in the day there was Disney and Japan. That's oversimplifying it of course, but hey.

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geirr

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I don't mind good CG, like Zootopia or Tangled,
and Ghibli and other choice anime sort of took over
in the 2D apartment for me so I'm not too wistful
about Disney cowering out of more traditional feature length animation.

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monkeyking1969

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I like animation in all its forms. I think what matter most is story, not the technique of drawing or rendering.

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#22  Edited By hermes

Like 2D animation, stop motion or go motion, CGI animation is just a tool. The movie they make with it will be as good as the effort they put into it, the writing and the performances matter as much. For example, the quality of early Pixar movies was quite different than the quality of early Dreamwork movies, and I wouldn't pre-judge Finding Nemo because it looks similar to Shark Tale.

My point is, I am not tired of good CGI, as I wasn't tired of good cel animation or good stop motion back when the world decided they were done with it. Each of them has had its fair share of duds, and while I am willing to praise an animated movie that has a different style, I don't consider one tool inherently superior to another. I would be rather shortsighted if I said Anastasia or Rock-A-Doodle are better than Up or Meet the Robinsons just because one is CGI and the other is cel.

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#23  Edited By OpusOfTheMagnum

I disagree. There are few 2D animated peices I can think of that struck me as being interesting to look at. Monoa imo really nailed the slightly cartoony but still very believable look with it’s CG, and felt natural.

To me anyway I quickly tired of the same bland style every cartoon had. It was either old school Disney or “western anime” or low frame count anime.

If more interesting styles were used I’d be down.

The 2D peices that have hit a visual chord with me are the old animated Tolkien adaptations and The Garden of Words.

Granted I don’t watch a ton of stuff, so my experience is limited.

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ArtisanBreads

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@ezekiel said:

That's not what we're talking about at all.

Is it not?

No? It's about fully animated movies.

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ArtisanBreads

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#25  Edited By ArtisanBreads

I have basically tuned out CG animation for years. I don't dislike it in itself but I think most movies made with it aren't really that good. I find Pixar quite overrated.

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cornfed40

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There is a place for either of them, if done well and with care and craft. For the record, I personally think that all OPs examples of successful "traditional" animation are complete dog crap, and that Moana looked incredible. Also, The Princess and The Frog wasn't a monster success because kids are racist is hopefully the stupidest statement ill read today.

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liquiddragon

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@imhungry: Right, I'm not trying to take anything away from the quality of the animation or presentation, it's remarkable but the movie, I thought, was so-so. My expectations were high though.

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Luchalma

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Like any other form of animation, if it's done well I like it. I've always been fascinated by animation, and the very best of it has me thinking "how did they do that". Admittedly I find myself thinking that far less with 3D films compared to 2D or stop motion ones.

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#30  Edited By BrainScratch

I still like CG animation, I just don't like the full-length movies currently done with it.

All Pixar movies are pretty much the same storyline over and over again, with the same artstyle and same faces. Dreamworks is also the same formula and visuals all the time, just like Pixar. Illumination Entertainment and Sony Pictures Animation are just the most bland and uninspired movies possible. At least the LEGO Movie was great on a technical standpoint, so many details in the animation and artsyle to make it look and feel like real Lego being filmed (I wish the second part of the story was better though).

@kingbonesaw said:

(...) although I'll probably watch Toy Story 4 when that comes out since I view that series as probably the greatest film series of all time

I'll have to disagree with that. I can't consider a movie series as the best of all time when the plot of the third movie is exactly the same as the second one. The first movie was great though, probably Pixar's best one.

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Ezekiel

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#31  Edited By Ezekiel
@cornfed40 said:

For the record, I personally think that all OPs examples of successful "traditional" animation are complete dog crap, and that Moana looked incredible.

I wouldn't know. I haven't seen half of them. I wasn't comparing their art to Moana. That wasn't the point...

Also, The Princess and The Frog wasn't a monster success because kids are racist is hopefully the stupidest statement ill read today.

Kids are racist. But it wasn't the only reason.

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Dizzyhippos

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I have personally always been a 2D over 3D guy. CGI just feels less imaginative most of the time, though that may be the fault of the people making it rather then the medium.

As far as studio's prefering 3D to 2D, I am no expert but its my understanding that 3D is much much easier to get a consistent look out of since you just render and rig the model once and then animate it, as apposed to drawing every single frame of every thing a character does.

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Pezen

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Reading this thread made me realize I never really reflected over the shift over to most mainly doing CG over traditional animation, so I guess my opinion can be found somewhere in there. Though thinking about it I don't think there's a CG movie that has surpassed the best I have seen in traditional animation in terms of overall visual flair.

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ALavaPenguin

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I prefer 2d by far. But, I think 3d can often do things that 2d can't do to the same degree.

What I really want though is more practical effects in live action movies than lifeless cg effects that are everywhere.

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@liquiddragon: Oh yeah no, wasn't trying to start an argument or anything. Just using your point as a jumping off point to talk about the animation in the film haha. The idea that the film is average is totally reasonable. But man the work that went into it and the end quality of the animation are amazing.

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Growing up it used to be an important family outing to go see the next Pixar movie after Toy Story and A Bug's Life, but over the years we all had less and less enthusiasm towards seeing the latest movie. The last time we all went together to go see one was probably Cars, which says a lot. The last two CG animated films I saw were The Peanuts movie and The Good Dinosaur, which I saw a day after each other when they were both in theaters while on a trip to Australia. I might be slightly biased in my favor for The Peanuts movie because a friend worked on it as an animator, but what really set it apart was the style of animation and a lot of the treatment they gave to small details that you would also find in the original Peanuts strips. It reminded me a lot of stop motion films, claymation and puppetry, which I really adore because they all have a lot more warmth and life that's really hard to translate in the same way through a CG film.

Knowing how much energy goes into creating these movies and how similar the crunch time can be to games, I have a lot of sympathy for even a bad animated movie. Hopefully more studios branch out in how they both animate and tell stories with the medium because it still has an immense amount of potential and room to explore what it's capable of. Maybe smaller studios will start to crop up like indie studios did for games to really explore that space and in the coming years we'll start to see a new boom. With the VFX strike a few years ago and plenty of talented people out there I have hope that it's possible for things to change.

The last 2d animated films I saw were World of Tomorrow and It's Such a Beautiful Day, both by Don Hertzfeldt who most probably know from the short he did called Rejected. The former has a dark humor to it and the latter has the potential to utterly destroy you. Both are extremely weird and beautiful. Not that these have any CG in them. but with everyone else talking about their preference for 2d I wanted to bring up these because they are far from the traditional approach to 2d and yet I've never experienced a 2d animated film as powerful as It's Such a Beautiful Day.

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OurSin_360

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The main reason for the switch is that its quicker and costs less. I think when it's done well its good but there is something about handrawn animation that i miss.

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Justin258

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I don't think CG is bad, necessarily, but I definitely enjoy looking at hand drawn animation way more. Probably a big part of why I still watch the occasional anime.

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#40  Edited By Tom_omb

I'm not offended by 3D films, but I'd love there to be a greater balance of 3D to hand drawn traditional feature animation out there. But 2D thrives a lot more in short form, on TV. Where they can get bigger, wackier, more cartoony. And they take bigger risks in general on TV. I just finished Samurai Jack Season 5. That show is something special. Genndy Tartakovsky also directed the Hotel Transylvania movies. I like them fine, but the style is very toned down to appeal to a broader audience.

@ezekiel said:
@ragnar_mike said:

@ezekiel: I don't know about the others, but South Park is done in CG. Their work window is too small to outsource to Korea, India or China (like I believe Family Guy does) The characters are all done in maya, 2D, but CG for sure.

Oh yeah, I know that but forgot, probably because it's designed to simulate... Wait, the paper cutouts from the pilot weren't "traditional animation" either. I don't know why I mentioned it.

I worked on Bob's Burgers as an animator at the same studio that does Rick and Morty now. We used a CG program called Toonboom Harmony that uses cutout animation, not unlike Flash. It was outsourced to Canada.

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Deathstriker

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I like 2D animation, but I'd rather Moana look the way it currently does since water is a big part of the story and that's the best I've seen water look. I haven't seen Frozen, but it seems like the more traditional Disney stories like that could still be 2D animation. It'll probably come back like clothes and hairstyles have trends.

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Deathstriker

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I have personally always been a 2D over 3D guy. CGI just feels less imaginative most of the time, though that may be the fault of the people making it rather then the medium.

As far as studio's prefering 3D to 2D, I am no expert but its my understanding that 3D is much much easier to get a consistent look out of since you just render and rig the model once and then animate it, as apposed to drawing every single frame of every thing a character does.

They don't have to draw every single frame anymore, there's software out there like Harmony where they model the character, rig, and animate similar to 3D art. I think it has more to do with the success of Pixar and other CG movies. Like someone else mentioned in here, Disney's last 2D animated movies didn't do great and studios have a habit of over correcting and switching courses.

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Tom_omb

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#43  Edited By Tom_omb

@deathstriker: Disney wouldn't use cutout animation for a big feature production. A film like that would need the prestige and quality of hand drawn animation. And Toonboom is not quite like 3D animation. In cutout animation you swap out drawings for different parts of the body or draw it if it's not in the library. In 3D animation you pose the character like a puppet. But, yes, they are both similar in that the computer can automatically interpolate the tweens.

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#44 sweep  Moderator

CG isn't the villain, it's lack of imagination.

This. The problem is almost every animation studio buys into the pink blobby faces that Pixar established back with Toy Story, an aesthetic that was the result of the technical limitations of the time rather than deliberate design. It's now been exhausted; it's the trademark style for pixar who stubbornly refuse to try anything new, and every other animation studio wants to mimic its mainstream appeal to sell their films.

If you want to see the potential there is for variety then check out some animation festivals, there's plenty of alternatives out there. Also, as an aside, I think you'd be surprised to know how much traditional animation is supported by modern CG techniques. Belleville Rendezvous is a fantastic animation that's littered with CG, though you wouldn't know it at first glance.

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BoboBones

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#45  Edited By BoboBones

I prefer my music to be recorded and mixed on a console, with all valve outboard. (pre amps, EQ's and compressors) At the end of the day, I care more about the song/album then how it was made. Movies are the same way.

In a perfect world, it should allow more people to have their vision come to life, and to give the creator(s) more time and resources to focus on the product. I agree with the statement that it's a It's lack of imagination and creativity that makes me not care about what is being presented.

I loved Wall-E, liked Ratatouille, strongly disliked Cars, and I've surprisingly enjoyed South Park in recent years...

I am a huge sucker for stop motion, though. James and The Giant Peach blew my mind as a kid. The other day I went back and watched those old Wallace and Gromit shorts from 89-95 and those sure look hot.

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Dizzyhippos

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#46  Edited By Dizzyhippos

@deathstriker: Quite often those kinds of rigged animations looks out of place, the new fire pro game does something similar to that and while it looks fine its still very strange. Though I was not aware movies were doing that.