Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Flash positive for the industry too?

There were some good comments on the last post - that Flash isn't right for those wanting to get the absolute most from their animation and that it could even cause whole generations of animators to lose the craft. Some good points there and I plan to go into them in my next posts.

But first I just want to expand on what I was saying yesterday because it has larger implications. Beyond just the individual, Flash makes it much more realistic to put a full project together and actually get it off the ground.

Back in the day, an animated series or film required a huge number of people - storyboard artists, layout and background artsists, animators, assistants, clean-up artists, a whole ink and paint department and many more. And a whole bunch of production people to just keep track of all that. Financing something like that is a seriously daunting task. Convincing someone else to spend that amount of money on your project? Almost impossible.

Limited animation was required to make projects a bit more realisitic on television budgets and then the dreaded outsourcing happened. Studios in the Far East and elsewhere can pay people a hell of a lot less to get your job done. Unless you were an animator in the Far East, that sucked shit.

The positive, however, was that budgets reduced to an even more realistic level. You might be wondering how this could be considered a positive but what it means is that the risk involved in launching an animated show is not what it once was. So you could say there is more room for creativity.

Whether that happened or not is open to debate.

Then along came Flash. Just as one person can make a little cartoon in an afternoon with Flash, one studio can make a whole show in less than a year with just a handful of animators. So, not only can more shows get off the ground because the financing is easier and less risky, but studios can keep the work in-house. No outsourcing! That's great for those Flash animators as they can actually find work. It's also great for directors who are open to Flash because they can keep that creative process close rather than having to ship it off after storyboard stage.

There are a bunch of shows being produced in the US and in Europe that, ten years ago, either would never have been produced or would have been shipped to the Far East. And, in the Far East scenario, the project could have ended up divided among so many co-producers each with ownership and creative input that the porject could have ended up a mess.

Flash has allowed people to keep that work close, easier to fund, easier to make and easier to retain creative control. That's got to be positive for the industry, right?


Mitch Leeuwe said...

I think you are right.

I did an internship on a Dutch documaintry company that made a animation show, the first one they ever did. And the only one in a long time of that scale in the Netherlands.

The storyboards where done in belgium and the layout/design/characters etc. in illustrator in the Netherlands (I did some design work) but the animation whas shiped to Singapore, where they animated it in flash.

The managers liked the idea that the show whas created in illustrator and animated in flash. So they could recycle all the designs.

I don't know if it could be made without flash (or without computers)... But almost all desginers in the Netherlands working with software.

I liked the post from Peter Emslie

Bitter Animator said...

What's a great shame about that story, Mitch, is that the work still went overseas. Wouldn't it have been fantastic if the animation had been done there in the Netherlands?

That discussion on Peter's blog was great and some of the thoughts I'm going through now have been simmering since I chimed in on that one.

Mitch Leeuwe said...

Yeah the animation whas done in singapore. It would be great if it could have been done in the Netherlands (it would really solve the communication problem), but there aren't allot of flash animators here. I think that would be a problem, I think there are enough talanted people to do that but it takes time. And also it would be very expensive to animate it in the Netherlands.

I hope I can ever work again for an animation show... That was the best job I ever had. As far as I know there are only webgames and agency's in the Netherlands....

Foste rs home is animated in Ireland, that really looks good.

Bitter Animator said...

Yeah the earlier seasons of Fosters was done in Boulder in Ireland. They've been doing El Tigre since then. I've been in there and they have a good setup. A nice studio.

And, as Flash animation goes, I'd rate them pretty highly.

Ireland didn't have Flash animators a few years back and I can't imagine it's all that cheap there either.

Mr. Trombley said...

Dear Sir, I would like to make two dijointed responses.

First, to force blogger to separate your paragraphs go into your HTML editor and type < br > (without spaces) for a line break. Type the glyph twice to have a space between paragraphs

In answer to your opening question, Depression can be alleviated by light, while animation cannot.

Bitter Animator said...

Thank you, Mr.Trombley, for your insightful answers. Especially about the line breaks.