Monday, January 28, 2008

Why Flash rocks

Okay so, in reality, we booted out those cel painters quite some time ago but the point still stands - Flash (and its equivalents) allow us to make cartoons without having to have a massive team of people.

Much has been said all over about Flash animation and its effect on the animation industry in general. Probably too much has been said. Nevertheless, I'm going to say my own piece (or pieces) here.
I'm quite a traditionalist when it comes to animation. Mostly this is because I see programs like Flash as more than just tools for animators - they are tools for producers to provide cheats to animators (or people who can just move stuff around) to get high volumes of product at a cheaper cost.
But, having said this, I discovered Flash years ago, back when they had just launched Flash 4. The tutorials were bizarrely good and, after about a week of messing about with it, I sat down on a Sunday afternoon and made a cartoon. A very basic little short animation in Flash. I sent it on to a few people who thought it was pretty funny and it made it on to the websites showcasing Flash animation at the time. It gathered momentum and seemed to spread all around, popping up on other websites. I even got an offer to animate on some Italian show from someone who saw it and I still get the odd bit of mail about that cartoon to this day. None of that would be particularly spectacular if it wasn't for this - I made that on my own on one Sunday afternoon.
I had the idea then and there and just went ahead and made it. I didn't have to get a team together. I didn't have to call in a ridiculous amount of favours. I didn't need 347 cel painters.
How cool is it that, in this day and age, a creative person can just go ahead and realise an idea in an afternoon? Or a week if you really want to work at it?
To me, that's pretty damn amazing and breaks open the world of animation. It means anyone with a shred of creativity has the tools to get their ideas out into the world and show people what they can do.
That's pretty amazing.
On an unrelated topic - does anyone know how to stop blogger joining up all my paragraphs? It's really pissing me off.


Andy Latham said...

You have a good point. My girlfriend watches me learning to animate and often wants to do some herself. I recently showed her the basics of Flash and she churned out a little cartoon in no time. Makes me wonder what I have been doing for the last couple of years!

I think whether one likes Flash or not can depend on how concerned one is with what the finished product looks like. I get a lot of ideas for animation, but I just can't envisage being happy with them unless they are beautifully hand drawn. However I have to concede that to bring about my ideas as they exist in my head, it would be a life's work to complete just one of them on my own!

Mitch Leeuwe said...

Too bad you can't show something of you're own stuff. Or can you show something?

But I think it is a bad thing that it is so "easy". I mean evrybody now can make a animation.. You don't have to have skill and you don't have to know how to draw to make an animation. I know some shows where the people that animate it can't draw, how bad is that! But if you have skill, you can make some nice things with flash.
Im just afraid that allot of things will be lost, because of flash.

Mitch Leeuwe said...

I mean because it's a tool and because you can make quick and easy cartoons with it. Young people won't learn how to draw good, right? They just start learning the program and animate something they want. Instead of first learning to draw good, like the cleanup people did.

Bitter Animator said...

Andy - totally agree with you on your comment about the finished product. That raises a whole other topic I'd love to go into at some point: animation as communication of an idea vs animation as actual animation. Flash does not allow for a better finished product.

Mitch, your concerns are certainly valid and definitely something I'd like to go into in the next few days.