Ever since I started doing a film studies course, I’ve developed a number of bad habits. I can’t watch a scene without picking apart the composite parts, I criticise every tiny little thing and I cannot stand wasted screen-time. Seriously, you start seeing padding like you’ve never seen it before, and it drives you mad.
On the flip side, I’ve been looking back at a lot of movies I loved when I was younger, and I now realise why I loved them, even if it flew over my head. Just take the Slumber-Works classic, Prunes of Egypt. It’s the underappreciated classic about a man who learns to talk to trees and goes on a divine-appointed mission to prune every tree in his native land. I hear they got genuine Melbourne arborists to not only advise on the correct methods of tree removal, but also to perform some of the motion capture. Didn’t know that was a method for 2-D animation, but hey, there you go. I’m learning a lot from the experience.
I’m actually noticing a lot of 3D work mixed in with traditional animation, even in movies way back in the 80s. They had to keep it subtle back then, but it’s there. Like in Prunes of Egypt, in the big dramatic tree pruning montage they have these wide, sweeping shots of the scenery. You wouldn’t notice unless you freeze-frame, but it’s all CG. Just…really 2D-looking 3D. That’s a real thing, I guess.
I think the key to good animation is realistic movement, which you can usually only do with a bigger budget than your average cartoon. You know, nailing all those tiny human movements that we wouldn’t think add in, but make everything more natural. And I’ve SEEN tree trimming here in Armadale. I can tell they nailed it.