Let’s put this 2D-3D thing to bed. Shall we?

Dr. Stephen has been posting some great stuff recently. Most of all, that last Milt quote. I read a comment from that post questioning whether Milt’s statement carries the same weight when compared to how things are done today with CG animation. We’ve tried to state this fact in previous posts, but let’s try to tuck this one in and send it to bed.

I think it’s vitally important to remember in these CG days of ours that everything in Milt’s quote is more relevant than ever. The problem with a lot of CG work is that people who have never learned to draw, design, or study composition fail to think about their work graphically, and for some reason believe that the computer will carry part of the load. For that matter, they neglect to think about their work at all. Yes, you can easily turn something in space. No, you don’t have to worry about your ability to draw. But 3D Max does not have an “appeal” filter. There is not a mel script on the planet that can create fresh and exciting, organic timing. CG does not let you off the hook. It takes discipline, work, and an eye that a computer can never give you. I hate to burst any bubbles out there. Truth be told, a pencil can’t give it to you either.

Pencil or mouse, the struggle doesn’t change. I don’t care whether you think you can draw or not. Think and thumbnail! Animation is too time consuming and too messy a medium to go into without having invested a good deal of thought and care into what you’re doing. 2D animators of years gone by had to deal with draftsmanship, yes. They also had to deal with timing, appeal, performance, story, and entertainment. Nothing has changed. If the classic masters invested this amount of forethought into their work before composing their drawings, don’t you think it’s equally important to have thought things through before you start manipulating a model that has over a thousand controls?!?!?

Please try to get it out of your heads that animation is a trade that can be learned once you acquire the right amount of knowledge or learned the right software. It is an art form. And like any art form it takes an eye, discipline, and an ability to observe what is around you. I wish I could tell you that it takes this, or it takes that. Believe me, having such knowledge would make our lives a whole lot easier. Alas, it’s not the case. Animation is as good as what you bring to it and what you are open to learn along the way. We can give you tips and insights based on the successes of our predecessors in addition to what we might have learned from our own mistakes, but in the end it’s all up to you. We’re recording some more roundtables in the days ahead and Andrew has another great Splinecast interview planned, so stay tuned. Thanks again for visiting the blog.