For People Crazy About 2D Animation!

Acme Punched! is for people crazy about 2D animation. It may be enjoyed by beginners and others, but it is aimed at animators who know already something about the process of animation and the basics of character animation. In large part, it will attempt to provide a deep look into the problem solving that goes on in my head as I work out a scene, often in step-by-step posts that I will sometimes enter in "real time", without knowing in advance what the outcome will be. Mistakes and false starts will not only be included but emphasized, so that the creative process of animation will be portrayed realistically. And, while my own bias is for 2D drawn animation, many of the effects and principles discussed here can apply to CGI 3D animation as well. I hope the blog will prove useful and instructive for all.

-Jim Bradrick

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

No. 11, When Good Enough Isn't Good Enough: Pursuing Excellence

The fox on the man's head.
If you have read my previous posts, you will see that I have shown some examples of improving my own work.  In the animation business, as in many others, one cannot always do that.  There are many good reasons for this.  Sometimes the budget is too tight, or the screen time allowed for some bit of action is too short, often dictated by the timing of a script that is already locked down.  Very often,  a short deadline does not permit the careful planning that might make for better animation and storytelling.

Perhaps these are excuses rather than reasons.  In any event, I have spent most of my career doing work that was good enough.  It was good enough for my clients and good enough to give me a career doing animation in TV commercials, video games, and now for the internet.  I have done work where there was no time for pencil tests or for doing anything over, and it has been good enough.  And--don't get me wrong!--much of it has turned out very well.

And yet, I have done some animation I cannot bear to watch anymore and which you will never see on my demo reel.  (I think most serious creative people have work that they personally do not like to look at, even though others may admire that work.)

Also, in television commercials and other short work that I have done, there has never been time to develop character or to have very much character interaction.  There was seldom more than one character on screen at a time.  Therefore I never professionally had a chance to develop my character animation skills to their highest level.

When I began work on my current personal film The Crossing, my attitude at first was as usual:  to make it "good enough."  So I have completed the pencil animation on a good portion of it at that level.  At some point, though, I asked myself why I was doing that.  Why was I only making it good enough, when I now had the time to make it as good as it could possibly be?  I decided I wanted it to be excellent, even if that meant doing some work over again.

Thus, we have the basis for this blog:  a series of examples of "good enough" animation being improved; being made as good as I can make it.  I hope you will stay with me and perhaps benefit from the process of re-thinking all of these little scenes along with me.

Next: Problem 3: The Fox On the Man's Head

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