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

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

No. 117, A Chuck Jones Wireframe from 1947--or is it?

No, it isn't what computer modelers call a wireframe, but it does employ the same idea of a grid of lines to define the contours of a shape.

In Chuck Jones case, it is just some detail found on a model sheet of Porky Pig. There were no personal computers, and this side of sculpting a maquette [see post no. 116], this was the best way in its time to make sure that he was understood. Jones, who had more formal art training than most of his contemporaries in animation at the time, wanted to make sure his animators grasped something subtle about Porky's jowls.  He created what in an art school is called a contour drawing--imagining a series of parallel lines that follow a surface and thus define that surface in space.
Unlike a wireframe rendering, Chuck Jones' contour drawings have lines going in only one direction,
but the intent of precise understanding of a shape is the same.
In art schools, this was a common exercise to encourage precise observation in drawing students.
We were told to draw a leg or a torso or some inanimate object by this method, thus defining the subtleties of its surface without resorting to tonal (shaded) technique.

In the cel animation world of linear drawing, this was an ingenious yet simple way of conveying his instruction. 

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