Beth. Senior illustrator / 2D animator / character designer at Floyd County Productions for FX channel's Archer and other animated studio projects.
Fangirl vomit, random rebloogles, art resources, and collections of inspiration located at [ info HIGH ]. This account only splooges art dumps and studio related goings-ons.
At our previous location, we’d play music aloud because pod6 was secluded from the other departments in the studio. We would even create playlist themes based on the current episode (for example, "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)" for s4 e405, the cross-dressing biker gang).
Now that I share a small office with 3 other people, we close the door and listen to Mysterious Universe and Radiolab podcasts religiously. When it’s just me and my headphones, my selections vary. I enjoy listening to PBS documentaries, such as the Secrets of the Dead and NOVA series, as well as TV shows/podcasts covering paranormal material (going to the Welcome to Night Vale live show in March!). I’m a total whore for programs that combine my love of science and the supernatural. For a taste of my music preferences, you Spotify users can check out my All Up In Your Earhole playlist.
Unfortunately, trying to actually watch TV/movies and simultaneously animate doesn’t really gel, so we don’t have any giant screens around the studio blasting us with soft core porn and Pixar movies. Even when I watch documentaries on my 2nd screen, it’s definitely more of a listening experience. I mean, I could do the same with soft core porn. Hmmm.
Archer is canonically sexually and narcissistically motivated. With Ramon, the attraction was more motivated by Ramon’s prior lack of interest in Archer, I believe. It’s not a conversation we’ve had with Adam Reed, so I can’t answer that definitively.
But since this is me you’re asking, of course I’m gonna vote Hell Yes.
I actually only contributed to character design and some Flash rigging on the last 3 episodes, so I can’t really take much credit for your love of the show, heh. Unsupervised got so little network promotion that I’m always pleasantly surprised when I meet fans.
So, delightful word choices aside, I really saw this confusion coming a mile away. Let me state this clearly:
Adam Reed, co-creator and writer of Archer, did NOT write Chozen, nor did anyone else on the Floyd County Productions staff.
FX is really doing a solid promotional job this year, so kudos to them. However, some of the commercials are slightly misleading. Chozen is written by an assistant writer on Eastbound and Down named Grant DeKernion. FCP, Adam Reed, and Matt Thompson are responsible for the art production side of Chozen.
I only contributed to the pilot episode, but my fellow studio artists have been working relentlessly all season, and I couldn’t be more proud of the work they’ve put forth. So the one part you did enjoy, I’m sure they’ll be thrilled to receive.
Obviously you’ve gotten the whole, “draw from life/practice” spiel (which is 100% correct), so I’d be happy to pass along some reading resources, instead. I don’t practice very much 3D animation, so my recommendations will be lacking. Maybe some wonderful individual can add-on.
Ready for a load?
2D Animation & Foundations Books:
Finally, as far as documentaries, I am always pushing Waking Sleeping Beauty at anyone that has an interest in Disney animation. While not really a learning resource, I still learned an assload the first time I watched it. It kind of supplemented the (much worse) stories I’d already heard from my former-Disney-animation mentors.
I hope someone out there is at least learning something new about animation from tumblr’s inability to accept a few frames out of the 130,000 that make up a feature length movie. Balls.
There’s a principle of animation called “staging” which refers to how the scene may direct the audience’s eyes through composition, using elements like action and expression. Elsa’s posing throughout is designed not only to hide what the animator doesn’t want you noticing (phasing braid), but also directing what the animator intended for you to pay attention to.
Elsa’s right hand (nearest to the viewer) drives the focus for this movement. As it slides down screen and follows her body contour, it draws our eyes away from the floating braid and left hand. Her body has shifted into profile, further disguising the tricky hair business that we (ideally) give not one shit about. As Elsa’s eyes pop open, our attention lasers back upward, to where the braid has already moved through her shoulder and into position. From there, her left hand snares our focus as it smoothly runs the length of the braid, and readies Elsa for anticipating the next move.
So that’s what I see. Intentional, directional staging. It’s all just conjecture, of course, because I’m not the animator of this scene (which I am glad of, considering tumblr’s current attitude regarding it). Now, here’s hoping I get some goddamn animation questions in my inbox that aren’t about Disney’s Frozen.
Well, let me preface by saying that without seeing the rig, there’s no way for me to definitively say the floating braid in the Frozen gif is an intentional cheat. And even if this was a completely unintentional mistake, it’s still an unfounded basis for bashing/shaming both Disney and the responsible animator. Animation flubs persistently happen, both in flim and TV, for various reasons and despite the many quality control checkpoints in place. Furthermore, you should understand that when an animator “cheats” a movement, it doesn’t mean the artist was “lazy.” Cheats are usually due to complications in tools, time, style, and budget. Although you may think Disney a limitless animation entity capable of achieving anything they put their minds to, they too must work within the same confines as other studios.
Now that being said, what I see when I look at that gif is a cleverly designed cheat due to rendering limitations in the hair. CG hair has come a long way, but there are still a lot of unexpected, crazy results when it comes to translating it into final renders (look up the flubbed hair renders for Tangled). Rigging can be trial and error, and sometimes TD will hand off to animation and not foresee any problems until inevitably an animator breaks the rig. You can only do what the program allows you to do. TD has so many problems to anticipate before animation even discovers new ones. Such as: gimblelock, wrinkling, clipping, popping, etc. Youtube it. Animators involved with 3D on a daily basis can better explain the mechanics than I can.
Given an unlimited budget and schedule, I imagine that the TD dept would eventually have some solution for a clipping issue like this. However, 9 out of 10 times, they have to animate around the restriction. There’s only so much time, and therefore money, that can be spent on each scene for each department, before department-overlap and budgeting bears down on you. It happens pretty frequently, and I’m sure there’s many more examples in Frozen that are virtually unnoticeable.
To me, the animator did a nice job of maintaining flow and posing the body to best disguise the floating braid. But even so, as someone who’s had to sacrifice the ideal animation for the achievable animation in their own work on-screen, let me tell you that shit is usually painful for an animator to let go. The “if-onlys” make me a little queasy, honestly. "If only this program would cooperate. If only I had one more day. If only we could get a bigger budget." If only.
If you dislike the film, you’re entitled to that opinion for sure, and I’m not making excuses for all aspects of Frozen. This is how I feel as an animator inside the industry, dissecting another animator’s work. However, if you know nothing about the mechanics behind making a 3D feature, it would behoove you to educate yourself a little before making brash statements about the quality of the actual animation.