Exploring Animation with Anime

During spring break, I have been catching up on tv shows on Netflix, and watching anime has reminded me of the animation concepts we have discussed in class. Therefore, I explored how anime is produced to see how the animation concepts apply in one of my favorite genres of tv media.

I honestly was surprised to see that the process of making anime is very similar to the process we have for project 2. The producers begin with a storyboard to outline the different scenes.

Image from aminoapps.com

The next step is creating the layout. I believe this is different from our project 2 process. The layout director details the scenery, and how the main images is composed within the background of the different cuts in the anime. This may include instructions on how the camera pans in the shot and specifies the overall composition of the scenes.

Image from aminoapps.com

The layouts are usually shaded in cool and warm colors. The warm colors symbolize the cels, or the parts of the scenes that are animated. These are usually the characters or subjects of the shot. The cool colors symbolize the background of the shot, and are usually static components of the scenes. In class, I do not think we had to explicitly shade our storyboards, but I think we have at least thought about what part of our storyboard we want animated.

Then the layouts are animated in two stages. The key animators create the key frames. These can be thought of as the essential frames of the motion. Then the key frames are sent to the in-between animators that fill in the motion in-between the key frames.

The key frames highlight the extreme points of motion. Image from comicsverse.com

The animation is then digitized and colorized with 3D computer graphics. To finalize the animation, the scenes are “dubbed” with voice actors, sound effects, and music.

Image from animenewsnetwork.com

I had always thought the production of anime involved more computer animation because anime series consist of many episodes. These episodes are released weekly and last for a long time for some very famous anime. Therefore, I had thought that the anime industry would need software to speed up the process of animation to produce episodes as quickly as possible with as high quality as feasible. It surprised me that the core animation is still hand-drawn, and reading about how anime is produced has increased my level of respect for anime animators.

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