Animation Style

While looking into the Fallout shorts we were particularly interested by some of the animation techniques used within the shorts:

The techniques screenshot above reminded us of a style similar to that of Max Fleischer and particularly Tex Avery, where the animation style didn’t quite follow the principles or even real world physics that carefully, a hand drawn cloud covers the animation during a fight, the character runs on the spot,winding up before speeding off…

This lead us on to researching old cartoons that used similar techniques…

Popeye and Olive Oly:

  • 1.29 – The characters eyes pop out of their heads
  • 2.03 – The character runs off screen, as he does so his head is left behind
  • 3.14 – Popeye spins, winding up/ twising his own body
  • 3.49 – Pluto turns into a rocket
  • 4.03 – more eye popping
  • 5.36 – Olive has stretchy arms
  • 5.52 – A cloud appears over the fighting sequence
  • 6.28 – Another example of Olive’s insane arms

Steamboat Willie: 1928

  • 0.57 – Mickey’s torso stretches like an elastic band
  • 1.15 – antagonists leg stretches and bends
  • 1.47 – Teeth can move just like any other body part
  • 2.27 – The boat can bend
  • 2.59 – Body deforms as food moves through
  • 3.28 – Anthropomorphism of a metal hook
  • 4.18 – Animal turns into a music player
  • 5.04 – More stretchy arms

Bugs Bunny – Porky’s Hare hunt: 1938

  • 1.09 – Dog’s head rotates 360 degrees
  • 1.42 – Anthropomorphism of gun, sniffs out hare and sneezes
  • 2.21 – Hare’s body extends and bends to avoid bullets
  • 3.20 – Dog disappears into rag
  • 3.41 – Hare used ears to become a helicopter
  • 5.20 – Rabbit snaps gun over knee

The clips above are from what’s known as the Golden Age of Animation, 1928 – 1969 and included popular characters such as:

  • Mickey Mouse
  • Donald Duck
  • Bugs Bunny
  • Goofy
  • Popeye
  • Tom and Jerry
  • Porky Pig
  • Woody Woodpecker
  • Betty Boop

What drew us most to this style of animation was the idea that animation can do what live action cannot, a statement which is certainly evident throughout the golden age years of animation.

Tex Avery especially encouraged his animators to stretch the boundaries of their animation…

screen-shot-2017-01-07-at-18-01-17

[https://trueclassics.net/2013/09/23/the-screwy-genius-of-tex-avery/]

Screen Shot 2017-01-07 at 18.43.11.png

[http://psychedelicatessen.blogspot.co.uk/2007/09/tex-averys-droopy-complete-theatrical.html]

“Of particular note, Avery has been credited with bestowing on the world of cartoons the impossible physics, resilience to pain, and imperviousness to death of its characters.”  http://shrike.depaul.edu/~klewand1/ai_tex_avery.htm

Art Babbitt, animator best known for his work at Disney, stated that animators follow the laws of physics unless it is funnier otherwise, Avery had mastered the art of the gag and through the fast paced style of animation that he was known for, he produced some of the wildest cart0ons of the golden age.

“Avery’s films will roll along harmlessly enough, with an interesting situation treated in a more or less funny way. Then, all of a sudden, one of the characters will lose a leg. And hop all over the place trying to find it again. Or one guy will take off the other’s head and toss it out the window. Or his nose will jump off and run away. Or three characters will sprout when there was one, and dance all over the frame in a frenzy. In Slap-Happy Lion, a kangaroo hops into his own pocket and disappears. In Billy Boy, a goat is rocketed to the moon and eats it. In Northwest Hounded Police, a fugitive wolf reaches his hideout in the wilderness, slams eight different doors into the same doorway, then turns around and, without uttering a gasp, drops his jaw to the floor with a thud. In Homesteader Droopy, a pistol gets wounded in the midst of a gun battle, and its owner must send a bullet through it to out it out of its misery…” -Joe Adams, Tex Avery – King of cartoons.

Avery exaggerated the motions of his characters which in turn kept the audience’s interest, he made it enjoyable for the audience covering the appeal principle of the 12 principles, a master of visual comedy.

In the example above, Avery has exaggerated the capabilities of the wolf’s eyes, they stretch and bulge, turn into lasers and can even separate from the body of the wolf.

This time there is exaggeration from Bugs Bunny’s arm: as the Porky tries to coach him out of the rabbit hole, 4.10 sees Bugs effortlessly running – arms behind his head. Somehow Bugs Bunny manages to split himself in half to avoid running straight into a tree, shown by his ears parting and travelling around either side, 4.36, meanwhile Porky runs straight into the tree.

Another animator’s style mentioned above was Max Fleischer and in particular his Popeye and Betty Boop cartoons, he successfully used exaggerated motions and gags to entertain the audience.

  • 2.20 – Character cranks up his wooden leg
  • 2.42 – Character’s shirt ripped, in retaliation it grows an arm to repair itself
  • 3.33 – The weight grows arms in order to reach the target at the top
  • 5.29 – Olive Oly’s stretchy arms
  • 6.00 – Popeye is able to move land with his strength
  • 1.35 – Anthropomorphism of the horses tail
  • 1.53 – The males moustache grows arms
  • 3.19 – Sausage dog turns into sausages
  • 5.06 – Betty Boop noodle arm
  • 7.11 – Clown walks away, his hands stay and continue to juggle
  • Anthropomorphism of cannon.

The clips above are only initial research and examples of the style we are aiming to replicate and use for inspiration. Other examples of the style we may look to recreating can be seen throughout the Looney Tunes series, 1930’s – 1970’s, containing work from artists such as, Chuck Jones, Art Babbitt and Bob Clampett, who are all considered Masters of the visual gag.

When it comes to animating obviously we will research more into the style of animation depending on the particular scene but until then this post provides some groundwork on the overall style we are looking to replicate with our own animation.

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