Background Animation Test

Now, how to I do the rest?

Lipsync

One of the words I tend to not use is Anime.

It wasn’t always a problem; I used the word anime quite proudly to separate Western cartoons and Eastern cartoons. Disney has their style and rules, and so does Ghibli. Even though I grew up with both of the cartoon worlds simultaneously, I separated them.

One of the big difference happened in the dubbing process. When Japanese animations were dubbed into Korean, (and this was the norm with almost all of the Japanese animations that came to Korea during my childhood) I hardly noticed its original language. However when Western cartoons were dubbed into Korean… It was impossible to focus!

When ‘ah’ sound is matched with ‘eeek’ mouth…

It was because when the mouths don’t match, suddenly the characters floated from their reality. They were removed from their fictional world. I had to look at their eyes and try not to look at their mouth, but what an effort just to follow a story. Hence subtitles were always my choice. But I don’t want to oppose dubbing at all because if you can’t see, audio is crucial. If you can’t read, audio is crucial.

When my Western friends asked me about some of the weirdness about Asian animations, I would simply say ‘It’s anime.’ However this feels like a defense.

Disney’s Frozen - “Meet Kristoff 1” Deleted Scene http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWXC378cwao

Spheres Korean Animation Episode 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=daQRWN8M_xg

Now see the mismatch of mouths. While Disney clip is the working storyboard process, the Spheres is a finished product. Yet their lipsync is in similar quality.

Here is an essay that explored a similar question: CONVENTIONS VERSUS CLICHES by Patrick Drazen in 2003. According to Drazen, the Loose Lips factor of Japanese animation seems unnatural with a ‘staccato up-and-down mouth movements of anime characters is fake-looking’. However it is explained from Hiroki Hayashi, that it’s simply a different culture where voice is recorded after the drawings. Kami-Shibai man, the Japanese folk mask performance focus on the character’s emotions than to sync picture and voice.

Is this a convincing reason to accept the awkward lips? Is it right, to stay within the built conventions and not try another way? From experience I do know that mouth movement is fairly different from European languages and Asian languages. English and Korean to be exact, connecting to my practice. English language contains movements of O, Ah, Eee, while Koreans mouth movements are much more subtle. It’s not a mumble, but the expressions and tone is flat. Korean spoken with clear, emphasized mouth movements are over-dramatic. Maybe this is why Asian animations display such ‘staccato’ mouth movements which doesn’t match the voice at all.

Unfortunately this causes me to think of my cartoon characters to speak in English. I’m sure English is not the only language suited for animation: I would like to practice matching Korean speaking with picture somehow.

February 2014, toespreader

Real reality

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  Does fantasy help us to cope with reality, or does it build a thirst for more illusion? After watching a cartoon, we look for more episodes, clips, similar films.

I’m not ready to face reality.

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Reality (real reality) is not as cruel and harsh as we wish to be. If only reality was cruel, we would be forgiven of our lack of growth. Lack of having self respect. Throw yourself away! Your world sucks anyway!

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Hm. Some Mondays ago, while rushing to college, unexpected raindrops started falling on my head.

I lie. The rain was expected.

Anyhow as usual I was having a visionary daydream, this time about a water sphere I’m trying to visually recreate. The scent of rain, muddiness and wet air pretty much fitted perfectly with Passion After Battle song (http://www.absolute-video-games.com/audio/658/passion-after-the-battle) creating rhythmical synchronization, and I was facing my water sphere again. I can talk more about the story of it in the second blog.

That week was the week i couldn’t dare to write anything on the blog, because I was busy whining to myself. That I made wrong decisions, I’m not in the right place. I felt out of place being in a Fine art course rather than an Animation course which is what I mostly work on. The more I felt out of place, the more the other place looked better. However the problem wasn’t really me being in a wrong course even if that was the case. The problem was that I wasn’t working, and I sensed that even if I choose to move, I will still be moping around.

Having a long conversation with my cousin J led to these ideas/conclusion: Unless we make an effort and TAKE TIME to build skills, we won’t be able to take the chance when it comes.

LEARNING->DISCIPLINE->PATIENCE->BACK TO CHILDHOOD/SCHOOL LIFE

And I’m not going back to school life again. No, no. Since the midterm, I found myself in the strangest state: no motivation, no goal. In school even though my grades never reflected how much I learned, I have always been enthusiastic and ambitious about something. Drawing, most of the time. I’d daydream of working at an animation studio, or traveling North Pole or just having an adventure at sea. I never really seek out for time with friends, rather I was always with my own world. Building characters kept me busy.

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Especially when I got my first CD player and headphones, I could listen to the silliest tunes (Pokemon First Movie Soundtrack, or any CD s lying around the house. But Pokemon was my first CD.) and let my imagination roll. It didn’t matter whether it had a constructive story or not; there was plenty of time for development. It didn’t matter where I was, what time of the day it was, as I had very little things to be responsible of. As long as my daily routine was accomplished, nothing could stop me from this play-act-draw hobby.

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Most of my childhood was filled up of two major daydreams:

1) Fantasy stories

2) Fantasy adulthood.

The first one is, well, obviously detaches itself from reality. However the second one took a different role. Now that I have entered actual adult life, the fantasies I had became a measurement of my success. Have you done the things you dreamed of? No? Then what are you doing? You’re wasting time! Of course my life took a very unexpected turn on the way, which made my dreams shoved in the corner for a long time.

One of the most important reason for me to spend hours and hours on a single drawing was the basic acceptance of discipline. While I hated forced disciplines from school and from adults around me, I’ve adapted the rule of discipline within my practice. The fact that I had to spend time putting effort to be the person I dream to be absolutely thrilled me. The work was hard. Teaching myself through errors and fixing them. Yet I was building knowledge, and confidence.

TIME->EFFORT->BETTER

That was the principle stuck in me. Even if you’re given a natural talent, you got to work your butt off to be the best at it. At the time I thought being professional was equal to being the best. Another influence from my surrounding.

That’s what kept me going every time I was faced with people who seemed to be geniuses.

I remember racing to achieve some level of realism in my drawings. Then as my situations changed, I stopped reaching for this goal.

Why do we stop working even harder to achieve:

-Closest to reality works

-works dealing with the most common interests?

If a work of art is the exact replica of reality, it’s quicker to engage with it. First visually by appearance, then the meaning behind. If you’re like me, you may have difficulties with appealing appearances. Pushing away the ‘mainstream’, ‘norm’, ‘conforming’ way of working, I found a world where you can get away with not working hard. Pick up an object, you’re instantly connected to it, bring it to the studio and ramble about the greatness it contains. Things were a lot easier in this world, but there was always something missing. There was always guilt.

Going back to reality and fantasy talk, I realized that I’ve been shutting down every doubts and urges while I was in the easy world. It was to protect me, physically and mentally. Now that I feel safer, I had time to open up the chapters I shut away and start to think again.

The reality can be harsh, but illusions can be worse. I often see myself in two versions conferencing about my daily choices. 'But who would make the effort to see all the things I say?' I often whine.

What I’m trying to say is that I now know that I like to put in effort. I love achievements without luck. I love practicality and since drawing is what I do now, I want to make that practical. There are skills I want to learn, and I want to share my steps of process here.

I can’t make cartoons that doesn’t contain any of my thoughts. Secrets (joy or shame) are unveiled, and myself can’t seem to be detached from my work. Being in a Fine art course isn’t meaningless anymore.

And I guess this is why I started to blog. In the hope that someone might feel connected, and maybe by the slightest chance feel consolation to the things I talk about.

February 2014