elfgrove: (coffee-house intellectualizing)
[personal profile] elfgrove
Okay, so the well-known artist of the pretty-pretty Disney Heroes series made a blog post a bit ago. David Kawena had a journal post about the creator of animated TV show "Ren & Stimpy" (John K) making an entry on his blog about "the recycled 'stock' material in animated movies, especially Disney, specifically 'TANGLED'."

The blog post Kawena linked (the one by John K.) was rambling, incoherent, and outright offensive, using uncredited art and bashing gays for no particular reason.

However, Kawena said [despite being insulted with the offensive wording of the blog in question], "I agree with him about recycled look regarding most CGI films, especially everything that came after the ground-baking "Toy Story" in 1995, all the way to the new "Tangled" movie".


Now for me, this is a case where I have to disagree on the "stock look" issue. I've seen people harping on Disney for this a lot lately. Amusingly, a lot of these same people praise "How To Train Your Dragon" and "Shrek".

The entire blog by the "Ren & Stimpy" creator, John K, was so disjointed I can barely even make sense of it. (You've gotta love how in the comments he goes off about how he isn't using "gay" in a negative context. Right...) He's obviously bashing gays in that blog post and nothing he said on that part of the subject is worth responding to.

Anyways. The argument on the re-use of looks and poses that seems to be his primary "focus" is somewhat absurd to me. [WARNING, OPINION]

As far as he re-use of certain appearances and character archetypes, I don't see that as a bad thing. The recent "How To Train Your Dragon" movie was rife with these "tropes", but was still an excellent film. In fact, it was excellent because it took these tropes and used them extremely well.

As TVTropes puts it, "Tropes are devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members' minds and expectations. On the whole, tropes are not clichés."

There are certain things that appeal to an audience, and that an audience can automatically identify with. The use of these things is not inherently bad. A trope can be used to tell a good story that people can identify with, and knowing that the avoidance of one trope is often a trope in and of itself, you just cannot avoid doing something that's been done before.

In regards to his complaints on character appearances and posing being "stock". Based on what he's complaining about, we need to invent new colors and find ways of posing humanoid bodies not found in nature in order to prevent repeat "looks". Several of his comparisons hold no more similarity than both being long-haired blondes. Many of the shots are from non-Disney studios. And human facial expressions are used because you have a human audience that is going to identify with human facial expression--that is a key part of animating.

There are only so many ways a human frame can move without breaking, and there are only so many colors available via human genetics. You can go off on wild poses and colors, but you risk creating characters that your audience cannot relate to (especially when your audience is children), which will kill a new direction in the entertainment industry.

Yes, 3D animated movies have a distinctive "look" to them lately. Especially from the big studios (Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks). It's a style though, and I trust the industry to slowly branch out more. They have to walk a fine line of not alienating people by changing the look to be not-Disney-enough, or risk tripping into the Uncanny Valley.

We have to remember, they will do what sells first. Disney (and the other studios) is a business first. Not a soapbox. I personally cannot find it in me to get angry at a business for doing what they know will make money. Especially given current economics. Their target audience isn't in a position to completely understand or care about the issues being raised about originality. Have you dealt with kids? They don't care. They will watch the same movie 200 times.

The places to raise the issue was with older audiences, ones who understand and care about what is going on. We have to ingrain changes in stuff aimed at older audiences (oh hello Cameron's "Avatar") and make it work there consistently FIRST before we can expect a trickle down into media aimed at children.

Let's be honest, to a degree, complaining about the animated look of US films is like complaining about big eyes in Japanese anime. It's part of the aesthetic, get over it.

In short:
  • The guy who wrote the original blog is an offensive nutter. I vote to ignore or mock him.
  • David K., I suggest asking him to either credit or remove your art from his blog.
  • Use of known archetypes is NOT a bad thing. It's how well you tell a story with those archetypes that matters.

Date: 2010-06-16 01:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ichiban-victory.livejournal.com
The creator of Ren and Stimpy is complaining about other art styles when his has always been excessively grotesque? Umm...okay. Just because other studios quickly learned that a character has to look appealing to even be watched (and possibly believed as a 'hero' character) and he didn't doesn't mean it's bad to make appealing characters... I never thought any of the human characters looked liked they'd been reused from one movie to the next - barring sequels of course, but perhaps one needs a better eye to notice such things... (The animals, however, look like they suffer from being designed by the same artist. Gasp! Horrors! Seriously, the only character that had a familiar look to me in the Tangled trailer was the horse. It looks like it was designed by the same artist who designed Bolt.)

I agree, a trope used well is not a bad thing. In fact, familiar stories tend to do well. Movies like Star Wars and The Lion King used the tried and true formula of an unlikely hero rising up to confront and overthrow the greatest evil, thus restoring peace. Avatar is a well worn story concept as well, and I doubt I need to go into how many other movies used its plot before it did. People can easily get into a story that has a familiar feel. Heck, why else would stories from the Bible, Greek mythology and the like continue to do so well even now, especially when repacked and retold?

I ought to check the article out, but I think I'll wait until my brain's shut down for the evening. I'm not sure I want to deal with the pain just yet.

Date: 2010-06-16 04:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elfgrove.livejournal.com
Yeah. I think the irony may be lost on him.
I agree. Aside from having basic stylistic similarities, I'm not seeing the reuse, and this guy is just a worst offender in a long line of whiners recently claiming that Disney/Pixar/Dreamworks are using the same character models over and over again, and frankly I'm getting sick of it.

Yes! People need to get it through their heads that Tropes are not bad. Tropes are just tried and true concepts to build a story with.

Yeah, don't read that drivel while thinking. It'll give you a headache.

Date: 2010-06-16 02:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] secondlina.livejournal.com
This guy as always been a bit... hum (I don't want to say whiny, but i'm gonna go with that).

Lately, I find a few traditional artists are really going against the 3D "look". It kinda reminds me of the conflict currently existing in europ (french comics versus manga). People seem to have trouble with a generalized stylisation. Stuff starts out a certain way. Then it "mutates". Give it time.

Date: 2010-06-16 04:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elfgrove.livejournal.com
Whiny seems a perfect description to me. :)

It's the same argument I've seen on DA for years trashing anime versus cartoon/realistic styles. They're just styles, and they don't all look alike if you pay attention.
It's amusing that he's whining about "no change in 7 years" since really seven years isn't much time for a new art style to come into play and evolve diversity within it. Patience grasshopper. Yeesh.

Date: 2010-06-16 04:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shibamura-prime.livejournal.com
Oh, you must mean that amateur blog operation with GAMEBOY LEVEL security...

Date: 2010-06-16 04:47 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-06-16 05:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] the-firefly.livejournal.com
You would think people would learn to play nice in the sandbox after so many years, but apparently not.

I honestly don't see what the big deal is about reused animation. It's not like Disney was the first or will even be the last to do it.

Date: 2010-06-16 05:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elfgrove.livejournal.com
People being nice? What is this blasphemy? *eyeroll* I almost hate the internet some days.

I don't even know. But my point is that it isn't being reused, and people are getting their panties n a wad over a style choice.

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