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Renegade Animation has pioneered digital 2D paperless animation with a unique all-Flash workflow—and a bunch of really great cartoons! This installment of Creative Inspirations gives viewers an inside look at this innovative character animation studio. Partners Ashley Postlewaite and Darrell Van Citters describe how they left jobs with major studios to form their own company, and how they have been able to create a successful business that defies all the rules and provide a great working environment in the process. Learn how these renegades have evolved traditional character animation into a completely digital workflow that provides greater creative expression and faster turnaround.
(Music playing.) Darrell Van Citters: Here we have Joey Adams who is our supervising animator in charge of all the animation that comes out of the group of animators that we have both in house and the freelance. And here you can see what Joey gets as a scene. All of the assets have been placed within the scene. In fact if you click off, you can see the storyboard underneath it. he is clicking everything off. You can see this. Here is a very raw version of the storyboard panel which doesn't give you a lot of acting and there is a lot of room for the animator to bring something to life in there.
Joey gets the assets here. They are all placed within the scene approximately where they need to be, the size, and a general idea of what's going on with the animatic there. So now it's up to Joey to bring this scene to life and he has got all of the library assets to bring this character to life. Joey Adams: Yeah. One of the things that we do that I think is really important is to have the model that's placed in by the technical directors, who put all the assets into the file.
The asset that they give us basically has everything that's created for that character in stock already in there. You see there is all the different angles of the character. Inside the character we have-- Inside each arm is all different kinds of arm bends and different types of arms. Even inside the hand itself there is 50 different hands. So we don't have to go hunting around for assets to reuse assets. Reusing assets is kind of the name of the game.
when you are doing Flash for broadcast because it just helps you go faster and it helps everything stay on model. This set up that the animators get even though nothing is moving, there is -- the framing is established, the size of the character with relation to the background and the props. All that stuff is established at the TV phase and so a director can go through and look at all those cut together. And we're not going to run, theoretically, we are not going to run in any problems with framing or problems with continuity or size comparisons between the characters.
All that stuff can be ironed out before the characters are even animated. Darrell Van Critters: And what enters the process is the chance for errors, because if he is doing that, the next guy is taking the next scene and he is doing that, and they aren't necessarily talking to each other because they're both concentrating on getting their work out. Joey Adams: When we get an episode that's ready to go, which means it's completely set up by the TDs, I will look through the storyboards and we will divide it up to each person based on, usually I will do it based on what people's strengths are.
If there is someone who is much better at acting, I will give them a scene maybe where there is some funny acting that needs to play a certain way. And you know they are going to nail it or you give something that is very effects heavy, like right now we are doing goo. There is a scene where there is goo spraying all over the place. So someone who is better at effects animation is going to get some of that stuff. People have different strengths, and you try to divide the scenes based on what people's strengths are and how you are going to get the best, each scene to be the best it can be.
Darrell Van Critters: I think a lot of people who are familiar with Flash are already aware of this but it's always fascinating me to see just how many levels are involved in a scene to bring a character to life. This is far more than you would have ever done in the old days of traditional limited animation and it makes it a much more complex way to animate but it's amazing what you can achieve with it too. Joey Adams: So you can see Mr. Nervous talking on the phone and he kind of can't believe what he is hearing and then he freaks out. We've got probably four strong poses there telling the story and then each part moving on its layer, and then we have the face is also moving.
And then inside the face, we have all the acting. Again, we have got the-- we pull the vocal track into the symbol where the facial features are. And now all the facial features you see on these layers, this is the mouth and the eyes, the glasses, the eyebrows; and then he will-- the animator will do the facial performance. (Mr. Nervous: Snails in your corn? I didn't even know that was possible?) (Mr. Nervous: Great. Something else to worry about.) On this level and then back up a level where everything is moving with that face.
The performance on the face has already been animated. Now, the animator will move the face around on the body. (Mr. Nervous: Snails in your corn? I didn't even know that was possible?) (Mr. Nervous: Great. Something else to worry about.) Darrell Van Critters: A key part of the performance in any scene comes from the actor who does the initial voice recording and that cues the kind of acting that the animator can bring to it as well. And there isn't an animator around who doesn't enjoy a good strong vocal track to play off of. Joey Adams: A lot of times when you get a really good read, you can listen to it and you can see the acting right then.
You can know and you don't even-- sometimes it's like you don't even have to think about where to go with the character if you have a really good read. It's kind of almost done for you. And then other times you have to maybe really listen to it a few times and kind of act it out yourself and see what someone would do if they were saying that. And also taking into consideration the character who is saying it and their mannerisms, and that's another thing that has to do with, reuse and knowing the shows, knowing what people have done with that character before.
If there is a certain kind of take, if a character gets afraid and they do a certain kind of take, like you can use that again because that's the way the character acts in that situation. (Little Miss Chatterbox: My can of creamed corn is full of snails!!) (Mr. Nervous: Snails in your corn? I didn't even know that was possible?) (Mr. Nervous: Great. Something else to worry about.) (Ding-dong. Doorbell rings.) (Little Miss Chatterbox: Let me call you back, Mr. Nervous. There's someone at my door.)
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