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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: We actually started using Flash around 1999. Some of the other studios were starting to do it and it was just before things really got hot in dot-com. Ashley Postlewaite: As we were banging on Flash at the beginning, we really went at it with an attitude of let's see if we can make this tool do what we need it to do to still be doing traditional animation, even though we are switching tools.
Darrell Van Citters: My concern with using Flash was I couldn't do the kinds of animation I wanted to do. I wanted to do funny animation. And so much of what animation was being done then, the kind of animation was being done, was kind of scatological or meant to outrage. It wasn't about personality, it wasn't about humorous timing. And we were concerned too because in those days everybody had dial-up connections. So we wanted to make sure that this tool could actually play back at a speed where you could understand the gags, and the timing would be there that you would normally see in film. Ashley Postlewaite: So we spent lots of time figuring out, because one the things Darrell is a real stickler about, and one of the things he is known for is impeccable comic timing.
And if you can't control how stuff is coming over the internet... Darrell Van Citters: So we figured out a way to make the system work, make the tool work for us to do that. So that you could even on dial-up, you could still play back and you could still get the timing of the gags. And that was very encouraging and then we went from there. We said, okay, well what if we did this a little bit more, and start to using it on more and more projects? We were still doing everything by hand at that point. Ashley Postlewaite: But we were figuring out how to link sound to picture, how to really make sure that our timings stayed the way we wanted them to be because that's what's important to us.
Just moving it around isn't that important to us, or we don't feel like-- it doesn't serve our purposes. So on the artistic side, it was a very much about how can we maintain our integrity in terms of our foundation in 2D animation, acting, design, sensibility, all of that. We're really looking at it as from a service standpoint, this can be a better experience for our clients. I mean, we really felt like what if we could make this work.
And instead of waiting to get your stuff back from Korea and hoping it was going to look like what you wanted it to look like, you could come to our office. We would sit with you and look at it together. If you didn't like it, we would send the retake to the animation department down the hall, make a change, maybe show it to you before you leave that day, maybe show it to you the next day. But have a much more interactive process with the clients than we could ever have had traditionally. And that's on the sort of production side what we looked at as being the things we wanted to preserve and also even push forward by going digital.
Darrell Van Citters: Every time we called up text support or something, they'd say, well, it doesn't really do that. I said, well, I don't want to hear what I can't do. Why can't it do it? Can't you make it do it? Don't tell me it can't do it because I don't think that's a good attitude. Let's make it work. And even with the animators, they said, it's not great. Flash is not a great tool for animating. But once you know how to make it do what you want, you can bend it to your will, and you can make it look like-- I think in terms of limited animations it's far superior to what was being done on television in the 50s, 60s and 70s.
Will that ever get to the flexibility of Disney or Warner Brothers? I don't know. We are certainly going to try and go there.
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