We're often asked to produce an animation test to showcase how the "symbol-style" of motion and timing is achieved in what producers label as the 'standard Flash look'. When there's a style of design that is already established it can be a challenge to duplicate the visual look of the series. Below is a clip where we had to do a simple acting test for these characters to be built then animated in Flash as well as create the background to have that watercolor look to it.
We are always growing and evolving as a company, always working to find new projects and create original properties. With budget and time restrictions abound, it's often challenging to develop and produce good quality television. Our studio filled with traditionally-trained classical animators that prefer the full-animation style, so we struggle to find shows that request the 'hand-drawn look' as shown in a previous post. But I always marvel at the series that can pull off some amazing animation despite whatever limitations of time and budget they might have had, with great plots, designs, and acting achieved in shows like Being Ian, TDI, El Tigre and Foster's (to name a few). These are high-end projects that show how well Flash animation can look on screen with strong character development, well thought-out stories, beautiful character models, with brilliant background and color designs. Not to mention all the important elements that writers, sound designers, voice actors, and musicians can contribute to the series as well.
As always, it all comes down to the entertainment value. Incredible designs, scripts, voices, colors, compositions, character acting, and music are all pieced together by talented directors, writers, designers, storyboard/layout artists, voice actors, animators, painters, composers, and technicians. Whether created with Flash symbol art, or all filmed from hand-drawn paper art, or digitally drawn, built and assembled through Cintiqs, Wacom tablets, ToonBoom, Maya, After Effects, Photoshop and any other tools used; the quality of aesthetics are all a matter of opinion, the end result always matters most. The appeal of the characters and stories to the audience determines how much of a cult hit, or how successful, or marketable, or popular something may become. The viewers determine how styles and trends in writing and visual look go, sometimes it leads to what many consider to be high quality cartoons to never see the light of day or get canceled long before their time.
As time goes on we try top push ourselves with each new test demo, we are still a small and young studio, but we try to opt for a Flash hybrid technique somewhere between the usual puppet-style and traditional old-school look (which ever fits the product best). But in the end, the technical process means nothing compared to the deadly combination of amazing characters and story-telling with the merging of well crafted art and animation.
I'll post more animation tests and demos soon.
Credits for the clip embedded at the top:
Animation by Darryl Blake
Backgrounds by Tori Coulthart