googled06bb313055e587a.html Rock N Roll Rehab for the Control Of Rock and Roll Starring Greg Piper and The Tooners: Japanese Animation Timing Compared To American Animation Timing

Japanese Animation Timing Compared To American Animation Timing

With The Secret World of Arrietty, Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli’s latest feature to be release by Disney in America, Japanese animation is again in the spotlight. Japanese animation seems to be the last bastion of traditional hand drawn animation and for that I appreciate it. But there is something about Japanese animation that makes it hard for me to watch.

I don’t necessarily like the big eyed character design of most Japanese anime but design differs from film to film and I can get around that, but as a professional animation timing director I find the timing of the action in Japanese films distracting.

As an animation timer I timed everything from a scene’s length to the duration of an eye blink, a head turn or a walk cycle and on everything from blockbuster motion pictures such as The Rugrats Movie to hit TV series like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I know animation timing but I could never understand why Japanese animation, almost all of it, always looked so stiff and jerky.

One day I asked a director at a studio where I was working and who was a fan of Japanese animation why the Japanese didn’t shoot their animation on twos like we did. Animation is photographed by shooting two frames of film per drawing at a rate of 24 frames per second to achieve the smooth motion of American animation. It seemed to me the Japanese were filming their animation at a rate of three or four frames per drawing in order to save money on the drawings which would account for the jerky quality of the action. But I was told that they do shoot on twos, like we do, but unlike us they don’t slow in and out of their actions. What that means is that each action has more drawings at the beginning and end which makes the action slowly start to speed up at the start and then slow down to a stop rather than just start and stop abruptly.

If the Japanese animators shoot on twos and simply don’t animate slow ins and slow outs it doesn’t explain why even their run and walk cycles look jerky. The drawings in a cycle is usually animated evenly spaced yet there is still a strobing quality to Japanese animation walk cycles. This is the danger of working as a professional in an art in which you are a fan, it ruins the pure experience of loving the art form. You no longer see the story and the characters but rather the hitches, the paint pops and the jumpy cycles, the technical stuff.

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