Friday, January 6, 2012

How anime is made

I know not everyone enjoys anime, but this should interest animation fans.

Ever wondered how anime is made? Well, this post gives a detailed explanation of the production pipeline and how the jobs are divided. Obviously it can vary depending on the studio (or even shows within the same studio), but for the most part it's the same.

As I pointed out before, in Japan the animation is inked and painted before voices are recorded. They must save alot of time and money not breaking down dialogues onto exposure sheets (trust me, it's a huge pain in the butt).

I wonder how many of us actually care about accurate lip sync in animation.

What would the state of western studios be like if they used a similar method domestically? Japanese cartoons are produced much quicker; supposedly it only takes one to three months to complete an episode (from script to final dubbing), as opposed to six-to-nine months on western shows.

Of course, cultural differences can be a big factor here. But still, it makes me think...


Christopher M. Sobieniak said...

It does make me think too.

buzz said...

The excessive dubbing in early anime imports (Speed Racer & Astro Boy leap to mind) was an effort to put dialog in all scenes where lips were moving.

They should've followed Filmation's style: Shoot over the shoulder of the speaker and only animate eye blinks.

Aaron Long said...

I think most people are too used to Western cartoons having tight lip sync to accept a more loose anime-style lip sync. In certain situations, accurate mouth movement is really important, but most of the time the overall body language is more important (as Eric Goldberg mentions in his book, sometimes old Looney Tunes had really sloppy lip sync, but the physical acting made it work).

It would be interesting to see something where most of the dialogue is just done anime-style to save time, but certain parts are done with full lip-sync. I wonder how hard it would be to get used to it... Then again, switching back and forth might be even more jarring.

Brubaker said...

Yeah, I guess it can throw people off if they suddenly did that.

On a whim, I downloaded some old-school anime and analyzed the mouth movements frame by frame. I noticed that there are only three or four drawings of the mouths.

1. Mouth closed
2. Mouth wide open
3. Mouth slightly open
4. (if there is a longer speech) Inbetween 2 and 3

They would then be photographed in threes in a certain pattern, going 1 - 2 - 1 - 3 - 1 - 3 - 4 and so forth.

Liimlsan said...

Japanese, as a language, is choppy and syllabic... an animator can reasonably just shit it off the top of his head and show his assistant a mouth chart (to understand which syllables the animator drew), and it'll look okay on screen.

It's also filmed on so much lower frame rates, and it's believable in that fashion. I have no clue why it works, but it does. Something about japanese acting. (Could explain why it always LOOKS better in the original japanese, even when you bylass the accents in the animation. Or why it's so hard to speak an english phrase on these without it looking stilted.)