Anime Mythbusters #2 | “Anime is Just Made on Computers These Days”


We’re getting close to 2020 and a huge part
of anime today is done digitally. It’s coloured digitally, the 3D elements are all digital,
it’s assembled in After Effects, most backgrounds these days are drawn digitally, and most anime
viewers today even watch digitally. There’s been a lot of changes in process over the
last 30 years which has led some to suggest that today, anime is just made on computers
and has lost the magic of classic anime. But the reality is that whilst many of the
more tedious parts of anime creation have been moved to efficient digital pipelines,
many of the more creative and foundational parts of production are still largely done
on paper today. Whilst there have been digital movements, if you step into an anime studio
today, you’ll find rows of anime creators, pencils in hand contributing to piles of paper
storyboards, layouts and animation. So in regards to the myth of whether anime
is just made on computers these days, it’s safe to call that one busted. But I think
it’s worth talking about the rise of digital animation in Japan, why some are slow to adopt,
and why the tools don’t dictate whether something is “hand-drawn” or not. [Intro] It’s hard to say exactly when anime studios
started accommodating digital tools, but it’s been steady growth for at least the past decade.
Today, whilst most of the industry is still using paper, there are studios investing in
digital creation, including teams at Studio Colorido, Signal MD and Masaaki Yuasa’s
Science Saru. But even among these studios, there’s no singular way in which it’s
used. For instance, Yuasa loves Adobe Flash, or what is now called Adobe Animate. And he
believes that it’s able to make anime specifically look better with its clean line art. This
means that there are some shots within his projects that are originally done on paper
but then re-edited into flash vectors which kind of lose the original personality. But
Yuasa is an outlier, even among digital-ready studios. The most common way these studios work is
through original pipelines. Animators will hand-draw animation on tablets and it will
be collected digitally by production assistants, erasing the part where someone has to deliver
a pile of paper across the city. For a lot of these companies, the main asset is efficiency.
Software developers like ToonBoom Animation even offer toolsets like Harmony which can
accommodate the whole workflow without having to worry about file conversion and compatibility.
They’ll even sometimes provide assistance during that transition period. But with that said, even when productions
go digital, it’s a process. Pokemon started working with Toonboom during the Kalos adventure
in XY and XYZ, yet during Sun and Moon, there were still animators that preferred paper.
Because even if you tell someone that digital is technically more efficient, these are animators
that have honed their skills and learned how to draw keyframes fast on paper over the course
of decades. In an interview, director Yoshiyuki Kaneko mentioned that whilst many believe
that digital should be more efficient across the board, the speed at which veteran animators
are able to flick through keyframes and visualise the final product on paper meant that the
transition to digital actually slowed things down at anime studio Wao World. So if the
industry’s going to move entirely to digital pipelines in the future, it’s in everyone’s
best interests that animators are able to make that transition at their own pace. But ultimately, the skills don’t change.
Regardless of whether you’re using a pencil or a stylus, the animation you create is hand-drawn.
One of the biggest assets of digital workflows is that it allows people from all over the
world to contribute to anime series within Japan and makes animation more accessible
in general. And this is now an industry that is becoming increasingly more aware of these
possibilities, with producers being able to even hire animators through Twitter, no visa
necessary. Thanks for watching The Canipa Effect. Please
keep your myths coming by either messaging @TheCanipaEffect on Twitter or messaging anonymously
on CuriousCat. I don’t respond to these submissions, but I do read and consider every
single one of them. This channel is supported by Patreon and I’d
like to give a special thank you to all of these wonderful people. In particular, I’d
like to give an extra special thank you to Austin Hardwicke, Chariotwheel, deadermeat,
Ellipsism, Frog-kun, Jacob Bosley, Jakob Gahde, JRPictures, Mike Tamburelli, Noland Soga,
Ryan Rodriguez, ShiShi, Thatjuanartist and my own mother.

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