@pencilneck Hey, apologies for not commenting. I’ve been swamped with work. Sorry but this will be a wall of text. TL;DR: Do it when you have a career that gives you money, and do it because of passion, not because of monetary rewards.
I just wanted to know if anyone had any commentary on how they think 2D animation is doing as a medium.
The topic is divisive, but any working animator will tell you 2D Animation never died as media and public perception leads you to believe.
The Walt Disney Company isn’t the only studio that exists, when they closed 2D feature film division, some smart ass quoted it as 2D being dead, yeah right so what about Latinamerican (Mexican, Chilean, Peruvian, Argentinian, etc) Canadian, European, Japanese, Korean, Russian and even Chinese films? Not good enough?
There’s another misconception they’ve tried to feed the general public over the years, just because Walt Disney stops making 2D animation, doesn’t mean it’s dead. They didn’t invent it either, they simply made it profitable and elevated its entertainment value.
It goes without saying that commercial animation is definitely going through a down-swing, and what’s left of it is generally mediocre whether it be for commercials or animated cartoons.
If you think current 2D animation is mediocre, then you either are not looking hard enough for alternative media or your quality criteria is off the charts. None of those stances are bad inherently, but there is a world beyond where animation survives and thrives that’s far away from the big U.S networks such as Cartoon Network (Turner) and Nickelodeon (VIACOM). Dreamworks animation which gave us Prince of Egypt back in the day, partnered with Netflix to make tv shows based on their IP’s, and speaking of Netflix, they will keep betting on animated content so long as it’s profitable. That’s the bussiness.
That said TV shows by principle will never be as high quality as feature films, unless it’s a tv sized movie, and even then, it’s a financial problem, not really an aesthetic one. Things don’t look inherently bad because people want them to look bad, they work on the shows with a “quality cap”. They offer you some money for your work, and you have to turn over x minutes a month, or even per week.
Depending on how good the production is scheduled and how high the budget is, you can get things like Motor City (Canceled) or TRON Uprising (Canceled), or simply go to the other end of the spectrum and get south park where they animated each 30 minute ep every week and where their cutout style is incidentally an a aesthetic choice (they be shitting on everything, even that)
But I’m curious, does anyone think that it can be salvaged?
It’s not a matter if it can be salvaged, it was never dead or unrecoverable. It was just offloaded away from the mainstream limelight
Or would it even be worth getting into animation as a career? It’s hard to say, I’m still a beginner. It seems really tough getting into.
I’m not gonna lie, even in a developed country, with a booming industry and market demand, “real” animation is hard work. Be it traditional or digital, sitting on a chair for 22 hours and getting stressed over bad production schedules is just not worth it. You have to be crazy to deal with that and still want to keep doing it. So basically you’re kind of answering yourself here. If you don’t see a future in animation, better just keep it a hobby. Plenty of Engineers and STEM people later debuted in animation after they already had careers elsewhere.
For example the guy who animated Killer Bean, Jeff Lew, 15 or so years ago was an electrical engineer, then he dabbled into 3D animation and taught himself the trade, and after that he ended up becoming animation director for Matrix 2. Passion takes you far, but you gotta put in the work. Was his work top notch? Who cares, he worked on Matrix 2 and went on to keep working on top tier projects
Additionally, I always have a vision in my head, but I don’t know how to start a project in an efficient, orthodox way.
There are methods to start projects, but at the end of the day, you have to stick your legs in the mud and keep walking. It’s an annoying thought, but if you don’t start somewhere you can’t critically analyze your previous work and you can’t improve on it. Depending on the technique you want to use, there are books and literature on how to work on projects from start to end.
At the end of the day, is it even worth getting into if not for just posting some cartoons around the internet? Like is that even a smart idea?
I’ll say it again you kind of have to be a kind of nihilistic bastard or a happy-go-lucky crazy person if you want to get into professional animation knowing what’s in for you. Some people just can’t stand it and above all you NEED to have the DESIRE to do this. It’s a passion thing that is only rewarded if your creative eye is well developed. If you can’t draw technically, that can be learned, but if your drawings are boring even the greatest picture composition techniques from the renaissance won’t help make it any gooder.
As long as it’s interest there will always be a market for things. Look at Invader Zim, created by Jhonen Vasquez, whose rpevious work was a gore comic called Johnny the homicidal maniac. One Punch Man the hit japanese animation and comic, was based off a web comic by the original author that looks drawn by someone will little to now drawing knowledge (at first, he then improved, but not at the level of Yusuke Murata)
We all start somewhere, and it all depends on how badly you want it to happen.
Nowadays all the commercial western animation is done with cheap puppetry systems, and all the frame-by-frame stuff is outsourced.
As I mentioned is a problem of money. If the show has a big budget and sells toys (spongebob squarepants) they get endless seasons and movies. If the show has a big budget and doesn’t do well in merchandising, they axe it ( [
Rise of the TMNT I’m looking at you )
If you can’t stomach that, then become and indie animator, and make your own content via Patreon. Start small, study something that gives you truckloads of money like an IT carreer and then pay for your own animation education.
Could a traditionally trained animator even survive out there?
Traditionally trained animators are surviving right now. Glen Keane directed a 3D movie for Netflix, and drew stuff for Google. James Baxter kept animating 2D stuff for Adventure time and other tv shows among many other projects.
3D animation NEEDS classically trained knowledge, it’s not just about pushing buttons and automagically getting a result. Many traditional animators back in the day that adopted 3D early due to a lack of jobs, ended up making the greatest contributions to that medium. The closest example I can give is Spiderverse, and even that is still lacking regarding what I think you could do with 3D puppets.
That’s all I have to say. I hope you do well in life and you can find your north star. Animation will still be there when you decide to pick it up, but if you do better be prepared with enough money to sustain yourself during the entry level years.