Animation enables showcasing of motion on screen through display of a series of static images, with minimal differences, quickly. Japanese animation style is called ‘Anime’.Anime vs Animation differs in the sense that character motion is the main object of attention in animation whereas anime focuses on characters and design settings.
Anime: The Concept
Japanese animation style is anime. Anime is the abbreviation of animation. Characters are meticulously designed and embellished with colors and graphics. Anime came into being in 1960s with its distinctive style of art through creative efforts of Osamu Tezuka.
While discussing ‘what is anime?’, we must understand that spectacular visual effects add glamor to anime. Artistic details, characters and settings are done carefully.
Some characteristics of anime include:
- Large eyes with reflections underneath for characters
- Thin and elongated bodies of character
- Usage of extensive array of shades and colors to enhance art’s attraction
- Attractive and realistic portraying of clothes, body and face of characters
Another difference between anime and animation pertains to subject matter and content. Anime is not meant for children alone. As it caters to adults also, complex and important subject matters can take centerstage in anime. Violence and adult content are also depicted in anime. In anime, the motion is less compared to other animation types.
Creation of Anime
Now, that we know the anime and animation difference, let us see how anime is created.
1) Writing of Script
Script is written for capturing interactions between characters, flow of scenes, and plot narrative.
2) Creation of Story-Board
Storyboarding is important phase in anime creation process. The shot’s length as well as camera action for each anime scene (side to side panning, zooming etc.) are detailed. For each ‘cut’ (term for scene), the corresponding background and anime motion are described.
3) Defining the Layouts
The background for ‘cut’ is called layout. Earlier, they were hand drawn but now are prepared digitally with software such as Adobe Photoshop.
4) Doing the Key Animation
The key frames of anime like start or end are drawn. The quantum of important frames is decided by the budget allocated for anime. For low budget, bodies of characters are kept still and movement of mouth is animated. If budget is high, superlative animation known as ‘Sakuga’ is developed.
5) Animating In-Between Key Frames
The frames lying within key frames need not be of high quality. Hence, less skilled animators from outsourced firms are entrusted with the task of filling the frames. In the story-board, the number of intermediate frames are mentioned on key frames.
Here, color palettes are selected for digitally coloring the sketches in black and white.
7) Adding Special Effects
You can add glow around a character or transitioning effect, make an object shine or imitate real life effects with special effects. CGI (computer generated imagery) elements are also added as per the plot’s requirement.
8) Concluding Stage
Now, the voice over of the individual characters is done and background music is added.
Animation: The Concept
What is animation? It involves creating motion illusion by displaying a series of static images in rapid succession. Each frame differs from the previous one minimally. Animations are also called cartoons in common parlance. Anything which is not anime is categorized as animation.
You might remember the animated movies like Tom and Jerry, Scooby Doo etc. They focus on children and pre-teenagers primarily. Adventures and humor dominate it’s content. Exaggeration of characters and their motions is done for inducing comical effects. Anime and computer animation differs in the sense that the later has an abundance of animated motion.
Creation of Animation
1) Reference Video Creation
For creating compelling 3d modeling character, you have to analyze physical actions. It is better to observe an action than to assume it.
2) Creating Key Poses of Shot
The most important shot poses are used for conveying the story. The poses must be accurate as remaining animation would be supported on these.
3) Breaking Down Motion Further
After creating key poses, motion for each pose needs to be broken down through addition of in-between or passing poses. Such poses interconnect key poses. For streamlining poses, add maximum number of poses without causing the poses to be interpolated. If interpolation happens, motion would be blocky.
Here, the interpolation of keys is converted from stepped mode to spline. The 3D animation software smoothly connects the motion between each pose. For seamless results, you must add optimum number of intermediate poses between key poses.
5) Cleaning Up The Curves
Once the keys are set in spline mode, movement has to be made smoother by cleaning up the curves. For preventing all motions from appearing at once, you can offset few actions.
6) Breathing in Life
Small imperfections are added to make the character appear realistic and lifelike. Additional blink or twitch of face are intermittently added.
Major Differences Between Animation and Anime
1. Animation Style Differences
The designing of human characters differs. Characters have particularly large eyes with underlining shadows, detailed coloring, smaller noses, and mouths represented by a single line (or two). If mouth is made broader, then also fewer lines are used for depicting it.
Characters are shown from different angles. Lines are slender and flowing. More details are added to hair, clothes, eyelashes etc. Variations of colors and shades are used. For adding depth, reflections and shadows are used. More attention is focused on non-outlined highlighted areas.
In animation, the characters are comical or exaggerated in nature. Details are lesser. Attention is paid on showcasing style in understated or subtle mode. Shading is used more in dramatic scenes. Solid block colors are preferred. Animated motion is more. Frame by frame is done.
In anime, shortcuts are employed instead of extensive animation. In long scenes, character’s mouth and hair movement is shown while key info is delivered. For showcasing rapid motion, character is transfixed in action pose and the background moves or changes in styles. Backgrounds are patterned and dramatic still shots are used. Monologue is accompanied by some moving symbols revealing emotions. Sequences and shots are reused.
The difference between anime and traditional animation is that better attention is paid to character, settings and background in anime as compared to animation.
2. Shots and Viewpoints of Camera
In animation, the use of straight-on camera shots is more. Dramatics and cinematic angles are used less. The scene’s mood is intensified with exaggerated camera angles, zooms and perspectives. Focus on animation or motion in anime is less when compared to animation.
3. Differences in Content
Animation concerns itself with adventure and humor; it is directed at children.
After reviewing the animation creation process from the perspective of anime and animation, it is clear that both try to narrate a compelling story in animated mode. Conventional as well as digital 3D animation methods are used for the purpose.
Emotions and actions of characters are exaggerated in both modes with drama, background music, squashing and stretching etc. To master the style and intricacies of both artforms, you need to dedicatedly learn them.