This is a report I have produced based on the research I have undertaken, looking into an earlier practitioner and contemporary practitioner involved in animation. This tasks purpose was to look at creators that produce similar work to ourselves and learn from how things are done in the industry level of work.
Akira Toriyama– Produced the dragon ball manga, which went on to get an anime adaptation. According to sources is a shy, reserved person (Something that I can relate to) who doesn’t enjoy being interviewed. During his career, he created over 40 manga series, the first being Wonder Island. Dragon Ball was introduced in 1984 and quickly became a hit. Has a consistent style in terms of his drawings which can be seen across the manga he creates.
His work may have been influenced by the fact that he prefers rural areas as it allowed for him to focus more on his work and dedicate more time to what he does without distractions of a busy city. He was also when he was younger influenced by the productions around him such as Disney movies and Astro Boy. He was also a fan of Star Wars and Jackie Chan films. This may have influenced the production of Dragon Ball because it includes a lot of fighting and action in the majority of the scenes.
Upon looking at his work I can see in terms of the lines used, they are quite consistent among the character illustrations and very depending on things like depth and perspective. However, as you can see in the image above where a character is performing an energy based attack the lines are much thicker to emphasize the power behind the move and making it look more impactful. The colours as with the majority of manga is black and white with usually only the covers having colour. The shading in this instance mainly consists of lines which appears to be coming away from the attack because this draws attention to the action occurring in the scene. This shot appears to have applied the rule of thirds as you can see the character is positioned in the lower left side of the frame and the attack along with his hand are positioned in the top right as these are the two most important parts of this shot. In terms of lighting you can see that the light being produced from the attack in this instance has been considered as the shadows are positioned in areas where the light isn’t reaching such as underneath the character’s arms and the side of their head.
Looking at the 3rd and 4th examples which are from the adaptation you can see there are quite a few differences in how things have been done. In terms of the line work it appears to be pretty consistent with the characters, however, with the attacks, effects and auras you can see no longer use the thick lines featured before instead they use coloured softer lines and in the 3rd example you can see that they’ve also used transparency on the aura which takes advantage of digital technology and layers. There is a lot more variation in colour in the anime as it is no longer just black and white, this is used to effectively give characters more variation and individuality. For example the protagonists appear to have brighter colours associated with more positive things whereas the character on the left of the 3rd example is more of an anti-hero they have blue on their clothing yet it is still dark which matches his personality quite well. The method of shading is quite different as they use darker variations of the colours of whatever is being shaded as opposed to just using black lines to show where shading is. The composition of the 3rd example is quite deliberate in having the main character as the centre of the image and other characters placed behind along with the aura drawing even more attention to them making it clearer who the main protagonist is.
In terms of the narrative, you can see in the second example I have included that firstly context is given to the reader and the scene is set. This is to give the reader a better understanding of what’s going on and for the story to be more coherent right from the beginning.
The environments featured vary as they are different planets, however, most action usually takes place with similar looking backgrounds that are usually large empty areas that allow for a lot more action to be shown.
The genre of this particular manga is action as that is the main focus is fighting to protect people and planets from harm.
The narrative in the anime is interesting considering that audio is incorporated into it adds more to the character’s as it gives them an actual voice and further expands upon that individuality that I mentioned previously. As with other anime, Dragon Ball Z includes recaps of the previous episode to help remind the viewer of previous events and gives context in a similar way to the manga. The pacing of the anime can be very slow at times due to the fact that keeping the series running meant working with the original content of the manga and considering it is limited things had to be stretched out to keep the series running and avoid running out of content. The characters themselves are all based off of their manga counterparts and are given more individuality through each of their voices and they tell you something about them, for example the main character (Goku) has a higher pitched voice for his character to suit his childish and immature personality, however, this changes when the tone becomes more serious as he knows when to be serious and when to mess around.
They use pencil and paper for the early stages of production when just producing rough sketches for the final product or for the character design. The G-pen pen used in the inking process of manga as it allows the user to easily control the thickness of their lines by pressing harder or softer on the paper.
The g-pen can be seen above.
For the anime adaptation they do again use pencil and paper for the earlier stages of production such as character design, costume design. The storyboards also use pencil and paper which are created after the scripts are complete. The layout process also uses pencil and paper to create more detailed versions of the rough drawings to give a clearer image of how things will look. They also use pencil and paper to draw out the key frames of animation along with the in-between frames to smooth out the animation.
Computers are used for cleaning up pages and adding patterns to areas on each page which they are required on, this is for convenience of the artist and keeps things more neat.
Computers are used in anime for scanning in the individual frames into a digital format and putting everything together for the final animation. The software used for putting the animation together is commonly RETAS! PRO.
These are the production processes involved in creating the initial content, the manga:
Firstly as with most productions, everything starts with an idea for a theme or story and deciding things such as the message behind it for the readers to receive. Next an actual plot is to be decided, the key events that will occur throughout.
The next stage is character design, deciding who the main character(s) are, their personalities and appearance, clothes etc. This is important because it is something that will have to stay consistent throughout the manga. Although there might be slight alterations later on.
After this the next step is to storyboard how each of the scenes will look. In the beginning these will be just rough sketches to get an idea of how it might look. Firstly panels are drawn which are filled with the characters, background, speech etc.
The next part is the inking process which is where the drawings are re-drawn with black ink, some shading is also added.
The final production stage is computer editing which is where the drawings get scanned onto a PC, the artist cleans up the pages using photo editing software. Patterns are added after this for shadows and explosions etc.
After this the manga is printed and published to be consumed by the readers. In terms of anime adaptations the process is:
Firstly the publishers either contact the artist or the other way round. The production company will then gather staff for advertising and merchandise. After core staff are arranged, they begin to plan out the anime. The main thing is composition as in what will take place across each episode. They next select further staff such as character designers. Directors involved in anime have a similar role to films as they make important decisions such as the budget and quality of the anime.
After the earlier planning designs are created for characters and costumes, since in this case it is a manga adaptation the task is simplifying the designs from the manga as they need to be suitable for animation. After story and designs are finished the first episode will begin production.
Firstly the scripts are written, following the plans created prior and the outlines of the script supervisor. The scripts will then be reviewed by the director, producers and the author of the original work prior to being finalised. The episode director then plans out how everything will look on screen before the beginning of the storyboarding.
The storyboards are produced next that by story boarders or the director themselves. The storyboards take around 3 weeks to produce for a normal length TV anime episode. Production meetings are held with the director amongst other staff about how the episode should appear. The storyboards contain some of the most important parts of an anime such as character movements, camera movements, dialogue and the length of each shot.
The layout process is the beginning of the art production, positioning cels to be used in the cut and background art that’s needed. Acts as the definitive blueprint for how the final shot might look in the end. Upon being approved by a director the layouts will be duplicated and given to the background department and key animators. The art director and assistants work on painting background artwork based on the rough drawings.
After the form of each cut is decided the positioning of characters, setting, what they’re doing and how this will be captured. Based on the storyboard key animators begin working by creating the animation drawings, being assigned a number of cuts. Key animators draw essential frames that mark distinct positions or expressions of a cel/character. These drawings include lines for shading to occur. Key animators are given the opportunity to really use their own style.
Next the animation between those key frames are added that usually is done by less experienced animators as it requires less skill and is a temporary position for many animators career’s. They have no opportunity to add individuality as all they do is fill in gaps with drawings. These can be checked and corrected if necessary. With the in-between frames complete you can see the final animation that goes into anime.
Generally the frame rate for anime is 12 frames per second or sometimes 24 frames per second. The average anime will have around 3000 frames/drawings for each episode and finding a balance between detailed and fluid animation is very important.
After being drawn and checked the frames are digitalized. They can be painted with a specified colour palette by painting staff. They use lines drawn previously to do shading also. Once they are complete they are processed as an animation using a specialized software package such as RETAS! PRO.
The production processes may have varied slightly for the case with the manga and anime adaptation of Dragon Ball, however, these processes are how most anime have been produced and are still produced.
Here you can see an infographic I created that summarises the production processes of both 2d and 3d animation.
The way he draws characters stays consistent throughout the manga he has produced. This is then replicated and used in the anime adaptation.
How I have been influenced by the creator:
I really enjoyed the animated series of Dragon Ball Z and they are one of many people who influenced my interest in the different art styles of anime and manga. I’m still unsure of what style I enjoy the most but I am practising a lot to improve my drawing skills overall. This will most definitely be useful during the pre-production and production stages of my project for designing characters, environments etc. Also if I do end up using 2d animation in my project then it will be very useful there.
Also learning about the process of creating manga and anime is certainly going to influence my extended project as animation is what I’ve been focusing on and what I want to continue to focus on.
Pixar studios- Produced 3d animated films such as Toy Story, Cars, Up and many more. Pixar is founded in 1986, the first production is Luxo Jr. which was also the first three-dimensional computer-animated film to be nominated for the Best Animated Short Film Oscar. In 1995 they created Toy Story which was the first computer animated feature length film and was the highest grossing film of that year. Finding Nemo was released in 2003 which was nominated for four academy awards and won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. Their latest film is Finding Dory which was the highest-grossing animated debut of all time.
Pixar was influenced by Ed Catmull who produced the first 3d cgi animation and was one of the founders of Pixar Animation Studios. He is currently the president of Pixar so clearly he has had a large impact on the company and the future of animation as a whole. From an interview with Jon Lasseter, the chief creative officer of Pixar I found that one if his influences was Walt Disney, the founder of Disney. He was amazed at how the films took him to other worlds and other times which inspired him to try and entertain audiences in the same way.
In the first example I have here you can see how the colour of the lighting which is grey to imply that it is raining, this is used in the scene to give a generally sad mood to match the character’s expressions and feelings (pathetic fallacy possibly). The composition of the shot also seems to be positioned so that the main protagonist (Woody) is the focus of the shot as he’s on one of the key points for the rule of thirds, it appears his facial expression is the most important part of this shot intentionally because it shows something has upset him.
The overall narrative and story is based on the idea of growing up and the importance of friendship as the main protagonist feels threatened by another’s presence but in the end they decide to coexist in peace. The pacing of the film depends on the scene as a more action-packed scene will have a faster pacing. There’s an example of this from the film that can be seen below:
The characters themselves are inanimate toys that come to life when nobody is watching. Each character has a unique personality and is made to be more of an individual by each being different models of toys (personification). The environment greatly varies with the different parts of the film, it takes place in our world except toys have the ability to come to life when nobody’s watching. The key individual environments are Andy’s (the owner of the main toys) room, the arcade, the gas station and Sid’s house (The true antagonist of the film). The first of the environments starts of generally peaceful and happy but then a disturbance is caused by the arrival of another character. The gas station is where the real conflict between this new character and the main character takes place which is a key point in the plot as it separates them from Andy which seems to be a sign showing that conflict and violence isn’t the answer. The arcade is where they end up next which is a kind of chaotic area which begins to make the characters work together as opposed to fighting. Sid’s house is the most chaotic area as all of the toys are deformed and treated badly. This part of the film seems to be more about acceptance as they learn that despite appearance people can still be good.
The tools used to create their films are pencil and paper for the early stages of development for character designs, costume designs etc. They are also used in the storyboarding process for drawing out each of the scenes in the film.
They also need to use microphones and appropriate rooms to record in to make sure the audio quality is as good as it possibly can be. Firstly used for recording temporary voices, then for the voice actors themselves.
A computer and the appropriate software (Pixar’s own software) are required for modelling the characters, environments and props as well as texturing and animating them.
Firstly as with most media products, the first thing that is needed is an idea of a theme or plot for the animation to take place in as without an interesting idea the film will likely not be very appealing to audiences.
The next part of pre-production is ‘text treatment’, it is a short document that is created that summaries the story. Many treatments may be created for the same idea to find a balance of solid ideas and open possibilities.
The next thing to be created is the script for the film, this is essential as it details exactly what will take place during each scene and the dialogue that will occur between characters. Storyboarding comes shortly after this which is a hand drawn version of the scene’s to give an idea of how things will look visually, storyboard artists will also receive a beat outline to show emotional changes. Using these the artists imagine what everything will look like in each sequence and draw it out to pitch it to a director.
Next the voice acting will begin, they start with temporary voices by the artists for the storyboard reels. As the dialogue and story progresses and is developed then dedicated voice actors can record lines multiple times to find the best possible voice.
The art department will next begin producing art illustrating the world and characters that are within it. They will also design the sets to be used, props, the look of surfaces and colour.
After these illustrations are created the next step is creating the 3d computer models for the individual characters, props and sets. The models are the shape of the objects/characters and the software used allows for movement and expressions used. The models can be created by hand through sculpting and scanning in the object onto a computer or being directly created with software on the computer itself. After being imported as a basic wireframe model avars need to be added which are points which the animator can use to make an object/character move.
Next the sets will need to be modelled in 3 dimensions and decorated using prop models to make the world more immersive and convincing. The set dressers work with the director so that the vision for the environment becomes a reality. The characters after this will be placed on the set itself in a process named ‘blocking’ which is where the director and animators block key character positions and camera angles for each of the planned shots.
A virtual camera is used to create the shots to capture each scene. Multiple versions are produced to provide choices for the editors for the best storytelling effect to be created. Once everything is cut, the final version will be released to animation.
Animators in this instance do not draw or paint anything as everything has been prepared for them in the previous stages of development, they control the actual movement and facial expression using controls in the software using the avars created in the modelling process. They create the key frames and the computer will automatically create the in-between frames which can be adjusted until the director is pleased with the outcome.
Shading is the next process to take place which is done by using shader programs that simulate appearances of textures. Characters and props are given their surface textures and colours and clothing, fur and hair are also added in this stage.
After this lighting is added using key, fill, bounce lights and room ambience are all created to determine the mood and emotion of each scene. The lighting is determined by the previous work of the art department.
The next stage is rendering the images out frame by frame, despite using very powerful computers it still takes 6 hours to render a single frame for the film and for a 90 minute film at a frame rate of 24 fps that will be 130,000 individual frames.
After this the animation itself is complete and all that is left is the sound side of things such as music and sound effects and possibly some special effects.
Some of the unique techniques Pixar use are firstly due to using their own unique animation software being designed to be optimal for their employees. They use avars to add points to the model that can be adjusted by the animators in a later stage, although a similar thing is done through rigging on other software, this is far more complex and allows for detailed animation of expressions and movement which are the key parts of all their animations.
Another unique technique that Pixar use is the way they render their animations, they use very powerful computers and leave them rendering each frame for 6 hours which is an incredibly long time for the render of a single image which smaller productions would not be able to do due to the lack of the technology and time.
How I have been influenced by the creator:
Pixar as a company I think has influenced my interest in 3d animation and animation in general as I have watched animated films produced by them since I was very young and growing up with that I believe has influenced things I take an interest in such as 3d modelling for example. I wanted to be able to create models that were a high enough quality to be featured in a larger professional production.
What I have learnt from doing this:
The main things I have learned is firstly more about the production processes of anime and animation as a whole as I was quite unaware of how it was produced, which will be useful in my extended project as now I understand how I can do it myself.
I thought that most of the production of anime would have been more digital, however I found out this wasn’t the case as physical drawings play a much larger role than I thought. This is useful information because it means I will be able to incorporate physical drawings more in my project which will be useful as I have been practicing more drawing physically rather than digitally.
With 3d animation however I thought there would be less drawing involved but even creating the models themselves comes quite later in production. I also learnt that there are a lot more similarities in the different processes of animation than I thought, the point that the two separate is when the models are created. This is useful to know because it means that transitioning between different types of animation could be easier than I would have imagined and I may be doing something along these lines for my project.
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Akira Toriyama interview:
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