Anime production studios such as Massive Animations power the
visuals in animated films, television, and commercials.
Animation differs from other visual media forms in a number of
To begin with, cartoons aren't captured by a real-time camera like most other forms of entertainment and advertising. They are, instead, drawn and captured or rendered on a computer by cartoon animators.
Additionally, cartoon animation is also different from stop motion, which compiles a multitude of still images taken from objects that are moved infinitesimally with every shot to give the illusion of motion.
In the entertainment and advertising industry, animation studios such as ours are entirely responsible for creating the visual aspects of cartoons. This includes either drawing the stop-motion cartoon animation (called 2D animation) or using a computer to render the animation and understand its movements (called 3D animation).
Cartoon animators tend to work in teams, sometimes even in the hundreds for large-scale 3D animated feature films, and are by nature skilled artists capable of translating the everyday world into a visual medium.
Traditional animation (also called hand-drawn animation, cel animation, or classic animation) is an animation technique in which all of the frames used to create the illusion of motion are first drawn on paper and, therefore, made by hand. This process was in use until the dawn of computer animation (explained below). With the development of technology, the traditional cel animation process became obsolete at the start of the 21st century. Nowadays, animators' backgrounds and character designs are either scanned or drawn directly into a computer system. Although computer technology has aided animators in their endeavors over the years, the end result still looks like traditional cel animation at first and has remained essentially the same over the past seventy years. Today, there are people who have used the term 'tradigital' to describe digitally assisted cel animation. Some popular traditional animated films are Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) and Pinocchio (1940).
Stop motion animation - or stop-frame animation - is a cinematic process or technique involving making real-world objects appear as if they are moving. These objects are physically manipulated and photographed each time after being moved between images. When the sequence of images is displayed quickly, the objects are “animated”. This technique is very similar to cel animation, except that instead of drawings, it uses physical objects. There are several types of stop motion animations and they are usually named after the medium used to create the animation. For example - ● Claymation or clay animation is a subgenre of stop motion that uses clay figures, such as Wallace & Gromit. ● Puppet animation is one that still uses puppets, as in Coraline (2009). This technique is used in many Tim Burton films. The early stop motion was captured with film cameras. The animators couldn't see what their work looked like until they had their film processed. If the animation wasn't smooth, if the set was messed up, or if the lighting was bad, the work was wasted and the animators would have had to start all over again.
Computer animation, also known as CGI animation, is the technique used to generate animated images with computer graphics. Computer animation is divided into two categories. Computer-aided animation is when traditional animations are computerized. On the other hand, computer-generated animation is the one designed only on the computer system using 3D animation and graphics software. Modern computer animation generally uses 3D computer graphics, but 2D computer graphics are still used from time to time. Computer-generated animation is pretty beneficial when it comes to producing crowd scenes, special effects, and the like. Nowadays, most animated films are produced using computer graphics. Pixar, Dreamworks, Disney, and the like are top anime production companies that use this type of animation to create the majority of their films. Some examples of computer-generated movies are How to Train Your Dragon (2010), Tangled (2010), Brave (2012), etc.
The Twelve Basic Principles of Animation were put forth by Walt Disney Studios animators in the 1930s. Among them were Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, who published them in their book 'The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation', in 1981. These principles are the result of their efforts to produce more realistic animations through the movement and expression of the character's body. The principles follow the basic laws of physics but also deal with more abstract issues, such as emotional timing and character appeal. They were used as guidelines for creating cartoons at that time and are still used today in many animation studios.
This action is thought of as the most significant of all the twelve principles. It gives the illusion of weight, volume, and flexibility to the figures (and also to the objects) when they move. Squash and Stretch is useful for animating dialogue and making facial expressions because it can be applied to simple objects - like bouncing balls - and also to more complex constructs, like the musculature of human faces. The more radical the use of this principle, the more comical an effect it tends to result in. Nevertheless, it is the most commonly used and the first technique our animators learn to master.
This principle sets up the audience for a major action the character is about to perform (such as running or jumping) and makes the mentioned action more realistic. A dancer cannot simply jump off the ground. A backward movement occurs before the execution of the forward action. The backward movement is anticipation. To create this principle, our animators study the anticipation that almost all real actions have, for example, a golfer's backswing or a pitcher's windup. After that, they applied it to their animations and gave them more personality.
Staging is a principle whose main purpose is to direct the audience's attention to what is of importance in a scene, whether that idea is an action, personality, expression, or mood of the characters in the frame. In other words, staging is made use of to keep the focus on what is relevant and avoid unnecessary detail. In order to stage properly, our animators make sure the background and the animation work together as a pictorial unit in a scene. Each sequence has to somehow relate to the overall story and provide viewers with information about the characters and location in the story, the historical moment, etc. This technique is also used in theater and cinema. The idea of directing is to find the effective use of different camera angles, light and shadow, placement of a character in the frame, etc. to help tell the story and develop its plot.
Animators use the term 'live action' when they draw a scene frame by frame from start to finish. This technique is very useful for creating the illusion of fluid and dynamic movement, but the animation can lose size, volume, and proportions. It is used in fast and wild action scenes because it brings spontaneity and freshness to the final result. Pose to pose is very different. First, the animators plan the scenes they need to develop and make key drawings at intervals which later will be handed over to their assistants who will fill in the intervals and finish the animation. The size, volumes, and proportions are thus better controlled. This method works best for dramatic or emotional scenes, where composition and relationship to the environment are of greater importance. A number of scenes are produced with the help of a combination of both these methods.
These are two concepts that when combined assist in depicting more realistic movement. Accompaniment is all about avoiding a character's sudden stop and having all other parts of their body continue to move after they stop in order to catch up with the rest of the main mass. The main purpose of the overlapping technique is to avoid any 'robotic effect' and to give more fluidity to the movement of the character. It is used by animators to emphasize the character's action and mood by moving different parts of the character's body at different speeds and at different times. When the character moves, some parts of its body spear head the action while the others just follow this action. Normally, the arms and legs follow the movement of the torso. 'Drag' is another popular technique where the 'next parts' of the body take a few more frames to catch up to its 'main parts'. For instance, if a character begins to run, their head, ears, upper body, and clothing may not follow their legs. This way it would look like the character is running as fast as he can. Another example is the famous dance scene from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. In it, she starts dancing but her dress doesn't start moving with her until a few frames later.
The slow-out and slow-in technique consists in drawing more images towards the beginning and the end of an action and less in the middle. This way, the parts with more frames will feel slower and the action itself faster. This will give the character time to speed up and slow down and make the animation more realistic.
This technique is based on the natural trajectory that almost all actions follow, arcs. It can be applied to human figures and animals or just thrown objects. Arcs make the animation more natural and offer better flow. Objects that deviate from their natural arc will appear erratic. To avoid this, animators tend to draw the arc on paper for reference and erase it later.
Secondary action is a method of animation whose main purpose is to complement and reinforce the main action of a scene. It is important to remember that he should emphasize this and not distract from it. At our cartoon production company, we use the secondary action when animating a character who walks around angrily. Adding a secondary action would be aggressively moving his arms or bouncing his head just to accentuate his gait and express his emotion to the viewer.
Timing is one of the animation techniques that our animators learn with experience and personal experimentation. It consists of choosing the number of frames or drawings that will be used to animate a scene or an action. The number of frames translates to the speed of the action on film: the fewer frames and the less action, the faster and sharper it will be. If an action necessitates a considerable number of frames, it’ll be slow as well as smooth. Timing incorporates texture and engagement to the movements of characters. Our animators have found that a good way to practice this technique is to study the acting and movement of actors and performers on stage and use this as a reference when animating.
Exaggeration is the effect that animators add to their drawings to exaggerate the expressions, poses, attitudes, and actions of their characters. The level of exaggeration depends on the comic effect sought by the host. When exaggerated, animations tend to appear more realistic than when they’re just an immaculate imitation of reality. According to Disney animators, to exaggerate is to stay true to reality but present it in a wilder and more extreme form. However, our team of animators at Massive Animations, recognized globally as one of the best Japanese anime production companies outside of Japan, find that it's vital to use good taste and common sense to prevent it from becoming too theatrical and too animated.
When talking about sound drawing, animators are referring to the application of the basic principles of the shape of the design, the weight, and the solidity of the volume to make the animations look much more three-dimensional. To do this, animators must take art classes and make real-life sketches. The primary reason for using this method is to make animations look realistic and make them believable.
The term 'appeal' when it comes to animation refers to the same quality as does the term 'charisma' when it is used to refer to actors. This method involves making the characters likeable and capturing and engaging the audience's interest. To do this, the characters must have an easy-to-read design, a clear drawing, and personality development. The appeal doesn't just apply to the film's main protagonist, it also includes villains, sidekicks, and more. Viewers should feel that every character in the story is real, interesting, and engaging. Like all forms of storytelling, the feature film must appeal to the mind as well as the eyes. In order to make the characters they design more 'appealing', our animators use symmetry and smooth curves and shapes in their composition. Baby faces with big eyes tend to be viewers' favorite features; we can find these characteristics in almost all the designs of the Disney Princesses.
As Earl Nightingale once said, it all starts with an idea. In order to make an animated movie (or any movie in general), our animation team first has to think of a story (especially when it comes to our own IPs; in the case of our clients' IPs, the stories are more often than not already written). Nevertheless, trying to come up with a good story can sometimes be very difficult. The story is the most crucial part of any animated film. If the animation isn't that up to the mark but the story is exceptional, we've got a good movie on our hands; but when it is the opposite, then the film is worthless. In order to create a good story, at our cartoon production company, we have to find inspiration. How do we do this? We just observe what surrounds us. We find that inspiration can originate from anywhere, from a movie, from a song, from a poem. Using anything from our own lives for inspiration is also something that we resort to from time to time. Any person we've met, any place we've been, and any experience we've had can make all the ideas in our heads click and come together to create a cohesive narrative. At our cartoon series production company, we've found that a great way to organize our ideas is to always have small notebooks on our person and write down everything that comes to mind. By doing this, we make sure we don't forget anything. Also, we don't always have to create everything ourselves, many anime movies are based on previous books or legends. For example, the Disney animated film Mulan was based “The Ballad of Hua Mulan”, which is a traditional Chinese folk story. Many anime production companies base their movies on traditional fairy tales and add some modifications to them, like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, among others.
It's always a long process with lots of changes. It's when we, the director and the producer(s), get together and think about what changes we want to make to the story we've chosen to animate. We offer different ways to add depth, the message we want to convey, the plot, etc. At Massive Animations, one of the top anime production companies in the globe, we try to refine them to be more intricate and appealing to contemporary audiences. All the different ideas we come up with are archived and saved for use in future projects. A lot of them never see the light of day, others are taken up in the future. The important thing we've found is to never stop thinking of new ideas.
Once we have chosen what our film/short story is going to be about, we move on to the next stage - coming up with the screenplay (which is the text where all the film's dialogues are written). This step is also incredibly crucial as the key to a successful project is a high quality script. When writing it, we've found it is important to take into account the audience the film is going to address. In the case of anime, these are normally children. Keeping this in mind, we try not to include swearing or violent and sexual scenes. The script evolves quite a lot during the creation of the film, it changes several times until we get the finale. Our scriptwriters at Massive Animations, one of the best Japanese anime production companies in the globe, are constantly changing lines or creating new situations to add to the film. It is very important to give the characters different voices, none of them should sound the same. At our cartoon series production company, we've found it helpful to think of the characters as different people with different ways of thinking. It is through the script that viewers get to know the personality of the characters.
As the title suggests, this stage consists of planning everything before starting the production process. Although it may seem very boring, it is essential that we, as one of the most highly sought after anime production companies in the globe, organize the project and prepare everything before we start animating. This step can be compared to preparing a suitcase before a trip, one has to make sure they've got everything they require to make the trip.
After organizing everything, our producers calculate how many resources our cartoon series production company will need to complete each task in order to meet the schedule. They also determine how much time each crew member will have to complete their task.
The budget is the financial construct of the estimated expenses that the production of the film might entail. It is based on creative elements and objectives, estimated duration, the complexity of the project, etc. The budget of a film is something very important because if something is calculated incorrectly, our cartoon production company can lose money, as happened to Studio Ghibli with the production of their film 'Kiki's Delivery Service', and numerous other Japanese anime production companies.
There are two types of budgets, detailed and summary. The summary budget is usually no longer than two pages, while the detailed budget lists every item and the specific expenses associated with it. In order to calculate this, at our cartoon production company, we have to consider licence fees, duty and clearance fees, facility rental/lease, training fees, new equipment fees, travel fees, promotion fees, and public relations costs, among others. The budget can be divided into two parts, above and below the line. The numbers above the line are usually those based on contracts. They include rights payments, agreements, and other payments to be made to writers, producers, and directors along with any other key talent associated with the project (such as voice actors). They are all accounted for under the creative expenses of the production. On the other hand, all the other funds are needed to complete the project, such as crew, equipment, contractors, etc. The producer must also establish what the social benefits will be for the project.
As one of the biggest anime production studios in the globe, this part is taken care of by our human resources department. They are the ones who use everything necessary calculated beforehand. The different professionals that are usually included in an animated film production team are scriptwriters, reference animators, sound recorders, animation timers, lip-synch specialists, voice talents (most often high profile actors), casting agents, recording directors, recording technicians, sound engineers, copyright clearance specialists, foreign supervisors, among others.
When the production plan is completed, the research begins. Each film is set in a certain time period, it can be set in prehistoric times or in Victorian London, in either case, research should be done. As one of the most sought-after Japanese anime production companies in the world, our animators begin investigating and getting to know everything about this era in order to properly set the story. History books are always helpful, but the best way to learn about a country and its culture is to go there. There are many cases where our animators spend time in a foreign country studying it. In Disney's Mulan, the cast members travelled to China for three weeks to learn about the culture. They always carried sketchbooks and drew what they saw everywhere, flags, doors, clothing patterns, plants, architecture, and animals. Later they used these drawings to design movie backgrounds. The same thing happened in Dreamworks' 'The Prince of Egypt', where the animators used everything they saw on their trip to Egypt as a template for the movie, the huge columns, statues, and more. To create 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame', Disney animators travelled to Paris and studied the cathedral very carefully. They photographed it from different angles, they explored every corner of it, drew bells, and captured it later on paper. Because the film is set in a real location, it would seem false if they invented or modified the church. Additionally, research is not only done to get the backgrounds right but also the movement of the characters. When animating typical dances of a certain place, our animators study the different steps followed by the dancers to perform them; as they did in 'Lilo and Stitch' to study the Hawaiian dance, the Hula. Our animators have sometimes needed to study animal movement as well, just like the Disney animators worked to create gorillas in 'Tarzan', the lions in 'The Lion King', and bears in 'Brother Bear'. Research is key to getting the right clothes. Clothing fashions have evolved and changed dramatically over time. This is why animators should make sure they don't use mediaeval dresses in a film set in the late 70s, for example. There are a variety of helpful resources on the web that our animators use to find different pictures and paintings from different periods of history to get the drawings right.
Once all the research is done, at our cartoon production company, we start designing the characters and backgrounds for the movie.
The animators also have to design the sets for the film, even if it's just the primary character's bedroom, a school class, or an entire village, everything has to be planned. When designing the backgrounds, they sometimes use photographs they took during the research process. Other times they simply tap into their imagination. In 'Beauty and the Beast', the animators used classic paintings as inspiration to give the film a more fantastical, fairy-tale feel. The backgrounds are drawn from different angles and with different moods, day and night, etc.
This part of the process consists, as its name suggests, of composing the songs that are going to be sung by the characters. This step is only applicable when it comes to a musical film, not all animated films contain vocals. It is through the songs that viewers come to know more about the characters, their way of thinking, their dreams and hopes, etc. They are sometimes used to explain part of a story or simply as a mere introduction to the film. When composing, as one of the most highly regarded anime production studios in the world, the musicians we work with tend to add simple and catchy tunes so that people and kids especially are able to remember the lyrics and keep them stuck in their heads. The songs they will remember the most will be the ones that audiences will associate with the film. For example, 'Under the Sea' or 'Part of your World' are songs that everyone knows are from 'The Little Mermaid'. Sometimes the soundtrack is composed by more than one person. Many Disney films have used music by composer Alan Menken and lyrics by Tim Rice. They both worked together in many different movies. Composing is a very long process. Hans Zimmer, who produced the soundtrack for 'The Lion King', spent two years working on the tunes for the movie. Composers are often inspired by the music of the location the film is based on. They tend to use instruments and musical rhythms typical of them. While listening to 'The Lion King' soundtrack, one can notice African-flavored melodies and rhythms, and instruments associated with Africa, such as the marimba. To create the Mulan soundtrack, they used the di, a Chinese bamboo flute, and the gu-zheng, a kind of horizontal Chinese harp, and in Lilo and Stitch, the classic Hawaiian instrument, the ukulele. Nevertheless, it's important to mention that the background music is usually composed after all the scenes have been completed.
Storyboards are nothing but sketches that resemble comic books and follow the action of the script and show how the characters will move through each scene. To plan the storyboard, our animators use a measurement sheet to organize the scenes. A meter sheet (or exposure sheet) is a chart that contains the breakdown of action, dialogue, and sound for each sequence. It determines exactly what poses, designs, and movements the animators will need to draw later. It's organized in the same manner as a musical pentagram and it is generally smaller than an A4 paper. Once the measurement sheet is complete, the storyboard artists at our cartoon production company begin drawing everything. Storyboards don't need to be as clean as the final animation, they are just rough sketches. The characteristics of the character do not have to be very precise either. However, there are very well-crafted and even colorful storyboards. It depends on the artist drawing it. Sometimes our artists reuse the same drawing several times. This way they don't have to redraw it every time it appears in the scene. As one of the top anime production companies in the globe, our storyboard artists create different storyboards for each scene and present them to the director and producers. To do this, they collect all the drawings hanging on a board called the story reel. They present their work to the other animators and staff members in the team and we all discuss the scenes together. This process still has a lot of changes, sometimes scenes will be eliminated or maybe changed or combined with another scene to create a new one. Beneath the drawings hanging from the story reel, they put small charts with the dialogue phrases said in each sequence. They then add temporary sound effects and music and work with that temporarily.
Our visual development artists take care of this step. That's when we, as one of the best Japanese anime production companies outside of Japan, start planning the look of the film. This department is responsible for developing the style, tone, color, and overall artistic approach of each sequence. The concept art won't appear in any part of the film, it just helps our animators get inspired and know what the film will ultimately look like. Everything must be designed, from the main characters to the smallest of props. They take thousands and thousands of drawings, paintings, plans, sculptures and models to design everything. Normally, they tend to merge the main animator's drawing style with each country's architecture and paintings. In this way, they create new styles and give the film a more unique look. In making 'Mulan', they brought together the style of Chen Yi (an animator from Disney studios) and the simplicity of Chinese paintings. The same thing occures in numerous other movies.
When the concept art is already done, our team begins working on recording the character voices. This process is usually divided into three stages - casting, character presentation, and registration.
This is when the animation really begins. All the storyboards and planning are most often complete by this time, so our animators begin working their magic. The animators at our cartoon series production company, are divided into two groups, Key Animators (or Lead Animators) and Inbetweeners.
When every single scene in the screenplay/storyboard has been animated, they are brought to the inking department. This is where they pass the celluloid pencil sketches. Celluloid is a thin transparent sheet of transparent plastic. Originally, most animators inked the sketches by hand and they could spend many hours with just one of them. Fortunately, with the invention of the computer, the process has become much faster and easier. Later, they use gouache, acrylic, or any other similar paint to apply the colors to the back of the cellulose. Again, if they're doing it digitally, the animators just paint them over with the computer. The choice of colors is very important. A color scheme can set the mood of a scene and make it warmer or cooler depending on what they want to accomplish. As one of the top anime production companies in the world, we’ve got specialists whose responsibility it is to choose the colors of each frame. Colors are capable of conveying emotions, which is why animators use palettes of grey when doing sad scenes, red when the sequence contains passionate scenes, such as love or fight scenes, as well as bright colors for happy moments in the movie. In order to choose the colors, the specialists at our cartoon series production company take into account the lighting of the scene, the drawings of the characters, etc.
Backgrounds are the settings where the action of each animated sequence takes place. Just as in the previous step, they can be produced by hand or using software tool (although these days, it’s pretty much done only using software tools, digitally). Traditionally painted designs are usually done in gouache or acrylic paint, although some animated productions also use watercolor and oil paint. The digital ones are made with specific 3D programs and are edited to have a more two-dimensional (2D) look. In both cases, they consider the palette used to color the characters in the coloring process so that they look harmonious and unified.
Once the background and characters are done, the time comes to put them together. They are both laid on top of each other with a piece of glass on top to avoid any unevenness the cells may have. Then they are photographed with the help of a specific type of camera called a rostrum camera (or animation camera). This process is repeated with each cel until they are all complete. Later, the final film is sent for development and processing. Nowadays, however, they are assembled directly in the computer.
Sometimes a sequence requires a certain type of animation that would be very difficult to achieve by hand and that's when our animators use visual effects. Visual effects are made use of for many different reasons. As one of the top anime production companies anywhere in the globe, our animators resort to using visual effects when they need to animate a scene with a huge crowd or some kind of magic or fire effect on it. By making use of VFX for the background characters, our team is able to save extra time and labor. Using VFX, the animators at our cartoon production company change the angle of the camera, correct any errors, correct the lighting, the speed of movement, the atmosphere of the scenes, etc. They refine the final look of the animation.
This marks the conclusion of the entire animation production process. As one of the top Japanese anime production companies, our sound designers create and record sound effects and atmospheres (footsteps, rustling of clothes, opening doors, etc.) to create the textures and sound layers that enrich the story. These days they are created digitally, but in the early days of animation, sound designers had to create the sounds they required by themselves. In 'Snow White', they had to record the sounds of dishes breaking, animals, doors knocking, etc., because they had no other way to do it. After that, the background music is composed. The background music reflects how the main character is feeling at the moment. Therefore, depending on the type of scene, the music will be fast or slow. Then, the dialogues recorded before are added by making them coincide with the movement of the lips of the characters. Finally, dialogue, music, and sound effects are assembled on the sound mixing stage. They add audio levels, equalization, perspective, and processing (Echo, TV, or radio sound...) as tracks, and they are mixed in the final version of the film.
Once all the previous steps have been completed, the video (be it a full-fledged film, a series, or a short video) is ready to be shown to the world. As required, the film is distributed either locally, nationally, or worldwide through our media partners in various regions, and released sooner or later.
This is the essence of the atmosphere we are going to create. It lays the foundation for a film that will be developed (either by a client of ours or ourselves). This is the 'vision' of the film. At this stage, our writers write and develop the script. It is the reference point for all other elements involved in the production process.
This is where the script is split into scenes and drawn in panels much like a graphic novel. The storyboard allows one of the creative directors on our team to imagine the film so that he/she can decide what will and will not work in the film and make suitable creative decisions along with the other artists involved in this stage of production.
Once the storyboards are finalized, they are sent to our editorial team who will then create an animatic from the boards. Working closely with the director, our editorial team will show the different rhythms of a story with rough timing and dialogue if necessary. The reel created by our editorial team will include storyboard footage, scratch vocals, temporary music and sound effects. This serves as the foundation of the film. After the script and animatic are complete, the voice talent records the film's final dialogue. The editorial replaces the dialogue from zero with the actual dialogue.
Visual development and concept artists come up with an idea of what the film will actually look like, including full design elements such as characters, environments, props, color palettes, and backgrounds. This gives the director and crew a clear path to follow as they move into production so they know what look they're going for.
Previewing, or previs, is where our artists work with the script and storyboards to produce the film in a three-dimensional environment on the computer. It's the gateway to animation production, and if the time is taken to get characters and environments to scale, that work can often be used to jump right into animation.
Our 3D modellers transform 2D concept art into actual 3D models that can be animated. As one of the most reputable anime production companies, our 3D models sculpt every one of the characters, sets, and props in 3D and refine them until the director is satisfied.
As one of the most respectable anime production studios in the globe, our surfacing artists create textures, shaders, and colors for characters, props, and scenery. They ensure textures match approved concept art and designs created by the art department; that is, visual development.
As one of the top anime production companies on the planet, we’ve got rigging artists on our team who are pros at building and attaching 3D skeletons to characters. This skeleton becomes the “puppet” that animators make us of to bring characters to life. Our rigging artists create and place the controls that move the joints of the skeleton of a character. This makes it possible for our animators to move the face and body so that the character can act and move as the story requires.
Animation preparation involves our artists who place artwork from other departments into the three-dimensional environment. They also take care of the dressing and stereo composition, if necessary.
Our character animators bring characters to life. The 3D animators in our team make use of their 3D cartoon animation tools to pose the characters using the rig created by our rigging specialists. Character animators are the actors of animation. It's their job to figure out how to tell the story as best as possible through movement and expression. Character animators will often play scenes from other movies, videos, etc., to use as references for the animations they create.
Being one of the biggest Japanese anime production companies in the world, our studio includes a Crowds Department whose responsibility it is to create the 'extras' in an animation's large crowd scenes. They work to create realistic actions for the crowd characters in the animation.
Our character effects artists are responsible for anything that moves on a character, including clothing, hair, fur, or feathers. They also create all of the character's interactions with objects. For example, when a character is sitting on a sofa, the artists are the ones who inflate the cushions of the sofa.
Our FX artists take care of the minutest details that viewers normally tend to take for granted in live-action productions - such as what happens when an explosion occurs or an scenario where footprints are likely to be left by someone walking. In animation, our FX artists ensure that these details provide realism and support for the story. This is one among the many qualities that make us one of the most sought after anime production studios in the globe. They are the general problem-solvers who make the production work like a movie.
The technical directors in every project are the low-key heroes who are responsible for troubleshooting and troubleshooting any issues that arise in the production pipeline.
The matte paint department creates everything outside of the set, including mountains, oceans, skies, vistas, and cityscapes. They use splashes of color created by the art department and models built by the model makers. They create paintings which are the images that creep into the background of the animation. This creates the appearance of the world that lives inside the animation.
Lighting is a key component that takes 3D elements and 2D visual development work to create the look and tone. There's a lot of technical direction going on at this point.
Compositing is where additional elements come together with final rendered images from lighting such as atmospheric elements. Depth of field and color adjustment happens at this point. This is where the final look of a movie really comes together. A good composer can make a good shot truly exceptional.
The final edit must be checked out before adding these items. Changing things up a few frames will mess with the sound design and the score as they work to sync things up with the picture. This is why this normally isn’t undertaken until the final stages of production.
Whenever a new animation, lighting, or composition is reviewed, it is incorporated into the edit by the editorial. They strive to keep production in step with the latest work so that it is as current as possible. First, the film is in editorial via boards and previews. Then animation, lighting, and compositing replace those elements as they come in.
Color grading is often the last step in a production's appearance. Although bricklayers and compositors work for consistency, they often only work on a small part of the film. The job of the color correctors is to ensure that the image is consistent throughout each sequence so that there are no jarring changes in light or appearance.
Animated films are those in which individual drawings, paintings, or illustrations are photographed frame by frame (frame-by-frame cinema). Normally, every frame differs slightly from the one before it, giving the illusion of motion as the images are projected in rapid succession at 24 frames per second. The first cinematic animation was composed of hand-drawn stop-motion images. When combined with movement, the illustrator's two-dimensional static art comes to life and creates pure, imaginative cinematic imagery - animals and other inanimate objects can become villains or evil heroes. Animations are not a strictly defined genre category, but rather a cinematic technique, although they often contain genre elements. Animated, fairy tale, and stop-motion animation films are often appealing to children, but it would marginalize animations if they considered them only 'children's entertainment'. Animated films are often aimed at or appeal to children the most, but can easily be enjoyed by everyone.
Animated TV or OTT series are shown regularly and may appear episodically up to once a week or even every day during a prescribed time slot, or released episodically (or even as a whole season) on an OTT platform (such as Netflix or the like). The timeslot can vary, from early morning, like Saturday morning cartoons, through prime time, like primetime cartoons, to late at night, like late-night anime. They can even be broadcast on weekdays (called “weekday cartoons”) or just on weekends. The length of each episode varies by series. Traditionally, series are produced as full half-hour or nearly half-hour shows; however, many are produced as 10–11 minute animated shorts, which can also be paired with other shorts to fill a set period of time. If pairing between two or more shorts has been carried out, then said shorts can be called 'segments'. If on TV, the duration of each episode would be 15-20 minutes based on commercial time. A full half-hour would reduce ad times. It is important to note that Netflix and other streaming companies that don't show ads may require a full 30-minute cartoon. The duration depends on the company that broadcasts the cartoon. There are also short series lasting about five minutes; these have recently become more common in Japanese animation (commonly referred to as 'Anime'). They are sometimes grouped together based on network programming requirements. Thus, a particular series may appear in a number of formats or blocks of time. Animated television series have always been used for comedy, like cartoons, a work of art, usually developed for humorous purposes, and therefore called cartoon series. However, animated TV series also fall into other genres, such as action/adventure series like Captain Planet, G.I. Joe, etc.
2D cartoons were a staple of animation styles in the 90s as well as early 2000s. Even today, it's common to see these 2D cartoons in TV commercials or on children's shows such as Peppa Pig or adult series such as Rick and Morty, Family Guy, and The Simpsons. 2D animation is a term that describes the style of animation that was popular in the early 20th century. 2D animation is produced from a series of hand-drawn images compiled and photographed to create a movie (back in the day; these days, however, everything is produced using cartoon animation tools). An example of 2D animation is 'The Lion King'. 2D animation also works best for high-quality developments for TV shows and movies. However, this method does not work well if a message has to be delivered quickly, as it requires a lot of setup time. The artist must draw each frame by hand before moving on to the next. It may take longer for this type of animation to produce results, but 2D animators are able to create very detailed scenes that are more difficult with other cartoon styles.
This style of animation involves the following processes - 3D modelling, rendering, and animation. Computer-generated images of models can be created before or during a shoot through various methods including face scanning, keyframing, and motion capture. This style of animation is often used to create more photo realistic visual effects. 3D animation is animated film that uses three-dimensional models created using software tools. There are advanced cartoon animation tools that can be used to create 3D animation easily. There are also digital video editing systems like Final Cut Pro, Adobe After Effects, and the like, that can be used in 3D animation production. In 'The Lion King' (1994), the characters almost looked like humans because of a unique technique used by the animators of the film. This film also features very vivid colors. In one scene, an orange sky with a very light-colored sun and an endless, blue-green grassy field can be noticed. The 2019 Lion King remake features more vibrant colors. Still, it retains some of those qualities of the original film, including the use of silhouettes to enhance certain aspects of the storyline. A major difference between 'The Lion King' 2019 and its predecessor is that it featured a lot more detail in every single part of the animation style, such as fur texture, hair movement, and muscle movement. The Lion King 2019 was designed to appeal to modern viewers and give them a nostalgic feeling for the cartoon animation styles of the past. However, this film still contains elements from both eras, which makes it unique in itself. 3D animation is one of the most prevalent forms of animation, featured in children's films such as Monsters vs. Aliens and the Shrek series from Dreamworks. Movies make use of a range of processes to achieve their end goals, but all 3D computer animation follows one process, which is keyframing and motion capture. The result is super-smooth motion that can rival the look of traditional hand-drawn 2D animation techniques such as those made use of by Disney and Studio Ghibli. This technology has greatly improved the abilities and skill levels of animators (in terms of digitally mixing motions and certain effects) as it can be difficult to create motions that fit perfectly into a scene that can be repeated multiple times on various occasions. 3D animation works best for movies and video games because it's meant to be an immersive experience. Character and environment design should fit the world that is being creating. This type of animation requires rendering software because it is not handmade like 2D cartoons are. They are most popular for TV shows targeting the male demographic, such as superhero cartoons or battle-related anime series.
Anime is one of the Japanese animation styles that has significant differences from Western animation styles. They are more realistic in appearance and often more detailed than their Western counterparts. Animated cartoon characters normally have larger eyes and smaller noses, which help emphasize their facial expressions. The animated animation style borrows heavily from Japanese culture with mythical animals, pets, and ethnic groups featured in some cartoons. One example is 'Godzilla', a franchise that features a number of monsters from Japanese history or folklore. Meanwhile, another is 'Howl's Moving Castle', an anime film by Hayao Miyazaki. One of the primary differences between anime and western animation is that while anime emphasizes action through exaggeration, western cartoons exaggerate movement for comedic or dramatic effect. The art of producing anime is also different as it's designed to be emotionally charged and dramatic instead of the physical intensiveness and slapstick comedic stylings of western animation. The anime uses exaggerated expressions and body language, such as big eyes and minimalistic clothing, which help demonstrate feelings very clearly. Japanese anime tend to emphasize specific sounds for particular actions, while Western cartoons use many more generic effects. Anime works best for generally serious or dramatic movies. These types of animations are full of vivid colors and details as they are used for dramatic movies rather than comedies like other cartoons. Classic examples of Japanese anime would be 'Spirited Away' and 'My Neighbor Totoro'.
Stop motion is a variety of animation generally used for making animated films. In this technique, our animators move an object, maintain the position until the frame of the movie to which it will then be moved, and then move it again. This process is repeated several times for each frame of the film, resulting in a stop motion effect. Cartoons sometimes have the appearance of transparency because they are drawn on paper, and magic lanterns can be used to project them onto different materials, usually either backlit translucent sheets or reflective glass. When working with clay, the animator often needs to modify the shape slightly to ensure a strong impression when photographed. Even after the introduction of computer animation, most hand-drawn animated films were created by photographing models as if viewed from a camera's perspective so that the background appears distant from foreground elements such as figures or props moving in front of it. On considering the stop motion film 'Coraline' directed by Henry Selick, one will notice this style of animation being featured. The story is of an adventurous young girl who discovers an abandoned parallel world through the doorway of her new home. Her only company are peculiar characters with buttons for their eyes. There she meets other children, all without parents in this bizarre world where nothing needs to be done for them because it is already 'perfect'. The stop motion cartoon-style works best for movies like 'Coraline' because it uses props and characters that can be moved and manipulated. This technique forces the audience to look closely at each frame in order to see the movement of the action on the screen. At our cartoon series production company, we also sometimes add real objects to our animations if we're looking for a more realistic result.
The art style present in low-budget indie cartoons is usually different from the high-budget animation normally seen on television. The animation style of indie cartoons is far more sketchy and flawed because it doesn't need to appeal to a large audience like mainstream animation does. This difference in animation styles allows freelance animators to experiment with new styles and techniques that would be too difficult or expensive for larger anime production studios to implement. One of the most recognizable examples of this kind of style is Wes Anderson's 'Isle of Dogs' show. The show received high praise for its unique animation style, appearing to have been 'done on construction paper and crayons'. The indie cartoon-style works best for stories that are meant to be comedic or lighthearted. This style of animation is usually hand-drawn, so it's usually less detailed than other types of cartoons.
Oil painting animation isn't used as often these days in cartoons, but it's still used sometimes. Its use depends on the feeling anime production companies wish to evoke with their stories. Something like an old comic book style may be better for a story where the writer wants to evoke nostalgia in viewers. Oil painting animation is an animation form that provides viewers with a glimpse into the past. It offers an opportunity for viewers to explore things that are happening in other countries, to reflect on what life was like in the period being portrayed, and what it was like to be alive in those times. Oil painting animations are created by multiple artists working together to portray beautiful narratives. These works are somewhat different from traditional cartoons but all those who watch them fall in love with the picturesque world. Oil painting animation works best for movies that need a historical element because it is similar to how paintings would be displayed in an art gallery. They take longer to create, but this style can still be used for movies with strong messages or social commentary if a stronger impact on audiences is what's desired.
These days, the combination of 2D and 3D is a novelty because it has a fresh but unusual look. It has taken some traditional art styles from the past while having a modern and avant-garde vibe. There are a whole range of factors that go into consideration when deciding whether or not to adopt this style of animation for a story. A cartoon series production company must have an understanding of both traditional animation and 3D animation in order to proficiently tell a story successfully in this animation style. Cartoons have undergone many changes stylistically, over the years. The distinction between animation and cartoons has also blurred. In cartoons of the old school era, there was a lot of exaggeration of specific emotions. In the modern era, much more accurate representations of people's feelings and characteristics are achievable, making them easier to understand. In the early years of animation, there was quite a lot of experimentation stylistically. In classic Disney cartoons, artists drew everything pretty realistically, and there weren't any rainbow colors or abstract shapes. All characters had to look believable and natural, and their clothes and hair had to flow realistically rather than have the straight lines we know from today's cartoons. The backgrounds also did not consist of colorful abstract shapes. There were true 2D backgrounds such as mountains and forests, which made the cartoon feel like it was set in its own world. For instance, Spider-man Into the Spider-verse is a great way to illustrate the mixing of styles. The film is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is made up of live-action movies and cartoons. The film features traditional 2D animation but also 3D animation to help enrich the storytelling and animation experience. Mixing styles, 2D and 3D works best when a fresh, unusual look that doesn't match other styles, is what's required. The cartoon production company Rovio used this technique to create 3D animations for their game “Angry Birds”. Cartoon styles can vary depending on the type of show top anime production companies are trying to produce, but one element remains the same throughout the process - all cartoons must tell interesting stories with engaging characters while effectively getting their message across using specific techniques.
Maya is the industry-standard tool for 3D animators. Most animators who wish to pursue 3D animation and do so professionally, focus on Maya. The tool helps with everything from 3D modelling, simulation, animation, and rendering software with a set of integrated and powerful cartoon animation tools. At Massive Animations, one of the top Japanese anime production companies outside of Japan, we use it for animation, virtual reality, environments, character creation, and motion graphics.
A free and open-source 3D program, Blender provides a wide range of modelling, texturing, lighting, animation, and video post-processing features in a single package. With its open architecture, Blender is one of the most widely used cartoon animation tools because it offers cross-platform interoperability, extensibility, an incredibly small footprint, and a tightly integrated workflow.
Cinema 4D is a motion designer's best friend. It is a 3D program for users of the popular tool Adobe After Effects. It's very intuitive and works intuitively with After Effects without the need to render it first. It is not our first choice for a serious 3D movie production, as it's created from the ground up specifically for use by motion graphics artists, but it's one of the very few amazing, all-around cartoon animation tools that our animators use for certain tasks.
Harmony is quite an advanced 2D animation tool that's ideal for stop motion animation and rig-based animation. This is one of the very few cartoon animation tools that features advanced camera tools, rigging systems, and effects. It is vector-based, but the most advanced version also comes with a bitmap drawing option.
This French animation software was designed with traditional hand-drawn style animation in mind. It's certainly more robust and complex than Photoshop and other cartoon animation tools of its kind, but it's also a lot more expensive. This software is intended for professional animators, which is why we find it to be a great fit at our cartoon series production company.
Probably the most popular of all 2D cartoon animation tools. Animate has a long lineage of animation creation, dating back to the early days of publishing videos on the Internet. It's vector-based, very intuitive to use (like most Adobe programs), and relatively inexpensive. It's ideal for getting started with 2D animation, and although it's not intended for professional animation production (unlike Toon Boom Harmony), our animators are still able to produce amazing animations using Adobe Animate CC.
An interesting selection for 2D animation. After Effects is one of the very few cartoon animation tools that offers our 2D animators phenomenal control when creating rigs for 2D, and using the puppet tool is very convenient and intuitive. It's a go-to choice for those animators who are already comfortable with the Adobe environment.
The big advantage of Character Animator is that our animators are able to use input from a camera and microphone to perform real-time performance capture and automatically animate characters. This is one of those feature-rich cartoon animation tools saves them a lot of time. However, this is really only suitable for cartoons that feature mostly dialogue scenes and not a ton of action or physical gags.
Dragonframe is one of the industry-standard cartoon animation tools for stop-motion animators. It has been used in films such as 'Kubo and the Two Strings' as well as 'Shaun the Sheep'. At our cartoon series production company, we've found that for creating professional stop motion videos, Dragonframe is without a shadow of a doubt the best tool for the job. Its comprehensive feature set can be used with many different accessories, such as a device that controls the camera, lights, and even focus.
Stop Motion Studio is one of those entry-level stop motion cartoon animation tools for all devices and platforms that connects to any digital camera, phone, or tablet to create stunning stop motion videos with simplicity and ease. This is the preferred choice of our lesser experienced animators who have just started their animation careers.