AWN Talks Flash Future
AWN recently posted an excellent article highlighting trends and projections about Flash animation production, a long overdue follow-up to AWN’s Flash article in their November 2003 issue. For his lengthy article, Greg Singer assembled a veritable who’s who of Flash big wigs in the LA area, with a few exceptions, in particular ‘Foster’s’ Eric Pringle, who was just nominated for Best TV Director at the Annie Awards, and Jorge Gutierrez, who’s currently at Disney TV Animation. My good friends at Six Point Harness were rightfully discussed at length, with insightful quotes from bossman, Brendan Burch. Alright, enough name-dropping. Greg’s article hits all the high notes, discussing myths, budget numbers, and the future of Flash production. I’ve assembled my favorite pull quotes, but you must simply read the whole thing – it’s just that good.
People do not generally think of Flash animation in flattering ways. A common assumption is that Flash animation is simple and crude, both in terms of its content and execution. As one artist observed, “Using Flash is like using a baseball bat to play golf. It works, it’s about the right size, it does what you want it to do, but it’s not exactly what it’s supposed to be.”
With television animation averaging about $300,000 per episode these days, the idea that Flash can produce shows more inexpensively is somewhat of a myth. However, with a comparable budget and in-house creative oversight, Flash animation at the bigger studios is being produced on an expeditious delivery schedule. Whereas a typical 22-minute television show may have eight weeks for animation, on Foster’s — with half of its episodes animated in Burbank, California at Cartoon Network, and the remaining half in Dublin, Ireland at Boulder Media — the schedule has been abbreviated to a brisk four weeks.
Craig Kellman… animation director on Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends… says, “The pre-production artwork is created in Illustrator, and so all of the files are already vectorized. We import them directly into Flash, and bend and stretch them at will. To save time, we can use Illustrator to help symbolize assets or we can build elements in Flash and bring them into Illustrator, for example, to apply brush strokes on characters.”
Aaron Augenblick says… “People talk about the Flash look of things, but it really is a platform where you could do a lot of different things: the typical Flash, vectory look with thick and thin lines; or the no-line look of Foster’s; or manipulating photographs like cut-out animation. It’s a fun program in that way.”
(‘Foster’s’ Mike) Moon says, “Honestly, I’m not seeing a lot of limitations. The animators are doing such brilliant work. At this point in time, I can’t imagine producing a 2D show not somehow using this process, or a slight modification of this process. I’m sold. Obviously there are issues I would change, little production issues, but creatively, what we’re doing now, I wouldn’t change a thing.”
“We try to erase the line between Flash and traditional. People call it Flash animation, and are expecting some kind of Flash animation, but it’s not the case with us. You’re going to get something that’s well animated.” (Brendan Burch)