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Latest Topics

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The Toll of Voice Acting

Season 5 of My Hero Academia has been delayed, not just because of COVID-19, but because one of the seiyuus (voice actors) is recovering from vocal cord surgery. Nobuhiko Okamoto plays Bakugo, a hot-tempered U.A. student who yells a lot, and it’s not surprising that the role had a negative affect on Okamoto’s voice.
This article would look at how voice acting has negatively affected the health of some voice actors, whether it be in anime, Western animation, or video games (I believe there was a story a couple years back about people getting sick due to their performances in gaming). It could be a critique of the industry or a reflection on how dedicated the actors are to the roles, or a mix of both. (Keep spoilers to a minimum, though, please!)

  • Cool topic. I used to be involved in choir and musical theater, and you learn quickly what a precious commodity a voice is. One facet you might look at is how different roles use the voice. For instance, you mention a voice actor who has to yell a lot. The neurologic pathways to speaking vs. yelling are different, so the vocal chords are used differently. Sometimes, voice acting or singing also requires you to pop your larynx, which can cause its own kind of harm. – Stephanie M. 4 weeks ago
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Significance of character design of non-human creatures

It’s often been said that a character’s design is supposed to tell the audience something about them and complement their personality and role in the story in some way. Non-human characters provide unique challenges and opportunities for animators because they possess features that no human could ever have. The popular kids’ movie Monsters, Inc. does a great job of designing characters to perfectly fit their roles in the story. For instance, the main character, Sully, is huge and strong but also fluffy and colorful; his timid but loyal sidekick Mike is small and has a very large and expressive eye and mouth; and the villain Randall is a slippery and surly-looking lizard voiced by Steve Buscemi. What are some other examples of non-human characters with particularly appropriate or memorable character designs? What is it about their designs that provides insight into their characters more broadly?

  • This is a great topic! I liked your example from Monsters Inc? Perhaps you can make the topic title, " How character designs of non-human characters in animation tell the audience about their character?" Or what are examples of non-human character animations designs that speak to their character? – birdienumnum17 2 months ago
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  • Fun idea. First thing that comes to mind is Inside Out, where emotions are literally personified into characters - anger, sadness, disgust. You don't even need to hear them talk in order to understand what they represent. Maybe an interesting comparison would be between good visual depictions of personality (this was done often and super well in older cartoons) and less creative character designs. Consider all the possibilities of 2/3D animation and how those opportunities can be squandered! I'm thinking of the recent Lion King adaptation here; realism doesn't necessarily translate to an expressive character. – dbotros 2 months ago
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  • I think that the design of non-human - or even monstrous - characters often provides insight onto ourselves. That is, the grotesque or Other often reflects our own anxieties about the human condition. When the worst aspects of our psyche/appearance are exaggerated and externalized into non-human characters, they are easy to dislike because they represent the "worst" parts of ourselves. At the same time, mythologically heroic characters represent the best of ourselves, with their looks and demeanour exaggerated to show the potential for goodness and beauty that resides in the human condition.This topic puts me in mind of Peter Jackson/Andy Serkis's portrayal of Gollum in LOTR. The tragic beauty of the character resides in his "fall from grace narrative," for he straddles the line between ultimate corruption and ultimate redemption until his last moments.Smeagol's design incorporates elements of the innocent - his wide eyes and naiveté - while the distorted and expressions of Gollum connote his malice and cunning. Examining the ways in which Serkis/the animators at Weta Digital played with the tension between these two personae can reveal how the archetypes of good and evil originate within our own soul (or psyche, if you prefer). – Rhys 2 months ago
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  • This is an interesting topic, and one becoming more and more relevant as animation makes a resurgence in popular media. One interesting area the article could address would be how and why human elements are included in these character designs, as a means to evoke audience familiarity with the emotions of the character (you mentioned Mike Wazowski's eye as an example). Moreover, it might be worthwhile to discuss the uncanny valley and it's effect on the considerations of animated character design.The game Thomas was Alone is also a really pure example of this philosophy of character design, each character being literally a differently sized four-sided shape. – DanielByrne 2 months ago
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Taken by Srijita (PM) 2 months ago.
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Disney & the Magic of Hand Drawn Animation

From the creation of Pluto, Mickey, and the Disney classic princesses, hand drawn animation was all the rage back then. However once Pixar came around, a new form of animation came about and took over by storm: C.G.I.
Even though C.G.I have created breakthroughs, hand drawn animation is special. It brings a certain life to the page. Explore how hand Drawn Animation differs from C.G.I and argue why it is better than C.G.i

  • It would be really interesting to all compare the different eras and style of hand drawn animation done by Disney throughout the decades! – Sean Gadus 5 months ago
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  • Please, please, PLEASE!!!! CGI is so overrated, and while 3D can be good, it doesn't hold up to the original 2D. And I definitely agree with maybe comparing their eras. Yes, they're all hand-animated, but Snow White's animation is different from Bambi's and Beauty and the Beast. – OkaNaimo0819 5 months ago
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Depicting Emotions Through Animation

Animation allows storytellers to directly depict topics and subjects beyond the physical and the real, unlike live-action which is restricted to implying non-physical ideas (such as emotions and mental state) through physical mediums. Actors, for example, must use their facial and body language to indicate the emotions of their character. Animators, however, can get more creative in how they visually depict emotions.

How do animators show emotions through animation-specific methods, and how do those visual representations benefit the story? What do these techniques add to the piece?

  • :-| :-) :-O :-( 8-{ – L:Freire 8 months ago
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Æon Flux: an examination of visual narrative animation

Analyse Æon Flux (1991-95) to gain an understanding of how Peter Chung has experimented with visual narrative to tell a story without relying on dialogue.

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    Analysing the use of Language and Accents in Animated Films

    Analyse the way Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar and to a lesser extent smaller studios trade on accents and languages to portray characters that are not considered to be normative for animation (neutral American accent). For language the progression from the use in Pocahontas, Brother Bear, and Mohana, and that of Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, and Coco for accents

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      Streaming Analytics: A Window Into Collective Mental Wellness

      What could the programs that we choose to watch, queue, and re-watch tell us about our emotional/mental state – and might they be able to reveal more than we are able to communicate/admit ourselves?

      The al a carte, self-serving nature of today’s digital streaming services allows users to set up their own digital buffet. A little bit of this, a little bit more of that, less of this. What could our choices illuminate – if we had access to the data that streaming service algorithms collect about our taste, what could we learn? Would we see seasonal trends, how do our choices change around major life events (child birth, loss of a loved one, marriage, starting a new job, etc.)

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        Perception of Animation in the U.S

        Despite its innovations and endless creativity, animation has and continues to be dismissed by general audiences as only suitable for children in the U.S. While there are many historical and industry reasons for this, animation has proven itself to be a legitimate medium just as any other, whether in the U.S, France, Japan, and through other platforms such as Newgrounds and YouTube.

        Companies such as Netflix and Sony Pictures have shown to be investing heavily in animation and trying to globalize productions and creative voices in the medium, with Spider-Verse being the most recent example. Even Japan has recently been recruiting more foreigner animators, and South Korea and China are starting to prop up their own animation industries.

        On the other side, you have Disney live-action remakes/retellings which may be perpetuating the notion that animation is inferior to live action. General audiences, especially adults, can often be insecure about watching cartoons, and seeing them as live action seems to deliver the idea that realism makes these stories more mature.

        How do you think animation will be perceived in the future in the U.S? Do you believe the perception will even change at all? If so or not, how?

        • It's an interesting topic, but I'm not sure I agree that cartoons aren't seen as legitimate forms of adult entertainment. For instance, it seems like many people nowadays recognize that anime can be for all ages, not just for children. And it seems like you also see more and more Western cartoons out there that contain jokes and plotlines intended as much for adults as for kids (Adventure Time and Regular Show come to mind here). Can you come up with specific examples of people looking down on cartoons because they think they're for kids, or is it just your conjecture that people do this? – Debs 1 year ago
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        • As stated by Debs ^, I would also argue that many American cartoons cater to (and are sometimes even written directly for) adult audiences. I would look specifically at cartoons such as Warner Bros Bugs Bunny cartoons, as well as modern shows like Spongebob Squarepants or The Simpsons. In some cases, these series' go beyond mere adult themes or jokes; they are written with direct adult messages. There is, I think, growing demand for animated entertainment among adult audiences. Perhaps the question to explore should be - what audiences or demographics tend to embrace animation the most in the United States? What can we point to as possible reasons for any discrepancies found? – jkillpack 1 year ago
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        • I suppose I should've been more specific and stated 2D animation instead. Animation as a whole has been embraced, but in the general zeitgeist, most of that admiration is directed at feature animation from Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, and Illumination. Animation done outside these studios doesn't receive as much attention and can be actively dismissed due to not being tied to the Big Four.For example, while Into the Spider Verse made its budget back, it didn't do as well as it could've. While a lot of this can be attributed to competition from Aquaman (2018), there are many anecdotes that have described general audiences being put off by Spider-Verse's animation, which doesn't adhere to the standard, smooth animation people are used to from Disney and Pixar. These also add that people dismissed Spider Verse because they didn't want to watch a cartoon.Many people lament the absence of 2D animation in cinema, but general audiences seem to believe it as being reserved only for TV/streaming. I completely agree that U/S animation has catered to other demographics, but many of these shows also seem to be overt in their adult targeting through vulgarity, nudity, violence, etc. just to prove it. I also believe you'll be hard-pressed to find the average adult on the street who would openly admit to enjoying animation, particularly if it's 2D and not from Disney or Pixar. – ImperatorSage 1 year ago
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