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Old 2012-12-29, 13:32   Link #21
ahelo
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I think what the OP meant was that he misses the more traditional styles in Japanese animation. It's sort of like comparing the original Hunter X Hunter from its GI Arc OVA. The budget is probably the same but the GI Arc just so happened to be created in the beginning of the modern era where animation (just animation itself) was digitally crap. Still I wouldn't say that animation has gone bad in this day and age; I mean just look at Hyouka or Kids on the Slope or Fate/Zero.
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Old 2012-12-29, 14:48   Link #22
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There are several main factors that made animation in contemporary anime look less lively than classic anime. They are mostly caused by changes in the production process, budget issues and the changing taste in animation.

Many have pointed out that CGI is the main culprit, but did not mention the lines itself. In traditional 2D animation, every single frame is hand drawn and scanned or even filmed on a camera rig. Even with the most proficient artist who can draw the cleanest lines, the compiling and editing process will inadvertently create imperfections in lining up the frames.

The imperfections created by the drawing hand combined with the compiling process will create an effect which we animators call "wriggling lines". It is this wriggling line effect that makes the frames look lively even when the characters are in a static pose.

Nowadays with CGI taking over the anime industry for more efficient production, artists no longer translate their line work into the final product and digital images have much lesser imperfections, making the frames look less lively.

At the same time, studios are always assigning budgets to the most important scenes, emotional climaxes or huge action scenes, they have left the other more frequent dialogue and filler scenes animation poor.

The stiffness of digital lines combined with the lack of animation in majority of low key scenes makes anime look sterile in comparison to classic animation. You can notice this in many slice of life anime where the frames are made to save budget by cutting straight to characters sitting in position and half the characters in frame are not even facing the camera so that they can save budget by not even animating their mouths open or closing. Sometimes they do more budget tricks like looping animations, chibi scenes, chibi looping animation or even worse, a panning shot across a still frame.

Like what the TC has pointed out, animations today no longer have 'transitions', this is the result of budget saving and also the preferred cinematography of the modern age, quick cuts that go straight to the point. The audience nowadays crave changes on the scene, they no longer want to stare at the same background where characters walk into the scene and perform simple actions that are actually animation intensive.

Also importantly, the modern audience no longer have the wonder and fascination of pure animation technique and artistry that people had back in the golden ages of animation. The modern audience have taken animation for granted as this has become something extremely common and not some kind of film magic. This is especially the case for the general anime audience, they are either more interested in the seiyuu speaking or insane action scenes to care about the skill put into animating a character sitting down and doing mundane stuff.

Animators are actually actors and they act with their pencils, expressing themselves on paper. Every action is acted out by the animator physically or mentally first before being put in frame. Simple everyday actions can be as challenging to act out as dynamic action scenes, but this is no longer the concern of the modern audience.

I've always thought that it is unfair that animators don't win film awards like film actors do, and when animated films win, they only win a single award to represent entire crews of hundreds of artists. Good animators are as good as real actors and probably put in more effort into the frame, having to construct every single detail from nothing.
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Old 2012-12-29, 14:54   Link #23
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Originally Posted by totoum View Post
Hell I'm watching a 90s shoujo show right now and it's almost a slideshow and the OST consists of one melody
Hur....which one? (I probably know it)
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Old 2012-12-29, 15:54   Link #24
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Originally Posted by Sentilium View Post
I miss that subtle animation. When did subtle animation start disappearing?
It disappeared into the aesthetic you like so much.

For easier comparison I'll use the game industry for a moment; since it's the same direction this industry is headed (only a little further ahead). People have a tendency to look at modern games and then look at older games; and the thought process is something like "technology sure has evolved." Nobody really stops to consider modern games cost untold magnitudes more then older games. And I'm not talking about ancient games like tetris here either, but simply things like the 3D games of last generation and the 3D games of this generation (or the 3D games of next generation). There has been some mitigation in the form of better and better tools, and reuse of assets, but some things just don't simply grow on trees. Older games were longer, and had better levels, not because the game designers were smarter or the game designers today are clueless, it's merely because the cost was far less then, compared to now. It's also heavily dependent on the market, japan can produce some really good (or should I say, "long games") games because it has a better market for them, while on the west there is a certain price point people won't pay over. This has been mitigated by DLC and such but the risk can only go so far.

Same for animation. Fluid animation you want, is a pain in the ass. Fluid animation with todays aesthetics? not on the budget series go for these days, sorry. I don't think it's hard to understand that hand drawn hasn't exactly "evolved" any in the past 60 years. You can still see it in OVAs and Movies, but obviously they have bigger budgets, or need to cover a shorter expanse of time; therefore the same budget can be spent on details. A movie may be say 1h and 30min but in Tv series terms that's just 3-4 episodes give or take. Like with games when you see really good animation it's either because it's being mitigated by tooling (computer graphics, 3D, etc) or mitigated by a very high expectations in the franchise (F/z for example). Since people like high fidelity over very fluid (barely noticed) animation, we get what we have today.

Frankly I don't hate the current animation. The only thing I'm not too thrilled about are all the short 5min and bellow series that are coming out.
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Old 2012-12-29, 19:35   Link #25
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
I largely disagree. But to be as precise as possible, I'll discuss each of these items separately:

1) Backgrounds - This is the area where I'm most inclined to agree with you. I do think anime has improved in making backgrounds look nice, shiny, and generally beautiful. Nonetheless, some older anime shows from the 90s have some gorgeous fantasy and/or sci-fi settings with lovely backgrounds. I think the term "massive improvement" does a disservice to some of those older anime shows.
I think in general the backgrounds for big budget shows have been pushed even further than was what possible back in the 90's. Ie, certain things only Ghibli movies could afford to do have been showing up in big budget animes. Especially if you combine with the modern lighting that have been showing up. City backgrounds especially have vastly more detail (Haruhi backgrounds) and actually interact with the lighting during sunrise/sunset, etc.

Quote:

2) Vehicles - I've seen some bad looking cars in recent anime, and I've also seen some great looking cars there. I've seen some bad looking cars in older anime, and I've also seen some great looking cars there. I don't see much evidence of consistent improvement here.
Again, it's a budget issue, but when there's the budget for it, the modern anime uses a combination CGI to really animated the more mechanical parts that would be really hard to do for traditional anime. Like in Fate/Zero Saber's bike was impeccably rendered even with the crazy chase scene without looking like a blur.

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3) Mecha - It depends on how far you go back. Has there been a lot of improvement since the original Mobile Suit Gundam? Yeah, definitely. But if we're just talking about how mechas look in still pictures, I think the mechas in Gundam Wing and Gundam Seed look just as good as (and in some cases, better than) more modern mecha. And Gundam Wing is now almost 20 years old of course.
Design wise I agree that Gundam Wing probably had some of the best looking designs, but if you compare the animation between battle scenes in Gundam Wing and Gundam 00 there's a world of difference. The Gundams in Wing look a lot more plain (little or no shading, less detail) in battle wheres in 00 they look just as good as they do in in stills.

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4) Weaponry - I don't recall the weaponry of older anime looking bad. And I don't recall being blown away by how modern weapons look. So if there's been a change here, I certainly haven't noticed it.
This is similar to the difference in the mecha difference. When there's the budget for it, and the source material requires it, modern anime will pay far more attention to gun detail, especially in action things where they'd use real guns, have all the moving parts of the gun animated, have light reflecting off of all the ridges, show cartridge ejection, heat effects, etc, basically gun porn.

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5) Clothing - Student uniforms tend to look a bit better. But then they should given the amount of practice anime artists get on them nowadays. Aside from this, though, I'm not seeing any significant improvement here.
I'm more talking about animating the movement of clothing. I think a lot of older anime have more static looking outfits whereas modern anime can push the amount of cloth movement much further when warranted.

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6) Body Structures - Here is where I disagree with you the most. The body structure of the characters in Legend of the Galactic Heroes is perfect. Excellent body structure. In many ways, it's superior to what we see in most anime shows today. I also don't see anything wrong with the body structure in older anime shows like Sailor Moon, NGE, Ranma ½, Tenchi Muyo!, InuYasha, El Hazard, Magic Knight Rayearth, Fushigi Yuugi, and a whole host of 90s anime. Heck, I'd love to see the tall, voluptuous look make a comeback.
Well, it's the most apparent in Ecchi shows and action shows. Like, if you compare the more naked bodies of older anime, they aren't nearly as realistic as more modern ecchi anime (aside from the gigantic impossible breasts) . Then there's the good action series where bodies use 3-D modeling or motion capturing for the references, so proportions are much more realistic especially when there's dynamic camera angles.
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Old 2012-12-30, 13:27   Link #26
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Now look, it depends on what you are looking at. Or what you are talking about. Animation is the MOVEMENT, not the drawings or design. If you wanna talk about those two Ds, that's like Visuals or Design in general.

I always intrerpret this just from a kinectic standpoint, is the movement or action or "acting" vibrant, believable and or interesting?

Now if you are looking at OVAs from like the 80s and 90s, then that's not fair because they were flush with money.

TV shows before the 90s are generally not well animated (or even drawn sometimes) due to CRAZY schedules, but there are a few exceptions. Some 80s Gundam stuff is good (in spots), also Dunbine and L-Gaim had their moments. YuYu Hakusho had some surprisingly nicely done episodes too.

Some random Toei stuff was surprising too. 80s GeGeGe no Kitaro for example. Also just about anything from Tokyo Movie Shinsha (now TMS) is very appealing to look at.

Frankly I think on average, animation for TV work is far superior. Look at our best Naruto eps, recent One Piece eps (like Marineford and Impel Down and Thriller Bark). And like tons of stuff by Bones, A-1, KyoAni, very lively drawings and animation on a TV budget.

Case in point; Gurren Lagann, I still have NO IDEA how they pulled that off with TV scheduling, that was good feature film quality!

I do admit though, with few exceptions Traditional Paint coloring kicks digital colorings ASS. Check older Inu Yasha eps vs new eps, That digital red is just WIERD
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Old 2012-12-30, 19:14   Link #27
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Originally Posted by solomon View Post
Frankly I think on average, animation for TV work is far superior. Look at our best Naruto eps, recent One Piece eps (like Marineford and Impel Down and Thriller Bark). And like tons of stuff by Bones, A-1, KyoAni, very lively drawings and animation on a TV budget.
This is exactly what I was talking about budget spending, money only goes into big action scenes and the rest of production suffers from it.

If you look outside of battles, One Piece hardly has any notable animation, some battles are even suffering from the amount of money put into Marineford, Merman island for example.

Studio Bones is a great animation studio simply because they believe in pushing animation for quality. And its the exact reason why they keep on making mecha anime, its the genre that requires the most amount of work to animate; and they pull off spectacular mecha battles.

As for Gainax which I feel is the best animation studio in Japan, they are very traditional in their art, they use just about every single one of the 12 principles of animation to produce quality from low budgets.

The reason why Gainax's animation looks so lively and dynamic is because they utilise principles like "squash and stretch" and "exaggeration. They have extremely skillful key animators who knows how to draw exaggerated keyframes. In fact Gainax is the only studio I see in Japan who uses squash and stretch regularly on human characters and mecha, they are the most traditional animators in Japan. As most studios tend to go for subtle and 'realistic' movements in anime, they don't apply distortion to the characters, combined with the overall lack of animation it makes them look more stiff and sterile.

But Gainax also cheats alot to save budget, one of the ways they do this with extremely fast looping animation usually only involving 3 frames. And they have clever directors and storyboarders who know how to pace scenes and hold frames with the right camera angles. Gurren Lagann actually has a ton of still frames but are made dynamic with clever angles and rapid panning shots with speed lines. Just look at how still those scenes are when Simon and Kamina were giving epic speeches in pose and even Giga Drill Break is a series of static looping animation with rapid camera movement.

Gainax animation is not really smooth but they have skillful use of exaggeration and distortion of characters to manage their lack of frames along with great camera work makes their animation look much more dynamic than other studios.
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Old 2012-12-30, 20:17   Link #28
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This is personal but I just hate 3D cars in most recent anime. Initial D started that trend.
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Old 2012-12-30, 20:38   Link #29
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Originally Posted by C.A. View Post
This is exactly what I was talking about budget spending, money only goes into big action scenes and the rest of production suffers from it.
But hasn't that always been the case regardless of the era?Couldn't you say the same thing about DBZ and Saint Saya?
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Old 2012-12-30, 22:05   Link #30
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Well, it's the most apparent in Ecchi shows and action shows. Like, if you compare the more naked bodies of older anime, they aren't nearly as realistic as more modern ecchi anime (aside from the gigantic impossible breasts).
I disagree if the so-called “realistic” body proportion is considered an improvement. IMO it’s just aesthetics. Most of the time, when an artist/character designer draws a disproportionate body (bigger head, bigger body, chibi, etc), it was on purpose. The artist just likes it that way, not because s/he lacks the skill. Also, when it comes to body proportion, you can’t exclude any part of the body (so yeah, unnatural big bouncy breast must also be counted). There’s a lot of anime with realistic body proportion in the 80s and 90s. Just watch Akira, Initial D, Bubblegum Crisis series, Record of Lodoss War, to name a few. On the other hand, there's a lot of modern anime with disproportionate body like Madoka Magica, Lucky Star, Shaman King, to also name a few.
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Old 2012-12-30, 23:30   Link #31
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Originally Posted by C.A. View Post
Like what the TC has pointed out, animations today no longer have 'transitions', this is the result of budget saving and also the preferred cinematography of the modern age, quick cuts that go straight to the point. The audience nowadays crave changes on the scene, they no longer want to stare at the same background where characters walk into the scene and perform simple actions that are actually animation intensive.

Also importantly, the modern audience no longer have the wonder and fascination of pure animation technique and artistry that people had back in the golden ages of animation. The modern audience have taken animation for granted as this has become something extremely common and not some kind of film magic. This is especially the case for the general anime audience, they are either more interested in the seiyuu speaking or insane action scenes to care about the skill put into animating a character sitting down and doing mundane stuff.
This was the main thing that I was thinking as well. A lot of anime nowadays are "filmed" the way you might shoot a regular movie in many senses, and the editing is similar. And in truth, when I go back to look at older anime, the "pacing" of the scenes often seems odd because it doesn't have the sort of "action-cut" approach that you see in modern film. Shots seem to often linger just a little too long, and dialogue seems a little bit stilted because it revolves around the animation of the scene rather than the tighter editing we see today (even if budget-saving techniques are used to mask the tighter cuts). So while, on the one hand, many people may look to anime to deliver themes and elements you won't find in mainstream film and TV (character designs may be one component of this), I think the overall cinematic approach isn't really all that different. (Perhaps that's partly why we've seen an increase smaller-scale anime films in recent years; all it takes is a slightly larger budget, and the potential gain from the dual revenue sources (box office and disc) can be more lucrative particularly for a franchise that already has a name for itself.)
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Old 2012-12-31, 01:10   Link #32
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This is personal but I just hate 3D cars in most recent anime. Initial D started that trend.
To be fair with Initial D... It's cars are better than the driver's looks...
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Old 2012-12-31, 01:39   Link #33
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To be fair with Initial D... It's cars are better than the driver's looks...
Agreed. It’s rare to see anime characters look uglier than real life people and Initial D really delivers in that aspect . I’m a big fan of Initial D but I’m still turned off by the mangaka’s character design no matter how much effort I put to enjoy it.
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Old 2012-12-31, 01:56   Link #34
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I miss that subtle animation. When did subtle animation start disappearing?
Watch Hyouka, probably the champion of current day anime when it comes to actual animation. Throughout the series you can actually see the way characters have changed though the way they are animated. While it is a visual tour de force whether you actually like the content is something more up in the air.

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Sometimes high-quality animation does not splash across the screen in scenes like epic space battles. Take a close look at the animation of Sentarou's drum solo in episode one of Sakamichi no Apollon (at 17:58). This sequence is animated on the ones, meaning that every frame differs from the ones before and after it. Much of modern anime is shot on twos or even threes, so a one-second sequence contains only eight frames duplicated three times each to fill a second at 24 fps.
Dude....

The majority of anime is done in threes for the most part, of course depending on the scene they ramp up to twos and ones but in general threes is what takes place.

Kannagi Episode 2 for instance was done in 2s.... to the point where the DVD version has less frames than the tv broadcast (because Yamakan was pissed episode 2 had 12000 frames of animation whereas 1 had 6000 and the rest 4-5k, Precure episodes btw have a "limit" of 3000 for most episodes)

Another example is Mushishi is primarily animated in 2s, and the Mushi are animated in 1s

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As for Gainax which I feel was the best animation studio in Japan.
Fixed.

Not like Gainax have much talent left after KHARA and TRIGGER, seriously what a fall from grace after Gurren Lagann...
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Old 2012-12-31, 03:12   Link #35
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I'm going to throw in a bit of speculation here on a note somewhat unrelated to the animation itself. I assume that we're referring to the actual animation in terms of the whole work, and not the act of animating things within the work. That seems to be the case, or I might be way off base here.

It might be less of an issue of the quality as much as an issue of the quantity. I suspect there's a considerably larger amount of anime being produced today than back in the latter third of the previous century. Once upon a time, things received a different kind of detail and were held to different standards. These days you find a lot of the same style and even the same characters (K-On, Haruhi... Those girls are in everything now). The industry is being flooded with large amounts of average work, as is the case with most things in this day and age.

With that having been said, there are certainly a lot of anime that have a more experimental approach. There are a lot of trending themes in modern media outside of just anime in terms of very unusual approaches to the act of filming (literally, the way they use cameras). There's a lot of interesting, I guess 'abstraction' would be the word to describe it? Lots of strange perspectives and sometimes very interesting styles. One thing I especially like is when the fabric on clothing pans around when characters move, as if there were a background that can only be seen through that fabric.
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Old 2013-01-05, 23:00   Link #36
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I'm watching the 720p Blu Ray versions of Nisemonogatari right, as well as scanned through the Blu Ray versions of Fate/Zero and Madoka. I'm pretty sure the animation and direction in those series prove that animation techniques has come a long way since the 90's. There's even a significant improvement from the mid 2000's when Kyoto Animation wowed everyone with FMP:TSR and Haruhi.

I really doubt you can find older anime that can compare to these Shaft/Ufotable series aside from full budget movies like Spirited Away.
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Old 2013-01-11, 05:40   Link #37
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I'm watching the 720p Blu Ray versions of Nisemonogatari right, as well as scanned through the Blu Ray versions of Fate/Zero and Madoka. I'm pretty sure the animation and direction in those series prove that animation techniques has come a long way since the 90's. There's even a significant improvement from the mid 2000's when Kyoto Animation wowed everyone with FMP:TSR and Haruhi.

I really doubt you can find older anime that can compare to these Shaft/Ufotable series aside from full budget movies like Spirited Away.
I can't really be bothered to touch the comment as a whole... but if you were going to pick a studio to champion today > prior in regards to animation, make a better choice then SHAFT.

Also TSR has better animation then anything SHAFT has produced.
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Old 2013-01-11, 10:05   Link #38
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I really doubt you can find older anime that can compare to these Shaft/Ufotable series aside from full budget movies like Spirited Away.
I would start by pointing to Seirei no Moribito and Bakeneko/Mononoke as a clear refutation of that thesis. Dennou Coil is another obvious candidate in the quality animation category. All of these appeared in 2006-2007.

I like some of SHAFT's work, but much more for the style of illustration Shinbou employs than for the "animation" itself. Having just watched the Madoka movie in a theater last night, I was struck by how many static scenes there are in that show. Most of us remember the witch fights and forget the scenes where the characters sit around drinking tea and talking for minutes at a time.

My favorite studios remain Madhouse and Production I.G. I also have enjoyed shows from Brains-Base, but more because of their selection of off-beat subject matter than the production values.
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Old 2013-01-11, 13:59   Link #39
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SHAFT and ufotable as examples of animation?
That is so wrong, neither of them are particularly strong animation-wise, even though ufotable has some Takeuchi and SHAFT has some Imamura and GenAbe. They're more defendible if we're talking about overall visuals, but as far as TV animation goes, I don't think anyone can compete with Kyoani and perhaps BONES (when they actually employ some talent).

About the filming vs. computerized lineart and colours, I don't understand why so many people prefer the analogical look of the old times. To me those are nostalgia goggles at full force, since there's so much more potential in digital animation, and it is much more efficient for the workforce as well.
What many say is interesting and lively, I see as dated. It's probably a perception dissonance that can't be saved anyway; but actual animation (as in, the amount of time when there is something moving in the episode) is higher than what it was in early 2000s and 90s TV shows. Whether or not the animation being showcased is better doesn't depend on the era but simply on the artist that is working.
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Old 2013-01-11, 14:23   Link #40
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SHAFT and ufotable as examples of animation?
I can see SHAFT being an odd choice here (because when their animation is bad, it's really bad), but what's wrong with ufotable? You honestly don't see any great animation in Kara no Kyoukai? Kara no Kyoukai had many awesome action scenes, and animation quality was a part of that.


Quote:
About the filming vs. computerized lineart and colours, I don't understand why so many people prefer the analogical look of the old times. To me those are nostalgia goggles at full force, since there's so much more potential in digital animation, and it is much more efficient for the workforce as well.
What many say is interesting and lively, I see as dated.
Can you provide some examples of analogical look vs. digital look? I'd appreciate it just so I can have a better idea of what we're talking about here.
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