Color Composition : The Relationship of Layouts and Backgrounds to Animation From am Animator's Viewpoint

(Click on graphic for full-sized image.)

Page 2 of 5

From the collection of Hans Perk at A. Film L.A. and reprinted here with his permission.


[...] The introduction of color marks the first really noticeable movement towards the development of backgrounds. The new medium of color formed a consciousness of the need for better composition, better spotting of darks and lights, utilization of atmosphere, mood, picturesque quality, and correct scaling. Thru consideration of these elements, backgrounds have developed and improved to such a degree today that they play a vital pa[rt] in animation, and should develop even further in the future.

Returning to the topic of this discussion, there has been a great deal of discussion on the value and importance of closer working relationship between the animator and director. An important factor has been overlooked - the layout man seems to have been omitted or forgotten. I firmly believe that achievement of the best results is obtained though the coordinated efforts of the director, the layout man, and the animator, especially while the animator is picking up his sequence. It is at this point that the layout man can be of vital aid to the animator thru his knowledge of the action in detail, the mood, the workability of an action is relation to the background. A properly worked-out and planned setting in the proper mood can do much to enrich the animation.

Even though the layout man has followed the picture through from the start of the story with the director, I think it is important for him to continue his contact and remain in close touch with the animator while the scene is being discussed in detail for animation. It is here that the animator can make suggestions as to the practicability of models; sizes of characters that are easiest to animate; the workability of a background in relation to the action. This system is now in effect in some of the music rooms, to some extent at least. I think it can be carried even further in the future.

Correct scaling of a background and he characters that work with it: This is of utmost importance in the relation of characters to the background. Regardless of the exaggeration there may be in an action, the characters should still be in the fixed proportions already established in the backgrounds. A character in a room should not be animated too large or too small, making one feel when the scene is projected on the screen that something is wrong. There should be established a true sense of proportion in the animation of the characters used, to the background as a whole. A good example of what I mean is the Goof in MOVING DAY. He seemed to fit right into the room ... you felt there was a room around him; that he was not out of proportion to his surroundings.

Another thing to watch in drawing models for the animator is that a character's feet be firmly planted in whatever perspective the background may have. In the past there has been trouble in animating characters on a single line and not in perspective. Formerly everything animated more or less on a straight line [...]