Action Analysis : Analysis and Discussion of Pole Vault and High Jump Action

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Page 8 of 13

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

[...] that moment the morale of the men working drops. And the
challenge to do good work disappears, and so it becomes much more
easier to pan it off and say, "Well, let's do it the mechanical
way. It's much easier and much cheaper." This is very clearly
illustrated in Snow White. There was a job to be done and it
had to be gotten out because the Studio needed money. So a
machine was perfected by means of which drawings were blown up.
Then along comes some ingenious devil who see that there is a
better way to do it. So now photostats are used. It is pos-
sible to put out photostats four every minute, or something
like that - it's almost instantaneous. It's insidious! The
feeling is that if an artist can get photostats and animate
mechanically, what's the use of learning how to draw? If one
or two men can work a photostat machine and another two men
can clean up the photostats, what's the use of a background in
drawing. There is the weakness of the blow-up machine. It's
good in a pinch, but it destroys morale.

Economically there is an interesting point presented too. The
bookkeepers in the front office say, "We've got to turn out
pictures and turn them out fast. We can use the blow-up machine.
We can get them out and the public won't know the difference."
On the other hand there is the years and years of training
necessary to make a good animator. If it comes to a decision -
if it is going to be the draftsman who does his work well, or a
machine that does it quickly, and the audience will never know
the difference - then in the end it is going to result in just
one thing - it is going to result in a naturalistic animation,
and if it results in naturalistic animation, animation is washed
up.

This a direct challenge to all draftsmen. The only thing an
artist has is the fact that he can do something that can't be
done with a machine. he should say to himself, "Am I going to
let a machine work me out of a job and a profession?" That is
what it is going to do, unless the artist keeps moving. It is
up to him. As long as jobs have to be done, and have to be done
economically, the rotoscope is the quickest way to do it, the
challenge will always be there. So it is up to the artist to
deliver. He must do a drawing and say, "See here - my drawing
may not be perfect as far as realism is concerned, but it has
a spirit the rotoscope can never give you."

This is exemplified in the feature again. When the dwarfs were
rotoscoped and it was found that this was not satisfactory, the
animators went right ahead and got what they wanted. The thought
is that if the same had been done on Snow White a better picture
would have resulted. If thousands of feet of Snow White's action
had been photographed and the animators had studied this natural ac-
tion, if they had drawn from her in the round for perhaps two hours
a day for six months, getting down and finding out what she actual-
ly looked like, her proportions, and how she acted and moved, then
it would have been possible to sit down, and with all this infor-
mation, animate freely. It seems logical to assume that [...]