Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Charming


One of the interesting things about the web is that you can track which sites visitors to your site have come from. The majority of visitors here either come from animation sites that I'm familiar with or from Google searches of various types. Occasionally, I discover an animation site that is new to me.

Txesco is a Spanish animator who worked on the animation and direction of Pocoyo, a pre-school cgi series that is probably my favorite cgi ever done for television. I didn't know his involvement when I visited Txesco's site, but having seen his work, it makes total sense.

What I first saw was this piece of musical animation. There's no word to describe it except charming. In many ways, it is dead simple. The design is spare but elegant. The music is public domain and the musical arrangement is anything but fancy. The movement is not overly complex, but it does everything that good animation is supposed to do. The shapes change. That's one of the most basic things required in animation, but it's regularly forgotten. There is beautiful contrast in the timing; slow movements are placed against faster movements. Most of all, it is playful; the character's attitudes, poses and motions are fun to watch. The movement itself is entertaining.

Here's some other animation by Txesco that is also fun.

What I love about this work, and Pocoyo, is the back-to-basics approach. It is well designed, but the design doesn't overwhelm the motion as happens in so much TV work. The lack of dialogue prevents speech from being used as a crutch. This work relies on motion to entertain, and that is the heart of animation.

So much animation, especially on TV, is dull and literal. It truly is what Chuck Jones labeled it decades ago: illustrated radio. It doesn't have to be that way and artists like Txesco prove it by showing us a better way to do things.

7 comments:

Michael Sporn said...

The illustrated radio aspect doesn't bother me as much as the cynical and sarcastic attitude of most animation today - and I'm not just talking about tv. (In both trailers for Frog Princess and Up, characters do a sly take, breaking the fourth wall, to look out at the audience sharing a mocking tone of the other character on screen. Chuck Jones started it in a couple of cartoons, and no new cartoon can avoid it. There are plenty of new cliches in animation.)
I'd like to see stories that are told and not commented on by the film makers. Nastiness is everywhere. I haven't seen that in Pocoyo

/\/\ikeB said...

Thanks for sharing this Mark! His open project ideas are interesting too.

Pepe Sanchez said...

Yes Mark! I'm fully agree with you!!
Animation business needs more Txescos and less cliches

P

Txesco said...

Hi there!

Thank you very much for the praises. It is a real honor coming of a professional as you.

I have to say that Pocoyo was a project where i learned very much and that owes to the persons with big talent that were forming the team and the desires of doing it well.

And thank you again for the post of the bar-sheets and the metronome, without this post the animation of manolito dancing would not have been possible.

jriggity said...

excellent find!

super fun and inspireing stuff.

jriggity

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ChrisW said...

I love Pocoyo too (I even have a Pocoyo board book for my 1 year old sitting beside me as I write this). I show it to animation students regularly, to illustrate all sorts of fundamental concepts like blocking, staging, properly motivated camera moves, timing (in animation), art direction... I could go on and on.

And I very much agree with Michael Sporn- Pocoyo is completely lacking in smarmy, smart-ass attitude. It's a joyful and happy world, that at the same time never gets sappy. Not when there's grumpy Pato on hand.

As for the linked clip to Manolito dancing- yet again, we see something that's beautiful and touching to watch, but that's so simple and clean. Again, speaking as a teacher, I wish more students would consider making films that are this clean and simple, so as to allow them to focus on performance and creating lovely animation. So often students get lost in the "goo" of trying to create a mind-blowing masterpiece, filled with massive amounts of art direction, character design, environments, etc... that they literally forget that a character on a simple background can move an audience deeply. AND can be made to meet a deadline. Win, win.