Disney's unlimited self-plagiarism

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Disney's unlimited self-plagiarism

Post by human » Sat May 02, 2009 5:19 pm

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heyvern
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Post by heyvern » Sat May 02, 2009 6:03 pm

Holy cow. I am a bit shocked at the blatant reuse... not just reuse but obvious and complete "tracing" from those classics. Anyone of US could easily trace over our favorite animated films to save time and effort.

Many of the comments on that video tried to excuse Disney and say this is "common". Bull poopy. There is NO excuse for that . Those movies were decades apart. Doesn't matter if it is the same "company" the newer films ripped off the original artists hard work to "cut corners". They might as well have traced the animation from any other studios films. Same difference from an artistic point of view.

Maybe I am overreacting but I would expect Disney to try a little harder than Ed Wood.

-vern
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mkelley
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Post by mkelley » Sat May 02, 2009 6:21 pm

I dunno -- at first glance it appears to be much worse than it is.

Given that nearly all animators today still study and learn the basic walk cycles based on such seminal works as the Muybridge work it doesn't surprise me at all that many action sequences in the Disney pantheon are similar. We've long known that many Disney films used rotoscoping as a starting point for a lot of their stuff -- now it appears that a shorter cut was using existing animation. I don't see how that's particularly or inherently an evil process.

And... this video is far from definitive. It may or may not be true that this was done across the board, but from looking here all we can really be sure of is that in a few dance sequences, primarily in The Jungle Book and Robin Hood, movements were based on similar sequences. Given the literally hundreds of hours of animation done in Disney classics it's not a slam dunk by any means. I'd be far more surprised if someone *couldn't* put together such a sequence (for example, I can easily knit together a very similar process for any of the Warner's Brothers cartoons, who often lifted whole sections of previous animations to reuse).

Show me a similar film lasting an hour or more, encompassing far more than dance moves in two or three films, and I think I'd be in a better position to make a judgment as to how widespread the practice really was at Disney (not like I'm in any position to judge those animators at all :>)
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Post by synthsin75 » Sat May 02, 2009 7:00 pm

I know this may be sacrilege, but I've never been a big fan of Disney. Not for the animation, but for the stories. Disney films are basically musicals, and even as a kid I thought these segments were so much filler. Just a easier way to fill time (as opposed to having further story development).

Now it turns out that that is exactly what many of these were. Canned time fillers. I wouldn't be too harsh about the rotoscoping, but these films could have easily done without these segments. And probably to their benefit.
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Post by TheChewanater » Sat May 02, 2009 11:13 pm

And the animators for Hotel Mario did the same thing for just about every single animation.
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heyvern
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Post by heyvern » Sun May 03, 2009 1:07 am

Like I said Ed Wood made some very funny movies which contained "left overs" from other films. That was his "style" his claim to fame. He was not considered a good film maker. His movies are so bad they are good. The original animators at Disney animated everything they did. They didn't have other films to "copy" from. Yes they used live film reference but they did the work and learned from it.

Fast forward years later a bunch of LAZY ARSE animators decide to cheat? They cheat by directly copying from other artists. Watch the video again... the motions are EXACT copies. Even the characters are the "same size" and proportions. This means the scripts and character design had to plan ahead for that. They had to make that decision during the STORY BOARDING stage... probably during script writing. They don't just throw that stuff in at the last minute. They decided in advance to cut corners and hunt through their archive to find animated scenes that fit their storyline OR create the storyline to fit.

Do you think Bill Plimpton would be caught dead doing this type of thing? A one man animation studio?

What really annoys me about this is the "elitist" attitude of many "traditionally" trained animators who hold up Disney and that style of animation as the gold standard to follow. They look down their noses at other animators who use mocap or software and call it "cheating". Now as it turns out for better or worse direct copying is not cheating.

In my book you don't directly "copy" ANY work and call it original and unique. That's just lazy. I would never do it. Many artists would fall on their paint brushes before doing such a thing. It's embarrassing when an artist is caught "tracing" even from their own work. Like I said I was shocked at the exactness of the duplication. Very little additional work needs to be done when you copy that precisely. Very unskilled animators could do that.

Thank goodness it wasn't done as much as it might have been. Maybe these examples are aberrations but I bet there is a lot more we haven't seen.

-vern
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mkelley
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Post by mkelley » Sun May 03, 2009 1:52 am

Nah, still don't get it. Sounds like those folks who got all bent because Disney "staged" a lot of the wild animal sequences in their nature series. So what?

The ends justifies the means, and overall Disney animated features are still so far head and shoulders above anything else I don't know what the complaint is. Ooooo, they cut corners on their direct-to-video sequels, wow, they farm out a lot of that sort of animation to Korea (like the rest of the world) -- get over it. Remember that first and foremost there is a business in show business.

And, like I say, I really don't know if this is all that widespread (and would kind of doubt it given they rarely repeated themselves in storyline or characters).

And it's not as if Disney animators are the ones being so high and mighty about their craft -- Walt would have been the first one to admit the practicality in nearly everything they did (heck, the whole concept of his TV show was one big commercial ABC was willing to show just to promote Disney parks and animations). He was first and foremost a shrewd businessman, and I see nothing wrong in that.
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heyvern
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Post by heyvern » Sun May 03, 2009 4:30 am

I bet reusing animation in this way is NOT documented in ANY of the "Art of Disney" books or revealed in interviews of Disney animators as a legitimate technique for creating quality animation.

-vern
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synthsin75
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Post by synthsin75 » Sun May 03, 2009 4:40 am

Yeah, I was just thinking that. Out of all the "making of" sort of things I've seen from Disney, I've never heard anything about this. At the very least it goes to show what Disney must think of this practice themselves. They don't appear too proud of it.
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Post by dueyftw » Sun May 03, 2009 6:07 am

I met Plimpton last week and someone ask if he draws every frame. Answer NO. He also says he doesn't use computers. But his assistance scans and colors them -In a computer-

Four Chords, 36 Songs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4_f6pfabQk

Everyone has shortcuts and stuff get repeated.

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Post by Dodgy » Sun May 03, 2009 10:54 am

You mean no one else noticed this years ago? I thought everyone would have spotted this having watched Jungle book and Robin hood... This was back in the 70's when the Disney budgets were slashed, leading to cheats like this on the animation. I don't like them any less because of a little rotoscoping, that's how most of the Disney technique was learned after all.
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Post by slowtiger » Sun May 03, 2009 1:43 pm

Oh boy. Did any of those who get enraged here go back to the ticket booth and demand their 10% of the entrance fee back because animation was re-used? Did any of those react the same way to cookie cutter TV sitcom scripts?

Some complex dance scenes were carefully animated from life reference. The same reference was used years later for a different movie with different characters. I may like dance scenes or Disney songs, or I may hate it, but I don't care how they were created as long as they work in their context. And they do. I challenge any of the critics to try this himself: get a dance animation from an older Disney film and re-use it with different characters. It isn't that easy. You still have to draw each frame.
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Post by chucky » Sun May 03, 2009 2:05 pm

The end result is the only thing that counts when creating any illusion.
As long as no animals where harmed during the production, the source of the reference is irrelevant. :shock:
You guys sound like those people who claimed Leonardo was a ghoul and a sorcerer for examining anatomy.
I am quite surprised, especially the comments from some of our more mature contributing wizards, (names withheld) :wink: :
How do you think people animate things like crawling bananas anyway?
You have to rotoscope a real walking banana, otherwise it just can't be done!
Sequential offender.
my latest animations
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heyvern
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Post by heyvern » Sun May 03, 2009 4:28 pm

Possibly I overreacted just a tad. Let me explain why I feel the way I do.

As I watched that video I felt sad and disappointed. I had no idea that Disney did that kind of thing. I've always been under the false impression that Disney animators held THEMSELVES to a higher standard. Many times over the years Disney has cut corners in quality or production... but I always thought at least they focused the resources on the animation.

Like I said I felt disappointed. That was my initial reaction. I'm entitled to feel this way. I'm not "wrong" it's just how I feel.

By the way this was not "reuse of the reference"... this was blatant tracing of the animation. If all they did was reuse the reference they could have filmed NEW different reference. They used the same animation. It's quite different. The source of reference is not "irrelevant". Using a live or filmed source for reference is entirely different from copying.

It would be like if I felt lazy and reused a logo design or web site design for one of my clients. I wouldn't do that because it would be embarrassing and unprofessional and just plain "icky" (plus I couldn't get away with it anyway). The ends justify the means... great excuse. It is a bit of a let down and makes me feel a bit sad.

Is this the new standard now? I should just accept it because everyone does it? Great. Make my life easier.

p.s. I felt the same way about the saturday morning WB cartoons when they stitched together old classics with new crap animation to make a new story. As a kid I hated that crap.

-vern
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Post by slowtiger » Sun May 03, 2009 4:43 pm

It's not tracing. It's still creating new character animation, since it's a new character. I challenge everyone to just try it. It's still the same number of handmade drawings. The only work saved was the translation from reference material to animation, especially the timing.

I cannot blame the Disney studio for trying to cut some expenses. We all do that, every day. When I do a website, I don't invent a new navigation principle every time. I use what has proven to be good. I even use the same CSS template again, just with different colours and images. So?
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