Traditional Animation

What is it about classical, traditional animation that grabs our attention and pulls us in? Until the mid ‘80’s, the words “classical animation” conjured up one style of the art form – the old MGM cartoons, Disney films, or Warner Bros. classics like Bugs Bunny, or Sylvester & Tweety. All hand-drawn with pencil on paper.

But then came the digital age of animation, and suddenly there were options to classical animation. The word “animation” could now mean 3D, or it could mean digital 2D, and since that time, more and more of the animation we see is being produced with the aid of computers and software, some of it, very eye-catching. But something’s been lost in this technological advancement.

Computers do some things very well. They are precise, and when you see a digitally produced video, you can tell how it was made by the precision of the character’s movement. Digital 2D has thus far been used as a more economical replacement for traditional, hand-drawn 2D because the characters, once designed, can be much more quickly manipulated than they can using the traditional method of pencil on paper. However, they also tend to look more stiff, and are prone to movement that avoids rotations, or body parts moving away from and toward camera. This may sound like a subtle difference, but when you compare the flow of classical, traditionally animated character with that of a digitally manipulated character, the differences are readily apparent.

All of this may sound like someone arguing against evolution itself, and I don’t mean to convey that at all. Digital animation has its place. In the hands of a skilled animator, it can look truly exceptional, and due to its economical aspects, it is often the only viable option for video productions with small budgets. However, if the goal is full, natural movement in the 2D realm, traditional animation can’t be beat.

End Tag Animation: Church’s Chicken

Part of a four-spot package through Bayless Cronin, the campaign features the characters Full-Flavor, and Full Pockets, and was designed to emphasize convenience and value. They were traditionally hand animated, hand-inked, and cel shaded to match Church’s existing print campaign.

If you need end tag animation for an upcoming project, we’d love to talk with you. Simply email our Director, Bruce McFarlan bruce@rowboatanimation.com, or call us at 612-333-4619.

Lush Animation: Marshall Fields

We worked with Martin Williams Creative Director, Pam Mariutto, to produce a package of five holiday spots that highlighted various luxury items to be found at Marshall Field’s. The look of the spots, which needed to match the store’s collage-styled print campaign, incorporated photographic images along with animated elements against lush, cycling backgrounds. Traditionally animated, each frame was hand-inked and painted with subtle tone variations to mimic the look of oil paint on canvas.

If you need lush animation for an upcoming project, we’d love to talk with you. Simply email our Director, Bruce McFarlan bruce@rowboatanimation.com, or call us at 612-333-4619.

1950s Cartoon Style Animation: MN Lottery

Carmichael Lynch was looking for animation for a TV spot to promote the lottery’s new scratch-off game and to produce it in a style reminiscent of the great Tex Avery MGM cartoons of the 1940s and 1950s, with wild actions and slapstick hits. This is the type of assignment that most character animators drool over because, for an animator, there’s nothing quite so fun as animating big, over-the-top actions.

This cartoon style animation was produced using traditional, hand-drawn animation and hand inking.

If you need cartoon-style animation for an upcoming project, we’d love to talk with you. Simply email our Director, Bruce McFarlan bruce@rowboatanimation.com, or call us at 612-333-4619.

Comic Timing: Entre Lacs

These two could use some couples counseling.

Bozell Worldwide Canada Art Director, Benjamin Vendramin, wanted the three-spot package for the Canadian wine maker to have the look of a New Yorker editorial cartoon. We animated the spots traditionally and each drawing was then illustrated with soft pencil, and composited over the illustrated background. The finished animation was then digitally “averaged” to give the spot its soft, shimmery look. This one always catches people off-guard with its abrupt punchline.

If you need animation for an upcoming project, we’d love to talk with you. Simply email our Director, Bruce McFarlan bruce@rowboatanimation.com, or call us at 612-333-4619.

Theatrical Animation: Samsung

Our client wanted to introduce the world to Samsung’s Blue Seat campaign through this animated spot, to be shown in theaters prior to the feature. We used traditional, hand-drawn character animation for this re-telling of the classic David and Goliath story, but our version has a slightly different ending with a touch of good old cartoon irony.

Animated traditionally, hand-inked, and composited in AfterEffects.

If you need animation for a theatrical commercial, we’d love to talk with you. Simply email our Director, Bruce McFarlan bruce@rowboatanimation.com, or call us at 612-333-4619.

Classical Animation: Hershey’s Syrup

More than 70 years after they graced the screens of movie houses across the country, there is still something visually compelling about the style of the old animated theater “shorts”, and this spot is a nod to those great cartoons of the 1930s and ‘40s. Produced through DDB Worldwide, this classical animation spot uses a bottle of Hershey’s Syrup, an unassuming cow, and a little bird with a violent streak to illustrate how simple it is to make chocolate milk. One of a series of traditionally animated spots we created for Hershey’s Syrup.

If you’re looking for an animation company for an upcoming project, we’d love to talk with you. Simply email our Director, Bruce McFarlan bruce@rowboatanimation.com, or call us at 612-333-4619.