Rhino's smears pic.twitter.com/LI4psAYwee
— ペドロ (@evandro_pedro96) May 28, 2019
- When we see western animators working remotely in the anime industry it’s often just for the L/O stage like we saw on this OPM episode. Of course, mileage will vary between different productions but do you think this is primarily a communication issue, where the back and forth between the animation director located in Japan and the key animator in the west, is just too tedious to facilitate the back-and-forth required for fully completing genga? A scheduling issue perhaps?
Ryan White: I’ve got a few opinions about this. (laughs) I think a lot of things could be improved upon, I find it very frustrating if I’m being honest how many things in the anime industry haven’t changed, out of what seems to be purely based on an unwillingness to change or experiment.
There are a lot of things that aren’t done certain ways simply because “They just aren’t”. Good communication is something I value strongly and is a huge contender too if I enjoy my work experience. I strongly believe production could improve a lot more if studios made a bigger effort on communication, and I feel like it would save them a lot of time, money, and work in the long run for spending more resources and thought on how communication is when outsourcing. Outsourcing is a lot more common these days, and so it wouldn’t be a bad investment. There are a lot of people who know more about this than me though, but that’s just how I’ve thought so far.
Tim: I’m really new in this scene so my answer is not backed by real experience. But in my opinion, L/O and genga requires different skill sets. While both Japanese and western animators learn from the Animator’s survival kit, their art style still differs greatly from each other because of the environment. Drawing on model at genga level requires more precision in terms of style, so I imagine it’s easier and faster for Japanese animators to work on top of our L/O just so the art style remains consistent. Again, please take this newbie’s answer with a grain of salt!
ZucchiniJuice: I have met the option to do genga for my LOs several times actually. Most of the time I just don’t want to do it. I just have too many things stacked up on my priority list. However, I believe the reason why we mainly do LO rather than genga is that with layout, you can make mistakes and someone will fix it. However, with genga mistakes in that stage of the pipeline is more detrimental. Many studios are hesitant of us internationals doing stages like genga simply because they don’t know how good our knowledge is of the pipeline and that we can do everything correctly. So, this is a negative of hiring international overseas webgen animators.
Hero: I think Japan lacks good action animators in general, and would rarely try to develop new skilled animators, so a well-animated action L/O might be enough to improve the quality of the show for battle scenes or climax. Animators from the west might not adopt the Japanese drawings too well, so I think their tactic would be having the studio work on the drawing quality while maintaining the movements.
- Do you feel the need for the industry to allow for better collaboration between overseas animators/artists in the current system?
Hero: I think a collaboration would be a good learning experience for both sides, I am not sure if it is needed, but I think doing so will definitely benefit both parties in the long term even if it would be a mess at first. But I think not many studios are willing or allow themselves to take that risky decision.
- This leads to our next question; do you see any of yourselves moving to Japan in the future to work on anime?
Julian B: It would be cool to work there in the future.
Ryan White: Hell no. (laughs) If I were to go to Japan, it would be to vacation or visit places of interest. Animation studios would be on that list, as I’d love to see some of the people who share my passion, and hear their experiences, and maybe learn from them, but I’m not stupid enough to submit myself to their work conditions. Maybe for a small amount of time at the very most, but I would never want that long term. It’d be nice to see the people you work with sometimes though; this job is very lonely.
Daniel Barón: Moving to Japan it’s not on my plans right now. My plans are to study cinematography and move to France.
Tim: I might be the only one but I don’t see myself moving to Japan in the future. But I haven’t yet traveled there, so who knows maybe I will stay just for the tsukemen.
Rio Rangel (riooo): I hope so!
Lzyboost: It’s something I like to dream about, maybe someday when stars align. (laughs)
ZucchiniJuice: Hmm, unlikely so. I wish to help spread anime more into a global medium into the west. Oh, and dear golly gee it is happening… and there will be people needed to be that bridge. I plan to be that bridge. 🙂 But most importantly I wouldn’t want to leave my cats behind.
Hero: Not quite for the long term but perhaps short term if such opportunity is given.
Yen’s action scene is so good, i see the cubes pic.twitter.com/SCA6JBK50T
— Evandro ペドロ (@evandro_pedro96) 28 de maio de 2019
- What software did you use for the different tasks? Has the improved Clip Studio Paint, so often mentioned by a lot of animators, found a concrete application in your recent work?
Julian B: I’ve always used flash/animate cc for animation. Clip Studio Paint seems good but I have an ape brain and I’m just too used to using flash.
Ryan White: I adore my Clip Studio, everyone should have it. (laughs) I don’t miss Flash in the slightest, it’s got a lot faster of a workflow perhaps, but the bad optimization and crappy layout are just too much for me to want to go back.
Clip Studio now has audio, which makes it too much of a powerhouse to even need other applications. It’s a 1-time payment as well, and it’s not that much money when it’s on sale. Adobe overcharges way too much anyway.
Daniel Barón: I mostly just use Flash, but I have used other software like Krita. I will probably start using Clip Studio Paint.
Tim: I used flash for everything. Waiting for CSP sale now to make the switch!
Rio Rangel (riooo): I use Flash CS6, I want to get into CSP but I am already comfortable with Flash.
Lzyboost: I used Flash when I first started animating. And started to use Clip Studio Paint EX earlier this year and now I exclusively use it, it’s an awesome program! It has so many useful features which make working faster.
ZucchiniJuice: Oh, Clip Studio Paint is so much better now for doing anime work. I always used CSP back when it was mainly called Manga Studio. So, when it started being capable of doing animation and becoming more industry apparent, oh it was so good.
I actually got to meet the CEO of Graphixly at Anime Expo 2018 too. (Clip Studio Paint’s western team.) I was at the clip studio paint section of the expo and he approached me because I looked like the only guy who knew what I was doing. (CSP is indeed not very easy to learn.) I told him that I do anime work for Studio LAN as I had my Studio LAN industry badge on me at AX and so we traded emails and he asked me for feedback. I asked for a camera, audio, and tweening. He replied that he’ll tell the development team. Months later that update came out with all such things! I was unlikely the sole cause of this update but I like to think so sometimes when laying down at bed at night. (laughs)
Hero: I have always used Adobe Flash for my work, but I have recently thought about switching to CSP.
Enjoy 😌 pic.twitter.com/NrynF49mI5
— Evandro ペドロ (@evandro_pedro96) 30 de maio de 2019
- Any advice for other web-based animators who want to get into the anime industry from overseas?
Julian B: Probably just post your work online
Ryan White: Find a friend who knows Japanese. (laughs) More importantly, study what others are doing, and make sure you work very hard at the basics and foundations. Constantly look at references too, it’s not cheating, it’s just being smart. Also make sure you don’t overwork yourself, as most of us have made it a bad habit.
Daniel Barón: Keep on posting your work online, try to meet as many animators and people as you can. Don’t wait for offers to come, you start looking for them.
Tim: Instead of web-based animators, I feel I’m more related to my fellow animators who work on tv shows in Canada, and a lot of them want to work on anime, may I have a tiny shout out to them instead? I know almost every 2d show produced in Canada now is symbol based, however, symbol animation is almost a different art-form on its own. But if you learned animation because of your love for anime, please don’t stop drawing! Keep animating by hand and have an online presence, there’s a fair amount of hand-drawn opportunity online, including anime.
Lzyboost: Yeah! Just post your stuff online, places where people can see it, Instagram, Twitter, etc. On Twitter you can participate the #animontly (created by Ross O’Donovan @RubberNinja), which is the 27th of each month, keep the streak going and use it as pushing yourself to get better and better each month, it helped me enormously to get better and noticed. I don’t know Japanese, but I know it will also help!
ZucchiniJuice: There are 4 things that you’ll need to do work in the anime industry in order of importance…
– you’re skilled. (obviously.)
– you know how to work in the anime pipeline. (Write xsheets, export your files correctly, and write proper notes.)
– you can draw in the anime style and have proof of it.
– you have friends and connections to refer you and confirm that you won’t screw over the production by suddenly disappearing or something.
These 4 things are very important and not having one of them puts you behind the competition drastically from what I’ve seen through my own experience. The rest is just luck! But remember, if you have a 1/100 chance of having something happen to you, just work hard enough so you can try 100 times.
Hero: I would recommend them to have a sustainable income source from elsewhere if they need to make a living. If they just want to be on shows from time to time, then it would be more safe option to do that, or at least at the beginning to get their work recognized, and until they eventually enter a contracted work.
To get in the industry now I think is much easier compared to the past, many production managers from Japan use social media to look for animators. I think Twitter is the best place for that, as long as they have a good portfolio, they can talk to the production manager and ask them if they are recruiting animators (understanding some Japanese is a plus, if not, google translate should do the job too) or leave their work email in the bio so that production managers might contact them.
- Do you have any funny or interesting stories to share while working on this particular project?
Julian B: Rio used some good references for his animation.
Ryan White: I’m trying to think of one I’m allowed to share hmm… (laughs) Working with the guys at LAN is a lot of fun, I think one funny thing is my friend Rio was struggling to animate the scene where Choze fires his head laser attack, so he had his little cousin do a weird headbang video for Rio to reference, and the pictures he showed us for it were hilarious.
Tim: I get to impress my younger brother and sister because they are all weebs like me!
Rio Rangel (riooo): One day we were screen sharing our work progress, I felt like I couldn’t draw properly at that time, I was really struggling so I called my cousin to use him as a reference. He really helped me out! His photo became a meme on our group chats for a day, he even became an easter egg on Chris/Yen’s latest personal animation.
ZucchiniJuice: I found it funny that we worked on a show that does a parody of One Punch Man, then a couple of months later we then worked on the show itself. (laughs) Other than that, I don’t really have any stories to tell.
Hero: We gathered a group of animators to watch the OPM episode to be aired on the TOKYO MX TV channel, but since the episode was delayed by an hour for the tennis match, we ended up watching tennis together for an hour.
- Any future projects or plans that you can share?
Julian B: I have a personal project I’m working on right now and hopefully it turns out ok.
Ryan White: I don’t think I have any I’m allowed to share, but I look forward to working hard and making something that people can enjoy and hopefully be inspired by.
Tim: I’m tabling in artist alley for a few cons, then I will dedicate my time animating, please look forward to it! よろしくお願いします!
Rio Rangel (riooo): I’m doing a personal project in my free time so please look forward to it in the near future!
Lzyboost: Unfortunately, I only have things I can’t share, (laughs) it’s cool stuff so please look forward to it! Thank you for the interview!
ZucchiniJuice: This is a very tempting question to answer, but unfortunately no, I do not have anything I can share at the moment. Sorry about that. However, thanks for the interview. I hope my questions will help.
For more of their work check out their sakugabooru page: