2D BARRICADES! A CALL TO PRESERVATION

Refuse chocolate? What will power! image courtesy of  eveningnews24.co.uk

Refuse chocolate? What will power! image courtesy of eveningnews24.co.uk

Humans are complex beings. We can both love and loath something. We can be fascinated by the repulsive and eschew the desirable.

We see this on a daily basis in our own lives. We live in the country. We spend every sunny moment outside gardening, digging, building, cutting wood, clearing brush. But we work online. We love technology but hate the intrusions we permit it to make in our lives.

So it is with animation. There have been some really beautiful, heartwarming, and amusing 3D animated films in the past several years. And yet, when one sees a 3D animation of the Roadrunner & Wily E. Coyote, one can’t help but feel a sense of loss. I don’t mean mere nostalgia, but a true sense of loss.

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For all its wonder and beauty, 3D animation is largely derived through the use of technology. Wire frames, algorithms, and programs guide the characters through incredibly complex worlds. Sometimes, the technicians have to ‘dumb them down’ in order to keep from thoroughly blurring the line between animation and CG blended live action. (I refer to the now old tale of scaling back the character of Princess Fiona in the original Shrek movie.)

All this technology, appealing and engaging as it is, threatens to supplant a truly rich and wonderful history of 2D hand animation. Now, I’m no luddite but I am a historian. I believe that the preservation and continued practice of traditional craft and skill is critical. All too frequently we have to reinvent the wheel because we hastily cast off the old in favor of the new. As Joni Mitchell said, “… don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone…”

My Friend Totoro by Hayao Miyazaki - image courtesy of fanart.tv

My Friend Totoro by Hayao Miyazaki – image courtesy of fanart.tv

We’d hate to see 2D animation go the way of cursive and heavy lift rocketry. Sure, Hayao Miyazaki has done much to preserve the craft in Japan. But in this country, it seemed to be careening toward the abyss until lately. Hope has arisen for the preservation of 2D animation skills in a wonderful project known as Hullabaloo.

Now, thanks to the efforts of James Lopez (whose work includes The Lion King, Pocahontas, Paperman),  Rick Farmiloe (, the artist behind The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin) and other veteran Disney animators, there is a serious and concerted effort to keep the skill and tradition of 2D hand animation alive in this country. The best part is that Hullabaloo is an animated Steampunk tale, thanks to Lopez’s love of the genre. As Red Green’s nephew Harold would say, “Huh? How cool is that?”

Hullabaloo character - image courtesy of rotoscoper.com

Hullabaloo character – image courtesy of rotoscoper.com

These brilliant artists have struck out on their own to bring the project to fruition. With no studio behind them, they are relying entirely on crowd source funding. This is a wonderful synthesis of the progressive and the traditional.

The campaign began in late August and the goal is to raise $80,000 by October. They are about half way there but time is running out. We are appealing to you to join us in supporting this exciting and remarkable project. (SPOILER ALERT! They are a little over the goal now but every extra dollar brings them closer to a feature length film or an animated series. YES!) Please, tell your animation hungry friends, reblog this post, talk about it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and wherever you can. Forget the cool perks like access to ebooks, art books, actual animation cels, and the rest; do it for the love of the art.

Be sure to visit Rotoscopers Hullabaloo page and check out the wonderful interview with James Lopez. There are some gorgeous animated clips from the project!

Characters from Hullabaloo. I wonder which one is the villain? - image courtesy of rotoscopers.com

Characters from Hullabaloo. I wonder which one is the villain? – image courtesy of rotoscopers.com

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