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tesmeralda is Offline
Posts: 45
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: California, U.S.
Default 03-02-2005, 08:04 PM

Originally Posted by homer
Nice web site and great portfolio.

I had a question, since you have been working on animation as well as live action,
Which one did you find more rewarding?
Or what were the differences? (Freedom, speed, limitation…)
Ready for a loaded answer? First of all, I've worked almost entirely on Animated Features (like a 4 to 1 ratio, altough the live-action projects are catching up). Secondly, I've been trying to fight the "animation background painter" label for so long now that I almost didn't recognize the huge wave that is "The Golden Age of Computer Animated Features".

. . . are you with me still?

Here's some facts (imho): Animation is rewarding artistically because everything starts from scratch, and that gives artists & designers free reign to set up everything (lighting, color, mood, atmosphere) the way they see fit. Ever walk through the Visual Development/Art Department at an animation studio like Disney, Dreamworks, or Pixar (or looked through any "Art of" books)? It's candy for an artist. And the cool thing about the candy is that there is a good chance it will actually translate to final film.

Live Action is a different kind of reward: It's fun to play the role of magician! The reward comes from fooling the audience, but it's very challenging. You are restricted by a lot of factors: How good the photography (orginal plate photography) is, the amount of reality you are trying to create, and the ever-present problem of time. In live action speed is the name of the game, and "they" want it faster every time!

So, what's my answer? I don't know yet. The pace of live action took me by surprise, but if you can handle the speed it's a lot of fun - the turn-around time to the big screen is quick! Additionally, for myself, it's acknowledgement that I'm not only an animation BG painter. However, animated features are becoming more cinematic. The Incredibles! Even that last thing I worked on . . .

And yet again, look at where live action has gone: LOTR, Matrix, Sky Captain ? Do matte paintings need to look "photoreal" anymore?? Does anyone care??? [This discusssion came up while I was working on Riddick: The audiences love the "fantastic"]

This is why I ultimately don't have an answer for you yet, because the real question we should be asking is this: Is there a difference between live action and animation?

. . . go ahead and marinate on that for a little bit.

Thomas Esmeralda | Digital Matte Artist

website at:
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