Gulliver’s Travels (Max & Dave Fleischer, 1939)

It is interesting how animation has progressed in the early years. Guilliver’s Travels was one of the first animated films to use the technique of rotorscoping. Skip to 42mins onwards. You will notice Guilliver’s animation quite different from the other cartoon characters. That is because it was done by rotorscoping – tracing over a live action reference.

The obvious shortfall is that the animation looks very dead, compared to the traditional techniques. This is also a problem similar to mocap (motion capture), which makes animation look weird. Animation is about giving life. We can’t just trace over something from life action, just like how a photo looks amatuer until it has a good composition similar to painting.

But don’t criticize the films that used these technique (i.e Final Fantasy – The Spirits Within), because without them, we would not have advanced so much in knowledge about animation. Learn from nature, learn how to see, then do it right!


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