Hollywood's most successful cartoon rabbit is getting his turn to shine in the new 3D entertainment medium, as Warner Bros has confirmed the making of a 3D Bugs Bunny movie. It won't be the first time Bugs has been on the big screen. In 2003 he made a silver screen success out of Looney Tunes: Back In Action, and who could forget the time he starred alongside Michael Jordan in Space Jam? We spoke to Alex Williams our new Animation Tutor to get his opinion on 3D characters and whether this means that the animation industry is changing for good.
1. What do you think about the idea of making traditional 2D Animation Characters 3D?
I don't have a problem with it at all. Bugs Bunny can be animated just as well now using 3D animation techniques as he can be using hand-drawn animation. The skill lies in how well the tools are used, not in the tools themselves. Brad Bird's work on The Incredibles at Pixar showed that CG rigs can accommodate old-school squash and stretch techniques in animation and still retain charm and beauty in the drawings. Warner Bros has already experimented with Bugs Bunny shorts using 3D techniques, with quite good results, so there is no reason to think it could not be done well.
2. Do you think this signals an end to 2D Animation in its original form?
Not at all. 2D animation is, if anything, making a comeback. Sylvain Chomet's Illusionist is a beautiful piece of work that is packed with stunning drawing and animation. As you watch it, you find yourself wanting to freeze frame the action and just admire the composition. It is a completely different beast from 3D animation and it is hard to imagine a film like that being done in 3D.
3. Do you think that it's still important to practice the traditional 2D Animation art form?
Absolutely. 2D animation is alive and kicking, though perhaps not quite so energetic as a commercial medium in the current marketplace. But John Lasseter is certainly backing it at Disney and he is making those choices for commercial reasons as well as creative ones.
4. Which 2D character would you like to see made 3D?
I believe there is talk of making a new Roger Rabbit movie using 3D techniques. I think that would be a great idea. The beauty of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" was that it was both artistically and technologically on the cutting edge of what was possible at the time, so it would seem appropriate to use the best existing CG technology to produce a sequel. CG is so good now that the animation could be done using 3D techniques and audiences would struggle to tell the difference.
5. Tell us a little bit about what's covered on our animation course and why it's important.
We have six weeks to cover all the basics of animation and also allow time for the students to create a short piece of work that allows them to showcase their skills. It's a pretty tight schedule and I try to pack as much as possible into the time we have. The course is heavily geared towards practical exercises; each one is designed to illustrate one or more principles of animation, and each exercise builds on the last. By the time we are done every student will have completed dozens of exercises; I firmly believe that we learn by watching and then doing, so the course is designed to be extremely intensive, and to develop the student's practical skills as far as possible. I want every student to emerge from the course with a solid understanding of animation principles and a great show reel. Click here to take a look at the course in more detail.