Hello, I am new here having only just started working on a Japanese animated TV series. I am not new to animation however, having a 10 year long career already.
I am discussing payment among other things with this studio and was told that I’d receive 3000 yen per Layout and 2000 per original drawing (as far as the translation goes).
Can someone let me know what that means? Is that 3000 for a full LO and 2000 for a previously used LO with a new cel drawing or the base cost is 3000 and an additional 2000 per character?
I’m a bit lost on some of this new terminology. Any help would be much appreciated!
Sorry if this question has come up before.
Hello, I am new here having only just started working on a Japanese animated TV series. I am not new to animation however, having a 10 year long career already.
The layout is one sheet of paper for the cut that makes firm decisions on things relating to the layout - the camera composition, etc.
The genga is your key frames - the acting.
However, there are, needless to say, multiple angles of confusion, not just because of the difference in Japan vs Foreigner workflow and amount of work effort, but also the difference of low brow japanese work ethics vs the more formal japanese workflows - where layout and keys are taken more seriously with higher acuity. The production committees erected in this very recent era redefined vocabulary definitions to suit their looser set of quality standards and work ethic. That is the whole 2nd genga system described in the sakuga foundry videos. They are certainly not describing the more formal workflows which are now extremely rare.
This understanding of the distinctions between workflows has been obfuscated by modern cultural attitudes over the last few years, most often leading conversations to end in pluralistic statements which undermine the clear quality difference in results. Essentially, how the culture perceives it today has become completely warped, and this makes it hard to talk about. That you are entering it now, is unfortunate - and even more so, that you are entering as a foreign animator, where the basic disciplines that cultivate acuity, never existed in the first place.
I could tell you such that I work in a formal workflow, and there is no such thing as a “rough drawing” in typical western animation terms. Both the storyboards and layout having high acuity. However, if you went to a low studio with the 2nd genga system, you would think it to be loose, and you would become entirely confused, indoctrinated, and misconstrue the process to be ‘iterative refinement of loose drawings’ - instead of ‘sequential establishments of firm decisions relating to specific aspects at the appropriate time’. Since the western animator’s culture is usually this weaker process of iterating loose drawings (trial and error, thinking with the pencil instead of the brain), when they look at mainstream anime today, they will usually adopt the weaker low brow workflows in japan that are flooding the industry. (Not to mention, the studios that are more eager to higher you, are those low brow studios, which would be so sloppy to offer you such a role, without first having you master formal douga training.)
Because of problems like this, the only one who can give you a more specific answer for what workflow the project will use, is the studio themselves.
If you ask in general about pricing like this, without being more specific, you can’t get a specific answer. If you have a situation where a keyframe is 300 line count and it takes 1-2+ hours - and you actually take the craft seriously, then you would be receiving less than minimum wage. On the other hand, if you don’t take the craft seriously, the entire idea of accepting a role like that seems illogical, and it hints that you probably haven’t thought the whole thing through or just have low standards. - I for one, don’t want to see more low quality anime flood the market. I only want to watch good craft, and work with others who actually care as much as I do. I find the rest of it to be repulsive and degrading on the industry image.
So my answer is, don’t accept weak offers like that. Go train as a sincere douga artist from the beginning instead. Accept that all of your last 10 years of experience in western animation were disingenuous, and find a mentor who can get you to see that. If your mentor isn’t revealing such a condition in yourself, you can assume you are still in a low brow environment. I used to work with professional western artists at the top studios, and what I learned from them was very shallow, compared to what I know now. Raise your standards, and then the community can truly make great things.
Thank you for your well thought out reply, recommendations and even your negatively influenced opinions.
My question was directed towards the definition of “original drawing” If that refers to the process of animating extremes and breakdowns in the Japanese way which is defined as Genga that would be all I needed to know.
I’m sorry If I wasn’t clear in my query. I am quite familiar with the term layout and have worked on a “western” production, having seen the Striving for videos on Layout and E-conte that followed a process that runs paragon to a Japanese one, most likely because of the production being heavily influenced by Japanese culture.
I perceive that you are inaccurately and tragically comparing me to what sounds like a jaded and tiresome experience. I’ve cut my teeth on some of the biggest European 2D feature properties in the last 5 years so you shouldn’t be so presumptuous and worry too much about what I can offer to the production. I needn’t try proving myself to you, but would like confirmation on what was translated to be “original drawings”. I understand the pay is low, but my current situation and desires allow for it.
I am sorry that you see “western” animation, whatever that means as inferior and that the path to quality is linear and not a branching one. I wish you the best so that when you are older get to realise the qualities that all process, techniques and culturally influenced animated products can offer without being too blinded by your bias.
When you ask “what is meant by original drawings”, you are still not being specific enough.
Which company? What category of work pipeline are they? Low brow? Formal?
There are generally 2 main distinct definitions of ‘original drawings’ within Japan. It is easiest to generalize and label them as the ‘older formal processes’ vs ‘2nd genga processes’. But, we can no longer say “the Japanese way”, because the older Japanese way has been diluted such that the majority is now not the older Japanese way. Even in the previous anime eras when it was more Japanese, when reviewing history, you have to be specific as to the project and company, because there have been specific different processes. For example, Ghibli and Kyoto use different definitions of ‘original drawing’ and have conflicting protocols. What Ghibli needs you to submit would be rejected by Kyoto.
The 2nd genga process defines both ‘original drawing’ and ‘layout’ as something entirely different than some of the formal processes. You are required to submit entirely different things in your Cut folder. The very structural definition of formal genga is a stage in the protocol that is a part of making a key frame, but it is not directly a key frame entity itself. The real key frame entity results from the sequence through to douga, and this involves actions that are not the same as ‘cleanup’ in the west or in 2nd genga. When you attempt to simplify your understanding by trying to make it match the existing framework definition of ‘key frames’ that you already know, then you miss the vital purpose of the distinctions, as well as the premise that doing something in a certain way changes the result. (And that doing things in specific ways intentionally is an essential part of the process.) Formal high acuity genga does not correlate to a specific part of the process that was ever done in the west. Some Japanese studios do identify it as a key frame entity because when attempting to imitate the process, the understanding they skimmed from observing, was relatively more shallow. Other studios with the 2nd genga system, make what appear to be very loose animatics and call that genga too. Again, it is the case that they never were trained in the more formal protocols, they are not aware of the rational logic for why things are done, and they just went along with what felt easier for them to hedonistically do. They never learned what those protocols were and why those protocols were defined in the first place. Nor did they think deeply enough to be analytical, to verify by practical test, and to come to the realizations first hand.
So to go back a bit, in some more formal processes, the original drawings are a stage of the protocol to make a key frame, but as I said, they are not the key frame itself. In those formal processes, the stage of ‘original drawing’ is serving a very specific set of intents, one being to project the illusion of space in a certain specific manner as part of the genga stage (Because later in douga, that cognitive availability for spatial projection is consumed. Before genga, the cognitive availability was consumed with the layout). Of course another more obvious focus of the genga being acting. The previous and latter stages around the ‘original drawing’ each serve specific parts of the protocol. This allows more specificity and acuity from the beginning all the way through. What they call a rough drawing, is not a rough drawing at all, because they needed to make many certain clear decisions at each stage that would not be clear in loose drawings. And example of this, is how the layout must be specific enough to clearly denote the line art and lighting. You can’t do that at the same level of acuity with a loose drawing. When the 2nd genga system was introduced after the setup of low brow production committees, they lacked the specific knowledge of the logical reasoning behind the formal systems, and how they achieved such acuity, and so, being ignorant, they made a different system and reused the same vocabulary terms like ‘original drawing’ or ‘genga’, but then they imposed a new definition for them based on their surface interpretation of what was going on.
The 2nd genga system does not involve high acuity layouts before moving to genga. Layouts of that older kind were considered not important to them because they were often just going to doodle a stick figure jumping around, and only draw things they wanted to draw with a complete lack of discipline and composure. Because of this, what is called a ‘layout’ has now become very lost knowledge, even more than ‘original drawing’. When you further bring in the western animation ideologies of Disney/Pixar/Dreamworks layouts, this makes it even more obfuscated to see how the formal Japanese layouts were very different and were a part of a highly specific sequential logical protocol - and that the reason they were this way, had specific rationality for certain subtle aspects of the resulting quality.
Traditionally, japanese culture has a premise of “There is a right way to do something. One way is better than another, and we will find and select that way - We will do so at the sacrifice of individual hedonism in exchange for a result which can only be obtained by the group in this disciplined and organized manner. We do this because we believe the other way is wrong.”
There is much cultural history going on there to understand, because they came from a place where some of their neighbors were an extreme form of undisciplined hedonism, and they responded to that, by trying to adopt extreme discipline and correctness.
Formal anime workflows, arising from that culture were structurally designed based on logical reasoning of what would yield the best results. Further, the japanese definition of ‘attitude’, plays a significant role in the practical action steps of the workflow. There is much to be said about this, as it was still a factor of concern in some places like kyoto. (‘Attitude’ here is of course different from the idea of “negative attitude” or “positive attitude” that may normally come to mind) It is related to the concept of Seisha Seichu, true shooting, which is assessed and measured by a 2nd party. The 2nd party assesses and measures the end result, the paper, and what errors were made in the attitude that led to those errors. A very common one, being “coherency” - where all the lines are not really going together and evoking a specific intentional direction, tonality, etc. A person which doesn’t cohere the result completely in the mind before drawing, will often show measurable symptoms of this in the line logic. Adjacent common symptoms would be the collapse of the spatial depth illusions and vitality. Often the problems are over compensated for by flamboyant motion, and this is clearly measurable in the line logic too. The animation director is supposed to be competent in accurately assessing and being critical of these things, and to reject the ‘original drawings’ which fail. In a formal system, the animator must first go through intense douga training, where they learn these things first hand by such rejections until they stop making the same mistakes. The genga artist must carry the specific skills and mental frameworks from the douga training with them, or they will not draw genga that would be fit for approval. This was well known for a long time, because it was such an intense discipline. This type of discipline is not practiced in 2nd genga or the west.
If you approach that cultural setting with simplistic pluralism, of “There are multiple right ways, and my way is just as good as yours to make the key frame”, then you are at odds with the formal studios, and are actually disrespecting the older craftsmen in Japan who take that very seriously - even though they will just turn you away without deep explanation of the psychological phenomena. A more complex ideology of pluralism, would involve becoming aware of routes and consequences of those routes, and still being able to compare/contrast and select ‘the right one’ for that specific context. Simplistic pluralism, the production committees, and 2nd genga are noted to contribute a great amount the problems of the recent anime era in Japan. To understand the logical causality, we would have to spend even more time talking about the history and very specific circumstances and companies that led to this point. If you find it offensive in any way, then you may begin to understand why these conversations are troublesome. They are not meant to offend, but to describe and thus prevent common patterns from repeating. They may involve pointing the finger at core beliefs and ideologies and saying ‘this ideology has such and such limits, walls, and causes such and such consequences’, and as you saw in your response, you felt very offended and took it personally - even though it was not meant to offend you at all.
So still, when you ask ‘what do they mean by original drawings’, it can only be answered by knowing something about the company you are talking with, which general category they fall within, and what their specific variations on the process are.
Needless to say, the situation is even more complex than this, as I have simplified and generalized it, but the point of the matter for you, is to be more specific, so the definition of ‘original drawing’ and ‘layout’ that is specific to you and them, can be communicated without misconstrued notions.
If you say, “well actually it is this studio, such and such, Trigger, Kinema Citrus, etc”, you would then be able to understand what their definition of ‘original drawing’ is. If you also further clarified your intents and goals, you would also gain some more clarity about why you would choose one studio vs another in the current climate. But if you are vague, the only thing I can point out is the general industry circumstances that relate to why a vague question like this can’t be answered directly.
All I needed to know was that “original drawings” were part of the animation stage after layout. NOT an increase in price for every additional character, NOT a smaller pay based on simplicity of the scene, but the next stage in the process involving Genga. You’re right, I wasn’t asking a specific question, all I needed was a general answer as opposed to the history of animation in Japan told by someone who is so forcefully trying to feel superior.
It’s a well known studio and so is the franchise so most probably the original drawing stage they refer to would be after layout and consist of EXTREME DRAWINGS and BREAKDOWNS. And yes in “western” animation those would be very tight drawings (tie-down). Minor details are only minor and not part of the main question, any follow up advice would have been welcome at the right time minus the aggressively rude tone.
I’m afraid it’s painfully obvious the malicious intent of your previous post whether you realise it or not and has been flagged as such. Your presumptuous remarks that my last 10 years of career have been “disingenuous” and that my work is of low quality IS objectively insulting and your attempt to deter me from accepting a job is unwelcome so stop acting as a self proclaimed gatekeeper. Your presumptions are also based on a misguided and warped view of art outside of just one island that exists in the world, not of any evidence of my own draftsmanship or knowledge.
I hope you don’t go around the forums and speak like that to young motivated artists that hope to get into the anime industry because your words to those less easily perturbed than myself could be damaging for their future careers.
Thanks for the invite, I’ll certainly have a question or two to throw up on there.