Monday, September 24, 2012

Superman V the Elite

So, it's been a long while since posting. Somewhat reluctantly, I am posting concepts for 'Superman v. the Elite.' It didn't exactly turn out how I had hoped, but I still had fun at the time.
   As a designer, coming off of the projects I had just completed, knowing what lied ahead and seeing some of what was going on around me I felt a need to change things up a bit. I was aiming for a look that lent itself to more squash & stretch and more fluid animation. Unfortunately, what resulted wasn't totally what I was hoping for. Sometimes, what is designed and who animates it aren't exactly proper fits.  Once I saw initial footage where too much anatomy was added, or subtleties weren't interpreted as I would have liked, I had a feeling the rest wouldn't exactly impress.
       This is not to say that the animation studio was to blame at all. On the contrary, some of the footage from overseas was spectacular. The fx shots that were delivered were stunning at times. The end sequence is pretty darned fun. The production just had a lot of speed bumps, to say the least. A change in scripts, directors, skeleton crew and scheduling issues, to name a few. It was all such a blur.
   So, if given the opportunity, in spite of all the negative comments about the look of this dtv ( I am well aware), and my design work being a primary reason why, would I change anything? Hmm....tough call. At the time, this is a style I wanted to explore. Looking back though, perhaps, in terms of story and tone,  a more 'realistic' style would have been more appropriate.
    Here then, are the initial Superman concepts presented. They range from cartoony to more 'realistic.' Obviously the one on the far left is the basis for what we went with.

© and TM WB Animation and DC Comics


River Bird Studios said...

Hey Jon, I am glad you are taking something positive from the experience, I think overall this movie looks very different from other ones and fits the tone of what the story is trying to do. I really like a few of the scenes including the last battle and the porch scene with Pa Kent. I think the final look of this designs amps up the impact of a Mad Superman, the contrast makes it louder. Keep up the experimentation and pushing the boundaries of what can be done is something that I personally always appreciated. I love what you guys did on DKR that was a tough one to do and I think you knocked out of the park.

jon suzuki said...

rbs- thank you so much for your comments. as far as 'elite' goes...some chunks of the animation far exceeds other sections...glad you enjoyed 'dkr.' part 2 should be kick ass.

Mr-Famicom91065 said...

A few things to ask/add.

1.How did you guys get TMS (under their Telecom unit as their the unit that dose the foreign stuff, but I'm just going to call them TMS through out the rest of this post) to do 2 DTVs at once (this along side Lauren's Justice League Doom) ?

2.Where did TMS outsource this to?; Japanese studios tend to ship stuff like this off to smaller/lesser studios (like Ajia Do for example), plus I did see a number of Korean and Chinese names on the credits, or dose TMS not tell you guys where they shipped off their stuff you guys give them?

As for the designs, I do respect your option, but TMS is best at "Fun" designs and that alone is why (at least in my option) Elite is better then Doom (First Flight was still the best one out of the whole TMS post Return of The Joker batch as of now, due to most of the output staying in Japan, better outsource studios for TMS and Kazuhide Tomonaga's direction on it made it a must buy, TMS's best DTV of all time is still How I Spent My Vacation) Yuichiro Yano's Doom was not his best work, bad outsourcing (Yano's main focus at the time was Moyashimon Returns, plus TMS only had 2 of their own staff members do key animation on it, the key animators are Kenji Hachizaki (another one of TMS's directors) and Yoshinobu Michihata, plus if you what to see Yano at his best, go watch The Great Wakkorotti, he did almost all of them but the last one, which Warners shiped off to Wang in Taiwan) and when Nobuo Tomizawa did your Elite, it's best not to waste there talents, the "C" designs will be better off at a studio like Madhouse or Production I.G, not TMS, at lest it ranks up there with Osamu Dezaki's Hamtaro (another TMS production, which they got from Shogakukan alongside Detective Conan) movies (and this is coming out of someone who likes Hamtaro), where there is some nice effects in there, it was mostly wasted (in fact, said movies used to be the poster child of wasted talent until Gainax's Panty and Stocking (when there are animation bumps every now and then, it's mostly just flat lifelessness from people who know much better) came out and made said movies look like Akira in comparison, I liked Elite better then Doom for the fun designs, Tomizawa's direction, more in house staff and better outsourcers (for the most part).

My favorite part was the post intro short that is a throwback to TMS's output in the 70's, when it's more simpler looking then the rest of the DTV, cartoony stuff like this is what TMS's Telecom unit is best at, leave the more realistic stuff at Moi or Lotto (or Madhouse or I.G if you have the budget), and leave TMS at what the studio is best at.

jon suzuki said...

mr fam- thanks for all the info. to answer your questions: 1. tms was supposed to do these dtvs one after the other, not simultaneously.
2. i am not sure where tms outsourced to. however, it does seem apparent that they did. the animation is fairly inconsistent.
as far as i know, the 'tms' that was on 'first flight' is not nearly the same crew as was on 'elite' or 'doom.' i think a lot has changed since then.
i look forward to checking out some of your recommendations here of tms' best work.

Mr-Famicom91065 said...

^ For TMS's staff for the 3 DTVs, hears how it gos.

Keiko Oyamada is the Supervising Director for all 3 DTVs, Oyamada came to TMS' Telecom unit out of A-Productions shortly before the studio split off from TMS to become Shin-Ei Doga (mostly know for Doraemon and Shin Chan) along side Atsuko Tanaka (who did do Key animation for First Flight) She, Koichi Suenaga (one of the animation directors to all 3 DTVs) and Atsuko Tanaka are the only (major) female directors at TMS' Telecom unit (Sawako Miyamoto mostly dose key animation, and when there are others like Yumiko Shirai who did do key animation , most of TMS' output is done by guys).

Yukio Suzuki was another supervisor director with Oyamada on your Elite, Suzuki is mostly know for his output for Spectrum (of Batman:TAS fame), he also did storyboards on Elite with Nobuo Tomizawa (who also did key animation on First Flight as well) as well.

Hiroshi Ishidore was a freelance director on First Flight, but Yuichiro Yano (which along side doing storyboards and directing Doom also did key animation on Elite as well) also worked on First Flight with Kazuhide Tomonaga (who also did storyboards on Doom and key animation on Elite) as well.

Other staff members on said DTVs include Hiroaki Noguchi (another animation director who worked on all 3 DTVs), Hisao Yokobori (key animator on First Flight and Elite and storyboards on Doom) Teiichi Takiguchi (key animator on First Flight and animation director on Doom and Elite), Toshihiko Masuda (The guy who replaced (pre Ghibli) Hayao Miyazaki's unit at Telecom after Miyazaki left to go over to Topcraft to do Nausicaa; Masuda did key animation on First Flight, storyboards on Doom (under the name Toshihiku Masuda) and was one of the animation directors on Elite) Yoshinobu Michihata (key animation for all 3 DTVs), Youichi Takada (under the name Yoichi Takata) (key animation for First Flight and animation director for Doom and Elite) and a few others, but I did spot a number of people who did work on all 3 DTVs.