Scholarly article on topic 'The Analysis on Current Situation and Development Trend of Experimental Animation in Our Country'

The Analysis on Current Situation and Development Trend of Experimental Animation in Our Country Academic research paper on "Materials engineering"

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Energy Procedia
OECD Field of science
{"Experimental animation" / "Current situation" / "Development trend"}

Abstract of research paper on Materials engineering, author of scientific article — Zhang Ruirui, Wang Di

Abstract Compared with the rapid development of substantial non-mainstream experimental animation short films abroad, domestic experimental animation has many deficiencies in artistry and ideological content. Generally, artists prefer to apply collage and diverting concept of postmodern theory into their animation creations, borrowing abundant fashion elements, so that less and less pure expression of certain ideas and emotions are presented in animation short films. To look ahead, experimental animation in our country would carry out more explorations on expression forms, methods and media etc, and more inspirations and nutrition would be draw from Chinese traditional culture in terms of subject selection and theme expression.

Academic research paper on topic "The Analysis on Current Situation and Development Trend of Experimental Animation in Our Country"

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Energy Procedia 17 (2012) 1314 - 1318

2012 International Conference on Future Electrical Power and Energy Systems

The Analysis on Current Situation and Development Trend of Experimental Animation in Our Country

Zhang Ruirui, Wang Di

School of Arts & Design.HuBei University of Technology ,Wuhan, China


Compared with the rapid development of substantial non-mainstream experimental animation short films abroad, domestic experimental animation has many deficiencies in artistry and ideological content. Generally, artists prefer to apply collage and diverting concept of postmodern theory into their animation creations, borrowing abundant fashion elements, so that less and less pure expression of certain ideas and emotions are presented in animation short films. To look ahead, experimental animation in our country would carry out more explorations on expression forms, methods and media etc, and more inspirations and nutrition would be draw from Chinese traditional culture in terms of subject selection and theme expression.

© 20121 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or pe er-review under responsibility oof Hainan University.

Keywords:Experimental animation; Current situation; Development trend


Experimental animation, also called as art animation or animation short film, is an animated form of art opposite to mainstream animation. Exploratory and pioneer characteristics are main features in forms and contents, and unique styles and artistic conceptions are reflected by artists through their various trails in terms of presentation skills, different forms and media etc. These years, experimental animation has developed rapidly all over the world. Artists give full play to their imagination, breaking the barriers between different categories in art, and then a large number of experimental animation works are created. This paper analyzes the current situation and development trend of domestic experimental animation and look forward to facilitate the development of experimental animation career.

1876-6102 © 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of Hainan University. doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2012.02.245

2.The Current Situation of Experimental Animation in Our Country

Experimental animation boomed quite early in western countries with very accurate theoretic research involved while there is deficient study in China, nonetheless, animation industry is developed with increasing support in recent years. Although animation manufacturing bases of national level are established in many places, experimental animation is valued without enough attention and it is still of difficulty and blindness for creation and transmission. For example, various domestic theoretic works do not defined Experimental Animation in a uniform and standard way, and there are few professional books related to it. Some works may have mentioned the concept but it has not treat experimental animation as the major research object. Additionally, it is widely accepted in academic community that due to the technology, system, cultural tradition and ideology etc, the development of experimental animation in our country is relatively circuitous with not only climax and art works but development of low and silence as well.

Actually, experimental animation is not as complicated as the commercial one. When start the animation production, we would take into account issues like animation material quality, methods and investment etc, however, the material quality is almost unlimited and applicable types are beyond man's imagination. Ranging from kitchenware to vegetables or fruits, stone and mud etc, the most inconspicuous stuff in the daily life would become the actor in experimental animations. Therefore, its investment is much lesser in comparison with the expensive commercial animation.

Firstly let us check out the previous experimental animations. From the establishment of Shanghai Animation Film Studio in 1957 to the occurrence of Cultural Revolution as well as 1980s, animation industry including the experimental animation had experienced 2 climaxes. With unremitting pursuits of national styles and characteristics, animation artists have found substantial inspirations from Chinese traditional painting, opera and folk music etc and thus created many animation manufacturing technologies of Chinese characteristics such as Chinese ink, paper-cut, shadow figures and puppet etc as well as a large amount of outstanding animation works of Chinese national style. For example, Chinese ink animation films like Little Tadpoles Find Mother (1960), Reed Pipe (1963) and Love of Mountain and Water (1988) have directly applied the unique form of ink and wash painting and paid attention to the visual verve and freehand characteristic. The Fishing Child (1959), Golden Conch (1963) and Cattle Injustice (1989) have referenced the exterior forms of Chinese shadow puppet and folk paper-cut, and Pride General (1956) and Three Monks (1980) have utilized traditional arts' manifestations like Chinese painting and traditional opera. All of these are featured with vivid experimental animation's characteristics and belong to the experimental animation category.

However, ever after 1990's, with the increasingly frequent development of international cultural communication, the influences exerted from the commercial animations in America and Japan to the animations creation of China became ever greater. Lotus Lantern ( in 1999), The Butterfly Lovers (2003) and other domestic animations absorbed a great deal of narrative elements of the foreign animations, but they were not properly applied , moreover, they gave the audiences a paradoxical feeling not only in the aspect of style designs, but also in plots.

Only from the perspective of experimental animation, comparing with the rapid development of a large amount of non-mainstream experimental animations in overseas, the experimental animations of China both in the artistry and ideological content aspects have presented many defects.

Firstly, with the flourishing development of the heavy input and high yield American and Japanese animations, people seems to have already forgotten those experimental animations gradually which full of creation spirits. And in this computer animation era, many people hold the idea that the only way for the animation is to use the high-end 3D computer animation production software, plus abundant capital. While those artists who still continue their experimental animation creation, mainly apply the collage, appropriation concepts in the postmodern theory to their own animation creation processes, and the fashion elements are borrowed in a large scale, together with the application of the multi-media that combines the materials, images and animations, thus it becomes one of important characteristics of the contemporary experimental animation in China.

The highly developed computer technology, on the one hand, makes the experimental animation production become more convenience, but on the other hand, it also cause the trouble that many animation creation processes rely on the effect of the computer software, what's more, many of them lay their emphasis on the performance technology, gorgeous audio and visual effect as well as the virtual image, but it ignores the sprits of creativity and freedom in the creation process of the animations. Meanwhile, the adaptation to the new technology as well as new technology application have already taken the animation artists a lot of valuable time, so that the experimental upsurge has become the upsurge of the technology. Thus, the works which come out from the inner hearts of human beings become less and less, and people who are willing to give up the realistic fame and gain to devote themselves into the arts study for experimental purpose become less and less as well.

In the second place, the number of the animation artistic short films which purely present certain concept and emotion becomes less and less. The meaning of the "Experiment" is not only refers to the attempt and innovation, but also refers to such kind of sprit as independent thinking, self -expression and prevalent custom refusal. As to the experimental animation creation in many western countries, quite a few of the creators are influenced by the surrealism, they breakthrough the surface of the matters and trip over the reality, while return to the exploration of inner desire and aim at showing the true feelings of their own souls as well as the subconscious, and not just be limited to the expression of the creation forms as well , they base on the creation desire, and generate a lot of innovation artist feelings from experiments. Meanwhile, most of the animation short films in the western countries are open to the teenagers. The experimental animation in China, as to the aspect of artistry, has made a large amount of explorations, but in the aspects of experimental and abstraction, they are almost blank, this, to a large extend limits the imaginations of the animation creators in China.

Generally, the experimental animation has relatively complete plots in China, with more refining story structure, except of some abstract experimental films. It is not restricted by the commercial aspects, but is an independent and individual creation, which focuses on the individuation and style, with the main feature—pioneer sense. Because it is not restricted and restrained by the commercial production model, replying on the unique perspectives and representation, many animation artists are devoted to create experimental animations and convey their artistic idea to the audiences. Because they are mainly individual creations, which do not consider the commercial aspects and its production model is different to the major commercial animation films, these animation works are named as "non-mainstream animation"; but from the angle of animation artists' individualized creation, these short films are also called as "author animation"; because some animation short films have strong artistry, they are referred as " artistic animations". The experimental animation not only seeks for the innovation of artistic form, but also its connotation reflects the artistic conception and philosophic thinking of the authors. From the angle of the audiences, it not only designed for the children. Thus, it is also named as "adult animation". For these years, the experimental animation has no other propagation paths and forums, except of a variety of awards and international animation festivals. Due to lacking of the originality in front of the predecessors, only the difference of the full-length films and short films are left. In addition, many artists have not enough time, vigor and capital source, which causes the reduction and contraction of the experimental animation gradually. And all of these are abnormal. As the prophase of the finished commercial animation, sometimes the experimental animation gives a picture and an abstract expressing intention to the people. Frequently, the experimental animation can not attract the audiences and bring high box-office at once. And the creators do not aim at those to create the experimental animation. The explorations and experiences will carve out a way for the maturity and development of the commercial animation, which is the resource to bring surprises and inspirations to the people continuously. However, many experimental animation directors can not gain social acceptance, because as an individual creation, the social influence and propagation effect of the experimental animation are not good as the commercial animation. Currently, only some experimental editors are recognized as a part of the intellectual circles by the authority in a few foreign countries, such as Croatia and Russia. Early in the 1950s, Chinese animation has formed a bright collective style. But the individual style of the artists is not developed correspondingly. Today, China is experiencing the impact of modern economic trend and confronting with the challenges of new values. Previously, Chinese animation circle tried to give up the nationalization and even took the over-tradition as

the reason for the non-development of Chinese experimental animation. All of these are inadvisable. Three Monks is a successful example, which was created by Adda in the early 1980s. "Although it is penetrated with western modern factors, fundamentally, it is belonging to other kinds of tradition, which stresses the spirituality of Chinese culture and adopts the innovation of narrative structure and artistic method. But it do not touch the style noumenon, on the contrary, it enriches the traditional style." The nationalization style not means the accumulation of Chinese elements. Although the short films have some Chinese elements definitely, only Chinese elements can not interpret the artistic concepts of China. Therefore, our traditional arts and folk arts are the unlimited artistic source for us to create the short films.

Lastly, in recent years, many pretty good innovative experimental animations have appeared in China, for example: Tiling a layer of silver sand on the glass board, and walking unconsciously with one's hand and the pen-holder of brush, and after this, the surface of the sand will leave layers with different depths, the light under the glass board reflects the golden light and shade effect of the sand particles, and the surface of the sand first displays the single line, then extends to the plane or cube, thus reminds people of flow of the seawater , weather changes of the land and the sand experimental animations Smack (flavor) which displays the sand and stone flying effect under the feet of the animals when they are running, and still the water animation which is under the research, as well as a large amount of interactive experimental animations in many colleges. And both these changes in materials and these style changes which occur as the development of the computer are the indicators for the coming of the new chapter in the experimental animation of China.

3.Development Tendency of Chinese Experimental Animations

3.1.Chinese experimental animations will make more explorations in the aspects of expression forms, means and media of the animations.

The animation creation is the time comprehensive art outmatching above the vision and audition and is born with the composite of other arts. From the initial single-frame shooting animation to soil animation, doll animation, sand animation, to the present electronic digital technology of multimedia animation, from traditional two-dimensional animation (oil painting, paper-cut, Chinese painting, lacquer painting, line drawing, block print, stereo sculpture) to the present increasingly prevailing three-dimensional digital animation, from the silent animation to the sound animation, from the realistic and concrete animation to the semi-realistic and pure abstract animation, the experimental animation artists should attempt to these creative modes of the experimental animations, and meanwhile explore more and better animation art expression forms positively.

With the development of the internet technology and computer multimedia technology, the experimental animations break the former established creative concepts and extend the possibility of interaction. The creators can lead the audiences into the creative world with the assistance of technological means. Due to the fastness and convenience of the internet transmission, the creation publication can break the traditional forms to obtain more extensive propagations, and acquire massive as well as prompt feedback opinions to shape strong interactivity.

3.2.Chinese experimental animations will even more draw inspirations and nourishments from Chinese traditional culture in the aspects of selecting the themes and conveying the subjects.

Chinese animations have emerged the resplendence just because a lot of outstanding animation art workers daringly attempted and inherited extensive as well as profound Chinese traditional culture, especially reflecting in the learning and application of artistic expressions of traditional folk materials. The splendid and long Chinese civilization provides inexhaustible materials and sources for creating experimental animations, for instance, the abundant folk legends, folk rhymes, fairy tales and folk customs in Chinese civilization are all wonderful resources for our story creation and plot laying. The animation art

in China always has the profound cultural implication and unique nationalistic characteristics, and the tendentiousness of the theme selection makes the film contents presenting the unique nationalistic style.

3.3.The author considers that the theme selections of future experimental animations in our country can be classified into three types:

Firstly, fairy tales and folk legends. China is acknowledged as an ancient civilization with profound cultural implication and long history all over the world. The fairy tales and excellent folk legends spreading from different nationalities are as vast as a misty ocean, which provide plentiful materials for creating experimental animations.

Furthermore , idioms and fables. In China the fable type animations have ever held half part of the animation creation. For example, Three Monks is from a widely known folk proverb in China which is One boy is a boy, two boys half boy, three boys no boy, thus the artist compiles an interesting story and subverts the original ending with brand new conceptions to enlighten the people on cultivating the diligent as well as studious and cooperation spirits from childhood.

Finnaly, realistic theme. The realistic theme works make the people produce the sense of identity easily and also are accepted by the public easily. Going deep into the thick of life and discovering the creation themes from the reality are important aspects of experimental animation cinema art creation. Meanwhile the animation creators should combine the abundant life experience with active thinking, and go deep into the life to discover the creation inspirations and establish the creation thoughts by grasping the pulse of the times tightly. The truth that art originates from life always has the enlightening significance. Only then can we create more and better high quality works of contemporary experimental animation with times features, Chinese characteristics and advantages.


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