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It's Better To Animate a Film Alone, Even If It Takes Years (vice.com)
227 points by curtis on Mar 20, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 104 comments

Nick DiLiberto's work is incredibly inspiring and shows you the power of discipline and long-term planning. Years ago my university featured a talk with solo traditional animators. It's a grueling life. You wake up, start to draw, eat, go back to drawing, sleep. Repeat for x months/years. Indie hand-drawn shorts are a popular niche in France and, to a lesser degree, in Italy.

Via Curiel, 8 (10min short) required 2 years of work and more than 4000 hand-made acrylic drawings. https://vimeo.com/141520314 Animation is not my field, but it's interesting nonetheless.

"An hour of my animation is made up of about twenty small films, twenty years of work and thirtyfive-thousand drawings" – Simone Massi http://www.simonemassi.it/index.php?menuid=3

It's a grueling life. You wake up, start to draw, eat, go back to drawing, sleep. Repeat for x months/years.

That's exactly what it is. Animation is kind of my field. My friend and colleague is just now finishing his ~12 minute short (hand-drawn with cats (quadrupeds animation ffs)) which I've helped him with on some of the shots and co-directed it. It's now in editing and scoring. It took him around three years. Day in and day out the cycle you've described. It's a tough life, mostly battling yourself.

On a semi-related note, most of the animation was drawn in Harmony on a Cintiq... yet, in final stages of animation he decided to give Krita a spin (Harmony had some issues). Looks like Krita is good enough (for him) to be used in place of Harmony for next projects. He says it's better even in most cases.

As somebody that worked on a bleeding edge animation software and its most complex algorithms, do you think a bit of a workflow adjustment utilizing deep learning in sense of pre-training possible actions you want to do with your characters, then allow shape morphing between hand-drawn character keyframes, and then simply tell the software using voice what you want to end up with would alleviate the pain of producing an animation? Of course, small adjustments would be needed to do manually, but the rough scene building can be made much faster.

It all depends on the style of animation. For software there are four areas I see as key to animation where it can help. I'm talking about hand-drawn 2D animation here.

1. Workflow - we've seen that since 90s when animation software became available to general public. First we've made paper to screen workflow available with (softimage) Toonz! and alike where workflow was draw on paper, scan and then check, ink, color on computer. Later on everything became digital and workflow is now, more or less, well understood. I'm not sure if you can make the workflow more approachable unless you redefine animation process. Integration with stuff like Shotgun for project tracking and stuff like that could help, but it's not related to animation itself as much as project management.

2. Technique - computers, obviously, helped pioneer new techniques like 3D, 3D with toon shading, and 'rigged' 2D puppets. Along with numerous special effects that stem from compositing world.

3. Utility while drawing - this is where most innovation came about when helping out hand-drawn animation. Now that drawing is digital, we've seen tools that help a lot. Like 'lazy mouse' approach to semi-automatic curve control while drawing, help while coloring (otherwise a boring task), etc.

4. Utility while animating - this is what you are talking about. It depends deeply on whether you want that style or not, I guess. I know a lot of animators are excited about possible advancements in this department. Basically, drawing a character 'set', if you will, in different poses and viewing angles, rigging them and then puppeteering then with manipulating bones and not drawing everything from scratch each time. It limits what you can do, but at the same time opens up volume production on a small resources scale. Now, there's a trend towards innovating tools you're talking about, where computer manipulates the rig for you based on your indirect input and not only by you manipulating the rig. Character studio from Adobe (in beta still) shows what this is about. I'm excited for this and tools like that. Challenge still is to not have everything produced like that have a certain (same) style to it.

edit: you've said you were in animation software. My speciality is more 3D - if you remember SEGA's Animanium... that's what's missing these days. I wonder why it never had a success when it came out. Animanium paired with dead easy rigging would make a splash. Also, something like that, but that allows for real time puppeteering on a touch surface (tablet or whatever) would help A LOT. For example, a rig with controls where you can animate in real time multiple control points at the same time... record that... then do another run where you animate only one point, etc. It's amazing something like that doesn't exist yet. I know you can do it in 3dsmax to an extent, but not really.

I think the Krita folks would love to interview him for their blog.

I didn't even know they had a blog! He's a seasoned vet in hand-drawn animation. Now that his short is almost out, it would be a perfect opportunity.

Reminds me of the grind a professional poker player goes through. Every day, wake up, play poker for 10-15 hours, study for ~5 hours, sleep. There's a reason they call it the grind, and why there are very few overall winning players, despite plenty of smart individuals playing.

My friend is a poker pro, and his life is nowhere like this. I'd say he plays maybe 100-120 hours per month. He's been a pro for 10 years now. His cost of living are low though (about $1500 per month).

With the advent of machines beating poker players, do you see pro poker players rethinking their careers?

The machines are only starting to beat people in HU (that is, the two player variant of poker). What most people play is 6 or 10 people variant, where complexity goes through the roof. Additionally, those AIs (unless there's some novel development that I'm missing) are about play game-theoretically optimal (GTO) strategy, which won't do that well in real casino setting - because most profits for professional players come from "fishes" (amateurs making terrible plays), whose weaknesses they map and ruthlessly exploit. A GTO bot is unable to do that.

Parks & Recreation joke about doing 3 weeks of animation work:


It's funny because it's true!

I always thought that after photoshop/illustrator a lot of work is done with computers (layers and separating parts for movement etc). For example, if someone is running through a field I presumed the grass/trees would be 10-20 frames repeated, the clouds would just be "shifted", and the sun's change in colors would be "automated" with a computer.

Do artists still have to redraw large parts of every image still?

Almost all 'traditional' animation you see is put together almost entirely using computers. Even pre-computers people would paint a background once and then paint each part that moved on transparent plastic or glass and layer it all on top of each other (sometimes each body part of each charter would be on its own layer so that you could keep the body still while just moving one arm for example).

There is however a movement that rejects all that for entirely artistic reasons, and insist on painting each frame from scratch by hand. Doing so gives the animation a really unique (and in my opinion cool) look that is hard to mimic using computers. However it is extremely labor intensive and is basically only used for short animations done entirely as labors of love.

If you want to see an amazing example of what hand painted frame-by-frame animation can really do take a look at The Old Man and the Sea from 1999 by Aleksandr Petrov [1]

Almost 30,000 frames, painted by hand on glass, producing probably some of the most visually striking animation you are likely to see.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnZD6RBt9S0

First thing that came to my mind. I remember, when it won an Oscar, seeing it and thinking 'no f way'.

>> Even pre-computers people would paint a background once and then paint each part that moved on transparent plastic or glass and layer it all on top of each other

Older cartoons are easy examples of this. The ones where you can spot the parts to be animated because they are lighter in color than the rest of the frame. This is due to the layering of animated over background. Modern workflows in computers has more-or-less eliminated this visual flaw.

Reason isn't technological. It has to do with background being static and shaded (painted like that) while animation cels are painted flat and overlaid like that. Cels could be shaded as well, but getting the shading right for each and every frame would be extremely time intensive task and a big if if it could be done at all by hand. Newer cartoons have opted for more flat shading in the background, so it kind of looks the same to the animated parts.

>> Reason isn't technological.

I would say that was the technology of the time. A common cause of this problem was that the cells were often not completely transparent. So the differences became more apparent as more layers were stacked. I guess we could agree that maybe they used a cheaper version of the technology.

Newer cartoons don't have to use the flat shading on backgrounds method because today's technology is different than the past. Cartoons of today can be drawn and shaded however the artists wish and they will not be limited by the cell layering method. Unless, their production methods force the issue, which is still possible.

But you are correct there ways to overcome the problems of the layering method, but it wasn't worth doing for most projects at the time.

It isn't due to transparency of cels. They were transparent back then too (you can buy ye olde cels from productions and see on youtube how it was done in ye olde days). I did in-betweening and later layout for years, first by hand and later on computers.

It's simply due to when you paint your cel, you can either paint it flat (like a bucket fill) or shade it when you paint. You get an inked one (photocopied) where ink is on one side, you flip it over and paint behind the ink lines. When you paint, you paint as anything else, thus you can shade it. However, keeping shading consistent and in motion between each frame (frame, not keyframe, since you're painting in-betweens as well) is mission impossible task. It's extremely intensive process which is 'dancing' around because you can't keep shading consistent. What you will get is what someone else has linked here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnZD6RBt9S0 this was oil painted/shaded per frame.

Depends on the animation style and needs. In general though, hero animation is not repeating, except in few cases where you can recycle walk cycles or other animations - where you recycle whole animation of a 'cel'. For everything else, that's not hero, everything's game. If it looks good and you can get away with it, you do it.

That vimeo short looks like it was exactly as grueling as he wanted it to be. I mean, he spent several seconds looking at a motionless room at, what, 5 fps?

Don't get me wrong, I've spent hundreds of dollars building a third-rate home security system from scratch, and it's almost to a useable state. But it's hard because I want to do it the hard way. I could have something much, much better for less money if I was actually focused on building quality efficiently.

On the topic of home security systems, have you watched Home Alone with localhost(https://youtu.be/zkzlc76wJ6k)? It covers someone else building their own security system.

No, but that's awesome. Thanks!

Yea, I haven't finished anything, but at various times I've played around with animation. He was using full-frame ( AKA animating the entire frame instead of just the moving pieces) for a ton of shots where its not only unnecessary, but also detrimental to image quality. For example, the bookshelf looked all fuzzy/shaky. If he just drew a single frame and cloned it enough for several seconds, the shakiness would disappear.

That being said, overall I enjoyed the short film. He's got a lot of talent and dedication.

The difference is that your home security system is not an artistic expression.

I beg to differ, in the most strenuous terms. I've designed the web app, flowcharted the behavior, and even used fiverr to get a woman with a lovely british accent to record all the voice feedback. I am extremely proud of what I've built, and I show it to everyone who visits.

One of the components of my system is a computer that can literally do 90% of the functions I want, but I'm just using it as a dumb proxy.

Just because my art can do something does not mean it's not art.

Where did you draw that line?

Where the security system has a practical use outside of existing.

The notion that the only expression which can be artistic are those which are without value or purpose is bullshit.

Architects (as an example) combine art and utility. One doesn't exclude the other.

Indeed they do not exclude each other but they are also not the same thing.

Plenty of art is educational, and therefore has a practical purpose. In fact, I'd argue a lot of art is functional.

Your line is wrong.

That's not where artists themselves draw the line, despite the fact that it describes a large percentage of artwork.

The linked video appears to be a purely artistic expression, the comparison it to a home security system is not applicable.

Why not? If the security system includes artistic elements, I don't see why you couldn't compare those elements to something else that's purely artistic expression.

At the very least, it's valid to compare them on the level of work that goes into each, compared to the benefit that each provides (in one case, a functional security system, and in the other, a piece of entertainment).

If the primary purpose is utilitarian then it's not art, it's decoration. Art is its own justification. adding a little flair doesn't make you an artist.

I'd say that the motives of the creator have more to do with it than any real or potential use the item in question has. If I pay a bunch of time and money to create a crappy security system, am I doing it to have a security system? Or to have created something for the joy of it? Probably a little of both, but if objects of higher utility are available for cheaper (both time and money), then how are you going to argue that utility is the primary purpose?

I was excited to watch the first, but it gave me a bit of motion sickness. I'm sad because it looked nice.

That's one hell of an accomplishment, to be sure. But I take great issue with the headline. What's better about it? The guy was wearing basically a hand-cast to let him draw through the injury he was inflicting to himself with that workload. The animation itself doesn't seem to be that good -- I mean, your mileage may vary and different people have different sensitivities, but it looks like one of the ways you animate a film by yourself is drawing fewer frames per second than a traditional studio animation, and for me that looks below the threshold where it's comfortable to watch, and I couldn't imagine sitting through 80 minutes of it. It gives me a headache. In terms of art... man, I'd really rather sit through a Studio Ghibli movie, I well and truly would.

I don't think anyone draws 24 frames per second of runtime, though. I stepped through some anime I have on my computer, if they are aiming for high production values (movies) they might draw every other frame sometimes, and for day-to-day stuff they animate every 4th or 6th frame.

This is annoying because if your screen refreshes at 60fps, you can't show 24 equally-spaced frames, but you could show 12. I'm not sure why they don't just standardize on 12fps for their releases. I'm also not sure why video players don't detect this and assume that the actual time code for the duplicated frame is in the middle when using temporal interpolation (which is how I avoid switching refresh rates to watch things, it's good enough already).

>The guy was wearing basically a hand-cast to let him draw through the injury he was inflicting to himself with that workload.

This isn't dedication, its stupidity. I have chronic shoulder pain from a repetitive stress injury and I wish I had as many warning signs as this guy did. I probably wouldn't have spent the last 17 years in constant pain.

I did think the end result was excellent, but its unnecessary to risk one's health.

It is drawn at 12 frames per second, which is exactly the same frame rate as Studio Ghibli movies. I think it looks amazing.

By the way, the clip in the article is not from the movie - here's the trailer: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_ADm0BSHMeA&feature=youtu.be

> which is exactly the same frame rate as Studio Ghibli movies.

No. Most cartoon animation uses a variable cadence, including Ghibli. Assuming 24fps film they may animate every 1st, 2nd (12fps) or 3rd (8fps) frame. TV shows might occasionally drop down to every 4th frame (6fps), but that tends to look pretty bad. And it's often not as simple as fixed ratios, there are more complicated patterns like 10100101001. Different layers can also be animated at different intervals, e.g. the swaying grass is done on even frames, the rain drops on odd frames while the character moves at yet another rate.

Animating on 1s is rarely done though, usually for action scenes or similar things that are supposed to look especially dynamic.

I think the headline is a reference to his working style. The article claims he is extremely productive alone, but not as much in teams. So it is better (for this animator) to work alone.

I think it's also trying to suggest that his cartoon is more internally consistent/idiosyncratic than something produced in teams would be.

From a growth-oriented perspective, it's a giant investment in cultivating his talent. I'm sure after 4 years of working this hard, he can draw circles around most of his peers. He's also probably developed techniques for boosting his creativity and motivation that others might lack.

> I'm sure after 4 years of working this hard, he can draw circles around most of his peers.

Assuming he's still capable of drawing at all. It looks like he's ruined his wrist.

I'm sure he improved some, but keep in mind that work and practice are not the same thing. You have to be actively trying to improve if you want to improve. See for example all the webcomic artists that have been around for 4+ years yet haven't improved their art quality.

Incredibly inspiring, to be sure, but I can't help but wonder: how do you iterate and learn over the course of such a long-haul project? For me, the creative process involves exploring a lot of dead ends until I find the right path or develop my skills sufficiently. If you're doing one scene a day for four years straight, how do you end up with a consistent product at the end? How do you apply what you've learned to the mountain of drawings you've already put behind you?

Also, tangentially, how do you make money when you're working 15-hour days on your passion project for 4 years straight?

Anyway, I'm really looking forward to watching this! Any Bay Area screenings in the near future?

Passion projects are rarely profitable. You make them for you - because you are compelled to. By definition of the production, nobody else wants it as much as you do, so you are not going to find anyone who would value it more than your own times worth, which is usually what it takes to get salaried or hourly employment.

You can definitely kickstart something like this, though. Once you have something great out there, making a trailer and pitching it to the Internet and hoping to get enough money to live off while making it is a possibility.

It is just never a certainty. Any artistic passion project must be done for the final product, not for any hopeful long term fiscal reimbursement for it, because its success is bound to how much the people that come into contact with it agree with your valuation of your own work.

The real question is, how in the 21st century are more people not able to pursue their passions like this.

Only slightly related to your tangent, but I've been wondering about the economics of funding a solo indie game project. From what I've seen on Twitter, most of these seem like passion projects as well, but the creators are very much looking for a source of income.

At the risk of wandering even more off topic, it's pretty dispiriting when you see the leaders of the pixel art community with 20k+ followers begging to do a commission for for 25 bucks.

That's not my definition of success.

Is it fair to draw parallels to software development here? Is it better to toil in obscurity until your masterpiece is complete or is it better to involve others early? We can see examples of both. Curious what HN thinks.

With respect to software and art - it makes me think of the author(s) of Dwarf Fortress where what is accomplished probably would have been severely diluted without the singularity of vision of a single primary programmer.

Regarding more production oriented software environments - it reminds me of chapters in the Mythical Man Month discussing the considerations to team size/composition and it's tension with consistency of design and communications cost.

The Dwarf Fortress authors are lucky though, that people care enough for their niche to donate money to them. They are not under pressure to produce something finished or follow some traditional release cycle.

I'm biased[1], but the lesson I draw from this for software isn't about collaborating or not, it's about avoiding division of labor. When working with someone on a project don't "design an interface" and then work alone on either side of it. Work together all over it.

[1] http://akkartik.name/about

I'm not sure I'd draw the line quite that starkly -- it's possible to build software or animate a film solo, but still get feedback from users or trial watchers.

I certainly believe that having a single mind -- or at most two or three people who understand one another super-well -- setting direction often leads to better results than strict "team" efforts.

In my personal experience, my projects tend to atrophy the longer I keep them hidden. I think it's incredibly valuable to gain outside perspective on my personal software projects from people smarter than myself (and people with different world views).

Alternatively, projects like Minecraft seem to do really well with a single creator. I think it depends on the clarity the creator has about what they want to create.

Just a heads up for those at work - The embedded video does have some animated footage of a topless woman. (Mildly NSFW)

A topless snake demon.

If you're somewhere that you're likely to get in trouble for looking at animated breasts, I'm not sure that the distinction matters so much.

And anyhow, snake demons are people too. Don't be speciesist.

It changes the context from titillating to, well, watching an animated movie that involves a snake demon. Sure, workplaces may still frown on it, but it's still probably much more acceptable than looking at a topless human woman.

I may have missed it in the article, but what was Nick DiLiberto's source of income during the 4 years he worked on his film??

This is relevant to my interests as well, as art in the US isn't produced in a vacuum and economic conditions what they are...it's not to take away from the achievement, but rather understand the context upon which something was produced. If two people both make an identical origami swan, but one had the luxury of leisure and tutoring while the other was created between shifts working in a coal mine using self-directed creativity, well, I mean that's part of the story.

This is a discipline where machine learning could vastly accelerate productivity. Imagine having automated interpolation between frames. Hand-draw every 5 frames, render out to 60 fps.

Not to mention automated style coherence between artists.

Future artists will likely indirectly manipulate their art, influencing various forms of machine learning that will do most of the leg work. In a way, matte painting artists already work in similar fashion. Their art usually begins as pre-existing images that are manually blended into a coherent image, with original work added later.

Almost all animation is fully computer animated these days. Even Disney have given up on hand drawn animation. So when a film is hand-drawn like this it is a very deliberate choice to eschew computer animation.

What I was suggesting is that machine learning could make the hand-drawn style viable again from a productivity standpoint.

Modern digital techniques aren't without their drawbacks, hence why hand-drawn is often viewed as superior. A machine learning workflow augmenting hand-drawn might be the best of both worlds.

To play devil's advocate, I think what was suggested is that for the artists who do this kind of work, the eschewing of using a computer IS what makes this, if not superior, at least their preferred method of working. For at least some artists doing this work, the whole point is that everything you see is drawn by hand because they want to do that work, not for lack of a better tweening algorithm, machine learned or otherwise.

Fair enough, but some day interpolated renders may be completely indistinguishable. The only benefit to completely hand-drawn work by then could very well be satisfying the artist's own preference.

Almost all film animation in the US, sure. But for TV and shorts, hand animation or some hybrid model is still quite common. And just about everything is storyboarded by hand before being animated.

I find this a fascinating line of thought, to apply machine learning to manipulate/augment/facilitate forms of art like drawing, painting, animation.

There was a project (I think at Google) that applied machine learning to various famous painters' works, so that it could generate new "paintings" in the style of the old masters.

I imagine something like that could be used for illustration, like, say - a digital drawing pad like Wacom, that would over time learn your "style" of brush/line strokes, color preferences, etc. To animate a series of drawings, it could produce interpolations between frames, as if you hand-drew them yourself. And it'd get better at it, the more you draw.. In a way it would become an extension of the artist.

The Nova Seed trailer can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ADm0BSHMeA&feature=youtu.be

It's incredible he was able to accomplish an eighty minute movie himeslf. The art in the trailer for Nova Seed (not necessarily the fight scene embedded in the OP article) reminds me of Sally Cruikshank animated shorts. [1]

[1] e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0Z6SOlWbds

I feel that way about making games. Imo the most efficient team size is 1. It will take longer, but it will take less man-hours and the product will be superior.

I disagree. The amount of time it takes me to produce art at the level of polish required to suit the games I develop is far longer than it takes my artist friends to create better work. Same with music and just about everything else other than the design and (arguably) the programming. If I had the budget to hire one person for each major discipline, I would.

This sounds right. Many things require different talents, and the tasks can be divided so that people with different talents can focus on what they do best. If I were involved in a video game, I could be productive in programming, but definitely not in the artwork. Lots of tasks are like this.

However, there definitely is a real truth to the saying "too many chefs in the kitchen". You don't want to waste the chef's time with table service or janitorial duties, but you can't have 20 chefs all arguing about the menu or how to prepare food. The problem with too many companies, though, is they want the product done sooner, and think that adding more people will get it done faster, just like having 9 women will cause you to bring a baby to term in 1 month....

Yes, and I have experience working on very large development teams where it is clear diminishing returns. There's probably a critical pivot around 7 people (Dunbar's Number, right?) where you begin to have significant drag caused by the overhead of managing people and their resources in addition to creating a piece of software.

Of course, but it depends on the project and all the skills it entails. If it's a big, complex software project like a AAA game, you're going to need more than 7 people just for the programming work alone, and you can't expect them to also do the artwork, music, etc.; they'll probably do a lousy job of it. You can ask me to do artwork for a game, and you're going to wind up with something like stick figures; it simply isn't a strength I have. So more people may mean more difficulty with management, but if you don't do it, you just don't have a product.

But it does seem like some places are overstaffed and do that as a way to mask terrible management.

Bold claims.

>take less man-hours


>the product will be superior

This is subjective. There are very good games to come out studios of 1-2 developers and studios of hundreds of developers.

I claim nothing, please see "Imo" above.

When you work by yourself: You never compromise. You dont need to spend time communicating with other members of the team. You dont have errors due to miscommunication. You dont have disagreements. Meetings to decide things happen in your head and take a few minutes instead of hours. You spend 0 time coordinating the team. Project/time management of the team becomes a triviality rather than a full-time managment job.

You also need to be a master at every piece of the puzzle, rather than being able to focus your efforts.

Even on teams people need to work outside their mastery. So, that's less of an issue than you might think.

I have an acquaintance working on a similar project, a CG film titled "White Tiger Legend". He's been a VFX artist on many films you've seen (LOTR and the Hobbit movies, Avatar, the Matrix trilogy, &c), and has been plugging away at this the entire time I've known him.

It's very much a passion project for him, much like "Nova Seed" seems to be for DiLiberto. He isn't working entirely alone (he's got actors — though as a Kung Fu black belt, he's doing most of the motion capture for the fight scenes himself — voice talent, a composer for the score, &c), but it's very much his vision, and his baby.

This kind of thing takes discipline and dedication of a sort most of us can't even imagine, let alone execute.

Speaking as someone who did something similar a few years ago (entire significant-length CGI animated film solo-ish) - thanks. That (your last line) is really nice to read.

(And if you haven't, please do tell him what you wrote there - he's probably struggling more than he lets on to finish his work, and a bit of encouragement and praise goes a long way, particularly when you're working solo.)

Venture Brothers is a good example of this. Venture Brothers is created by a very small team over a painstaking few years and that process consistently produces higher-quality content and a better story than their peers.

Voices of a Distant Star comes to mind.


For those in Vancouver, it is playing at the Rio Theatre tomorrow as part of a double-feature.

See you there!!

I'll be there! Throw up the "Y" hand sign if you're from HN, we can have a little hn meetup.

I feel his pain in the brain from coding an entire startup from scratch with ios/android apps, website, kiosks and backend using 4 different technologies because i generally dislike coding with others because they have this nasty thing called an opinion. Obviously this is a personality flaw in any case.

The look seems to come from Heavy Metal, the 1981 movie.

I would worry that you get a lot better as you go so that by the 3rd year, your starting work looks shoddy by comparison and you have to go back and re-do a lot.

Like code I wrote 6 months ago looks like schlock, but that's not something anybody sees.

Reminds me of the Star Fox fan movie...also a stunning solo effort.

The author live-streams his animation work.


Made me think about Yuri Norshteyn's project started in 1981, animated by husband and wife team, and still not finished (36 years so far).


It's quite ironic that he began his career at BioWare, given the current kerfuffle over Mass Effect: Andromeda animating horridly.

Did anyone else experience bizarre scrolling behavior on the desktop site?

It looks like it had 0 success, maybe even less than 4 years work's worth of revenue (I couldn't find any data on it), so the conclusion should be the opposite: even if people slow other people down by getting on agreement, the final quality is usually better.

Just to be clear, are you specifically equating quality with revenue?

TFA says the movie is playing festivals in order to land a distributor. Why would we expect to find "revenue data"?

He's basically just finished it. And is doing pretty good in generating buzz IMHO - I spent the last four and a half years drawing a solo graphic novel, and I sure don't have an article in Forbes about it,

It isn't even available for sale yet is it? I didn't get any impression about 0 success.

Amazon is saying 2017 (unavailable)

It's going to come out on March 28 for viewing online, right now on preorder: http://novaseedmovie.com/watch-nova-seed/

Actually you're right. Still, I don't see any data proving the headline in the title by any metric. The whole article is just an advertisement.

I wouldn't be surprised if anyone who takes four years to animate a film alone doesn't measure success solely in financial terms.

Probably not, it was just my expectation to see some beautiful animation that a team wouldn't be able to do after the headline. I still remember when I watched Lion King in the theatre when I was about 10 years old, and I was very sad when Disney shut down the hand-made animation studio. I would love to see something similar, but in my eyes this comes nothing close to those movies.

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