Thursday, 13 February 2014

Animation backgrounds - Spirited Away

Studio Ghibli are well known for their stunning aesthetics with in the animations and can be seen in the film 'Spirited Away'.  Spirited Away focuses on a Japanese bath house and small clutter of shops that become swamped in spirits as the sun sets.
The first glance of the bath house seems majestic, it seems daunting and emit a strong sense of power, this can be seen through the use of the perspective compared to Chihiro and the dominance of the thick black smoke as it taints the blue sky. The structure of the bath house and colour, the use of the green roofs, matched with gold and red highlights, the design of the windows tells the viewer that it is set in a Japanese town. When the bath house is shown in the dark, the lights make the building come to life, it looks more inviting compared to the first image we see, this can be seen through the glow of the light making the building seem busy and filled with people.

The main market shops before the bath house are filled with pastel colours and shapes, which instantly remind me of arcades and shops you would find at the coast to attract customers. The use of the traditional lanterns and the structure of the shops further tells the audience that the area is absorbed in traditional Japanese culture. I find this sequence of imagery inspiring through the use of neat, crisp lines that detail the brick and texture of the buildings.

The painted style to the imagery portrays the style of Studio Ghibli, the audience can tell through the amount of time that is spent on the backgrounds as well as the animation which would be due to the amount of funding they have been given compared to animations that were created in the 1960's such as Chuck Jones's Bugs Bunny cartoon. The backgrounds were simplistic as to speed up the production process and were linked with the movement of modernism, through the minimalistic style of the cartoons, just leaving the era of the golden age of animation. The minimalistic style however worked well with the animation of the characters and did not take away from the focus of the main action. The simple style of backgrounds can also be seen in The Flintstones, Road Runner and Daffy Duck.

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