How anime is made?
Many IT people watch an anime. Majority people have seen it at least once. How is it created?
It begins with an idea. Sometimes, a brainstorm is done in order to choose just one, but better idea. Occasionally, the management makes a decision. Anyway, this is the first and most tedious step. After the idea has been selected, a team is put together, which will deal with its implementation, as well sponsors are needed. Anime is actually a pretty expensive thing, because the showing cost of 52 episodes late at night is close to 50 million yen (it is about 500 000 US dollars) for 5-7 TV channels, and the anime Fullmetal Alchemist to show at 6 pm will cost in 10 times more expensive!
The next couple steps are not necessary in the case if the anime will be drawn as the manga-based. A large majority of theses Japanese cartoons are on the market. By the way, if manga was successful or not, we can find out in advance whether anime will be successful. It is worth noting that sometimes it could be vice versa - manga is drawn by anime. For example, thus it was with FLCL.
The second step is invention of the general concept - who, how, what and why. The characters and storyline are being invented, and made some first sketches. Once it is ready, the scriptwriters and artists begin their work. They write a detailed script, draw characters and backgrounds, and then they do a rough scene selection.
Everything is drawn in an old-fashioned way using a pencil and the paper. Characters are drawn from various angles and in different moods and clothing.
Conversion of these sketches into a digital form can be done in two ways. Pencil sketches are covered with ink, or they are done by a hard pencil for more contrast, and then they are scanned:
An outline of the entire storyline is drawn after the characters are ready. Also, this is done using a pencil and paper with comments at intervals of a second.
A background is drawn separately from all this. It happens quite often that it is not drawn from scratch, but some photos are used for that purpose. So do not be surprised if some places will look familiar during a walk in Japan.
However, the background can be drawn later in the process, especially if it is distant and it does not need to draw the details of animation shadows.
Finally, it is the next part that involves the computer work. Here comes big and difficult work, such as the animation, coloring and layout. At first, artists draw a few frames of animation characters between ready-made outline frames of the storyline. Usually, they draw 12 frames per second for the television anime, but sometimes it could be 24 or 8. It is really hellish work. Let us imagine how many frames it takes to draw for 25 minute series!
Then other people smooth this animation, so it will look naturally. Finally, the third team colors this animation. Besides, there are also effect artists. They add all sorts of sparks, stars, and so on. As a result of background addition comes out the finished piece of anime.
The art director (animation director) watches the all process closely, which checks a staff, makes changes, and sometimes he/her redraw something entirely by his/her own hands. Therefore, this position is assigned by one of the animators with great experience.
It should be noted that 3D graphics has made animators life easier in recent years. For example, it is actively used by Makoto Shinkai in his works, but anyway most of the anime is drawn by hand.
Then it comes the sound turn. Voice acting actors say their cues and sing songs. It may look very funny from the outside. The majority of anime boy voices actually is a female, because a male voice is lower, and it does not sound like child’s voice, and no one takes children for the voice acting for some reason.
Voices are altered and superimposed by the additional sounds, such as the rustle of leaves, walking, etc. Finally, the background music is added, and anime production enters in its final stage - showing.
How do they get money from the anime? They get money from advertising and merchandise selling. The block of commercials is put in the middle of the series on television. Sometimes, they draw the names of sponsoring firms or their products right in the anime (for example, all characters use the phones of one company). Anime is being recorded on DVDs. Also, the anime characters are available in numerous posters, figurines and so on. Well, we will just watch it.
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