3D with a 2D Flare

On Friday Mercedes Milligan of Animation Magazine shared the latest movie trailer for  The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water. She sums it up by saying "Stephen Hillenburge's beloved characters emerge from their 2D animated underseas home into the 3D upper world..." So naturally (maybe, maybe not) you were like "Great, another 3D movie based on 2D characters." "Why do they keep doing this?" "Why not just make a 2D animated feature?" We have already witnessed several attempts (some more successful than others) at bringing 2D characters to 3D spaces (Alvin & The Chipmunks, Yogi Bear, The Smurfs, Scooby Doo). However, it is safe to say that this year we have been getting glimpses at very promising 2D to 3D reboots that are in the works.

Obviously starting with The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water Directed by Paul Tibbitt

  • Actual 3D renditions of characters and not photo real sponge, starfish etc
  • The models are rendered and lit to look almost like the silicon plastic rubble like toys
  • An interesting approach to merging CGI versions of 2D characters in live action sequences

Next we have Popeye, which is being directed by Genndy Tartakovsky (not sure if they havebeen greenlighted since the orginal posting of the video)

  • Maintains physical humor of the 1930s cartoon.
  • Does not have the typical "CGI" look.
  • Feels very much like a colored version of the cartoon instead of a colored CGI version.

Lastly the Peanuts reboot which will be/ is being directed by Steve Martino

  • Similar to Popeye it does not give off the typical "CGI" vibe.
  • Just as charming as the traditional animated cartoons.
  • All though it is "3D" it is animatied as if it is 2D. We never get the sence of it being a 3 dimensial character by a camera pan around the character. All profiles are presented on flat to the camera.

I think with the production of these three movies in particular we are truly seeing the treatment of "3D"/ "computer animation"/ "CGI" as a medium. Finally equating the software and technology to paints and paint brushes instead of solely a means to a marketing, for profit ends. There is a lot of to look forward to in 2015 for animation! Personally I am THE most excited for the Peanuts movie and for Popeye.