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How Masaaki Yuasa Used Flash to Create His ‘Adventure Time’ Episode


In their new demo reel, Japanese studio Science Saru offers a peek into how they use Flash for their animation projects, including the “Food Chain” episode of Adventure Time that was directed by Masaaki Yuasa.

pingpong-flashanimationSEE ALSO: How Japanese Animators Use Flash to Create Amazing TV Animation

The studio appears to have a flexible production pipeline that allows them to come up with inventive solutions for each shot. Some of their scenes are puppeted, while others use full animation techniques. All of it looks good.

  • Considering how many artists are decrying Flash nowadays in favor of other animation programs such as Toon Boom and TVPaint, it’s comforting to know that Flash can still be used to create amazing looking animation as shown in that demo reel.

    • Stacie Danielle Reeves

      I will never stop using flash I love it

      • ShouldBeWorkin’

        That’s fine, Stacie. In theory I would use Flash if and when I have a personal project (with other software where needed) but in a situation where one is getting paid per second or frame based quota for a complex sophisticated-looking result…speaking only personally, it can be tortuous.

    • Fried

      The reason people do that is because to make Flash look really good requires a lot of effort, and even then, you are still stuck with one style: Vector. The best way to get Flash to not look like Flash is to use thin lines and minimize the amount of puppetry to it.

      Compare it to TVPaint which can achieve many looks (Watercolor, oil-based, sketchy pencil, colored pencil) and takes less effort to make look good.

      Or compare it to ToonBoom for puppet control and that program is Flash x1000. Smoother rigs, better editting controls, and the fact that you can use filters (Blurs, glows) without slowing it down.

      Those same artists who decry Flash also decry CGI animation and crave for “real 2D animation” and don’t actually respect animation in its many forms.

      • ShouldBeWorkin’

        Thank you, Fried.

  • Mike

    The Adventure Time episode, like Yuasa’s anime series Ping Pong, looked terrific. He really exemplifies the idea that Flash is a tool that can make great things in the hands of artists with sufficient skill and resources.

  • Stacie Danielle Reeves

    LOVE this!!

  • Mario Bros

    Why nobody uses flash like this over here?

    • Titmouse has behind-the-scenes videos in their vimeo page doing the same thing. I believe the US introduced flash and its capabilities such as this to Japan actually.

    • mick

      why where are you?

  • Mike

    Serious, until we stop seeing Western animation houses use Flash primarily to make dreck like Johnny Test.

    • Fried

      It’s funny how people think Flash = bad because Johnny Test is bad looking, but not the same about 2D which has graced us with an era of the likes of He-Man, Jem & the Holograms, Robotix, and many other terribly-cheap cartoons.

      I would have said things like Pixie and Dixie or Magilla Gorilla, but it seems people are willing to excuse the lame writing and cheap animation for “old classics”, but not Johnny Test.

      Can someone name two other very poor looking popular Flash or Toonboom (As people mistake ToonBoom shows for Flash quite often, since the vector visuals are so close I can see why) cartoons besides Johnny Test? Because the ratio of good Flash cartoons is certainly way higher than bad.

      Jimmy Two-Shoes, Foster’s Home, Skunk Fu, Bob’s Burgers, even boring Canadian cartoons like Scaredy Squirrel are decent looking. Seems people just love to put emphasis on Johnny Test.

  • Kirby

    It still bugs me I didn’t get to see his amazing intro when I viewed the foodchain episode.

  • mick

    Pencils take effort, toonboom takes effort, maya is hard to get a cartoon out of without effort.

    Why are people surprised that skilled people can make skilful work using flash? Give a skilled person a sharp stick and they’ll get something out of it while the rest of the begrudgers argue who has the latest and best twig

    Complaining about flash being unable to do everything that other software can is like complaining that your shovel is unable to play music

  • ShouldBeWorkin’

    Yes, when it takes more effort which should defeat the purpose of using technology; when it would be easier to draw the damn thing; when animators spend time using complex workarounds jeopardizing their health and lifestyles for pennies a frame; yeh, needless effort is a drawback.
    I do decry flash because adobe doesn’t give a hoot about cartoon animation and animators and the only reason it continues to be used is because it is cheap. Cheap enough for third world studios too.Yes you can make amazing looking things in Flash that are easier elsewhere. The Mona Lisa in MS paint was a great analogy.

    I have used both Flash and Harmony and have seen the evolution in its use. From keeping it simple to making puppets look like they’re full drawn animation. I’ve seen amazing results but with all that time building and working-around…honestly, most stuff could have been drawn, cleaned and inbetweened by hand. No joking. But drawing is becoming a lost art form as 1 year students become good at moving puppets than they are at drawing IMHO. Catch 22.

  • Mike

    Er..yes..okay. But Paint isn’t the frequent subject of debate/discussion about its validity as an artistic medium.