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Eddie studies Clampett Inbetweens


Is anyone employed in the U.S. as an “inbetweener” anymore? Has the computer taken that over, too?

Our pal Eddie Fitzgerald has posted some theories and analysis about inbetweens using a Porky Pig scene animated by Rod Scribner from Bob Clampett’s Kitty Kornered.

Dissecting cartoons on a frame by frame basis is a full time obsession for some animators, but nobody does is more entertaining than Eddie.

  • uncle wayne

    As one who collects (internet) cartoon stills (for my daily PC desktops). …these are a pure absolute joy! Thank you, Eddie (& Jerry!)

  • “Is anyone employed in the U.S. as an “inbetweenerâ€? anymore? Has the computer taken that over, too?”

    While the title of “inbetweener” is gone, the job of the inbetweener is now split between several people in the production process. Yes, technically the computer does the inbetweens, but if you go with the inbetweens the computer creates, the results aren’t very good. The animator must go over his or her work to make sure the models and rigs are doing what they want them to between key frames. The TDs and riggers help out the inbetweening if they create controls on the characters to allow for the distortion and poseability needed for really good inbetweens. The computer helps out again in the render by adding motion blur. Again, if you go with the defaults, it’s not going to be the artwork you want (and should want for your audience), but in the end, the computer’s just a tool like a pencil.

  • DanO

    i think the fault lies in your question. of COURSE there are animators today who are exceptional inbetweeners. you should be asking why there are no jobs for inbetweeners.

  • Danielle

    Those inbetweens are really awesome– so expressive!

    Speaking on the 2D side, on some Flash shows that I’ve worked on, we’ve had “keyposers” or “layout artists” and “finishers” or “animators”. The number of “keys” tends to vary depending on different factors, but I imagine it’s similar to the old “animator”/”inbetweener” process.

    Other 2D computer animated productions will have an animator be responsible for entire scenes, both keys and inbetweens. Tricks like “tweening” are sometimes used (especially for effects), but are also sometimes discouraged.

  • I think he was talking about drawn inbetweens.

    Yes there are a handful of folks still inbewteening by hand but most of them are working in the commercial world or on thier own shorts. Companies like Calabash still have small staffs or freelance work out.

    Inbetweeners are often regarded as the low men on the totem pole but they are often the ones who can make or break a scene.

  • Jerry thanks for mentioning my article! I was thinking of 2D when I wrote it but your commenters brought up an interesting question: can 3D support the kind of inbetweens I was writing about? If it can then that’s terrific! If it can’t then what’s all the fuss about 3D? It’s a primitive medium.

  • mitchell

    2-D = Rembrandt
    3-D = Avedon

  • BTW, my friend Milt said that he talked to a 3D computer animator who tried to do Scribner-type inbetweens with 3D and it didn’t work. We accept 2D line drawings that are skewered in a funny way but the 3D equivalents just look grotesque!

  • Eddie, 3D (like 2D) can do anything. The trick is knowing how to pull off the art and keep the computer doing what you want it to, and not let it try to “help” you too much.

  • Have a look at this bit of CG/3D: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BcDOuP_tEo

  • Rick Farmiloe

    WOW!!! What great stuff!!! Eddie and I are together in our admiration…..or WORSHIP of Bob Clampett and Rod Scribner. I used to have this print on Super 8, and would stop frame it through my Elmo editor over and over and over…..and just marvel at the madness and genius in EVERY FRAME!!! Thanks for sharing this Eddie….there will NEVER be another Clampett, or Rod Scribner!!!!!

  • Eddie Fitzgerald

    Floyd: Wooow! Thanks for putting that up! It makes me a little less certain of what I said above but it’s not the kind of test that would really refute my point.

    The character you posted was mushy and rubbery and meant to be very energetic and squashy and stretchy. If that animator attempted to do what Scribner did with a character like Porky Pig on the doorstep in Kitty Kornered would his 3D inbetweens really work or would they look grotesque? I’m still betting on the latter.

    Even so it was a real treat to see the film you posted. Congrats to the animator!

  • Eddie: It’s not exactly what you were talking about, but the clip I posted was done so to show that CG has come much farther than chrome spheres and checkerboard floors. It’s a bigger than more capable medium than the Hollywood studios would have us believe. As costs come down and experimentation goes up, I think we’ll start to see more CG that incorporates the kinds of things you’ve highlighted in your Scribner/Clampett post.

  • Rab Smith

    I worked as an inbetweener in Spielberg’s studio in London in 1990, and I absolutely loathed it……it took all the fun and mystery out of cartooning. But yes, it’s regarded as very important in the 2-D industry. I lost my job there, but I later discovered there were some folks who worked there stuck on inbetweening for 5 years! I reckon I would have aged tenfold had I remained there. I don’t want to spend 5 years of my life embellishing the drawings of others, but that’s just me.

    Others never seemed to mind this method of drawing, but I never saw any evidence of some of the other inbetweeners doing good original roughs or extremes……if a cartoonist has a strong original style, inbetweening can be a nightmare.

    Here’s my natural drawing style here:


    The price I paid for being repulsed by inbetweening lost me a career in animation, but I think I would have been miserable doing that indefinitely.