Endangered Species by Tony White

Endangered Species by Tony White (Hokusai: An Animated Sketchbook) is so insidery that it’s doubtful it’ll ever find a mainstream audience. But being that it’s a mockumentary about the rise and fall of hand-drawn animation, it’ll make perfect perfect sense to the Brew readership. There’s some nice animation throughout and the twist ending is a delight.

Here are more details from White about the film:

Endangered Species was a film I created exclusively to illustrate my recent book… “Animation from Pencils to Pixels – Classical Techniques for Digital Animators.” The book is conceived to be the ultimate reference book for all contemporary animators, dealing with traditional techniques of movement and production process that can be utilized in the modern digital world. It seemed totally relevant therefore to offer an animated overview of the great classic moments of traditional animation, and then explain how these original pieces were produced and how I replicated them in a digital environment. This is all indicated and explained in the book’s accompanying interactive CD, amongst other things. I worked single-handedly for over 4 years to produce the film, utilizing the assistance of many of my students… as well as the voice of the great Roy E. Disney… along the way!


  • Mitchel Kennedy

    I feel a lil’ depressed, now.

  • http://daryl-rhystaylor.blogspot.com Daryl T

    That was brilliant!

  • http://jasonswickportfolio.blogspot.com/ Jason Swick

    Nice ending.

  • http://deleted Dan

    That was awesome!-and pretty accurate.

  • Matt Sullivan

    Yeah seriously. That IS a bit depressing.

  • http://andynortonuk.spaces.live.com/ Andy Norton

    That is very good film on that ‘endangered species’ in the current animation clima — even with the bias towards ‘Walt’ it was an amusing view for any animation fan.

  • red pill junkie

    Very nice!

  • Dave Lewis

    Not since Don Bluth had a career has a director traced so much old Disney footage and not been sued. But it’s entertaining and it might play to a broader crowd than you think.

  • Tom Pope

    Pretty Disney-centric, and that’s coming from a big fan.

  • Jason

    That was bloody brilliant. And all the cartoon references were spot-on. I especially liked the shots at the crappy 2D animation that mars so much of TV right now. Only Spongebob bucks the trend and sports some really fine and funny character animation. But this film was also heart-rending, especially the Walt references. I liked that he looked ticked when he “died” – if there is a hereafter, I bet he WAS ticked – there was still so much he wanted to do! And the film ends with a tribute to Miyazaki. His work is gorgeous. All in all a great film. Long live (good) 2D!!!!

  • http://doujinshiland.blogspot.com Adam Van Meter

    I have this book. It’s pretty useful, I think, and has a lot of information on the production process and background work that other books don’t have. Good stuff.

    Still, the film has some weirdness to it, in my opinion. Criticizing Beavis and Butthead on the quality of its animation seems a little ridiculous. Honestly, would great animation even make sense with that show?

  • http://www.reviewsofthings.blogspot.com Jen

    I loved this! I sure hope it will one day become so plentiful (and not that quickly thrown together garbage they keep giving us) that it will stop be endangered!

  • Keith Bryant

    Bravo! The sad part is, it’s all so true but I’m optimistic about the future. It’s only a matter of time before the pendulum swings the other way.

  • http://www.funwiththeschaeffers.blogspot.com lamartherevenger

    I’m on the verge of tears here, Amid. That was brillant! Sad, but brillant.

  • Scott

    WHAT are, if any, advantages of animating with top pegs, unless necessary? Hell, even if it IS necessary, I animate bottom pegs and re-register the drawings top peg later.

    Neat film.

  • Andrew

    I wouldn’t call this a dependable guide to the history of animation, as it still generalizes it all into a few minutes. But it’s a good introduction to one’s opinion. I also saw his book and this is an excellent companion project to it.

    The ending is more for a joke, but it DOES make you think, doesn’t it?

  • James N.

    I’ve only seen pics of this in the book (which is great btw) and have been wanting to see it for a while :-D Great stuff.

  • http://ClaarToons.comwillappearsometimethisyear;Imtoobusyanimating! tony claar

    Cheer up, everyone! Hand drawn animation IS alive and well!!
    Three uplifting, truthful points:
    1. The moron who started the “2d animation is dead” rumor was, in fact, Michael Eisner himself. This was A. NOT true B. Destructive C. Insulting D. Moronic E. Sad
    We all know what even his own stockholders thought of him with their wacking of him right out of the company. That was the most destructive thing he ever did, making that statement. Well, guess what: it was also only ONE guy’s opinion!
    2. If you ARE a 2D animator, like I am, and have gleefully continued drawing, animating, & making films as I have for 20+ YEARS, AND you are NOT dead, then that means, by definition, that “2D animation is alive, squashing, stretching, exaggerating, following through, smearing, morphing and laughing it’s ass off doing it!!” Why don’t we all now spread THAT as a quote?!?!
    3. White’s film is fun & well done. Why in the world would it be depressing? It’s a CARTOON MOVIE, not a documentary, folks, and it’s all done by DRAWING ( the 2D aspect). He himself is animating with a pencil, right? The paradigm that is flawed in the “2d is not happening” argument is that Pixar, Dreamworks, Sony, etc. are all doing Hollywood style FEATURE FILMS and their goal is at least $ 300 million per picture! (Have you noticed that now ALL of them are adding 2D animation titles or scenes to their 3D films!?!) Hundreds, or thousands, of hand drawn ( and using computers to scan, color, edit) animated tv series, internet animation, tv commercials, and short films for film festivals, colleges, & pure fun (!) are being produced world-wide every minute of every day and have not stopped! Even Disney has done MORE 2d animation the last 15 years than ever in their history with all those lame “direct-to-video” animated features ( Lady & the Tramp II, etc. ) Don’t believe it? Look it up.
    So, cheer up everyone. Use Digicel Flipbook or the app of your choice, and draw to your heart’s content! Be happy. It is YOUR life after all, not THEIRS.

  • http://www.genedeitch.com Gene Deitch

    Very neatly done,but he didn’t touch on the REAL threat! (MoCap) However, save your 2B pencils, folks. Drawn animation will rise again!

  • Dave

    Re: Dave Lewis’s comment:

    “Not since Don Bluth had a career, has a director traced so much old Disney footage and not been sued.”

    Dave L. ,

    Nothing in Tony White’s “Endangered Species” was “traced” from old Disney footage. (or old Fleischer footage , or any other old footage).

    The film is an homage to certain key iconic moments in the development of character animation . Tony’s “Animaticus” everyman character appears in the guise of several well-known figures , but all the animation was drawn by Tony White.

  • Dave

    By the way, a couple of more interesting videos on YouTube of Tony White talking about his film “Endangered Species” , explaining how and why he made the film :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJPJOW0xdNE

    and

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIzhf7dffnQ

    The book which the film served to illustrate , “Animation from Pencils to Pixels: Classical Techniques for Digital Animators” , is a very good book on adapting traditional animation technique to paperless applications (ToonBoom, TVPaint/Mirage, etc.) . The message one takes away from the film and from the book is : Paper or Wacom tablet , it’s all good ; hand-drawn animation will continue if artists have the passion to carry on with practicing their art . (but what a shame if the techniques were to be lost within a generation. I’m thankful that there have been certain animators such as Richard Williams, Tony White, Eric Goldberg, Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston , Preston Blair , etc. who have been generous enough to put it down in books which are a lasting legacy of this wonderful art form.)

  • Ryan

    Personally, I loved it. I love anything which mixes a lot of styles. Sad, yes, but with an implied happy ending of sorts.

    My favourite parts were Roger Rabbit talking about his real shadow, and No-Face turning into Walt. Good stuff.

  • Kat Morris

    A well executed piece, but it’s a little unsettling how the life and death of traditional animation is placed solely on the shoulders of Walt Disney. Aside from the fact that there was important work being done OUTSIDE of America (which Tony White virtually ignored), didn’t Walt have a hands-off approach to his studio’s films after the strike in the 1940′s? If that’s the case, Walt’s part in the history of animation ended relatively early on.

  • jip

    Tony Claar is right!:)
    It’s only human to complain about how everything used to be better.
    But animation has never been this popular, ever. And LOTS of 2d animation is being produced. Even Disney is back at it.
    During Walt’s life 19 animated films were made in 40 years (counting all the Melody time and stuff).
    After his dead 24 films were made in 47 years, not counting all the CGI and direct to video things.
    That’s 0,47 2d films per year while he was alive, and 0,51 per year after he died.
    And it’s not like all of them were good while him being alive… (Sword in the stone, Melody Time.. things like that:))

  • http://geritopiablogspot.com Professor Widebottom

    I really like the dual value of this project, being that it stands as highly entertaining and also instructive in the context of White’s book. And the fact that it was made single-handedly by the author really underlines commitment and love for the art.

  • http://www.wesriojas.blogspot.com Wes Riojas

    I enjoyed Tony’s film. I wish it could have been made as a true 2D documentary though. That would have cost too much, however.

    2D is not dead. I’m an animation student and my dream is to become a 2D animator. I will go with the times though. I’ll be starting my studies this fall at Animation Mentor and it teaches animation with Maya. But the principles are the same. I just purchased my first animation disk and plan to have 2D in my reel as well.

  • http://www.jjsedelmaier.com J.J. Sedelmaier

    I’m prefacing my comments below with my respect and admiration for Tony’s efforts in producing the “Endangered Species” film. I can imagine what went into its creation. . .

    But this is old news folks. Haven’t the past several years shown enough evidence that 2D, stop-motion, etc. are NOT dead ? Isn’t CG just another technique to aid in telling a story ? I think it’s pretty apparent that the CG Honeymoon’s over and that people are re-visiting technique options that a few years ago were pronounced dead at the scene. I see it in commercials, i HEAR it from the folks in a position to commission the work, and i see evidence of it in the broadcast realm. Features ? Maybe traditional “hand done” techniques don’t have the status you want them to have, but they ain’t dead. If the folks out there on the 2D soapbox don’t modify their sermon and stop the fundamentalist chatter, their level of credibility will reach the cemetary WAY before 2D. How about acknowledging the positive aspects of digital technology ?

  • Dave

    Re: J.J. Sedelmaier’s comments:

    “But this is old news folks. Haven’t the past several years shown enough evidence that 2D, stop-motion, etc. are NOT dead ? Isn’t CG just another technique to aid in telling a story ? I think it’s pretty apparent that the CG Honeymoon’s over and that people are re-visiting technique options that a few years ago were pronounced dead at the scene.”

    Old news perhaps in the sense that Cartoon Brew just now posted something about the film “Endangered Species” being available for viewing on YouTube, but the film and Tony’s book “Animation: From Pencils to Pixels” came out 2 years ago . Add to that the film was obviously in production before that , around 2004 – 2005 … then the book and accompanying film were finally published in 2006.

    The book “Animation: From Pencils to Pixels” actually IS an acknowledgement of the positive aspects of digital technology . It’s about adapting traditional hand-drawn animation techniques to new tools like the Cintiq tablet and software like ToonBoom ,Mirage/TVPaint, Digicel Flipbook, etc.

  • http://ClaarToons.comwillappearsometimethisyear;Imtoobusyanimating! tony claar

    2D computer animation is A. Digital B. Traditional C. Current
    New school includes old school and we’re all back in “school” anyway.
    “Computer animation” is actually code for animation done digitally.
    We’re ALL using computers now anyway; the INPUT is what varies.
    Digital filmmaking is fun; we all love “undo” & one-click color fill, copy & paste, click & drag, instant playback, .avi, .mov, .swf movies.
    We’re all evolving, adapting and enjoying it. No one is rubbing two sticks of graphite together & hoping “Pinocchio” will magically appear.

  • PorkyMills

    Interesting film and a brilliant ending. My only reservation is, where is the return of 2D feature-film making? Sure, we’re seeing 2D titles creep in onto 3D movies like Kung-Fu Panda, but making an entire feature movie, is another matter. I think there may be more truth in this movie’s ending than meets the eye…