Shannon Tindle Explains Why Characters Today Look Awful Shannon Tindle Explains Why Characters Today Look Awful
Mars Needs Moms

Salon, of all places, published an excellent piece about animation character design. They interviewed designer Shannon Tindle (Coraline, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, and some as-yet-to-be-released DreamWorks films) about why films like Gnomeo and Juliet and Bob Zemeckis’s mo-cap efforts have such poor character design and asked him to explain which mainstream features work and which don’t from a design perspective. He remains diplomatic throughout while delivering useful advice:

“For me, it should be something that’s believable but not necessarily realistic. Those are two things that people interchange quite a bit on productions — and I’ve been involved in a lot of them. From my point of view, it’s been proven that realism is not really appealing to an audience. Two good examples of successful design that audiences embraced — Kung Fu Panda and Up — are films that certainly were not realistic but had believable characters. A lot of people are actually afraid of stylizing characters in animated films, period. They tend to want to push it to be more realistic, but the first thing people see in an animated film is the characters, and if it’s a character that doesn’t have an appealing, believable design, they’re not going to feel any connection to it.”

(Image: Still from Mars Needs Moms)

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