Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pierre Speaks: Why no more paper?

Drawing on PaperNote: This article is a follow up to Pierre's Drawing On Paper post. - Jim

A few weeks ago I said..

“But we are nearing the point where studios will prefer to hire someone who can do the work using the computer, even if the work quality is poor, then to hire someone who does great work by hand on paper.”

A lot of people are in denial over this.

Not as much now as… let’s say… 5 years ago.

At the time… many felt safe under the “illusion” that as long as they were producing “great work”… it would not matter that they could not create their artwork with the computer.

That the quality of their work would speak for itself. That it would allow them to be above all that.

But now for a lot of those artists…. Drawing on paper, or heck sometimes drawing itself is now nothing more than a hobby.

One question that often comes back is:

Why would a studio turn down someone who does great work?

Or even more…

Why would a studio turn down someone with many years of experience on many productions who can do great work??

There are many reasons… but I will try to keep this Blog from being 2053 pages long, so I will explain only a few of those reasons.

One reason is that, for example, here in Montreal, there are various tax incentives/subventions for companies that use “new” technologies.

So from the point of view of most producers… using someone who draws using the computer = FREE MONEY.

Free MoneyAnd sadly… for many of them… they don’t see much difference between someone who does great work, and someone who does poor work. For them it usually is mostly just a matter of what will be more “cost effective”.

So they will choose to hire the person who can work using the computer. Even if the quality of the work is poor, since wayyyyy too often, they cannot tell the difference.

I’m sure that it does not make any sense for a lot of you guys. But for many producers…. To hire the person that can allow them to get some sort of tax-return, that allows them to cut down on cost, is the only thing that makes sense from a business point of view.

For another reason…

Photoshop LayersIt allows the artist to separate various elements on different layers easily.

For example, on a storyboard, you can have the BG (background) on one level, the characters on another level, then another level for something like let’s say an overlay, and heck even a level for various notes.

This allow other people in the production, like lets say the Director, to easily make various comments directly on the work, or even to easily edit the work themselves if needed thanks to the fact that the work is done on multiple levels.

So although using the computer does not necessarily make the job easier for the artist doing the work…. Heck sometimes it makes it much harder… it can make the work easier for various other steps of the production.

It can make it easier for someone who would want to make some changes/corrections in the artwork for some reason.

Part of the pressure to switch to using the computer comes partly from that. It can make the work of some people in the production much easier. Allowing them to do more work, or needing less people to do the same amount of work.

So again, from the point of view of a producer, it won’t matter if it is much more work for an artist to use the computer, if it allows the producer to have less people later in the production process.

For example, there is a fixed price when an artist does a storyboard. So it does not matter for a producer if the storyboard artist has to work twice as much to do the same work, since it is the same price anyway from the point of view of the producer.

But if thanks to that, the producer needs to hire one less person to check/correct/make changes to the storyboard… it means extra money in the producer’s pocket. And that is in addition of whatever tax return the producer might get for using someone who works using new technologies.

Of course… the best option would be to hire someone who can do “GREAT work” WITH the computer.

But we are not there…. Yet.

I will try to explain why at a later time.

Until then.

1 comment:

Sea-of-Green said...

When I first started working in publishing 20 years ago, the industry was in the process of adapting their processes for computers. At the time, everyone was saying that we wouldn't need to use NEARLY as much paper anymore.

WRONG. For the last twenty years, publishing companies used THREE TIMES the amount of paper they used BEFORE computers. They're only now starting to reduce the amount of paper usage.



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