I will be looking at two animations which are completely different, Spirited Away. A Japanese animated film which has an anime style which is has become one of the most successful and noticeable world wide. The another animation is a small animation called Rocketbank ✕ Arcada. An animation where the art style is done in a pixel art style. Although it is another language, the animation is very well put together and represents what you can do with a pixel art animation.

Sprinted Away:

A film produced by Studio Ghibli and was realised in 2001, the animation is about a girl called Chihiro Ogino who travel into a small town with her family. They found a tunnel and explored it which made them trapped in another world. She is trying to save her parents and escape what they have found. The film was directed and written by Hayao Miyazaki and produced by Toshio Suzuki.

The art in Spirited Away shows it is a very detailed animation from the shading and texture characters and backgrounds. The character designs are unique from the design and colours. Good examples are all of the sprites, Zeniba and Kamaji. All of the characters have they on personality and designs which can be categorised which person is which.

SA spirte 1SA villan sfddSA spider charter

Chihiro Ogino and Haku are the main two characters which were both humans. Both of them have colours which are unique to them like Chihiro Ogino clothes are green and cream white which defines her while Haku has a white blue. These colours defines each of them and the viewer who is which from the colours, designs and personality.

The shading can be seen in most scenes from the contrast from darkness to brightness from the light coming from various objects like natural light coming from a windows of man made lighting.

SA shading

SA dark to small lights

The music is done which fits with the animation. The diegetic music fits in well because it fits in from the characters doing, fro example when Chihiro Ogino  was going down the stairs to the boiler room. When she was going down each of the steps the music is slow but when she falls down them the music speed up to add more dramatics to the scene. This applies through out the movie. Most of the music is done by Joe Hashish.

The establishing scene are detail and explains to the viewer where they are and what they will be doing in the scene.

SA grass filed detailSA wind clock towerSA sneak to boil 2

Overall for the Spirted Away animation it is very detailed and has a lot of work which was put into it. The animation is around 2 hours with production of making the animation started in 2000 and was realised 20 July 2001 which made the most successful film in Japanese history. In 2016 it was voted the fourth best film of 21st century. 

The makings of the animation shows that it was first drawn frame by frame, first by drawing each of the frames in real life then digitally by redrawing all of the frames from the drawn frames they have already done.

SA drawning wipSA drawn frames noteboo

Behind The Scenes Of “Spirited Away” (Part 1) Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLmxKJjas0s (Accessed: 15/3/17)  


Rocketbank ✕ Arcada:

‘Various Owners’ (December 19, 2016) Rocketbank ✕ Arcada. Available at: https://www.behance.net/gallery/44408561/Rocketbank-Arcada (Accessed: 15/3/17).

An animation which was uploaded to behance, a website to show peoples work off and can be their portfolios. It was made by four people: Misha Petrick, Vova Orlov, Evgeniy Yudin and Qbsound Studio.  and was uploaded on the December 19, 2016.  It takes the look and style of the old retro video games which were games around the 1885s on the NES and then on the SNES. NES was 8bit while SNES was 16 bit which Rocketbank ✕ Arcada inspiration to make the animation in that art style.

The animation shows a team of three and their objective journey going into the tower avoiding all of the traps inside the tower to reach to their goal.

no damaged

The visuals is all pixel art, every assets like the humans, background and objects are all inspired by classic retro video games but has a modern pixel art style due the use of colours and the details use of each of the pixel assets. A cool effect which the animations shows is that the colour, RBG colours layers each of the layers move slightly to create a cool looking for effect when someone gets hit inside of the video.

health damage

The animation represents lighting well by using the pixel art animation. One of the scenes the team are on a platform which tilts like weigh scales. The animation visuals show the floor is lit up by making the floor bright while adding transparency layers above the floor to make it have a glow effect.

Pixle art lighting 1.JPG

Other effects and visuals for the animations shows that is the use of saturation colours as most of the colours are bright and have more a neon colours look to it.

reflection and colours

The making for this animation seems to be made in two software. Adobe Photoshop and Adobe After Effects. Photoshop to create every visual in the animation to drawing them at low canvas sizes like at 8 by 8 pixels, 16 by 16 pixels, etc. After Effects is used to create all of the movement animations. From my experience of pixel animation all of the actions like running, jumping, walking, etc were all made in one Photoshop document. It was then exported to After Effects to make the loops for each of the actions.

Comparing similarities and difference between the two animations:

The two animations are very different! The two animation have different art styles, making technique and processes for making the animation. Spirted Away has more traditional animation process from the drawing frame by frame to make a moving animation but it’s art style genre is more anime which means Japanese animation from its art style and where it was made, Japan. The other animation is more modern but changes into something unique animation style as most animation movies don’t use the pixel art style. The production on making the animation changes as well as it is easier to make the pixel art style in Adobe Photoshop and After Effects.

A similar thing which each of the animation have is that most to all of the seconds in the animation, there is all ways something moving to make it the animation more a live and show there is life in the animation. From a lot of movement in a couple of frames they could just be idling animation which can be seen in the pixel art animation, as the animation motion style shows that most retro games have idling animations which the people who made the animation also taken that idea and created idling animation for all of the characters in the animation. Spirited away dose similar animation from at least each second show a movement if it is big or not. They did this by making the grass blow in the background while making standing animation more realistic by slight movements.