Undersatnding Anime

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Anime Aesthetic 

Character Design | Mechanical Design | Scene Painting 

Rurouni Kenshin (c) Sony Pictures Entertainment When most people think anime, they think: "Big Eyes, Big Hair, Big Breasts, and Big Robots." And while I won't deny that those can be part of the anime aesthetic, there is much more. On a simplier more basic artistic approach, anime has a distinctive solid color shading scheme. Often it is a two color shading scheme (with a third added as either a highlight/gloss or dark shadow) and is used in conjunction with smooth black outlines for a very iconistic and steamlined style. This approach is used for all foreground objects and other objects that would be animated, which are usually placed on top of intricately painted backdrops that use a more natural media approach with color blending gradients, often without the black outlines as well. Look at these two images and compare the foreground objects to the background to see the difference in coloring paradigms.

Neon Genesis Evangelion (c) Gainax Another important aspect of anime is the attention to detail, especially when it comes to design work. Everything to the grandest transforming robot to the mechanical pen placed on a desk for one scene is meticulously though out and planned. Often times with real brand names and models intact or strange legal suit free permutations. That way, anime is rooted in reality eventhough the artwork iteslf is highly stylized. And in terms of style and design, these are all aspects of pre-production and each anime often has an animation stlye guide, often published after the show is released as a "This is Animation Special" book.