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Simpsons now in HD *update*

Mon Feb 16, 2009, 3:15 AM
Ok so now that the opening has officially aired I can talk about it.  I knew about the first leaks on the net but I couldn't discuss it until it actually aired.  Contract stuff.  I watched it myself in HD and I thought it looked great, the colors and stuff were very crisp.  Here is a list of the things I worked on..

1. Crow flying across clouds-I didn't understand it's purpose either but they wanted a throw back to blinky.  The version they used was my 4th pass.  My first pass was awesome because they first told me to animate it "like a real crow but with more personality because it has 3 eyes."  So I did but Groening said it was "too cartoony," so I did another one more realistic.  He said it was "too realistic," so we settled on what's there now.  It's a little strobey because I had origianlly did it on 1's because they wanted fast wing flaps but it looks like they put it on 2's.  Once it's out of my hands I don't know what will happen to it.  I'll try and post the first one I did.  Oh, I also did the other crow landing on lard lad.

2. Bullies sawing statue head- This one I had fun with, all on 1's.  Just to repeat I didn't come up with the ideas, I just draw what they tell me.  It was one of the last things they added and I said originally, "wasn't Bart the one that sawed off the head?"  

3. Bart landing on leaves/Barney- Just added the bounce to the original animation.  Barney was fun to animate, it was done in-house meaning all the drawings are mine.  No inbetweens from Korea, Kearny/Jimbo the same thing.

4. The super market-This whole scene was mine.  I didn't like what they did where they cut pieces of body parts and moved them in the computer ie. Maggie's head etc.  It looks like it was done in flash.  About the Marge turn, I had originally done a version where she did a nice head turn but, again, they didn't want it.  "Just have a simple head turn because we want the joke to be Maggie and the unibrow baby," they told me.  I didn't know they were going to stiffen it up that much, I'm just defending myself because that seems to be the first thing people mention is Marge.  They kept my Maggie scan and popping out of the bag though and in my defense they added the fist shaking later, I didn't do those 2 drawing cycle *eck*

5. Sideshow Bob, Helen Lovejoy, Comic book guy, Disco Stu, and the rich texan on the sidewalk- Bob was fully animated on 1's as well and I did a sweet fluid version of him swinging the machete but the response I got was "it's too fancy."  I think it turned ok in the end but I still like my first pass better.  The others weren't doing much, not much to say about them.

That's basically it for the stuff I did.  The reason why the show has stiffend up is because there was an era when fox would tell directors that we had to draw every pose we drew perfectly on model.  No distorting of the forms of any kind.  It has slowly been dieing down the past couple seasons but they still insist on making the show more about the writing and less about the looks.  Every once in a while we'll get let loose and we can do some fun stuff but on the whole don't blame the artists please.  Believe me all of us working there would love to express the characters in more ways but there's just so much we can do.  I'm just happy to be working, I can't complain anyway I'm on the longest running show ever.  Hope you all liked the opening, I'd love to hear all feedback.  Please don't hold back.

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191WikiC Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2012
Emjaidi Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
It's too bad the FOX execs would rather have the animation stiff and boring nowadays. Animation was meant to be of fun and lively, not...this. :|

Oh well, it's not your fault.
creamstar2000 Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2010
Go wild, have fun, and most importantly stand up for yourself.

If these fools existed years ago, we'd never have David Silverman's absolutely fantastic animation of Homer having a heart attack, among many other incredibly timed and lavishly animated poses.

Animation is about timing, movement, and flow, not about keeping characters on model when moving.
MarkP0rter Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2010  Professional Filmographer
There is so much I would love to say about this but then everybody has already done this so there is no point in repeating what has been said already. All I want to say is that I am sorry for you and the other animators. It seems like the Simpsons is run by idiots really. I know this too well myself- doing stuff you really do not agree with but if your superiors think this looks great you have to do that as much as you disagree and then in the end no one will think it is great and you might even get the blame while you were the one that didn't like it from the start.
openmindness Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2010
I saw clip comparing the old opening clip and the new one. Matt sucks for making you tone it down. I bet you could do a awesome job if your bosses didn't held you back. Oh well got to put food on the table.
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Dwig Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2010
I'm sorry to say this but the new intros rubbish, but I know it wasn't your fault. Fox's behavior explains why the animation in Mcfarlanes work looks so horrible.

I think you should've stood up and defended the cartoony animation, I know we all gotta get bread on the table but I value my integrity.
Yeldarb86 Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Your work is under discussion if you want to stop by and talk more about it. [link]
sandypants Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2010
this is honestly the most depressing thing.
sideshowbobfanatic Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2009
I loved the opening. You were the one who animated Bob. That's awesome. He's my favorite part of the new one. :D

I didn't see anything bad about the new opening. It was all good. I'm not picky when it comes to The Simpsons.
blackhellcat Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2009  Professional General Artist
Just don't nitpick everything and you'll enjoy it more.:aww:
surges Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2009
While it was awesome, I do agree with what most of everyone already said.

Except that cat lady doesn't deserve a spot in the opening. I think Tress Macnielle seriously deserves some representin'.
midnightheist Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2009
The biggest thing I didn’t like was some actions were out of character for some people. Like the twins playing video games in band practice, and Otto eating the inanimate carbon rod. It would have been far better if he used it as a glow stick or something.

My favourite part was the tv at the end. Is that a reference to the Futurama opening?

And yeah, the flow to (and of) maggie's fist shake seemed rather forced. Some of the gags don't have time to breathe. Most of them need better comedic timing.

Final note, I'm getting annoyed by the Texan in the newer episodes. He only has one gag, and it always seems to go on longer than needed. And after you sit though it, the ad break starts? wth. :P

It's nice to know you give us some insight behind the show :)
asylumcat Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2009   Filmographer
I'll miss the original opening, but this looks nice. Your work really stands out and I'm glad you're doing what you can to bring some boing back to the show. :) Great job!
AngelCrusher Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2009  Professional Filmographer
Nice to see new stuff, but i dunno, some charm seemed to have left from it. I didnt enjoy the tracking shots that screamed digital 2D.
real-faker Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2009  Student Filmographer
Also, I hope you'll be uploading those unused animations you did also! : D
real-faker Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2009  Student Filmographer
The crow had 3-eyes? I didn't notice! I figured the crow was a reference to the fact that whenever there's a shot of the power plant, you hear a crow caw-ing (is that what you call it?). But, I guess if the crow has 3-eyes, it's probably an effect of the plant anyway, so theoretically, it prolly is the power plant crow, no? I mean, we've never really seen it, only heard it. So I guess there's really no reason why it shouldn't have 3 eyes. XD

That's also interesting, about it being "too realistic" and "too cartoony"... I'd heard that originally the intro with the clouds was supposed to look like realistic clouds and once it zooms into the "P" it turns all cartoony. But I guess the clouds just ended up being that... weird... airbrushy Monty-Python-foot-looking... style that they were.

I noticed Marge's head turn, and also the fist shaking btwn Maggie and Unibrow baby... it looked kinda choppy, or like you said, done in Flash. Good to know that wasn't your doing, anyway. : D

Oooh, I especially loved seeing Bob and all those characters on the sidewalk... good job on those!

Also, I'd always heard/read that the contract with Fox and the Simpsons Folks basically let you guys call all the shots... or at least something like that. Maybe it was to ignore notes from the censors.... is that still true? Or was I ill-informed? 'Cause that's a damn shame if Fox really does get to call... well, any shots, really... on the animation. What do they know? Really. :/

Ah well, that's just a certain Simpsonian/Futurama-fueled pent-up rage I have against Fox speaking, I suppose. Anyway, all-in-all, the new intro was pretty monumental. I literally showed it to just about everyone I know, even if they didn't care. It had me so worked up (for good and bad reasons), but I think the work you did on it was great, and especially all the gags and references to not only the original intro, but to various episodes!

A band-geek friend of mind also was extremely proud to see that Lisa's sax is no longer blue and purple or whatever color it used to be. XD
Morpheus306 Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2009  Professional Filmographer
Thanks for the comments. I don't know where you heard Fox was letting us call the shots animation wise. Maybe the first couple seasons but once the show got to the 10th season or so Fox really wanted the models to stand out. The people over there don't know anything about our craft but having them tell us what to do artistically is just an ego boost for them. Look at Simpson posters especially, the models are WAY off but that's the way they want them drawn. There's a whole separate division that deals with merchandising and Fox always has their hand in how the characters are drawn and it's terrible. Look at the calender for this year the drawings are horrible. Some directors will let us do nice animation and many times we get away with it but when you get people in power who don't know how to draw telling people how to draw you get what the show looks like today.
real-faker Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2009  Student Filmographer
Yeah... I think the 10th season is probably around where I started noticing a change. Maybe later than that... but still. I can't believe that! I'd always heard about the difference between "creator-driven" cartoons and cartoons that the networks have a say in. I knew that there are a lot of networks that try and control what the animators do, but I thought that was more in the '80s-ish. Hmm... Well gee, that's awful! I'll have to check out the Calendar... I haven't looked at the most recent one.

And I hate to rag on people, but that really is a shame that Fox does that. I mean, the show was never the loosest style of animation, but every now and then when the characters would go WAY off model for comic effect... it just made it that much funnier, you know? There's a scene in season 4 where Homer has a heart-attack in Burns' office, and it's probably one of the funniest peices of animation I've ever seen! Oh, how his face contorts...
Still, I'm relieved at least to know that anything I've disliked about the show's appearance in recent years is certaintly not your guys' fault! I had worried that maybe all the kids who grew up watching... freakin'... Rainbow Bright... or somethin'... had gotten ahold of the show. XD Dumb joke.

ANYWAY, it's awesome to hear that from you and I'm glad you guys can get away with it sometimes. : D
Russell-Reyes Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2009
i wish they had let you make those scenes a little more cartoony, like that itchy and scratchy thankgiving cartoon you did. i mean it's just the theme song, and the one that's been playing for the past 20 years was much more squash-and-stretch. great job though!
murkrowzy Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
i still think the original opening is better. im one for original stuff.

but the revamp was pretty freakin epic. high quality, & hilarious. :aww:
Sheana Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2009
Parts of it are very nice (like your Bob!), but yeah, I have to say, I'm kinda disappointed by parts of the new intro. A lot of the animation (mostly bits you mentioned were sent back/messed with) seemed very odd to me, very Flash-like and kind of stiff. I don't consider myself an uber expert on animation but I do watch out for that stuff, and the new intro throws me off a lot because there's so much odd timing and pacing and animation flow in the thing.

It bothers me that FOX and some of the people on the show itself forced such stiffness on it for a while, and still say stuff like "it's too fancy". It's an opening sequence for a long-running, super popular cartoon show! Shouldn't something like that deserve a fancy, well-animated opening? I remember from my childhood, cartoons like Beetlejuice had okay/so-so animation in general but would pull out all the stops for the opening credit sequence. A lot of American TV animation (that isn't based on anime-style) seems to be falling into the Family Guy trap these days. Keep it stiff and boring and lazy!

Some of the canon they ignored kinda bothered me, like the bullies sawing off the Springfield statue's head. Does 'The Tell-Tale Head' not count anymore? Those bullies "would never cut the head off a dude that iced a bear with his bare hands". And are Rich Texan and Crazy Cat Lady really considered worthwhile characters to include? They're dumb one-offs that've just been forced on us.

I hate to be so negative, heh. I used to love the show and I get really nitpicky with animation.
Krabyplankton Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2016  Student Filmographer
what is wrond with the bullies cutting off the statue bart had to ride his skateboard i think the new intro looks ok at least it's not as stiff as regular show 
jdicarlo Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2015
You couldn't be any more correct than you already are. Once Family Guy came around, cartoons have gotten stiffer and stiffer. Not just prime time cartoons, but even children's cartoons have turned into Family Guy.
ChaosKnuckles Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2009
Overall I think the new opening looks nice! I do agree that Marge's head looked off, and I actually wish they'd kept your work instead. I always appreciate hand-drawn animation in favor of CG-"enhanced" animation. The interaction in Bart's skating scene was quite nice, so kudos for that!

Is the missing couch gag going to be permanent or was that just one of the interchangeable endings to the sequence?
Shuya Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2009  Professional Filmographer
Is it possible for you to post your first passes on some of the sequences? Or the ones that got in only shot how you meant for them to be?
KyubiStewie Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2009
I checked it out last night, and it looks great! :D It felt like the Simpsons movie.
ihatecollege Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2009
Growing up watching the Simpsons since it first aired, I would normally be opposed to changing what isn't broken but...

The new intro was FABULOUS. IT flowed very very nicely and was just awesome. Thanks for the awesomeness.
Officer-1BDI Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
As I wasn't at my parents' house last night I didn't have access to a glorious HD television and had to watch this on my dinky little television instead. But it still looked really good. I'm pretty sure I said at one point: "Holy crap, it'smovie quality animation!" :D

1) I knew that had to be a Blinky reference! Though on my tiny screen it took me a few moments to pick up on the fact that the crow had three eyes. I was a little surprised they didn't just try to add the fish himself somewhere else instead... oh, wait, he's in the crowd pan!

2) I didn't take issue with the bullies sawing the head off; it seemed very in-character to me.

3) Nothing particular struck me about this bit, good or bad. The bump looks very fluid to me.

4) I'm glad you brought up Maggie and Gerald shaking fists at each other, because I thought that was one of the stiffest parts of the intro. Something about it seemed very forced. I'm also really disappointed that Marge's head turn was lost (I always loved that bit in the original animation), but ah well. The freeze frame gags/homages on the conveyor belt were brilliant, though. I actually squealed a bit when I saw the Mr. Sparkle box. Patty and Selma were a nice touch, but I'm wondering where Ling went.

5) Honestly, I was a little disappointed with the new line up. It wasn't the animation, but the fact that some of those characters were chosen to be featured. It's a matter of personal preference, but I really don't like the Rich Texan or the Cat Lady and to see them in the intro like that reminds me why I'm one of those jaded "Golden Age" Simpson fans. =P That's irrelevant, though. Moving on....

I'd love to see the Bob they rejected, because I thought the Bob actually used here was great; very fluid, and it managed to stand out without being too distracting to the scene.

"The reason why the show has stiffend up is because there was an era when fox would tell directors that we had to draw every pose we drew perfectly on model. No distorting of the forms of any kind."

I thought this had been a decision made on the directors' part; learning that it's actually FOX calling those shots makes me feel better, but I'm still irked that this happened at all. The characters are less interesting to watch these days.
Inspirrational Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2009
I really don't think the Simpsons is the longest running show ever. Maybe cartoon, but certainly not show in general.
AngelCrusher Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2009  Professional Filmographer
longest running sitcom or cartoon for sure, but soap operas have lasted much longer.
Inspirrational Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2009
And then there's Doctor Who. I've never watched it, but I hear it's been on forever. And then there's some stupid American news show that's been on air for like 60+ years, but who knows about international shows... except the people who do know.
Krabyplankton Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2016  Student Filmographer
doctor who ended and rebooted 
JediKaputski Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2009
I do miss some of the more cartoony aspects of the show. What happened to the purple trees? Those were awesome!

Anywho, I loved the new opening! It was time for it to be updated a little, and it was definitely for the better. Excellent work, sir!
Mohegan567 Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2009  Student Filmographer
I loved seeing Sideshow Bob in the intro! He's my favourite character!
zolofft1215 Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2009  Hobbyist Artist
I have been watching The Simpsons all my life.
AND why now! Why not ten years?
And is this going to be on all the new episode from now on?
Good Job:D
Luffink Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2009
I saw it on Youtube(I live in Spain, so I had no chance to see it). I loved every reference to other chapters, and I wondered how could I not miss Granpa Simpson in the opening all these years. The only thing I missed in this one was... Flanders. Or did he turn into God? XD
Hitlersbrain Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2009
I haven't seen it yet, but I guess the purpose of the crow is, it's the crow you hear every time there's an exterior shot of the power plant?

I have noticed some looser poses creeping into the newer episodes. I was happy to see them!
Maverick22 Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2009
Though I did spoil myself a bit. I saw it on Fri on Youtube. Dang you Fox. Why did they spoil it?
Though watching it on my Big screen HDTV was very nice.
It was very crisp and the colors were very vibrant.
I loved how lots of the characters were part of it and all the little things to spot for those old fans who have been watching it for a while.

Though I didn't even notice that the crow in the very beginning had 3 eyes. XD
And wow my fav parts were actually done by you.
The grocery scene and the part where Bart lands on the leaves/Barney. But yeah I did notice the Marge head turning. It was almost out of place and may I say cheap. Glad it was the bosses upstairs decision and not the actual animators/you.

What do the numbers mean when Maggie gets scanned? The price went up like $200+ when she was scanned.

*drinks Tomacco juice*
Krabyplankton Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2016  Student Filmographer
when she was originally scanned in 1989 that was the cost of how much it is to rase a baby the price is higher these days 
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