Survey of Animation: Flipbook


For this assignment I made use of film references from the animator Otto Messmer; known mostly for his cartoons and animations of Felix the Cat. I specifically used the films “Feline Follies” (1919), “Felix Comes Back” (1922), “Felix in Hollywood” (1923), “Felix the Ghost Breaker” (1923), and “Felix Goes West” (1924) as my main references for both key poses and certain stylistic choices in my short animation. I also attempt to make use of the Felix the Cat character for my piece so that I may be more able to accurately reflect Otto Messmer’s style of character animation.

I took away something similar for each piece in a sense of the style and motion but I chose to use these five specific films for different reasons. From “Feline Follies” I wanted to get a sense of where the animation and style of motion for Felix the Cat started. Compared to the other animations there was more of an attempt to make Felix’s facial expressions more diverse for each instance of emotion, as well as the use of Felix’s tail to also express emotion in various situations.

“Felix Comes Back” had a more prominent use of the dotted line as a visual indicator of eye-contact with an object. It also made more use of on screen onomatopoeia such as the sleeping “z’s”.

“Felix in Hollywood” has Felix using his tail a lot more as a tool than an expressive piece. It also shows, thanks to his very detail-less design, Felix’s ability to shape shift into different objects.

“Felix the Ghost Breaker” helped out my process of figuring out Felix’s sense of fear and how he might personally react to various levels of scary and/or strange phenomenon happening to him.

I had used the film “Felix Goes West” as so to get a better idea for Felix’s more rounder and simpler design. This film seems to be a nice precursor towards the style that Felix the Cat takes in the 1950s animations. And I personally found that style to have the capacity to be more expressive and fun to shape, where as the others made Felix feel more ridged and stiff.

Felix himself, as a character, has a big part of him the makes him both easy to draw and yet difficult to animate and that is the fact that he is, save for his face, one solid black color. Even when parts of him overlap with each other there is almost, or very little, hint of Messmer using any white outlines to help define the shapes and spaces. And there were times when I found myself lost in the shapes I had Felix in, and has a huge potential to make some frames unclear on their own. However in context it is less noticeable.

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