How does Texture relate to your Animation?

So What is Texture in an Animated Film?

Texture can be thought of as the combination of narrative elements and as the tactile quality of the surface of an object.

Natural media and real objects used in animation right down to thumbprints visible in the smoothest of plasticene animated models have obvious materiality – readily recognisable tactile associations. But what is the texture of totally synthetic surfaces generated digitally; at some level generated by a series of numbers or lines of code ? A lot of work goes into the attempt of recreating the impression of tactile surfaces or textures in digitally produced animation, as evidenced by job description of “Shader and Texture Artist”[4].   Programs such  as Painter, Studio Artist, Mudbox, Zbrush Paint Tools Sai, Natural Media Brushes in Photoshop and so on all put alot of effort into means of   incorporating or “simulating” natural texture.  Apart from this though all media ‘natural’ or electronic such as pencil, oil paint, film and video all have their own grain or texture.  What is the impact of these textures on the meaning, feeling, and engagement possibilities of animated film ? How can  texture be explored to add to the meaning, feeling, and engagement possibilities of animated film ?


The “texture” of a narrative can be seen in the intertwining , (contrapuntal  or braid like), composition of story elements,themes,character,action and location story arcs. The combination of many small details create the “fabric” of the film’s story and world but ironically it is perhaps quite often most effective when it is felt more as an overall  impression and atmosphere rather than the recognition or distraction of the individual details make it up,

Russian  Animator Yuri Norstein alludes to this in  the poetic meandering writing of his treatment for Tale of Tales,   “In the film childhood will be there as part of an enormous and maginificent life of the whole world at all times. What we need to grasp is not so much that children hold the secret of happiness- but that we also hold that secret. Each of us has this, our own, secret, but we often keep it secret from ourselves…  The script should not feature scenes with an instant interpretation such that the reader nods their head after each turn thinking : yes, got it, Ive got what they mean by that. ”    Yuri Norstein and Tale of Tales,  KITSON, Clare      ( Lenton Parr Library Call no.   741.58 nor )

Skazka skazok (screenshot).jpg
Little Grey Wolf from Tale of Tales dir: Yuri Horstein- source Wikipedia


Japanese Animator Koji Yamamura also shares this interest in using animation to capture the imagination and  wonder of childhood;

Watch this film- A child’s metaphysics.

Read this Review



[4] Eg, Tia Kratter started at Pixar in 1993 and had this role on Monsters Inc and Toy Story gathering and designing color and texture references and visual color scripts.

Also see job advertisements such as this one;  “you’ll develop the artistic look of the material expressions in our game world. Using your considerable expertise in photography, Photoshop and node-based shader creation tools, you will craft photorealistic organic and inorganic material looks, as well as complex animated special effect shaders such as water, fire and smoke. You’ll work with the Art Director, Asset Artists and Environment Artist to achieve a consistent, high-quality style. In addition, you will tutor other artists in shading techniques, and work with our Engine programmers to identify and develop new techniques.”


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