Animation Smears and Secret Blur Techniques

Are you aware that the animation smears technique was introduced in 1972 when Disney revealed the Dover Boys? 

The smear animation frames would later come to be known as the Smear, which became the climax point in the animation history in terms of style, looks, and the time required for animation production. 

What is the Animation Smear? 

It is essential to understand the traditional animation blur techniques, which typically involve using keyframes. 

It consists of drawing the starting and endpoints frames and the in-between points, which gives a movement illusion, and the subject is plotted in dozens of stances. 

Stills are typically played at very high speed such that the mind perceives the subject moving along. There are 24 frames per second of animation. Such speed doesn’t allow the mind to register all flames individually, but the brain perceives it as a consistent picture.

animation smears daffy duck example

Why are animation smears used in animation? 

Rather than having a perfect drawing subject touching through the action, many poses frame after frame are used. 

The animation smears help achieve the given motion’s optical illusion using a single frame or short-run frames positioned between keyframes. Besides, the use of smear frames helps give the blur a frantic pace impression. 

Note that Smear animation doesn’t only involve the artificial making of cartoons but also in natural occurrence. For instance, when you throw a baseball at a swift pace, you will see the real-life Smear. 

Like in artificial animations, even in real life, the brain can’t recognize each flame of the fast-moving object; hence, you see only a smear. They are known as motion blurs.

Animation smears SpongeBob example

A smear is typically a visual illusion, according to Paul Layzell, a UK-based animator. He’s known for creating the “I Love You” animation motion blur together with Sarah Silverman. 

Although it would be amazing to animate a film, the only issue is the time it would take to draw all that stuff. It, therefore, means coming with the movement through a smear blur visualization.

How are animation smears used in animation? 

Chuck Jones, a short animator, used smears to save the drawing time. His work later featured in Looney Tunes. 

When it comes to drawing a smear, there are several different styles, according to Layzell. Ideally, animators will either stretch the object shape or repeat the shape in a particular sequence to imitate movement. 

New animations can quickly get obsessed once they discover smearing animation because it is more fun drawing. 

animation blur bugs bunny example

Superman stretches are those animations that retain a character’s form, and the line doesn’t get broken. It is similar to taking the character and rolling them in a way just like the Play-Doh. 

This method is a less complicated smear technique to work with, especially for animators looking forward to saving their time. 

The motion blur is a type of smearing animation that involves rapidly moving objects in a static image. It can also affect a sequence of an image like those in a movie. 

Motion blur happens when the object is moving too fast such that it becomes hard to be captured using a slow shutter camera speed.

Yosemite Sam and Bugs Bunny smearing animation example

Where are animation smears used in animation? 

In 1920, the white and black animation firms applied comic book concepts to explain the sound effects and fast action. While the sound effects were considered the little lines are arising outward from the location impact, the fast action was defined as the speed lines.

When are animation smears used in animation? 

A typical animation should apply the speed effect if it’s compulsory and when on a substantial budget. 

The artist will be required to evaluate if it is possible to seize the action on the 2s. One drawing is exposed for every two frames, with a total of 12 drawings exposed within a second. 

animation blur cartoon example

Typically, the 2s animation is hugely cost-effective, and in most cases, it will enhance your animation impact due to the staccato action that exposes one drawing for every two frames. 

When the action is super-fast for the 2s, then the 1s, i.e., one drawing per frame or 24 drawings every second, will be the most effective. If the action goes past the 1s speed, you will be required to use the multiples or dry brush to speed.

Explore more websites about animation smears and check out other animation styles such as CalArts.