Friday, July 01, 2022

Avatar Studios’ CG Animation To Be 2D, Not 3D Stylized To Look 2D

In a new interview with Comic Con Meta*Pod, Avatar Studios co-head Bryan Konietzko revealed that the upcoming animated Avatar: The Last Airbender content coming from the studio will be 2D, not 3D. However, he and Michael DiMartino didn’t confirm whether if it will be traditionally animated, and hinted that it won’t be fully.

It was reported that the movies were supposed to be CG, and that Nickelodeon was developing a custom 2D CG style for the content. It was speculated that this meant they would be following in the footsteps of animation such as the Spider-Verse movies and Arcane series, which are animated in 3D stylized to look 2D. Avatar Studios has confirmed that they won’t be doing this– though they considered it last year, which could be why they said it would be CG at the time.

The animation will be 2D. However, it's speculated that the reason they’re hinting that it's not all traditional animation like ATLA and The Legend of Korra is because CG-animation will still be used at some point in production. They say they’re “starting” from hand drawings, not that the animation itself will be hand-drawn, but it’s pretty vague.

Here’s the full excerpt (from the section starting at 1:16:15 in the podcast linked above):

Bryan: “We love all sorts of animation, and we’re gonna be doing all sorts of things, but our main bread and butter is 2D animation. It’s an homage to anime and all the stuff that we love. That doesn’t mean we’re gonna be, like, hardcore straightedge 2D using cels and painting the backgrounds with poster paint. The way we always look at it is: start with hand-drawn, handmade artwork and then: what can technology do to help us enhance it, to help us deepen it, to help the filmmaking, to make it more cinematic? But we’re always gonna be coming at it from that [2D] direction. We’re not planning on doing anything, at the moment, especially none of our big projects, that are starting purely 3D and then trying to stylize them. We looked at it, we thought about it, and there’s beautiful stuff happening in that space– Arcane and Spider-Verse are gorgeous and groundbreaking and pushing the envelope, but that’s their own look and we’re not chasing that stuff. We didn’t form Avatar Studios to go chasing someone else’s coattails. I think that stuff’s beautiful, but a ton of other studios are chasing those looks. Leave that to them; those artists worked hard to form that look and we’re looking hard to form our own look, but we’re not doing anything purely 3D.”

This new information suggests that the art style used will be more-or-less replicating what ATLA and TLOK looked like (what it looks like if you pause it), but that the animation itself (what it looks like in motion) might not be. It doesn’t seem like it’s going to be traditional animators drawing every frame like before, but rather some kind of new computer animating process with the 2D visual starting point. However, again, they’re being really vague so we don’t know for sure.

Stream Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra on Paramount+ and Netflix! Try Paramount+ for FREE at

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Original source: Avatar News; H/T: Power Unlimited.

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