Okay, now let's talk about Flipnote Studio. The kind of flick book animation that you draw in the corners of your textbook and the kind of animation that Kotabe-san has worked on are in some respects complete opposites, but you could also say they spring from the same source. Koizumi-san, what did you think when you showed Flipnote Studio to Kotabe-san? Having been the master's pupil for so long, were you excited or afraid?
I thought he was sure to like it. When I first explained it to him, I knew if I said I wanted to make pictures move that he would understand, so I could approach with my head held high.
When I heard about it, I thought it was an interesting way of making animation.
Inside, I was pretty nervous, though. (laughs)
Kotabe-san, what do you think about this company that you have worked with for so long suddenly creating something that some might call the starting point of animation and offering it for free to people who buy Nintendo's new game console, the Nintendo DSi?
What? It's free? I didn't know that. Oh…that's quite extraordinary. In my day it took forever until we could actually see something moving on a screen.
We used to learn movement by hand, drawing pictures frame by frame and flipping through them to learn the general speed. But by hand, something would suddenly appear a little off.
Of course, now you've got computers, so you can see the actual timing, but it's amazing how easy it is with Flipnote Studio. What's more, you can use dozens of frames and there are also frame settings. I think this was only possible because Koizumi-san knows about animation.
I learned it all from you! (laughs)
Kotabe-san would draw the original art and I would create the proofs and have him check them. The lines he drew were so graceful. He can draw line art that stands on its own, so ever since that time I have thought that you could complete a work of animation simply through lines and movement.
Japanese animation has both graceful lines and incredible movement. The movement techniques discovered by Kotabe-san and others involved in the early days of Toei Animation are very impressive, so I feel like I want to unearth those again.
Sometimes as I was scribbling away, I wished I had a tool to help me out. It wasn't exactly a fly in the ointment, though.
What kind of tool do you mean?
Like a sketching tool. For example, if I wanted to draw a girl skipping, in order to finish off her face neatly, I wanted to sketch it first, but didn't have the tool. If I could use grey to draw a rough sketch, then I could draw it accurately.
Don't worry. We plan to include such a tool in Flipnote Studio Version 2.
Oh, you can do that? That's good to hear! (laughs)
You've really thought this through. I'm impressed.
First we're just going to release the bare necessities, then later, just when everyone wants more functions, we'll release Version 2. If we handed users a bunch of functions at once, they might get confused. Also, the absolute minimum necessary features are explained in writing, but only icons serve for all the rest. When someone notices one of those icons, he or she will wonder what it is and try it out. I'd like it if everyone teaches each other what they've learned.
When you showed Flipnote Studio to Kotabe-san, what did you want to stress the most?
How easy it makes drawing. You can draw something and set it into motion in two simple steps. You won't find anything else that allows you to do that with a stylus.
Once you draw something, you can immediately start it moving and check it right away. Kotabe-san, as an animator, do you find that amazing?
It truly is amazing. When a professional animator suddenly has an idea, he can't immediately check out how well it will work. Certain materials are necessary. But with Flipnote Studio, drawing is easy.
And it's great how you can draw anywhere. The reason I doodled in the corners of my textbooks during classes at school was because I had so much time on my hands.
Is that why you're still drawing caricatures during meetings at Nintendo?
You pretend like you're taking notes, but I bet you're really drawing our visitors' faces. I suppose it's a different kind of memo.
Right. I don't want to forget whom I met that day. But I haven't been doing it much lately.
From now on you can do it using Flipnote Studio.
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