The CalArts Thing

In the wake of the new Thundercats show, CalArts is taking a beating for being producing an ugly, simplistic, and homogenized art style in animation that has become linked to SocJus.

thunder cat

It’s long been the subject of several memes.calarts meme

There was a good thread recently about why “CalArts” has become linked with SocJus that can be read here.

But what is “CalArts” really like, and is it really to blame? Is it ugly and homogeneous? I’ll let you be the judge.

I found a page that has the 2018 films of CalArts animation students.

Here is something from a 4th year CalArts student:

Squiggly words and keyframes aren’t what comes to mind when most folks think of animation.

This animation from a 4th year would’ve been nuked from orbit had it been posted on NewGrounds:

On the other hand, 13 pages in, I did find this gem by a 1st year.

Here’s a first year that, while the art is kind of ugly, shows mastery of the concepts of animation.

CalArts needs Jeongho Lee and Katie Billions more than they need CalArts.

The few good ones are so out of the league of much of what’s coming out that being associated with CalArts may be to their detriment in the future, because the person who made Gumball Machine will now be inextricably linked with the person who made this:

Because the CalArts short films are listed by the number of plays they’ve received, fewer and fewer people will see Gumball Machine because it’s behind a dozen pages of stuff like that.

I don’t think that it’s fair to say that CalArts it turning out a homogenized style of design, but much of the design coming out of it IS rather ugly, and many of the student animations range from poor to mediocre in quality. Of course, some of that can be chalked up to student effort; you’ll always have your A, B, C, and D students turning in a varying quality of work.

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