Animation is expensive. Really
expensive. An average 22-minute episode of an anime costs around $123,000, and American shows tend to be double that.note
When a production company decides that the important episodes (i.e. pilots
, and finales
) of a show get priority, other episodes (like filler
) will, to conserve production costs, be drawn with only the bare minimum of framework that they absolutely must
In American cartoons of the 80's and early 90's (and mid-70's, to some extent), it became the norm to send animation overseas to studios in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, The Philippines, Australia and other countries to cut costs even further. The budget problems were thus exacerbated by language and cultural barriers, which resulted in nearly every cartoon of the era having animation errors of varying degrees. Japanese studios came to be seen by American studios as the "top of the line" of overseas studios because of their consistent aversion of this tropenote
Long running shows suffering from budget issues
will start resorting to thinly veiled camera tricks
. The movement and even design of characters will start to slip, especially if the show is bothering to animate heavy action scenes. When they are
animated, fight scenes will become Fight Unscenes
The prevalence of computer-inked animation in recent years merely assures that colors
stay consistent. Off model refers to the character model (on a model sheet), which is what the animators are supposed
to base their drawings on. Another important step is animation checking, which may be skimped on when time or money (or even both) is short.
Fans are typically not pleased, and it is very common for companies to announce they're fixing up things for the inevitable DVD release
However, it can also be a good thing
- Cartoonist John Kricfalusi
has repeatedly stated that "staying on model is only for wimps and communists". Or to put it more subtly, if you don't break the character's model to emphasize some emotions, it'd be just as good done live action. Walt Disney Animation Australia
, Carbunkle Cartoons
also do this. However, their use of it is more of Depending on the Artist
taken Up to Eleven
, as opposed to accidental off model.
See also Uncanny Valley
, a result of when it gets too
far out of hand and Special Effect Failure
. Which is a similar trope, but for live action and
animation. Contrast Animation Bump
, wherein the animation suddenly becomes much better
than usual. For animation studios who are infamous for doing this at a constant rate, see AKOM
, Studio DEEN
, Studio Shaft
, Wang Film Productions
and Toei Animation
. For a studio whose supporters and critics often argue about whether their animation is this, see Kennedy Cartoons
If a show has constant instances of Off Model, then list notable examples of it. In addition, try to avoid typing Zero Context Examples
Below are examples in text form. For visual examples, you can visit a blog dedicated to them
or this LURKMORE article
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- Many of the creatures in Walking with Dinosaurs and its kin go through some drastic changes in appearance when the shot switches from a CGI animal to a puppet or an animatronic, or vice versa. The ones that stand out the most are the Postosuchus with its rubbery head; the freakish closeups of a Leaellynasaura puppet whose jaw slipped to the side; the Smilodon who seemingly can't open/close their mouth; and the Megaloceros that, upon dying, looks like it instantly became some huge stuffed animal toy. Then, there's that insect that goes from being a CGI ant to a live cricket. Pure CGI goofs include: The 3 year-old indricothere calf that still uses its newborn animation model, even though an other, same-aged indricothere already looked like an adult; and (though this could be intentional) the Allosaurus at the end of Walking with Monsters who is at first represented by the allosaur model from the 2001 TV adaptation of The Lost World, but then suddenly becomes a true Walking with...-brand Allosaurus (phew, that's better). As for various other off-model moments, freeze-framing reveals the animals tend to get heavily distorted during particularly fast movements.
- The entire body of Toa Vakama on the cover image◊ of the BIONICLE movie adaptation novel, Legends of Metru Nui, is seriously disfigured, and the head is especially misshapen. Surprisingly, the two characters in the background are both perfectly on-model. As a comparison, here's◊ how he is meant to look, as seen on the movie's poster.
- Also most of the Piraka on the cover of Dark Destiny, as it's a group image of their prototype toys, not the finalized versions.
Live Action TV
- Reunion movies or episodes often suffer this as set designers struggle to recreate exactly decades old sets whose forms are burned into viewers' memories through decades of reruns.
- In-Universe Example: During the "Into the Comics" serial of Ghostwriter, the gang is able to identify that the comic they are to analyze for contest clues is, in fact, a fake by noticing differences in the art-style from the previous instalments.
- Doctor Who:
- In the Doctor Who serial The Power of the Daleks, the Dalek army is represented by Louis Marx toy Daleks. The problem was that Marx's Daleks were a subtly wrong shape◊, which became more obvious when intercut with the three real Daleks.
- In the S5 episode "The Time of Angels," watch carefully when Eleven catches River Song: the Russell T. Davies-era TARDIS makes a brief cameo!
- Power Rangers:
- During the 1996/1997 season, Wheel of Fortune updated their trademark wheel. Needless to say, it didn't go over so well. The main issue was that for a month afterwards, the second Bankrupt Wedge looked different. Some other instances included the absence of the Million-Dollar Wedge during a May 2011 episode. Prize Wedges in the wrong slots. Missing or wrong Category Names and even the wheel itself being dislodged on occasion.
- Before that, the 2nd half of the 1987-88 syndicated season Wheel began reserving the Free Spin (then a wedge on the wheel as opposed to the later token version) for the first round only and replacing it with a $200 wedge that was notable for using a much-thinner version of the Clarendon-like font used on the wheel wedges. This also created a bizarre wedge pattern in which there were two consecutive $200 spaces (one of regular font next to the off model example) with another $200 two spaces away.
- In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Relics", Scotty requests the holodeck recreate the bridge of the Enterprise, "no bloody A, B, C or D." When the holodeck door open, several fans stated that the production company didn't reproduce the bridge exactly as on the old show. Turns out they actually used a static picture of an empty bridge (from "This Side of Paradise") for the initial shot.
- Also in "Yesterday's Enterprise" After the timeline is fixed, Geordi sits down with Guinan while still wearing the uniform from the alternate universe.
- The version of William Hartnell seen on the backglass of Doctor Who is a little... alien-looking.
- The playfield Space Shuttle toy in Space Shuttle is missing its tailfin. This was done in order to get it to fit inside the cabinet.
- The characters in Sega Pinball's Golden Eye are off-model to various degrees, due to licensing issues.
- Gottlieb's Street Fighter II pinball is infamous for this, with backglass characters that barely resembled their video game namesake, and a Chun Li who looked like a Bruce Lee Clone Disguised in Drag.
- The ED-209 playfield toy in Data East's RoboCop pinball has a more angular look than the original, sports a white decal with red trim, and is missing its legs all together.
- When people and objects in motion are slowed down, they can have this effect.