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"I wish the art was good throughout the whole series, not just in the final episode." "These days, anime has good art in the first and last episodes, never in the middle." "That's not something you can just fix for DVD release."
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 It should be noted that most of this is not spent on the actual animation however. Some shows will have a separate budget just for the animation, like Disney's and Warner Bros. ' works in the 1980s and 1990s.
When a production company decides that the important episodes (i.e. pilots, whams, 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 have.
In American cartoons of the '80s and early '90s (and mid-'70s, 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 trope.note and even since the early 80's, Japan's been doing the exact same thing
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.
See also Uncanny Valley, the result 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 and Body Horror where an appearance similar to being off model is done intentionally and for horror. For animation studios who are infamous for doing this at a constant rate, see AKOM,GONZO, Studio Shaft, Sunrise, Actas, Wang Film Productions and ufotable. For a studio whose supporters and critics often argue about whether their animation is this, see Kennedy Cartoons.
Note: 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.
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. Ones that stand out the most include 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 is at first represented by the one model from the 2001 TV adaptation of The Lost World, then suddenly becomes a true Walking with...-brand Allosaurus. Freeze-framing reveals that 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.
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 years and years 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.
"Destiny of the Daleks" was shot at a time when the Dalek props being used had been beaten up in poor storage - one of the main Daleks in the story has a cracked hemisphere, some are held together with bits of tape, one has a random bit of metal on it for the sole purpose of a scene later that requires a magnetic grenade to stick to it. Bad as this is, it has nothing on some of the other Daleks in the same story - they had strange flat backs as they'd only been intended to be shot from the front (of course, the director gave long, long shots of these strange flat backs).
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!
Another victim of Off-the-Shelf FX - the rather Doctory scarf worn by Osgood in "Day of the Doctor" has a noticeably different colour scheme and stitch to any of the scarves the Fourth Doctor actually wore, making it a bit ambiguous as to where she got it from.
The Second Doctor's outfit is supposed in-story to be the First Doctor's outfit, but baggy as it now no longer fit him properly. In reality, both men were about the same size, so the baggy outfit had to be made especially, resulting in significant differences bordering on Costume Exaggeration - a tuxedo jacket instead of a suit jacket, windowpane check on the trousers instead of tartan, no waistcoat, a bowtie instead of a ribbon tie, and gaudy braces rather than the rather understated ones of the First Doctor. Of course, the changes were more subtle to a casual, non-fandom audience watching every episode on a tiny valve television for the first and final time.
Screencaps show that the Second Doctor's tall hat seemed to change size from episode to episode. It's about the same size as his head in Power of the Daleks, a lot taller in The Highlanders, and about the size of a normal top hat in The Underwater Menace, if not smaller.
The TARDIS console changed quite a bit over the years, sometimes from episode to episode. Especially a problem during the '80s years—there were times when someone put the panels on in the wrong order, which meant that nothing fit right; at other times, dings and dents were very obviously painted over. The console room itself went through this from time to time: in "Battlefield," the main wall was a painted backdrop, and the set had to be carefully lit to disguise it.
Everyone in "Dimensions in Time", between actors ageing and putting on weight, both of the memorablycurly-hairedBakers having long since adopted short, straight hairstyles after their role, and They Just Didn't Care in the costuming department, leading to things like Leela not having shoes on. Couldn't they have found Tom Baker a wig or anything?
Power Rangers Wild Force episode "Forever Red" had the return of Serpentera, Lord Zedd's Zord from the original series. Unfortunately, because Disneymeddled during the episode's productionnote This included not allowing any outside effects company (or their own CG company) for the special, the end result was a small, purple colored version of Serpentera rendered in, for lack of a better term, butt-uglyCG.
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. Maybe the holodeck archives are working off incomplete data?
Also in "Yesterday's Enterprise", after the timeline is fixed, Geordi sits down with Guinan while still wearing the uniform from the alternate universe.
In the earlier episodes of the long-running British game show Catchphrase, Mr Chips never really had a consistent appearance, sometimes appearing very tall or very short in the space of a single episode.