Main Off Model Discussion

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03:52:56 AM Aug 24th 2013
edited by
Alright, I think it's about time we did something about that horribly vague description of this trope/factoid (I'm not sure if this relates to storytelling at all). I've written up a first draft, and run it through the Trope Description Improvement Drive topic on the forums, and gotten one piece of feedback there, but since I'm unfamiliar with the trope, I think I should post here before any changes are made.

The current version fails to describe what the trope is about in a direct manner, fails to define "on model", gives a lot of weight to one particular animator, spends several paragraphs complaining about particular studios, and is by and large written for people who already know what the term means. Here is my proposed rewrite:

In animation, "staying on model" refers to the practice of making sure that drawings of the same object (typically a character) remain consistent with that object's template — its model sheet. This includes keeping the art style consistent, making sure colours match, avoiding drawing errors, and so on. An image that somehow fails to preserve this consistency is said to be "off model".

There are many reasons why this might happen. The drawing may be rushed, the budget might not allow too much attention to detail, the mistake might not have been caught, the animator might not have the skill to follow the template perfectly, or it might have been a conscious choice — although the term "off model" often implies sloppiness on the part of the animators, relaxed template standards can be used for surreal or humorous effect.

The concept of staying on model applies to almost every medium, of course — if the art is inconsistent in a work, it doesn't matter if it's a cartoon or not.

See also Uncanny Valley, when something looks real from a technical perspective, but still fails to convince the audience. Contrast Animation Bump, which is when the quality of animation goes up drastically. Compare with Special Effects Failure, which is a similar concept in live action.

I would appreciate some feedback on this.
05:43:09 PM Nov 18th 2013
Works for me. Could use a touch of humour, though.
10:10:13 PM Nov 18th 2013
edited by
I'll see what I can do. Maybe I can work that "reel expensive" joke back in.

On second and subsequent thoughts, probably not.
04:15:50 AM Nov 19th 2013
That's a very good write-up.
06:31:00 AM Jul 9th 2012
Am I the only one that notices every 6teen episode has the same off-model error? There's always one shot where the spot on Nikki's shirt is black instead of green. AND THEY NEVER FIXED IT
03:20:08 PM Mar 21st 2012
It's too bad Troper Tales is dead, because I got to see the inside of an overseas animation studio (that did grunt work for Disney) and witness this trope in action, somewhat. Mickey Mouse has a very specific look that is difficult to pull off in 3D, so tacked on every wall in the studio were piles and piles of reference pictures, as well as instances where Mickey's ears and/or eyes were not quite in the right place. One hopes that this was fixed eventually, but keep your eyes open while watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse; you may catch something that the animators forgot to fix!
03:49:03 PM Jan 29th 2012
Okay, I'll bite. What is wrong with the Yugioh 5DS example? I got nothing.
06:32:10 PM Nov 17th 2011
edited by Jataro
Since this is an animation trope, wouldn't it make more sense to move the Live Action and Documentary sections to Special Effects Failure? After all, a human character can't really be Off-Model, and mistakes in CGI are more suited to the former trope.
06:22:44 AM Oct 26th 2011
"Kaiba: Most of the show's animation is done in Korea by DR Movie (Godzilla: The Series, Justice League, Trigun); however most the animation is so bad it makes AKOM at it's worst, look like Rough Draft. The worst part of this is that DR Movie has done much better work than this." normally I'd just remove this, but I'm curious - why in the world would anyone say this? could anyone give a reason why someone would list one of the most commonly-agreed-to-be-beautifully-animated anime shows here?
07:43:15 AM Jun 26th 2011
So... What's this trope about? I've read and reread it many times and as far as I can tell it refers to either deviating from a template or relying too much on one - thus creating inconsistencies - in animation, but the closest thing to a concise definition is halfway through the third or fourth paragraph, and even then it's a quite vague one.

Could someone who knows more about this concept rephrase the article a bit?
02:17:53 AM Aug 14th 2012
It's been over a year, so I'm gonna bump this. The description, as it stands, is very vague, and I have no idea what it's supposed to be about. What does "on model" refer to, for starters?
07:10:02 PM May 28th 2011
Why did the picture change from headless naruto? That was really simple and obvious to me and I liked it.
12:40:33 PM Jan 5th 2013
A mystery for the times it seems.
05:20:59 PM Feb 20th 2011
"This You Chew Poop topic is determined to find all examples of this. It's got nearly 180 pages (using the default post-per-page setting). "

The thread linked to under this passage no longer properly works. I'm not sure if the original thread is on the You Chew Poop forums anymore or if it got deleted. If it's still around, can someone fix the link?
06:14:39 PM Feb 3rd 2011
While I understand that the image does in fact fit the trope, does anyone else think it would be better if we used that part from the So Bad, It's Horrible Pound Puppies movie where that one dog's nose disappears whil he's talking?
09:48:29 PM Aug 25th 2010
Should I post some Pokemon-centric things in the Images section? Or videos? Because the episode where Grotle evolved was horrible in animation. And the later episodes will invariable have a character in a close-up have a pointy right side of their face, and a deflated left side.
04:12:51 AM Aug 31st 2010
Thats not only matter of low money, these errors.
10:07:06 AM Aug 17th 2010
Can we please replace that picture with a more fitting one? That was a beautifully animated, squash & stretch-heavy sequence and that particular frame actually fit its overall style.
10:28:18 PM Jul 26th 2010
would it be okay if we removed the picture used for this article and replaced it with something more fitting, seeing as it's taken from an amazingly animated fight that looks great in motion?
04:56:42 AM Jul 27th 2010
Dude, wait for an answer before you go ahead with the change.

Besides, 'looks great in motion' in no way changes the fact that the guy's contorted into a position no intact human could accomplish. It's a very obvious case of Off-Model.
09:47:48 AM Aug 23rd 2010
This article is clearly about half-assed animation - stuff that's there as a mistake. It even mentions QUALITY, a 4chan meme, and if you post that frame on 4chan and call it QUALITY today tons of Sakuga fans will call you out on not knowing anything about animation. That frame was no mistake.
07:16:18 AM Sep 8th 2010
Even if it wasn't a mistake, if it's badly animated, it still belongs here. At least I think so...
09:36:54 AM Jun 29th 2010
  • In Season 1's Home Sweet Pineapple and I Was a Teenage Gary, there are specific scenes where Squidward is drawn with anatomy rivaling that of Pikaman.

Flat. What.
09:36:04 AM Jun 29th 2010
  • Well, Smithers was initially designed to be black. Similarly, Lou of the Police Force was Caucasian, and Chief Wiggum had black hair instead of blue. They pretty much swapped Smithers' and Lou's ethnicity.

Umm, I do know that Chief Wiggum and Barney's hair was intentional, and that Lou was white for much of the first season, but what???? Since when was Smithers intentionally designed as black? I've heard from numerous places that that was a miscommunication with the animators.
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