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Lazy Artist

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When you're drowning in a sea of work with not enough time, why pour your soul into assets that get used all of...what, once? Really. Have some compassion.

Many graphical tropes are simplifications, used to make the scene easier to draw. Books are always open in the middle, bite marks are smooth, and so on.

Replace "lazy" with "low-budget," "time-limited," "unskilled," "prioritizing other things", and/or "working smarter, not harder" as appropriate.

A Sub-Trope of Limited Animation, specifically the sub-type that makes the format so infamous.

Prominent examples:

  • Acting for Two: One voice actor for multiple characters. Becomes lazier the more characters are given to the voice actor, and more so the more similarly they sound.
  • Big Ball of Violence: A fight scene is obscured by a large cloud of dust or smoke with the occasional fist or leg sticking out.
  • Battle of the Still Frames: Fight scenes are represented by freeze-frames instead of actual animation.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: Characters in dark areas are drawn as a disembodied pair of eyeballs.
  • Cartoon Juggling: The act of juggling is drawn or animated in a way that is not accurate to real-life juggling, depicted in a much more crude and simpler fashion.
  • Cheated Angle: A part of a character's body is always drawn a certain way, even if it really shouldn't be from that angle.
  • Cheeky Mouth: A character's mouth drifts from the center of their face to their cheek when viewed in profile.
  • Clip-Art Animation: Moving flat 2D images around instead of drawing new images for each frame.
  • Cut and Paste Comic: Copying and pasting a set amount of poses or shapes instead of redrawing the character every time.
  • Cut-and-Paste Suburb: Reduplicating the same blocks of property instead of making it more realistic with various installations.
  • Dull Surprise: Staring at an event that should elicit shock or surprise with an expression that screams "duh...?"
  • Faceless Masses: Drawing background characters as generic, featureless humanoid shapes.
  • Featureless Plane of Disembodied Dialogue: Skimping on backgrounds when the focus is on the conversation.
  • Filming for Easy Dub: Drawing a character's mouth conveniently out of frame to avoid having to animate mouth movements.
  • Flashy Protagonists, Bland Extras: Everyone who isn't important has an extremely bland design.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: They take less time to draw than five-fingered hands.
  • Furries Are Easier to Draw: It's easier to avoid the Unintentional Uncanny Valley with a Funny Animal than with a human.
  • GIS Syndrome: Using generic stock photos (paid or not) as backgrounds or object instead of drawing them from scratch.
  • Going Through the Motions: For budget reasons, video game characters have a tendency to reuse the same poses over and over instead of having unique ones.
  • Hands in Pockets: Hands are hard to draw—so why do it? Just have them obscured by something else!
  • Invisible Anatomy: Characters without certain appendages are depicted manipulating their environment as if they did anyway.
    • Fingerless Hands: Hands are drawn without fingers, but still manage to perform acts as if they did.
    • Floating Limbs: A character's hands and feet are visible, but the limbs attaching them to their body are not.
  • Invisible Bowstring: Bows shooting arrows without a bowstring drawn on.
  • Irisless Eye Mask Of Mystery: Masks that make a character's irises and pupils disappear.
  • It's Always Spring: The setting is always depicted in what appears to be the season of spring, no matter what time of the year it is.
  • It's Always Sunny in Miami: The setting has clear skies and a bright sun, no matter what.
  • Leave the Camera Running: Dragging out pointless scenes or scenes with nothing happening to pad the runtime or not have to animate anything.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Characters usually wear the same outfits.
  • Long Pants: Separate clothing articles drawn as one whole garment.
  • Motionless Chin: A character talks but their chins don't animate.
  • Mouse Hole: A mouse hole depicted as a perfect semicircle in a wall.
  • Mouth Flaps: Characters speaking is animated with fewer frames than is accurate for the words they're saying.
  • No Knees: Legs appear to be depicted without knees.
  • No Mouth: A character has no visible mouth to save on animating mouth flaps.
  • The Noseless: A character has no nose.
  • Off-Model: When the animation/art is inconsistent in quality.
  • Only Six Faces: Multiple characters are designed with very similar faces.
  • Only One Female Mold: All female characters in a show seem to be based on one (usually voluptuous) template.
  • Painted-On Pants: Clothes drawn so skintight the character might as well be nude.
  • Perpetual Expression: Character is depicted with an unchanging expression, despite ostensibly emoting.
  • Rainbow Lite: Rainbows are depicted with fewer than the standard seven colors.
  • Recycled Animation: Reusing old animation, but with different characters/backgrounds.
  • Ring Around the Collar: A garment worn around the neck of a character to cover up the fact their heads are separate animated assets from their bodies.
  • Rotoscoping: Animation traced from depictions of real-life actors.
  • Rubber-Hose Limbs: Limbs are animated as if made of rubber, even though the character is not actually made of rubber.
  • Shading/Colour Dissonance: Monochromatic works imply that the tint or shade something has is different from what colored versions depict.
  • Skintone Sclerae: The whites of a character's eyes are not actually white and just take the color of the character's skin.
  • Solid Cartoon Facial Stubble: Beard stubble is illustrated as a patch of solid color.
  • Sparse List of Rules: A rulebook is shown to be complex and extensive, but only rules that apply to the plot are ever shown.
  • Speed Stripes: Simple lines drawn parallel to the direction of motion to indicate that something is moving fast.
  • Stock Femur Bone: All bones are depicted as a femur, regardless of which part of a skeleton the bone is from.
  • Stock Food Depictions: Various foods always look the same:
  • Stock Footage: Reusing previously-used or archival footage.
  • Synchro-Vox: Superimposing film of a character's mouth over a still image to avoid animating mouth flaps.
  • Synthetic Voice Actor: Using text to speech or machinery instead of hiring human voice actors, unless it's to voice a clearly mechanical character or AI.
  • Talking Heads: A work seems to consist of characters just talking to each other and little else.
  • Traced Artwork: Drawings traced from other sources such as photos, stock images and even other artists' drawings.
  • Tooth Strip: A character is shown with a white "strip" in their mouth, rather than individual teeth.
  • Unmoving Plaid: Plaid and other complex patterns are chroma-keyed into an animation and therefore don't move or even distort with whatever it's printed on.
  • Unreliable Illustrator: Whatever is being drawn doesn't match up with the text or dialogue it's accompanying.
  • Wheel o' Feet: A running character's feet are drawn as a series of circular lines.
  • Wraparound Background: A scrolling background simply repeats the same drawing over and over.
  • Your Size May Vary: Scale is inconsistent in the series, resulting in items or characters seemingly changing size throughout the story.