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You Asked For It: How many Locations should I use?

January 14, 2012 3 comments

This dramatic exterior location from Nelvana's "Tales From the Cryptkeeper" is by artist Paul Rivoche. His amazing Rocketfiction artblog is full of astounding design work. Click the image.

This question about locations and Canimation’s response come from the comment section of our recent post, What Happened To Me Script? Part Three. It is  a common enough query that we wanted to share it with our readers who don’t make a habit of checking out the comment section for each article.

Reader Josh asked: “I’m curious about your comment on locations – how limited are most animated series in terms of creating new backgrounds?”

Great question, Josh!

While animation can do more with backgrounds than many live action shows, they still have to be designed and rendered by the animation team. Remember, it’s not just a single design for each location, It’s backgrounds for EVERY shot that have to be planned and produced and rendered.

Another "Tales From The Cryptkeeper" by Paul Rivoche. Click the image to see more at his Rocketfiction artblog.

A good rule of thumb is that in the first half of season one, the production team is probably still developing all the main designs and sets that will will be used the most over the course of the series – the main characters’ homes, rooms, yards, school or headquarters, etc.

Once those locations that will be re-used every episode are established there is more time to expand the world. Even adventure shows that tend take our heroes all over the place will attempt to make use of established locations like a HQ or the interior of Ben 10′s motor home, etc. and try to use any new locations effectively.

I’d suggest avoiding more than 2 extra locations, 3 tops (and that’s pushing it on most shows). Also keep in mind a single location may serve your needs. An Inca Temple is technically one location, even if you’re using the exterior, interior tunnels and a treasure room deep inside.

And don’t be surprised if a new location gets changed. If you’ve written a short scene where the hero gets his orders at the Eiffel Tower but haven’t used the location for anything else in your story (a waste of a great locale!), the scene may be moved to an established, reuse location like the hero’s jet.

-RP

Another piece of terrific Paul Rivoche location concept art. This time it's a desolate prison from Studio B's "Class of the Titans". To find out more at Paul Rivoche's Rocketfiction artblog, click the image.

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