There’s No Tomorrow

Friday, April 27th, 2012

There’s No Tomorrow is a modern anti-capitalist propaganda cartoon done in the style of the pro-capitalist cartoons of the 1940s and ’50s — Going Places (1948), Meet King Joe (1949), Why Play Leapfrog (1949), What Makes Us Tick (1952), It’s Everybodys Business (1954) and Destination Earth (1956):

The available prints of the early propaganda cartoons were too badly weathered to be used, so each shot to be re-used had to be completely recreated as vector art in Flash. It’s hard to explain this process, but here’s a good example of the process:

Here is the original shot:

And here is the re-animated version:

Having the original scene as visual reference was a fantastic asset — however, even with that asset, the re-animated shot still took just over a week to create — so it’s not exactly a free lunch. Note that the original footage is scratched, low-resolution (the best copies you’ll find for these are between 320 and 640 pixels wide), isn’t stable, and is on 12 frames per second. The re-created animation below is playing from a computer, is vector-based (and can be rendered at any resolution without loss of quality), and plays at 24 frames per second.

It was only possible to use a fraction of the old footage in the new film.

Approximately 10% to 15% of the scenes in There’s No Tomorrow are culled from them. The remainder are original, designed to integrate with the older scenes as seamlessly as possible.

In many cases it was possible to do things that would have been too expensive or difficult for the original animators, such as splitting the scenes onto layers and adding parallax and depth to the shots — a process used famously by Walt Disney on Pinnochio, with his “Multi-Plane” camera.

Here’s the full half-hour “film”:

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