Private Eye Noir

As part of the course I took at AnimSquad to continue my studies of animation, I made this little shot.

Jill thought she would never have to get involved again in a case she was involved in years ago that took a dear friend away from her. But as the tides turned, the case came back hunting her and now she has to go against the mafia, of who she’s terrified.

The inspiration came from detective noir films. Back in the day, as we all know, films didn’t have color and the amount of detail an image had was far from HD. With that said, many great films were created in that era, known even today and considered great such as Citizen Kane (to be obvious) or Charlie Chaplin’s films.
What nowadays we can recreate and call a choice of style, back then was the medium’s limitation. But with that said, many films were better than lots of others we see today as they survived the test of time.

The way I see it, by getting less audio/visual information from the film, we actually can be more entertained at some points, as we don’t lose focus of what’s important, which is the story a film is trying to show us and that can be captured in the simplest cinematic language.
There’s also another factor in this – Imagination. When we don’t get all the information that we need, in order to see the whole picture, be it because of resolution, color, or because something is intentionally hidden from us, we would try to fill it in sub-consciously using our imagination which makes our minds work more and we feel more engaged.
In other words, Less Is More!

Without color, most of the information we could see on screen was light, where it could show us what we need to pay attention to (thus understanding the story) and what to hide from us in the dark (thus making our minds work and connect with what’s going on).
We can see a similar effect in comic books where the art style is blacks vs. color, creating a high contrast and a sense of positive and negative, which is interesting to us. Another example would be 80’s/90’s video games, where a whole character could be expressed by just 20-50 pixels. We see what we have, our imagination does the rest and we are more engaged.
After all, those games are well remembered by people today.

Nowadays creators have a lot more tools to work with, giving them more choice of how to express themselves. Even so, It seems to me that the best films out there are the ones that found a way to do their job more simple.
With all those tools, they still “abstractified” their vision and that made it more clear to the audience, made them engage with it better and let them enjoy it more. Keep It Simple!