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When watching anime, I often believe to notice a relative movement of foreground (e.g. characters, props) to the background (e.g. landscapes, 2nd plan). I of course focus on the foreground, and only "register" the background. I somewhat recollect that in films, finding places to shoot a scene is a "lesser" task delegated to younger, less expensive, less creative people. Then the creative person would evaluate 3-4 options that are presented, and choose one venue which would then be used to shoot the scene. I thus wondered, if drawing the background in anime is done in a similar way, that it is delegated to a certain responsible person, and that the foreground is drawn by the primary artistic responsible - or - are they both done by the same person - or - is there some other delegation of drawing among different people?

  • I don't really understand what you mean by "a relative movement of foreground to background". Could you please clarify? – atlantiza May 28 '13 at 16:30
  • I know that sometimes the background and the foreground are done at different fps if there needs to be a lot of action in the foreground, but I'm not sure if that's what you're talking about. – kuwaly May 28 '13 at 16:32
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    If i understand your question correctly. you are asking if the foreground and background are done by the same person. Or that the background is done by somebody else as it is less important ? – Dimitri mx May 28 '13 at 18:07
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Backgrounds and characters are usually made by different people and companies for movies and series, but there's no activity less creative than another as your answer may suggests.

For example, Kusanagi is a company specialized in backgrounds for many anime produced by different studios like Waiting in the Summer (J.C. Staff) and Mobile Suit Gundam 00 (Sunrise). The ANN article about Waiting in the Summer show companies and people involved in the process, the Art director is from Kusanagi (backgrounds) and not from J.C. Staff (animation production).

Changing the perspective from companies to authors, this interview by NHK shows how Makoto Shinkai and his staff make backgrounds and storyboard (12:09~13:40). He shoot a scene using a camera and then pass this material to his assistants. In this case this task is taken by the director itself, leaving the team working on the material he provided according to the storyboard.

However, Makoto Shinkai started his career as independent animator with Hoshi no Koe, where he do animation, backgrounds and characters alone, so this rule doesn't necessarily apply to independent productions where staff is limited.

In this answer covering all key roles of an animation production, inbetweening is cited as a "relatively non-creative" job, so when you ask about a (relatively) non-creative job there is no foreground-background (as viewer) dichotomy but a creative-repetitive (as job) dichotomy.

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