9 Best YouTube Animation Channels You Should Be Watching - VRGyani News and Media

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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

9 Best YouTube Animation Channels You Should Be Watching

Being an independent animator naturally comes with a plethora of challenges. Unsteady engagement, lack of funding, having a small or nonexistant animation team, and possibly, never having your work recognized or appreciated by others. These challenges are all but amplified when an animator chooses YouTube as their main platform. Constantly changing monetization standards; an algorithm that favors constant output; and a prioritization of brands and famous influencers over smaller, lesser known creators, add up to a recipe for failure. These videos tend to have low frame rates, simplistic or monochromatic colors, little character movement, and tell their stories through a sequence of still images rather than sequenced keyframe animation. Though many have found success this way, such as Jaiden Animation and TheOdd1Out, their content, though entertaining and well executed, is more or less designed to be approved for monetization through an algorithm that prioritizes family-friendly content and constant output. But what of animators who persist on the platform without bending to fit YouTube's prefered friendly 'storytime animator' box? Those who create animation for their own sakes, as a means to communicate or entertain or experiment, seemingly without regards to the fears independent animators often face? Those folks make up our list today of some of the best animators on YouTube!

HotDiggedyDemon

Sarcastic, self-depricating, and endlessly witty, HotDiggedyDemon, otherwise known as Max Gilardi, has been making animations on YouTube for 14 long years. He started back in 2007, quickly jumping into a now well-known five-part series called "Jerry". This series follows a character named Jerry, as well as those in his life, through the days until his untimely end. The art and animation was rudimentary, but very fitting of the 2000s internet Flash animation era. The series format would quickly prove to be the channel's bread and butter. including "Wacky Game Jokez, 4 Kidz!"

Put out during the height of the brony fandom, the "PONY.MOV" series spans 6 darkly funny episodes bastardizing the then-new My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. The twisted facial expressions, cheerfully sarcastic, almost vitriolic tone, and terrifying, sometimes gory imagery would become a mainstay of Max's work. Over the years, we got to see Max not only further improve his already fantastically expressive 2D animation, but begin to experiment with the implementation of 3D. You could see 2D and 3D being experimented with together in some of his shorts, with 3D backgrounds being used, 2D mouths drawn over 3D models, and an attempt to bring the same liveliness his 2D works have to his 3D works. That brings us to the newest series on the channel: "Brain Dump." The sarcastically dry wit, self-referential and self-depricating humor, and interesting if not bizarrely constructed worlds and characters make "Brain Dump" endlessly engaging. The series can be best described as 'part review show, part character exploration, and part animated therapy.'

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MeatCanyon

Unhinged, dark, and traumatically funny, MeatCanyon, or Hunter Hancock, began posting his animations on YouTube 4 years ago. At the beginning, Hunter's animations were largely comedic skits, often with unexpected twists or particularly dark humor. The animation was fluid but shaky and the voice acting was passionate but unpolished. Over the years, designs grew gradually more detailed and more grotesque, voice acting would improve not only in delivery but in range, and shorts would move away from being strictly comedies to becoming black comedies and even horror. Many videos delved into subjects of existential horror, sexual trauma, and religious fanaticism, all wrapped up in the unsettling presentation of characters like Lightning McQueen, Willy Wonka, and The Teletubbies. Sure enough, this more horrific form of content would prove to be very popular, not in small part because of Hunter's mastery of these darker tones.

Recently, his original works would take centerstage on his channel. After a successful KickStarter campaign, Hunter and a small team began creating a series called Monster Lab, a more lighthearted creation that centers around Katz and Uno, two former assistants to a now-deceased mad scientist who attempt to improve the world by continuing his work. The entire thing oozes a certain kind of charm. It's thrilling to have such a unique new series join the ranks of indie online cartoons.

Worthikids

Charming, humorous, and adorable, Worthikids has been uploading on YouTube for 6 years. Worthikids, or Ian, began his YouTube career making fan animations for clips of shows and movies he enjoys including The Eric Andre Show, Monster Factory, and It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia. A little over a year ago, Ian began to focus on creating original shorts to great success. Though he'd continue to create fan content, said content pivoted away from animating already existing audio clips to creating completely original audio for these hilarious and charming parodies. The stories and worlds he develops are enchanting, and the love he has for creating them is immediately apparent. Some of the best examples of these one-off shorts are "Xylophone" and "Jason and Friends." His already strong and distinctively drawn art would continue to improve as the years went on, expressions and designs becoming more detailed and skillfully rendered. As his art improved, Ian would begin to experiement with his style, his storytelling, and his mode of animation. He developed a series called Bigtop Burger, currently a 6 episode long cartoon featuring the cooks and owner of a clown-themed food truck. The series combines his strong animation skills and bewildering form of humor to give us a thoroughly enjoyable series. He also developed a particularly interesting style of 3D animation that mimics classic Rankin/Bass stop motion beautifully.

Cas Van De Pol

Fast paced, chaotic, and hilarious, Cas Van De Pol has been uploading to YouTube for 7 years. Like every other artist, his visual style didn't start off as anything similar to what it is now. Cas would devote many YouTube videos to animated parodies, from Castlevania to Pokemon, though he would experiment from time to time with more original content. Interestingly enough, as we look back through the catalogue of animation Cas has created, we can pinpoint a video in which an almost-realized form of his current visual style is first seen: Black Panther & The Panther Kids!. Thicker lines, more exaggerated yet simplified character designs, and large heads would become staples of his artwork down the road. Soon thereafter, Cas would start to create animated parodies around one specific and strangely meta niche: cartoons, specifically, classic animated movies. These he grouped together with a fairly straightforward title: "The Ultimate [movie title] Recap Cartoon". The debut of this quasi series was a video you've probably seen, given that it's been viewed over 51 million times by this point, that being The Ultimate Lion King Cartoon Recap. This series steadily expanded over time, encompassing not just popular Disney/Pixar movies like Ratatouille and Frozen, but non-Disney animated movies like The Spongebob Squarepants Movie, live-action films like Star Wars, and Wii Sports. Despite all this growth, there's one thing that's changed little over the years: Cas' style of humor. Jarring and sometimes disturbing but always capable of getting a laugh, his humor has an effective snappiness that's perfect for the Recap series. It's no wonder his animations were and continue to be so popular.

Harry Partridge

Deranged, comical, and oftentimes satirical, Harry Partridge has been posting his animations on YouTube for 14 years. Surprisingly, his visual style has remained relatively consistent, though polished, througout the years. The excellent exaggeration he loves to put into the motions and expressions of the people he draws is magnificent at portraying the kind of off-the-wall humor he excels in. Harry has a varied content library, creating both parody and original animations over the years. His parody animations proved to be quite popular, often tackling pop culture icons, video games, and cartoons. "The Justin Bieber Show," "Nicholas Cage Wants Cake," and "Skyrim" are all great examples of these wonderful parodies. Harry also has an extensive collection of original creations. Due to the time intensive nature of Harry's particular style of animation, he doesn't upload these masterpieces often, but when he does they're flawless. His shorts are often either purely comedic in nature, such as "Hal The Misinterpretive Porn Star," or they provide some kind of sarcastic but impassioned commentary, like "Go Animate! An Animation Revolution." His series are products of a love for animation and storytelling. His longest running series, The Starbarians, follows Killgar and Hogstrong, two intergalactic barbarians as they traverse the universe looking for aliens to fight and babes to oogle. This series is drawn in what could be described as a classic Harry Partridge style - round eyes, detailed designs, slightly irregular lines, and exaggerated proportions. This series is more narrative driven. Harry's passion is evident, and his desire to purse detailed 2D frame-by-frame animation is beyond impressive - it's indisputable that he's one of the best animators on YouTube.

Jonni Phillips

Surreal, intricate, and provocative, Jonni Phillips has been releasing animations on YouTube for 6 years. Her animations are perhaps the most technically experimental on this list, ranging from digital 2D to paper stop motion and puppetry to a mixture of the two. Simplistic, loosely drawn characters move wildly and unnaturally, wobbling and vibrating almost of their own volition. Narratives, much like the characters themselves, feel abstract and only vaguely tied to reality, giving all of her works a deep sense of surrealism. Yet somehow, despite this seeming lack of tether to the real world, her characters and their situations feel incredibly human. Her works are just as funny and deeply thought provoking as they are confusing upon first blush, and they're incredible for that. Jonni has done her fair share of interesting one-off shorts, much of them from her time as a student at CalArts. "A Cowboy's Purpose," for example, could probably be best described as "sheer visual and narrative chaos," and was created in a week in response to the "depraved and horrific" cowboy movies she and her friend had to watch during a class at the university.

She's created multiple series over the years, her most recent being Secrets And Lies In A Town Of Sinners that follows the lives of various people living within one town. It serves as something of a prologue for Jonni's upcoming film Barber Winchester, the trailer for which can be viewed here. Jonni's released a couple of longer films before, all of them seeming to exist within the a universe she's titled Wasteland. Her artistic talents are just as varied as the mediums and narratives she works with, making her collection of films and shorts a fascinating if not disconcerting experience.

Vewn

Beautiful, sad, and thoughtful, Vewn has been sharing her work with us for 4 years. With a style that makes use of trembling, almost sketchy lines, geometric shapes, expressive faces, and bright, often warm colors, her work is incredibly distinctive. Her animation is more serious than funny, though you will find bits of dry, nonsensical humor scattered through some of her works. Unlike our previously mentioned animators, she has no serial works that she's created, instead focusing on stand alone short films. She has a catalogue of only 15 works, but each of those are incredibly rich, both in story and in art. Vewn uses her animations to discuss various societal ills, from the hypocrisy of online motivational speakers and influencers in "motivational video movie," to the violent schism that can form between an idealistic online alter ego and reality in "kittykat96." Her narrative style is fast paced but coherent, the visuals she shows have equal if not more importance to the story she's telling than any dialogue, and her ability to weave a fully fleshed out story in a realtively short amount of time is truly admirable.

Zalinki

Outlandish, jarring, and sardonic, Zalinki has been uploading animations for 5 years. He specializes comedic in animated shorts, often with bitterly sarcastic and dry humor. His art is simple but effective, featuring cartoony, simplified people, usually drawn with grey, pink, or blue lines over a white backing. His frame rate switches often between low and high, and his character movements manage to be extremely expressive while still being within the realm of reality. This is partially achieved through the incredibly effective facial expressions he utilizes in his art. Oftentimes, Zalinki creates original animated shorts, with a loose narrative and humorous bite. Shorts like "It's Raining" and "Feed the Birds" are pinnacles of pure, unbridled chaos, with breakneck turns that slap you upside the head with their hilarity. Zalinsky is also a talented musician. His animated music videos include "Music For Sad People," a bittersweet expression of sadness; and "YouTube Star," a tongue-in-cheek song about how he's sacrificing his sanity and general nutrition in order to animate. The strange but energizing beat fits well with his visuals, and though only the second half of the music video is animated, it retains a kind of life present in all of his works that makes it worth watching.

Joel G.

Surreal, creative, and disconcerting, Joel G., or Joel Guerra, has been posting his animations for 5 years. He first uploaded a couple of short Undertale fan animations, both under a minute long, before putting out serial work. The first series was titled 2 Ants 1 President. This series was only three episodes long plus a promo trailer, and had a fascinating lofi aesthetic not dissimilar to old anime. Rather unexpectedly, the series follows two ants named Derek and Melvin who wants to assassinate the president, and a sentient robot named Hally who is sympathetic to the humans around her. Joel's current series is known simply as ENA. ENA's story is intensely abstract. As a result, this is one of those series that's more of an experience than a cartoon. The visuals are bizarre, abstracted, with the character designs and backgrounds both being weirdly fragmented and nonsensical. Episodes are created with a blend of unconventional 2D and 3D digital animation.

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1 comment:

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