For years film producers have impressed us with their creativity and the viewing public has responded by demanding ever increasing excitement and daring for their visual entertainment and pleasure, at home or in cinemas. In keeping with this, or perhaps largely because of it, local animation and digital content creation is not only growing at a phenomenal pace, but is fast becoming on par with the best in the world.
The way digital content is created and delivered has changed dramatically over the last few years. What is now possible has become more powerful, resulting in a pervasive effect across industries. This has added to its momentum, leading to even further advances and innovation in the world of animation – regarding both finished product and the creative minds behind it.
To put it simply, there’s a buzz around animation at the moment together with a widespread sense that what is possible is becoming increasingly exciting and almost revolutionary.
But what are the factors and trends that have not only driven this creative world to date, but continue to influence it moving forward?.
Create timeless characters
As technology continues to transform our world as we know it adding a 3D and at times even fourth dimension to what would previously have been two dimensional images, it is important for businesses to stay current. Audiences increasingly demand characters they can relate to and by making use of animated characters as your chosen brand ambassador you are able to create a character that is not only timeless, but easily recognisable and linked to your product and/ or company by your market.
Animators not only breathe life into their characters but create the illusion of thought, emotion and personality. There is no need to go scouting and casting for the perfect actor or be hemmed in by the logistical constraints of regular commercial shoots, weather being such an example. A character, building or location can be adjusted, tweaked and changed to the client’s every whim. The best part is that animation enables you to have fun! So what are you waiting for – the world awaits your creation.
International recognition of the quality of locally produced digital work is growing, leading to a substantial increase in business from international sources. This in turn has had a positive influence on the local animation industry’s confidence in both their ability and final product. Driven by the general decline in budgets worldwide, the need to find alternative suppliers able to provide quality and value has become a top priority. This has further increased the international opportunities available to our local industry.
Another impact of the global recession has been the increase in and shift towards collaboration. Choosing to focus on their niche and area of specialisation, companies and digital agencies in particular, remain smaller but focused. This has led to increased collaboration within the industry. in order to deliver completely to client brief, complimentary specialist agencies/industry players need to be part of the overall project team.
The increase in international business will bring with it an increase in the size of projects. This will further drive collaboration as due to the aforementioned local industry specialisation, multiple players will need to join forces in order to deliver the full solution. This will hopefully have a cumulative effect, helped along by the film industry, and will gain momentum ultimately resulting in South Africa being seen as more of all round creative destination, instead of merely an outsource destination or shooting location.
3D Animation on the rise?
3D animation is a fast expanding phenomenon, reported to be worth approximately $40 billion globally. Although many animated movies are now being offered in stereoscopic 3D, the concept is being used in many different fields, not only in the entertainment. 3D animation is revolutionising the gaming, automotive and even the architecture industry, as 3D technology advances and spreads across various disciplines, the demand for skilled animators grows.
Talent in the industry
There is a huge talent boom in the industry. Despite digital content creation being fairly young, there is a definite demand for this skill both locally and internationally. Although there are huge discrepancies between skill level and earning potential, we are confident that this will settle. As the industry continues to mature, talent demand and supply will stabilise leading to less discrepancies and more of a level playing field for all.
Investment in the future
Not only is the world of animation increasingly in demand when it comes to our viewing habits, but it is also starting to gain notice as a potential investment opportunity. Encouraged by the success of international animation houses such as Pixar Animation Studios and DreamWorks, many investors are considering getting their foot in the door. But, what about our local industry?
The South African Department of Trade and Industry have made available a package of rebate incentives geared to both promote and aid our film and post-production industry. In particular, the South African Film and Television Production and Co-Production rebate incentive aims to assist local film producers with the production of local content. Whilst the National Film and Video Foundation enables industry players to apply for funding focused on the areas of education and training, marketing, distribution, development and production.