When you think of animation studios, what comes to mind? Pixar,Walt Disney, Universal, Warner Bros., DreamWorks? It may be hard to believe, but there are close to 200 major animation studios in operation, most of which are located in the United States. All for the purpose of entertaining the masses or advertising the latest and greatest product on the market.
Animation studios can fulfill any number of tasks using modern technology, from stop-action animation to celluloid animation to full-length feature films, producing material in 2D or 3D. Even 30 second ads can be produced using techniques perfected by and in practice today at many animation studios. As early as 1911 cartoonists started putting together multiple “screens” showing their creations “in action”, but their technique was primitive and often painstakingly slow. The process of making one five minute cartoon could take one man up to a year to produce. Cinematics could not wait on the one-frame-at-a-time execution that was all they had at the time. But, with necessity being the mother of invention, the first modern animation studios were born. The process became streamlined, almost assembly-line fashion in the model of Henry Ford. And, depending on the studio, the work either suffered or soared.
Illustrate IT has followed in years since and is taking advantage of the roads plotted out by its predecessors in animation. Studios around the world are streamlining their processes and techniques and younger artists are able to pick and choose their specialties and niches possibly more now than ever. It had been predicted by Windsor McCay, purported to be the father of the animated cartoon, that by turning the art of animation into a trade, it would be bad news, either for the art or the artist. But with the success of the above named animated studios, and others, it is clear that as long as there are men and women of a creative bent behind the drawing desk, animated cartoons will continue to be the best of both worlds, both a trade and an art.
Early animated cartoons were plagued by the “rubber hose” style of silent animated films limbs of the characters moved without regard to proper anatomical biology, much like they were made of rubber. Walt Disney encouraged the artists in his animation studios to develop a realistic, naturalist style of animation as early as the 1930’s. His film, ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ (1937) was the first full-length animated feature, and ‘Pinocchio’ (1940), is a film whose complex levels of technical details have never been surpassed, according to many animators. And while Walt Disney himself was the moving force behind those projects, it was up to the studio artists to make Disney’s ideas reality.
‘Animation offers a medium of story telling and visual entertainment which can bring pleasure and information to people of all ages everywhere in the world.’ ~ Walt Disney. As long as we need both, animation studios will have a prominent place in the American economy.