This past weekend I was able to spend time with a number of people who truly love the art of animation. It was the World Animation Celebration hosted by Animation Libation Studios and Animation Magazine. I was delighted to spend time with old friends along with an eager group of young students and animation enthusiasts. Today, there are an ever increasing number of young kids eager to join this rather odd and quirky business. I try to provide a balance view as I warn the kids about the many pitfalls of what can often be called a tough business. Yet, I try not to dampen their enthusiasm either. Like myself, I know what it’s like to have stars in your eyes when introduced to this magical medium.
The magic began for me many years ago as a young middle school art student when I placed an inked and painted sheet of acetate over a color background. For some reason, the two dimensional cel and the flat background suddenly sprang to life. The medium appeared to take on dimension and the frame appeared to be a window to a world I could actually enter. While present day CGI animation can deliver photo real, high definition images on screen without breaking a sweat, I continue to be amazed at the amazing reality of hand drawn and painted animation art. Hardly as impressive as today’s jaw dropping technology, these simple moving sketches and colored scenics appear to resonate with their own special magic. It’s a reality far beyond what a computer can replicate. It’s the imagination of the artist. It’s an art form that seems to reach out and touch us.
Don’t get me wrong because I’m not knocking our amazing new technology. In actuality I’m looking forward to see what comes out of our future experiments with these amazing new tools as we continue to fuse art and technology. One project in particular has my interest and I’m eager to speak with the film’s director about this amazing new hybrid. Clearly, the art of animation is a restless beast and will continue to evolve. I think that’s what makes our art form so amazing is the fact that it continues to change and grow. I entered the business in the fifties when everything was hand drawn, inked and painted. I saw the introduction of Xerox and the photocopy process and the digital paint that was soon to follow. By the nineties, technical disruption enabled us to create digital images and the industry has never looked back. However, the art of animation never dies and recent projects I’ve worked on have included both hand drawn and digital. As we move toward the end of 2014 I look forward to accomplishing some amazing things next year as animation continues to prove there are a lot more surprises in store.