Friday Roundup: The Animation Renaissance & Disney’s New FlipbookShawn Forno 01.27.2017
The animation industry is getting smaller. Specifically, the screens we watch.
Mobile online culture is reshaping the animation industry from the top down—from production to marketing—forcing formerly untouchable studio giants to go toe to toe with the little guys. The widespread availability of quality animation tools but more so the increasing user-friendly platforms that host animation is leading a renaissance in top-tier animation from creators big and small.
It’s a fantastic time to get excited about animation. Here’s why:
Wednesday: Animated Video: More than Just Cartoons
The Animation Renaissance is Mobile
Animation has always traditionally been created for three distinct, but separate markets: feature films, television shows, and commercial spots and advertisements. However, the rise of mobile video LINK is reshaping the scale, scope, and production of animation in all three silos—particularly on the small screen.
Television animation and animated commercial spots aren’t what they used to be. And that’s a good thing.
Shorter is Better, Especially Online
Hit shows like Steven Universe, Adventure Time, and Rick and Morty subverted the traditional tv mold by creating 10 minute “mini” episodes instead of the standard 21 minutes padded by commercials. This change made them awkward for broadcast television to schedule around, so they lived in a kind of limbo.
Until the internet.
YouTube, Vimeo, Cartoon Network, and dozens of other sites began hosting these animated gems because short content is exactly what mobile and online viewers are looking for. 30 minutes feels like an eternity in front of your screen when you can scroll and see the play bar with a flick of your mouse. This shift away from longer animation has trickled down not to just television and feature films (there are some incredible animated shorts being made these days), but also to that third animation silo—commercial video.
Explainers exploded in prominence in the early 2000’s in large part to this animation renaissance that focused on brevity and quality. People were introduced to short animated video, and they liked it. They wanted more. The animation revolt of television productions in part primed viewers for the quality explainer videos you see today from startups, established business, schools, healthcare providers, and even company websites. This renaissance was so total that people don’t just like short animated video—they expect it.
Animated features like the new Hanazuki: Full of Treasures, slated for release on YouTube this year, are carrying the torch for short quality content. It’s strange to think that explainer videos became so popular because a bunch of animators didn’t want to stretch an episode with filler, but once you say it out loud, it makes perfect sense.
Hopefully the quality continues.
I know I talk about Kubo and the Two Strings a lot, but that’s because it’s awesome. Check out all the subtle production details in how they combined CG water animation with the most detailed stop-motion puppetry ever.
Pete Docter’s seminal flipbook Nine Old Men catalogues the work of the legendary original animators that launched the Disney empire. However, his new book tackles something many animation vets have long asked for—what about the rest?
The book will cover nine other animation legends including Art Babbit, Grim Natwick, and John Sibley. Keep your eyes peeled for it this October.
The future of animation is a constantly moving target. Stay tuned for more animation news, culture, and video marketing tips every week!
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