Switch on any gadget with a User Interface in the form of a screen and most of time, if not all, there is a possibility that you shall see one or the other animated character!
Besides the fact that most of these characters are out-right cute, are there any other reason for their popularity?
- Increase in the volume of business. You could remember the names of some of the animated movies made 2 decades back. Today, you would require your fingers to count them. A decade from now, even that luxury would be gone! Riding on a year-on-year growth close to 10% on a base of USD 220 billion in 2013, this is one industry which promises humongous growth which can mean only one thing. More jobs and more employment and more fun!
- Increase in the complexity of business. A decade back, all that you saw in the name of animation were movies from known studios like Disney, Industrial Light and sound to name a few. Now, animation has a younger brother larger than itself called Sci-fi. Actually, it was always around. It got into prominence in the last few years due to systems, software and needs which have grown so huge that it was not possible to replicate it in reality. Movies like the Terminator series, Total Recall and the likes involving sci-fi of the foreseeable future depend heavily on animation and VFX which adds to the movie’s worth as also aiding the studios’ bottom lines.
- Gadgets. Humans are not satisfied with movie screens, TV screens and computer screen anymore. If we had our way, everything which could show information would have a screen like a watch, a book, a mobile phone, a wallet, a match box……the possibility is endless. Try making animations for each of these formats…and understand the potential it holds in terms of employment! One word comes to mind. Humongous!
- Cost cutting. If there is one thing which an animation (2D, 3D or as many Ds you can add!) can do which real action movies with real actors in real locale can’t, it is costs reduction, besides of course stretching the canvas and narratives into crazy dimensions. You can’t replicate actors, locations and set-ups as these are part of the movie. But these are rarely used in animation where all the action happens in a closed studio! The end result? Cost saved, time saved, efforts saved and add to the fact that these animations can be scaled-up or down to suit the medium be it a film screen or a tab screen.
- Areas of application: Simulators. Used by practically all the countries in the world to train prospective drivers, airline/ air force pilots and locomotive pilots is one example of using animation to train people without putting lives at risk and wasting money training on the real thing. Even the displays on most aircrafts these days which fly on the fly-by-wire mode use a lot of animation to get the information across to pilots. For that matter, any activity which needs prior planning like building a house and doing the interiors too use animation to form what is called a “walk-through” experience.
With respect to movies and entertainment, the way animation seems to be replacing real-life images, there may be a time in the foreseeable future when the need for real, flesh and blood actors may be done away completely and we may just be cheering another Archie Andrew kind of character who may live even after most of us have walked away into the setting sun.
To quote a Chinese curse, “may you live in interesting times”! How interesting it is just depends on one’s perception. Imaging asking an actor who has just lost his job to an animated character, for an autograph!