Here we go again...
It seems every month the main point in my column is that there are a lot of opportunities looming in animation's future. However, many of these hopes are hinged on such things as independent works getting greater distribution, the public liking and using new, emerging forms of animation, or a large corporation doing what is best for the art form and not necessarily what is best for their pocketbook. However, when we discuss production technology, it is an already proven vehicle that is here and is leading to more innovative and revolutionary advances at a breakneck pace. Some of these technological innovations are already in play, like digital ink and paint. Technology such as this has come onto the scene, replaced an older technique and the product looks much the same. With computer animation, however, an entirely new genre, that is growing and expanding, has been created. While CGI has come to television with such successful shows as War Planets and Voltron, and visual effects can bring dinosaurs back to roam the earth, we all know that these accomplishments are mere stepping stones to bigger and better things. We will enter the realm of "synthespians" and other avenues only scratched on today. Finally, technology is going to lead us to new places that we can't even imagine yet. As John Donkin says in his article "From the Latent Image to the Digital Image," we can't imagine what is coming or where the future is leading because twelve years ago we couldn't have fathomed what we are doing today.
Pressed on by impatient audiences and innovative entrepreneurs, advances will continue at their current amazing pace. We will have to keep glued to the theater screens and our television sets to see the latest. By attending SIGGRAPH and other conferences, we will be able to peak into the future and see the "way out stuff" that will soon become mainstream.
On the animation art side of things, it was good to hear that the industry is maturing, and after a plummet from the earlier craze is looking steady for the future. Limited editions have flooded the market, but serious collectors and galleries are placing an enthusiastic emphasis on original production artwork, ensuring a serious business in the art form. An ironic point that wasn't planned, but came to light in this issue, is that due to new production technologies, cels are becoming ever more rare, driving the value up. In "Has the Boom Gone Bust?: The Animation Art Market" all of the gallery owners remarked that now the animation art craze is over, the business of animation art is becoming more respected and legitimate.
Until Next Time, Heather