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Special Report: NATPE – The Jury Is Out On 3-D Computer Animation

Computer generated animation has now given producers one more possible medium to work with and its detractors equal its fans. Those who have decided, for the time being anyway, to concentrate on cel animation cite a certain coldness in computer-based programming...
January 1, 1996

Computer generated animation has now given producers one more possible medium to work with and its detractors equal its fans. Those who have decided, for the time being anyway, to concentrate on cel animation cite a certain coldness in computer-based programming as a problem. But those who have already jumped in with both feet – Alliance Communications with ReBoot for example – feel it’s necessary just to keep up with kids who are already well-acquainted with the world of 3-D. The rest are sitting back and letting Disney’s Toy Story test the waters.

Norma Denys, Vice president, Desclez Productions

‘I don’t think that traditional 2-D animation will disappear because it’s a style that g’es with a certain style of drawing. But I really think there’s going to be a big push forward with 3-D animation. You can see it already in the film industry and there’s tremendous demand from the broadcasters. Kids are used to that kind of graphic look with Nintendo and Sega-type games, so it isn’t a far step from there to expecting that kind of graphics on TV shows.’

Carol Monr’e, Hearst Animation Productions

‘A lot of people are holding their breath and waiting to see what’s going to happen with Toy Story. I think it’s going to be part of the animation business from now on. Computer animation gives us another color to paint with. It’s like the difference between stop-motion animation and traditional animation. They both have a role to play. One d’esn’t necessarily replace the other.’

Carol Rosen, Vice president, Family Programming, HBO

‘We feel pretty committed to cel animation. I feel it’s still the warmest most engaging style. Computer animation is not right for us as it stands right now.’

Rick Pack, Chairman, Action Media Corporation

‘We are intrigued by it [computer animation] I think it’s definitely going to be more and more part of the future . . . but there’s nothing quite like the lushness of really great cel animation. That’s something the computer just hasn’t captured. However, it can allow you to have a world-wide staff. You can have someone in England and France just speeding over a machine and rendering the images overnight. The key is to have animators working on the computers. Animators understand timing and how things move.’

Marc du Pontavice, Head of Gaumont Multimedia (France)

‘We are doing inking and painting and compositing all on computers. But in terms of the animation itself, we are still doing the traditional cel system. It’s a style that kids are used to. I know that there are a few shows that are CGI but so far I don’t feel totally devoted to that type of show. It’s very good for shorts, very good for commercials, it’s very good for some special effects. But the whole story told for 26 minutes on a CGI basis is difficult. It’s very difficult to create likeable characters. The sense you get from CGI programs is that it is very cold.’

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