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Category: Animation

Can Animation Be Considered as an Art Form?

The things that usually come to our mind when we hear the word “Art” are paintings, sculptures or even music. But is that it? Has the scope of art expanded beyond that?

Art is a human activity that involves creative or imaginative talent to express beauty, emotions or ideas. The debate as to whether computer-aided images can be considered art is not new.  

It is now increasingly being accepted that an animation created on Autodesk Maya or any other software is as much an art as a painting made with a real brush and colours, as it involves a similar amount of skills, precision, perfection, aesthetics and designing capacity. 

The audience of animation movies and cartoons would agree. After all, the exquisite pictures and characters that we see in animation movies must have been created by some artist.

Conventional Art forms can be broadly classified as 

•    Visual Arts (Architecture, Painting, Sculpture)

•    Literary Arts (Fiction, Drama, Poetry, Prose)

•    Performing Arts (Dance, Music, Theatre)

•    Culinary Arts (Cooking, wine-making)

•    Media Arts (Filmmaking, Photography)

However, since the advent of computers in the latter half of the 20th Century, a new category of Art has emerged called New Media Arts. These include visual artworks that are designed and produced using new media technologies. Computer Graphics, Computer Animation, Digital Art, Internet Art, 3D Printing and countless others are all included in this modern art form.

The following characteristics of Animation give a strong argument for it being an art form:

Involves Creativity and Imagination

Animation is essentially a creative activity. It involves imagining new characters, objects environments, stories etc. and giving them different colours, shades, textures, expressions and a hundred such elements. 

Personal Skills 

To become an Animator some certain personal abilities and skills are required. An actor is not necessarily a good singer or a musician. What art a person is good at depends on their traits and interests.  

Practical Knowledge

All art forms revolve around the application of skills in practical life situations. For example, to be a singer, it is not enough to memorize all ragas, one has to apply the knowledge of ragas to sing different songs. Similarly, more than theoretical jargon, the animation is much more about the practical application of skills and techniques.

Animators must learn to apply various animation software and techniques that are taught in different animation courses from reputed institutes.

Requires perfection through practice

Perfection is something an artist can never truly achieve, but it’s something he or she constantly needs to strive for, through practice. To use a music analogy, a singer needs to do what is called riyaz, which is a regular exercise. Animation too requires constant practice by creating new projects, sharpening existing skills etc.

All this is to say that Animation is now universally considered as a piece of art and consequently animators deserve the same respect as artists. To get your worth as a professional animator, you should always look for an institute with a dedicated placement cell that can land you in one of the big companies in the animation industry and also keep you updated with recent industry trends.

Do You Need to Know How to Draw to be a 3D Animator?

Is drawing important for Animators? This is a frequently asked question by students pursuing a career in 3D Animation. Mostly, we get generic answers to this question. But here we delve into this topic deeper and twist the question a little to cover a broader aspect, “Is it required to be an artist to become a successful animation professional?”

To start with, we need to understand the 3D animation production pipeline. In a studio working on 3D animation production, we have separate departments for pre-production, modeling, texturing, animation, rigging, lighting, rendering, FX animation, compositing, and editing. 

Out of these above mentioned departments, rendering, editing, and FX animation fields generally don’t need any direct art medium expertise. Barring these departments, others are linked, directly or indirectly, with artistic forms like drawing, painting, photography, etc.

If you want to build a career as a pre-production artist, then a sound drawing skill is a must. You should be able to put your thoughts and your visualisation on paper or on to the computer screen through a digital tablet or mouse. As a character designer in the pre-production department, you may be asked to design characters, props, and BG Layouts. Or as a storyboard artist, you may be asked to make storyboards, for which you need to have good drawing skills. As a concept artist you may be required to do inspirational sketches and paintings. As an art or creative director, you may have to create the colour palette with the director for the final look of the film.

Modelers need to be well-versed in anatomy studies, which would help them to maintain mesh flow and proportion.

Texturing and lighting artists should have a good light and shadow, and colour sense. Experiences in painting or photography help to enhance these skills.

In the present industry scenario, lighting improvisations are done at the compositing stage too. Thus, it is essential that the artist has some inclination towards photography or painting.

A character animator must have a sound knowledge of posing and facial expressions. Gesture drawing is the stepping-stone for a good character animator.

A rigger applies joints and controls to the characters, thus he/she should be knowledgeable about the workings of how the anatomical mechanism works.

Animation, as an industry, provides enthusiasts various options to explore their creativity and project their ideas to the world. Not knowing how to draw is not a major roadblock. The key to this industry is a creative and imaginative mind. If you are creative, it’s time you get the skills to become an animator.

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