Post Magazine

December 2014

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Page 36 of 51 35 POST DECEMBER 2014 n the realm of visual eff ects, ani- mation and graphics, the quality level of work and the talents and skill sets of artists have never been higher. VFX studios deliver shots that would have seemed impossible just a short time ago, and graphic houses continue to brand products and advertisers instantly and memorably. All this happens despite tight budgets, bargain hunting and an oversat- urated marketplace. Emerging media off er more opportunities than ever, and com- panies are upbeat about 2015's prospects with traditional broadcast and feature fi lm clients, and a host of new customers. SEAN HENRY Executive Producer Calabash Animation Chicago www.calabashanimation. com Calabash Animation specializes in char- acter animation, particularly for commer- cials, in styles ranging from traditional cel to digital 2D and 3D. Over its 30-year history, Calabash has brought to life such beloved advertising icons as the Trix Rab- bit, Lucky the Leprechaun, Hamburger Helper, Sonny the Cuckoo Bird, Mr. Clean, Green Giant, Charlie the Tuna, and the Keebler Elves. STRENGTHS: "The quality level of ani- mation and visual eff ects in advertising has risen to stunning levels. Not that long ago, only top studios could aff ord the huge investment in gear necessary to do professional work. Since those tools have become much more accessible, it has be- come a more level playing fi eld. The diff er- ences between companies today are more related to talent and experience — which can't be bought at the Apple store. "Calabash's traditional animation roots have a profound infl uence on the digital animation and eff ects we are doing today. Our emphasis has always been on hiring people with strong fundamental skills and the vision to bring animation to life." WEAKNESSES: "Companies are required to do more with less, and creative people are increasingly undervalued as budgets continue to shrink and production sched- ules get shorter. Lack of communication can lead to unexpected costs the studios just can't absorb. Everyone loves anima- tion, but most are surprised to discover how labor intensive the process is. It is more important than ever for agencies to work with a studio that can be a creative partner and help guide them through these potential pitfalls." OPPORTUNITIES: "With all the emerging media outlets, there are interesting new opportunities for original content as well as advertising. Previously, animation was solely the domain of the TV networks, DVD distributors and movie studios. Now, people are expanding creative properties across various platforms — developing Web series, creating a mobile app or a game. We've seen more work come our way that was solely for the Web or mobile apps, and this is possible because of more economical animation technologies we're using. It's a diff erent world with diff erent budgets and expec- tations, but we're doing some interesting work that wouldn't normally cross our path for TV advertising." THREATS: "The economic recovery is moving very slowly. As production budgets continue to shrink and ad- vertisers hunt for bargains, reputable companies are basically competing for scraps while still trying to create good work. Repeat business is never guaran- teed. The solution, as always, is to build trust with clients so they see you more as a creative partner than just a vendor. That has been a big part of Calabash's success over the years." OUTLOOK FOR 2015: "I think the lines between diff erent forms of media will continue to blur, and the options available to get content in front of audiences will continue to become more diverse and accessible. Social media, with its more im- provised 'DIY' aesthetic, will probably have an increasing creative infl uence on main- stream animation and advertising. With the pressure for ads to stand out among all the clutter, we expect to see some really interesting work in 2015." ERIC CARNEY Founder/Previs Supervisor The Third Floor Los Angeles, London, Montreal www.thethirdfl RISING TO THE TOP LEADING STUDIOS CREDIT TALENT, TOOLS AND EMERGING MEDIA AS KEYS TO SUCCESS OUTLOOK VFX, ANIMATION & GRAPHICS O OUTLOOK O OUTLOOK I BY CHRISTINE BUNISH The solution, as always, is to build trust with clients so they see you MORE AS A CREATIVE PARTNER THAN JUST A VENDOR."

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