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Animation by definition is as follows
Animation is the display of a series of images (2D/3D) this is done at a fast pace, which creates an optical illusion of movement in the eyes of the viewer. These images can be of different kind, from artworks to models that are seen to change positions. Every single image in the sequence is seen to have a small change in it, and these changes are what make the viewer imagine the whole animation. The eye is seen to fill in details that are left out by filling out the gaps. The whole animation is based on the phenomenon called persistence of vision. In addition, this can be demonstrated in different ways. This will be illustrated later during this report.
What is Character Animation?
The word 'Anima' in Latin can be termed as "Soul" and thus Character Animation may be colloquially termed giving the character a soul/life. But to define the same more technically the term character animation is said to be a more specialized area of animation where in a character is created and given a shape, form, a way to move. In addition, determine how it interacts with its environment.
History of character animation
The History of character animation would date back to the early 1900s. Though many believe Felix the cat to be first character to be animated. It was Winsor McCay's Gertie the Dinosaur (ADD PICTURE) that made it first successfully to the screen and captured a lot of hearts in the year 1914. This also incidentally happened to be the first animation to be done through the process of key frames.
Types of animation
Basically animation can be divided into two major groups
* 2d Animation
* 3d Animation
The two types can be further divided as follows.
* Cel Animation
* Path Animation
* Stop Motion
* Motion Capture
Cel animation is a series of frames (cels) through which an object is seen to be drawn in consequtive frames (cels) which in turn would depict a motion. This type is called cel animation cause the early day animators used to draw the images and on a celluloid sheet.
Path animation is probably the most uncomplicated form of animation also the easiest to learn. This is made by setting a path, which could be a line or a curve drawn on the screen, whose path the object is seen to follow. Most of the time the object does not even change, though it can be seen to change size and shape.
The path animation is done with the help of computer software, which are readily available in the market. There are many different softwares available for the purpose. For ex: Flash or Authorware.
Stop Motion :
Stop Motion, this is a technique for animation that makes an object to move, by taking a number of shots (pictures) of the object in a series of different locations, the increment between two locations are always kept minimal to give the animation a more smooth finish and not look snappy.
Claymation is based on the same principles of stopmotion, but with the addition of the models being created with clay (or similar material) Claymation is also produced in the same way, but with the addition of a few adjustments.
CGI (Computer Generated Imagery)
CGI, which was first used in movies in 1973 (2D animation used in westworld & 1977 Star Wars used the first 3D animation) In the last 35 odd years, this field has shown a massive growth. The quality has become so good that off late stunts scenes and mass generated crowd are not distinguishable.
These are 3D models made in a computer and combined with a program in the computer to give it a movement. The models are made out of geometrical vertices, faces and edges. Then they are rigged where in these models are given a bone to move their body parts. After which the animation is done by using keyframes or motion capture, this is done in combination sometimes. Animators are not required to scult or color or move anything physically since everything is done within the computer. For a similar scene, this sort of animation would be both more cost effective and less time consuming.
This is one of the most recent techniques in animation. The motion capture which made it into the industry in 1970s but the use of which in any sort of entertainment was done only in 1990. A Hollywood movie title called Total Recall. Motion capture is basically the recording of human movements (lately even facial expressions) and applying the same onto a computer generated character.
History of Advertising
The Egyptians were the ones to use papyrus to make posters for walls and run market sale messages on. The commercial messages and political campaigns can be first traced to the ruins of Pompeii and scattered within the Arab nations. The Greeks and Romans however put this to a more noble cause as they claimed by using papyrus only for telling people about lost and found adverts. Such uses of papyrus was a little later into the age as wall writing or rock painting is said to be an even more ancient form of which even till date can be traced back to many parts in South America, Asia and Africa. The first of such sorts can be traced to India, where wall paintings as old as 4000 BC have been discovered.
Early into the 19th century, many new technologies and brands made it to the shore. This was a result of the industrial revolution that was taking the world with a storm. With all these new companies in the development, produce of products in large volumes were overflowing the companies warehouses. They had to create a market for themselves and a market that was even far from their origins. To do so they had to spread the knowledge about their products to people at off shore distance. The first advertising agency, Volney Palmer was thus formed in 1841. The company started in Philadelphia but soon had branches in Boston and New York. The company was offering the media 20 % of its commission to print the text by the head of the company or its representatives. This process of advertising turned so popular soon it made its debut in almost all European countries as well.
Bryant & May turned out to be the first British company that used the illustrative field of animation in advertisements. In 1899 the famous animator Arthur Melbourne Cooper, was asked to produce a stop motion film that had matchstick men in them. These matchstick men were supposed to move along the ladder and paint an appeal on the wall, which read "For one Guinea Messrs Bryant & May will forward a case containing enough supply of matches to each man in the army along with the name of the sender. Though this campaign may not seem as much, it is to be noted the animation industry that gained popularity and momentum through this advertisement.
On 22 September 1955, the commercial television broadcasting in the UK was born. This was seen to be the medium that all advertisers were waiting for. Since right from the onset of this medium many character animations were put through. In addition, these characters made it a point to sell their products in a way that no medium had been successful that far. Many new names, names that kids tagged along as friends and looked onto as companions were born. Characters such as Snap, Crackle and Pop were the brand ambassadors for Kellogg's Krispies, which made it to the scene during the first year of television itself. Animation was used to give life to these characters after being placed on the product boxes since 1928. These animated characters turned out to be so popular and people, especially kids started to relate to them so much that even after 50 years now those characters are still alive and the medium used for them is still animation.
The Murray mints advertisement, which showed off soldiers in hats, who marched to the notes of a jingle turned out to be the best commercial of the first year of British television advertising. Such acclaims and applauds turned out to be fruitful for animation in commercials. People were taken aback by this new concept and were loving every moment of an animated character on screen.
This back in the day, turned out to be very useful and even economically helpful to the nations. As advertisers started to show keen interest in animated campaigns and this was backed well with a very enthusiastic animator industry. The industry gave opportunities to new animators everyday. Young animators were employed all around the globe, who started taking up this novel hobby to a living. The young blood that came into the industry gave a lot of new concepts and techniques over which the industry started experimenting to a lot of success. This also gave birth to companies like Biographic, which was initiated by its founder Bob Godfrey, who produced ads for many campaigns of Shipams Fish Paste and Nestle.
The popularity of animation in commercials was a proven fact demonstrated by the advertisers and its audience. But the major boon came along when "Homepride Flour Men" showed how this could be used as a very effective medium. Their ad came along in 1965, this featured two men who were looked classy in their black business suits and bowler hats, and they stood between two packs of flour. One packet of flour tears and it starts pouring out on one man, whose hat was filled with flour but looked unconcerned as he could dust it off. But it was the second man, who was in trouble as he stood under the Homepride flour packet, which when tore he was drenched white with flour all over him, since even the finest of bowler hats couldn't keep off the fine flour. This was added with the voice of a celebrity John Le Mesurier who said "Graded Grains Make Finer Flours"
This ad campaign turned out to be so successful that it made them the market leader within a short span of four months. Homepride's two business men then were in the need for a name, and the name Fred was given to these uniform faces. Not only were these two animated characters seen on television but these two gave birth to sub product marketing in ways of aprons, pepper-grinding mills, fridge magnets and so on were termed as Collectors items. Even today Homepride uses these characters which only goes to show the effectiveness yet again of an animated character in the advertising industry. Homepride have seem to create a brand identity with Fred, who now could be termed as an iconic talisman for the brand. They have used this concept on their other home products too randing from sauces to kitchen utensils.
Creature Comforts, who began their life as a short film, is seen to be an extremely engaging short film due to the co existence of both fantasy and reality in a way that audience were never subjected to before. The book understanding animation is where Paul Wells portrays the relationship between the two as a fully balanced nutritional narrative one. The environments are those that are constructed but the forms and substances are all natural which constituents to an element from our everyday world. This means that there is always a hidden relationship between the abstract expressions of a character whose model through an everyday world. Though the animation might be an abstract form, when the two are combined together they seem to form a sort of great bond.
Then came Nick Parks Creature Comforts and the electricity commercial, this showed a world in which very futuristic and stylish models of animals were seen to be given life through animation, with voices of members of the British public. They put all these voices of opinions and views of people and synced it perfectly to different animals. One such animal which turned out to be darling of the crowds was Frank, the tortoise who jogged. Frank started speaking to a camera that was stationary, on how great it would be to go home after a 10 mile run into a flat that's warm and cozy. Here Frank, turned out to be one man among every man in the country, where people yearned for having the comforts of such a modern day home. The extra appeal being he was a tortoise who could talk.
The success of such advertising campaigns is also the fact that advertisers can now employ any animal that may not be possible in live action campaigns. The way they take animal characters to be their brand ambassador is a simple proof of how well these can go with the audience. Characters like these live to do a very simple task, the lead the audience to a desire that he/she particularly didn't need to have before. The Kellogg mascots animals for products like frosties, rice krispies, coco-pops and so on. These mascots have become an integral part of the product today, since the way customers relate the product through them.
The main advantage of using animation is the ability the promoter gets to give his/her audience an out of the world experience by incorporating environments that are simply not accessed or can it be reproduced by a live action camera. These artificial environments are used to bring out the imagination and desire in every possible audience group. Everyone wants to be a child again, and that's what animation does for the audience. These stimulate the desire for a fantastic world of endless possibilities. Coco-pops which is shown in a variety of jungle where kids live a life of fantasy are extremely fun and appealing to any young child.
The animation in advertising also goes on to boost products result stats to the foreground. For example in the medical presentation such as toothpastes or cough syrups. We can see how the product works miraculously well in comparison to that of the competitor. Hence, this works as an effective medium to show the difference to the audience in the most simplistic yet most detailed way.
A great appeal of such animation is the no class idea of the form. Characters taken in animation are usually characters any person of the society could relate with for example that of Chintamani the face of ICICI. These characters fall under no class constraint of the traditional Indian society. And hence they bridge the gap of classes from the popper to the industrialist alike.
Animation is also a method that can be made relatively inexpensive in its process. The pioneers of the field in the likes of Peter Sachs of the famous Larkin studio and The founder of Biographic, Mr. Bob Godfrey have found ways to create cheaper animation methods when compared to the traditional fluid method of Disney. They started off with inspiring from the german style of expressionism which were jagged and rough styles. The theory was quite simple, Use minimum animation to the maximum effect. By making sure the emphasis on every shot gave out a detail to the advertiser, that eluded in its qualities were then associated with the product of the client. A perfect example for this would be Michelin Man's tyre body that always depicts the strength and durability of the tyre.
The hurdle that any commercial animator might face is the same that any normal animator would face all the time as well. The whole animation is something that is going to be very tough for one handle if they do not see it in the way the animator wants to put it forward. The way inmate objects are given life, if the audience does not seem to match that wavelength of creativity in his mind then animated commercial is a lost cause. The commercial has to be able to give the audience that desire to want the product to make him/her seem more interested in the consumption of the product. Hence, the animator always has to keep this message in his mind that he has to sell a fiction story that has a degree of truth in it.
The fact is, this way of delivering a message through the role of fantasy has not started with animation. The Aesop's fables were stories that were filled with fantasy and till date last in millions of people around the world. They seek facts, wisdom and a way of live hood through it. In addition, these were tales told almost around the time of 600 BC. Probably in the same way, the animator also has to be more selective of the stories he chooses and presents it to the audience in a way that they can relate to or buy that fact. If done with a good reasoning the animation is bound to be a successful one.
The way the brand that sells corn very successfully through its brand mascot Jolly Green Giant, which to any sane mind might seem demented. Where a giant green man, seems to live in the cornfield and his sole ambition in life is to see the quality of corn. But what it characteristically represents is the fact that the company wants to put forward is not their corn but he being an a well-built powerful man who comes from nature and this giant in turn he promotes happens to share the qualities that anyone would look for. The way he is designed and the qualities that seem to be inert in him are ones, which people relate to. Moreover, this is a very smart way of doing it rather than just pushing the brand blindly.
Quite a few believe that animation is just another flimsy medium of communication that is meant for only the lighthearted and kids. But the fact remains for everyone's perusal. Many political statements have been put through animation. There are certain qualities that animation has of reaching the sub consciousness of the viewer, which is to be noted. For example Halas and Batchelor, who teamed up to create Animal Farm in 1954. This was adapted from George Orwell's story. Many today have studied upon the results of this cartoon that hit the screen and realize that it was a cause of raise in Stalinism and it made people go against communism. What many lack to see is that Louis DeReochemount was a front runner in American CIA and he used this film to spread the anti Russian message. Animation hence can be proved as a powerful tool of communication when used in coherence to its properties.
In recent years, the commercials have shown how animation is good enough to portray any serious issue. From save the planet to child abuse. All sorts of campaigns that need a larger target audience to have a message sent across in the most efficient way choose to go the animation way. Adverts of NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) has shown how a sadistic parent beats the child on a regular basis, he also burns the child with cigarettes and later throws him down the stairs chocked. This ad was however touched with fun filled sounds and clichÃÂ©d cartoony styled in the likes of Tom and Jerry. Though every viewer eased into the environment once the animation of the kid and darkness shadow filled crept into the stage, it left a lot of uneasiness in the minds of the viewer. It was very disturbing to experience such violence on a child, but it would have been worse if a real child had been made to play the part. The commercial, would not have been aired for one with British's strict broadcasting rules. In addition, putting in so much effort made the concerns of NSPCC indisputable
In essence, the reason to why animation is now a very successful instrument in advertisements is because of the way animation endorses a concept of a brand and gives the brand identity a new stage life. When the aim is to communicate with the audience in the shortest amount of time then animation is possibly the simplest solution.
According to advertising Guru Grey Myers's book "Ad World: Brand, Media & Audience." He claims that when you brand a product it has to be the core meaning of the product. In this way the association that is being set through this unique brand turns out to be key. The way it's formed, located, endorsed & priced are key ways to associate to a brand. In his example of Guinness, he mentions how this brand is formed with a unique taste of stoutness to it. The brand is located all across Britain in every single pub. It is endorsed through its humor giving the drink a way to seem more relaxed and something to chill with. Then it is priced higher than other brands to give this a more exclusive touch.
Wally Olins has suggested that in the current time the world is saturating with advertisements just about everywhere. Branding has become such an important tool that without a consumer relating to a product he/she would turn to the next brand in sight in a split second. However, the brand that gets noticed most is something that sustains all the marketing hurdles while a brand that loses its identity may as well turn extinct in due course of time, without the market noticing the disappearance of a brand.
Getting customers to buy a product through brand identity has been a very long time sales tactics. And do infuse the identity in one, the advertiser makes sure to use a brand character. Moreover, in today's market almost everything gets sold with the help of an animated character may it be a toilet cleaner, an insurance plan or even a flight ticket. There are animated characters just about everywhere. And they are said to be linked in just about every aspect from giving the brand an identity and to make the brand a lot more loveable. However, the question then lies upon, what makes a good effective character while advertising?
Through animation one guy read the character a lot faster and associate him to whatever the advertiser wants to. Its costumes and construction in a very easy way describe the characteristics of a character. Other than just the build qualities, things like gesture, move and different design elements as well gives the characterization a boost in the minds of the audience. This is what Paul Wells summed up in his book Understanding Animation.
It doesn't matter if the character that is animated turns out to be an animal or human. The Animator would very rarely try to give it the most naturalist of forms. They always give it an exaggeration individualistic feature. It makes the job of animator much easier as well the message is sent across a lot better. No viewer would tend to believe most on screen animated mascots could be real. Mr.Halas and Manvell explain in their published book, Technique of Film Animation. A character is given its characteristics by distorting the form and shape. For example over sized body parts are given to the character like a disproportionate nose, eye, mouth. A large head over a miniscule body and so on. The emotion however is passed through a few vital body organs the eyes, nose mouth and ears. And when a character is chosen like a tiger by Frosties it always promotes the message that Frosties is a very health and strengthening meal.
However, there is a general rule of thumb which constraints characters from getting the shape they want to have. For example, kind calm characters are seen to have round faces with a huge smile. In addition have round large eyes. The Mascot of Pillsbury is a very good example of this principle. He is seen to have a large round body. The way he looks also makes him break that class barrier, he isn't the richest looking on screen mascot but he seems to be one that every tom, dick and harry can relate to. The message sent across through such characters is very quick. Wells is seen to put it very well when he said, "Animation compresses a large narration into a very quick and understandable form"
Adding the economic status of someone into an animation character turned out to be due to the way people wanted things to function then anything else. It is also true that advertisements are very short in nature and so a character's persona is to be as dense and induced as possible. Normally commercial's are seen to be a mid program affair of about 10-30 seconds, though sometimes longer. But in such period of time, when the audience is supposed to relate to something. The form and design turns out to be very important. So in particular animation commercial's are seen to employ a limited number of characters on screen, and they are drawn with a heavy dose of caricature and stereotype narration. Animation is seen to use this technique of shorthand design that makes sure the accuracy of information is intact while being speedy.
The discussed campaign of Homepride flour is a great example for how understanding the characters of animation can give birth to a great marketing campaign. The characters there had no great complex design and weren't exactly unique either. But in the way it was brought together with its uniform design and simplicity, it left itself in every viewers heart. The suit along with the hat, represented the working class of Britain. By associating itself to every viewer, the company turned out to have come along with a very successful marketing strategy with left them being the top on the leader board back in the day.
In this way, the two processes of developing the animated character and branding a product both seem to go hand in hand. And their onset goal being to condense the most part of narration in lowest possible time. Animation is a very imaginative way. The human mind is compelled to run along the abstract design elements induced by the character to unwrap the hidden meanings. In addition, it can be something that is as charming as the guineas or can be terrifying as that seen in the national society for prevention of cruelty to children. In both cases the reaction that these seem to have brought on were just about the same the advertiser was hoping for. In simple terms these animated commercials brought about success in the consumption and giving a life to their brands.
The fact remains that any child would prefer animation to live action medium of a commercial. And certain do look low upon animation commercials, as something oriented to the younger audience. The truth however is a lot different in terms of marketing. Not only do the so called commercials meant for kids turn to be enjoyed by young adults as well as people of almost all age groups, the term a kiddy market isn't so bad anymore. In turn, it actually is a very lucrative field.
Those who still believe otherwise should consider having a look on the facts mentioned below.
* Children today are a very large-scale audience today. An estimate from a study shows kids watch roughly 25,000 to 40,000 television commercials a year. While in the UK it is close to 10,000
* 15-17 billion $ is spent by many companies with just the target audience as kids and that too in the US alone.
* Young adult market today rakes in close to 160 billion $ a year and is to be believed to increase in tremendous scales in the next few years.
* Children in US (upto 11) are seen to spend close to 18 billion $ a year. In comparison the whole Hollywood rakes in only close to 19 billion $ Worldwide.
* A new age group named Tweens (8-12) are seen to use their pester power to bring their parents to spend close to $ 30 billion in US. While children as a whole till the age of 12 rake in an astounding $ 650 billion dollars a year. These stats have ensured over 80 % of the global brands are targeting kids into their marketing strategy.
All the above stats are based on web analysis from the research done by US census Bureau.