Animation as an entertainment medium has been around for decades, but it’s essentially the same as it always was, even with new technology being produced yearly. Animation is a series of pictures strung together to create motion and movement. In less than a dozen years, animation’s outer appearance has changed so much that it’s almost an entirely new medium with an entirely new face.
With home and work computers becoming so widespread, affordable and versatile, classic 2D animation is much easier than it used to be. Physical frames and cells are no longer a requirement for animators, and now entire characters can be re-used at any time or transferred between devices with ease. Rotoscoping is much simpler now, and there is a wealth of images online that can be traced by animators as references. Adding colour to animations is also incredibly easy thanks to the huge variety of image editing tools that exist, many of which are free and easily upgradable with plugins.
As a marketing tool, animation can turn up in any market and platform. This has become more evident in recent years, with more brands deciding to use animation and CGI within their adverts. 2D and 3D styles seem equally popular as both can be used to create some unique and memorable ads for any company at a relatively low cost. The focus of animation within marketing is to create a character/object that resonates with your audience. This is apparent in tombola’s recent ‘I’m A Celebrity’ sponsorship campaign.
The online bingo company worked with Uber Agency to create realistic bugs, with unique personalities, that reflect the spirit of the show. Bringing the characters to life with relatable quotes, along with the combination of live action and animation made the campaign a hit on social media and increased the brands presence. This is a strong example of how modern-day animation can be used to support a brands identity and enhance exposure.
Animation advances are all about enhancing the picture to look as realistic as possible, with motion capture, 3D animation can be made more detailed Now, studios can simply put an actor in a mocap suit and record their motion in a way that fits with the character they’re animating, then save the motion as a skeleton animation that can be attached to a model later. It’s also now now become possible to use various tools to place 3D characters in ‘real’ footage and environments with the correct lighting, scale, perspective and shadow, all from the same device with the same suite of software – plus, you can go back and fix your mistakes at any time.
3D models and their details are always constantly improving, pushing the limits each time. It’s possible to create a character ‘skeleton’ rig – which manages how and where they can bend, that mimics every bone in the human body, or literally paste a high-resolution image of an actor’s face onto a character. It’s even possible to motion-capture an actor’s face while they record their lines, making every facial muscle move exactly how it did in real life: this can even be expanded to literally re-creating an actor in a digital form, with every detail being almost one-hundred percent accurate to the real life individual.
Stop-motion animation is really the only form of animation that hasn’t undergone a massive change since the height of its popularity – the techniques and methods used are generally the same, especially the types of models used. However, the animators’ ability to record and edit their finished products has changed dramatically, to the point where we can have stop-motion characters interacting with the real world through the power of CGI and clever editing.
Modern technology has done a lot to boost the variety and popularity of animation as a medium, and it’s become popular for many different purposes. Everything, from supermarkets to online bingo sites like tombola, can benefit from animation as advertising.