2 Jan 2012


Word - Up is the part of The 1st Question where our esteemed panel contributes to the lexicon with their own originals. Taking off on a new buzzword, next year's trending word, (as I see it) provided the title for a recent article in MediaPost.

Cartoonification – New Trend 2012

Science and technology are intertwined with animation and magic.
In 1936, Walt Disney patented the Art of Animation - using the Multiplane Camera in a way that allowed animators to reuse backgrounds and other unchanged portions of an animated film. This improved the quality of the finished film as well as cut time and cost.

In 1938 while watching a Mickey Mouse cartoon, belief becomes easily suspended, because that B & W image is nothing like the life one experiences once the lights go up.

In 1970 -Lilliane Schwartz debuted Pixellation one of the first digitally created films to be shown as a work of art. She worked early in her career with Bell Laboratories, developing mixtures of sound, video, and art.

In 1978, Mickey would get his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In 1988, Spielberg would give Disney a shot in the arm with “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”

Ask anyone you know who their favorite cartoon character is and they will have an answer for you, possibly more than one. Cartoons and animation are a part of our lives, our visual entertainment, our early identity and frame of reference.

Animation had become so widely accepted that in 2001, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences introduced a new Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

The rise of animation has also entered our living rooms in full force with video games that people play. At no time more so than now, do people get behind an avatar, literally and figuratively to spend hours inhabiting a character. 60 million+ hours have been spent playing Star Wars The New Republic since it's release this Dec 20th. It is a staggering amount of time.

According to the Entertainment Software Association’s (ESA) 2011 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry, 72 percent of American households now play video games. The average gamer is 37 years old and has been playing for 12 years. It's a good demographic.  The ability to be in the cartoon and run the action has become a mode for many, all you need to earn that passport is an avatar. While we embody our avatars, giving them greater or lesser powers than we have on the other side of the small screen, we ask to be cartoonified in order to join in the activity.

A few years ago VodaPhone created “animated videos” of ZooZoo's – this was an ad campaign developed by Ogilvy & Mather to convey different value added services offered by the mobile phone company.

The videos while they look animated, are made with people wearing costumes to look this way. http://youtu.be/Stc8G6RfCKY  Why wear a costume though? Why not be a cartoon? Consider this as a definite trend for video as we reach into the new year.

Since YouTube's inception an amazing number of hours of video have been watched, and every year there is a Top Ten list. This year 2011, for the first time a cartoon has entered not only the Top Ten but the top 5. Nyan is a video game character that flies while you score for eating healthy foods. (That the cat has a pop-tart body should be an alert to Kellogg.) This might be the Nexus of game culture, cartoons and video.

The rise of inexpensive to produce engines such as  Xtranormal, Stupeflix, or GoAnimate allows new technology to give rise to animation at the press of a button. It doesn't allow for spectacular graphics, needs  good writing to make an impact, and shows a new direction in inexpensive animation platforms.

Whether your avatar is having fun or function is up to you – when you begin recording that avatar in your virtual world or game, then you are becoming a part of a story and able to do or be a part of the grandeur that was Rome, the middle ages, or the far or near distant future. Being part of the story, embodying this is another way of extending who we are. And because these worlds exist so do the platform or structure within which to be filmed.

The game engine platforms of video games and virtual worlds allows a 360 degree view of various and more diverse environments. They are ones we become more adept in, and active in through our time there. These scenes and environments will move more into the forefront of commercial activity as virtual assets also continue to grow. It allows marketing departments to take chances, and to offer something very special for small cost.  This is a good example of game engine graphics coming of age.

And if someone wanted to start selling those Xtranormal teddy bears next Christmas on Amazon, I think there would be a market for them.

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