- Title: UK/GERMANY: New computer programme revolutionises animation
- Date: 22nd October 1994
- Summary: CAMBRIDGE (RECENT) (REUTERS) ARTIST AT CAMBRIDGE ANIMATION SYSTEMS USING ANIMO SOFTWARE
- Embargoed: 6th November 1994 12:00
- Location: CAMBRIDGE AND LONDON, ENGLAND/ BERLIN, GERMANY
- Country: United Kingdom
- Reuters ID: LVACNUXDDRYYPNFJIJIWDL0P2IZ8
- Story Text: A new computer programme is revolutionising the way cartoons and animated features are drawn, creating heated debate among traditional animators.
Developed in Cambridge, U.K., Animo cuts the amount of time spent tracing and painting each cell (cellophane image). Instead, artists can use a computer screen to duplicate the multiple images required for a cartoon to move.
The system will make animated cartoons like this year's Academy Award-winner "Bob's Birthday" easier to make. The 12-minute cartoon took animation artist David Fine two years to produce.
Fine says Animo is a step forward. He describes the laborious process of duplicating each frame as a "nightmare." In June, Animo was chosen by both Warner Brothers and Steven Speilberg's new DreamWorks studio as the basis for their future animation.
Warner Brothers will use the software to create a new feature film called "The Quest," and to develop new television cartoons.
The system will then be put to work on existing characters, including the Animaniacs, Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.
Animo is not the only new software revolutionising the animation industry. But Richard Ashton, marketing director of Cambridge Animation Systems, says the digital system is in demand because it can also run on personal computers.
"Animo tackles the entire process, so its made very much faster, more efficient, and creative, because the creative staff can see the results of their experiments almost instantly," Ashton said.
But Animo and other computer systems are creating heated debate among the traditionalists in the world of animation.
Andy Tumner, a supervisor at London-based animators "The Ink Crowd," says computers are removing the art from animation.
Computers were used in some facets of the new animated feature "Asterix Conquers America," which has just been released in the U.K.
But most of the work fell to a team of animators from 9 nations.
To complete the 1200 scenes required for the film, they used some 800,000 sheets of paper, 13,000 pencils, 600 erasers and 200,000 cells - the cellophane sheets used to film the characters.
Animation director Bill Speer says the skills of the artist are vital to "act" out the role of the character and bring it to life - something a computer cannot do.
In the film cult French cartoon hero Asterix and his sidekick Obelix end up in America, where they are captured by a tribe of American Indians. After rescuing the chief's daughter they return home to rout the Roman legions once again.
How much of a fight traditional animators will put up against the computer invasion remains to be seen.
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