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How new technologies affect creative work in animation

Executive Producer and Head of Partner Content at Aardman Animations, Heather Wright has one of the most fulfiling careers in animation and its business, spanning over 20 years. This year, she joins D&AD Awards as Jury President in Animation. 

Here she writes about the future of animation and the changes in the industry afforded by new technologies.

I have lived and breathed animation for over 20 years since I first joined Aardman.  Over that time the animation industry has changed almost beyond recognition and we have all had to grow and adapt ourselves in order to remain relevant; we have done this by being innovative, by understanding what makes audiences tick and by being open to new technology.  Aardman strives relentlessly to be the most inspirational animation company in the world, entertaining people of course, but also we want to do some good. 

With the ongoing convergence of the advertising and entertainment industries, the craft, the platforms and even the business models are continually transforming and reforming moving ever closer.  It’s a world of commodification and ‘automation’, but if you want to create a piece of animated content that really connects with people’s hearts and minds, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. 

Animation is a unique art form which by its very nature can be all-consuming, with each frame of a picture a work of art.  But what you really want to happen is for people to get so wrapped up in the story and the characters that they almost forget it's animated.  Big conceptual themes, quality of the writing, the visual look and its realisation should be synonymous and ideally shouldn't be achievable in any other way other than by animation.  A very simplistic example of this would be a character who has an unfeasibly large nose because he’s good at sniffing out teeny tiny things, animated beautifully, voiced brilliantly and ideally with a puff of ‘smell-o-vision’ in the auditorium.  

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