Monday, October 20, 2008

Meeting panel: The Internet for Animators

The membership meeting panel "The Internet for Animators" on September 30 was zesty and informative.

Moderator Mark Farquhar hosted a free-wheeling discussion on how animators can use technology and the internet and thrive on it. The panelists were Rick DeMott, Kevin Freeman, Kevin Geiger, and Charles Zembillas ...

Farquhar, a veteran c.g. animator at various studios and now a prof at Cal State Northridge described how the internet as opened doors for independent animators.

There are more and more distribution channels for content, and its increasingly more easy to create content. Technology is more accessible. Chinese artists are now producing 3-minute shorts on-line that have captured a worldwide audience.

Kevin Freeman, proprietor of and a veteran rigger and animator, talked about how the web has made it possible for him to work with aspiring riggers and provide them with the tools they need to learn and pursue the craft:

... "I began talking to my co-workers and friends about how they would like to contribute and ultimately decided to open the site for industry professionals to contribute anything they would like: how tos, interviews, work flows, tips and tricks, and more on the topic of character rigging" ...

Rick Demott, editor of Animation World Network, described AWN's newer animation website and how it worked:

"We're distributing original content, providing an opportunity for artists to have a platform for their shorts. As for financing the site, pre-roll ads rather than banner ads provide more revenue to the site.

The internet launches people [and their creations] in different ways. There's guerrilla marketing, there's viral growth. AWN takes animation submissions from around the word. Fifty percent of our traffic is in north America ... "

Charles Zembillas, animation artist, teacher and the founder of, was delighted with the way the internet is shaking out:

"I started Animation Nation as an issue-oriented website. I think it's important to prepare students to be warriors. They can write a web log, and build a community. I had a lot of material in my files about aspects of animation, and I learned Photoshop and created a book, then created a website to promote it, and I'm now selling enough copies to recover the costs to publish it.

I don't think studios will disappear because of artists doing original content on the internet, but they'll evolve.

Kevin Geiger, a longtime c.g. supervisor who now runs his own consulting firm and will shortly be relocating to China to work on an animated feature, had this to say about the continually morphing internet:

"There's a lot of discussion now about artists' images being stolen on the internet, but Internet Opportunities puts a copyright bug on its images. You can also insert copyright data into data and jpeg image..

... There's going to be a huge market for content on the web. There's 1.5 billion cell phone owners in the world. Apple charges 99 cents for anything. For mobisodes, creators will get around 12 cents out of each 99 cents. Mobisodes could generate artists $100,000 per year. Lots of content will be distributed for free, with revenue generated by ads.

And the internet has made video conferencing very cheap. When I started at Disney, we had to go into the big conference room and conference on the big screen with lots of equipment. Now with Skype, you can now conference anywhere in the world for very little money. You can conference and work from West Los Angeles, Shanghai, the location really doesn't matter.

Members were encouraged to get started by signing up with a free bloging service (,, etc) and start sharing your work and opinions.

Here is a list of the various sites that were mentioned during the discussion:

All in all, the panel was well-attended and useful for the members who attended. But for the members who didn't show up ...

(Apologies for the delay in posting this to the blog.)


Anonymous said...

I thought this was interesting....


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