Sunday, October 26, 2008

CG Viz Effx? They're Not Just In India ...

There are of course, the fears that more and more computer generated imagery will be migrating to Mubai. But another cluster of computer animators and programmers is out there:

... Many of the 24,000 frames of special effects used in the [the Russian historical epic "Admiral"] ... were created by Dago, one of Russia's leading private studios that also has a top visual effects department.

Alexey Kublitsky, vfx exec producer ... says that although standards were high in Russia's special effects community, with only 300-400 trained CGI artists, there were "not enough" people to satisfy demand ... Despite the stellar tech skills of [Russian] vfx crews, there is no concerted effort by the Russian entertainment industry to recruit and train artists, although newer studios and facilities, such as Russian World Studios, are keen to train people. India and Hong Kong look to outpace Russia in growing their post-production businesses.

Day by day, animation in all its forms is an increasingly global enterprise. (Like we didn't know already?) Games, visual effects, animated features and the rest get made in various shops around the world. Yet even as pressure increases to turn out work that is "better, faster cheaper", Los Angeles still has a growing animation* community.

Why is that? Because of the talent residing in the Southland. At the end of the day, studios dip into the wells that give them the greatest return on investment, and the Los Angeles springs run deep and rich ... and studio execs are loath to try higher risk strategies ("Let's ship everything to Moscow!") that could blow up in their faces and cost them their high-end jobs.

And yeah, the worldwide economic meltdown is going to present new challenges to L.A., but in the three decades I've hung around the cartoon business, it's continued to grow. I've been listening to people say "It's all over!" since at least 1976.

* Defined here as artists, writers and technicians employed in Southern California in television animation, theatrical animation, visual efects, games, broadcast graphics, etc.


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