The Age of Imagination


Where land and sea meet. It is the end of one and the beginning of the other.

Animation has always been a labor intensive process. Since its very beginning the roots of the first studios more than 100 years ago the labor aspect has been the dominant force in the dynamics of production. Without it the creative conceptual side couldn't be realized. That has been the defining factor in the evolution of our industry especially at the organized labor level. Creative labor personnel far outnumbered creative concept personnel.

Then in the 1950's photocopy technology was introduced and eliminated the need for hand inking animation cels. In the 1970's video technology allowed animators to pencil test their footage for immediate review. The first step on the road to eliminating film. Then in the early 1990's digital production technology burst upon the scene and the need for ink and paint and camera services disappeared altogether. At the same time the internet emerged and provided artists with a creative outlet and the independent distribution of content worldwide.

Today it is AI and its implications are enormous.

Access to the levers of production and distribution are no longer a factor in determining what gets made and what doesn't. Advancing technology means the need for traditional support labor in animation is diminishing and in time may very well disappear altogether.
The balance is shifting from creative labor dominance to the dominance of creative individuals at the concept level. It's no longer a matter of completing the inbetweens or the need for a crew of 12 to back up one animator. Now an animation artist can handle the most complex production tasks through technology.
Things have shifted towards content creators. Artists who author and as such own their intellectual property. The need for huge numbers of people in one physical location to produce content has given way to small teams light on their feet who work with each other remotely. This is the frontier now and will increasingly become the norm. While the Hollywood system stumbles the pioneers are having great success and defining the culture for the new generation with their art.

It's all coming down to ideas. If you have an idea you can make it happen by simply engaging in the act of typing. We are seeing the emergence of the Age of Imagination. Where anything you envision can be realized. The competition will not be in the area of skill based creative labor in the work-for-hire market. It will be in the world of ideas and concepts and intellectual properties. What will matter is authorship.

It is moving away from service based creation to source based creation.

We've had several ages in the history of animation. The First Golden Age - The Television Age - The Second Golden Age - The CGI Age - The Internet Age - Now we're entering another. The Age of Imagination.


Adapt accordingly friends. Until next time ...

Respectfully submitted     

Charles Zembillas
May 28 2024