Animation explores global warming
Story by CHOLCHAYA SUWANPANMANI
Story by CHOLCHAYA SUWANPANMANI
The first AACP (Ayudhya Allianze Charoen Pokphand Life Public Limited) Thailand Animation contest took place in August. High school and college teams from all over Thailand competed, but only two groups were chosen as winners out of 268 teams.
Competing teams had one month to create the most impressive character-driven animation of at least one-minute in length. The theme was ``Join hands to combat climate change.''
Teams were judged by a panel of industry experts including: Ataya Boonsoong, a professional Hollywood animator; Viras Boonnak, a visual effects specialist; Kriangkrai Supornsahusrungsi, Imagimax Animation and Design Studio general manager; and Santi Laohaburanakit, Vithita Animation's general manager.
AACP Thailand Animation contest winners were announced by AACP,the National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (Nectec) and the King Rama IX Foundation.
The winning teams received trophies presented by HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, insurance coverage for one year, an iPod Nano for each team member, and scholarships worth 80,000 baht per team.
The two teams were also given an all-expenses-paid trip to Universal Studios to learn about the creation of animation. They also visited Kyoto Computer Gakuin (KCG), Osaka Electro-Communication University, Sony World and a Tokyo games show.
Bringing imagination to life
Animation involves a filmmaking technique in which a hand-drawn or computer generated image is produced individually in one frame, and repeated in a slightly alternating forms to create the illusion of movement. Artistic skills include drawing, composition, design and techniques for rendering images.
Until the early 1980s, computers lacked the necessary processing power to create high-quality animation. With technology getting simpler to operate and more advanced, there's room for new applications. Animators are equipped today with powerful graphics programs, such as Maya, that make more realistic animated graphics possible. Disney and Pixar have shown the world how far the cartoon envelope can be pushed, and raised the standards of animation production.
The first place team for university level is Creative Max from Rajamangala University of Technology, Thanyaburi, which produced the animation feature Final Warning. This short cartoon is about a robot from outer space that comes to earth to warn people about global warming.
Final Warning is a three-minute-and-forty-five-second animated film that was developed on industry-standard Maya software by team members Atippatai Suwan, Suran Pothiralert and Krissachai Tanlongkachon. Judges selected this animation as the top winner because of the story line, creativity and technical skills required to execute the project.
The leader of the Creative Max team, Atippatai Suwan, says that teamwork was the key to this success. ``More than one person is required to make an animation.'' He explains further that, ``It involves people that write storyboards, draw characters and backgrounds, produce audio files, make visual effects and edit them together.'' Everyone on the team works together to create an entertaining animation that tells a story.
Atippatai drew cartoon characters by hand for years before deciding to transfer his skills into the digital realm. He believes that, ``Computer animation is ideally mastered in an academic environment. Basic drawing and color theory are the artistic foundations from which creative education grows.''
He encourages new animators to develop creativity along with technical skills. He states, ``There are many creative positions within the computer animation genre. Many jobs don't require masterful drawing skills or expertise with animation software.''
The winning team for the high school competition is La Voix du Vent from Kaen Nakorn Wittayalai, Khon Kaen. They also won first prize for their three-minute animation feature, called Hope.
In Hope, a foreign object falls from the sky after a catastrophe, and a scientist finds the object is a warning to fight global warming. People are encouraged to get involved to save the world and conserve the environment.
The team members include Chaitawat Sangkla, Thanathorn Chaopho, and Premnudee Simsawat. Their strategy was to draw cartoon animals as story leads by using several software programs, such as Adobe Photoshop and Maya.
Chaitawat Sangkla is the team leader of La Voix du Vent. His father works in the multimedia industry, so he started his software training at home at age nine.
Given his background, he feels that having computer programs and other animation tools is very different from knowing how to use them. He says that, ``Computer animation requires proficiency in both the creative and technical processes. Having just one strength isn't enough.''
Chaitawat advises, ``Don't limit yourself to one program because it could very well be defunct in a year. While formal training helps with the mastery of skills, creative experiences can develop over time.''
The next stage
Animation is making quantum leaps due to developments in software and computer processing. It has approached levels of realism and special effects that were unimaginable just decades ago. Likewise, young Thai students are setting new standards for animation within the country.
The AACP Thailand Animation Contest is a great way for students to showcase their work. It will become an annual event, so animation skills will develop in Thailand over the years. The contest is a great way to show animation to the masses, and maybe land jobs for a few students. Click here to view students' work on the internet.
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Last modified: October 15, 2007