Taiwan’s Next Media Animation

I’ve never written a post fully expressing my appreciation for the Taiwanese animators at Next Media Animation who create news segments like the one above, but I’ve been fixated by their work since they made a splash last year with their reportage of Tiger Woods. Using the most basic CG models and animation style, they’ve developed a take no prisoners series of animated political cartoons with a sharp outsider’s point of view on American and global politics. Not every one of them is a homerun, but that is to be expected considering that they often produce two minutes of animation on a three-day turnaround to keep aligned with news cycles.

Looking beyond the simplistic, crudely rendered imagery (I like to call it honest CGI), there is plenty of creativity evident in their work. They pepper their films with visual metaphors and symbolism to make them understandable in any language, and they take storytelling liberties that are possible only in a graphic medium like animation. The work that NMA produces has been improving throughout this year, and they get my praise for being among the funniest and most creative computer animated projects currently in production.

UPDATE:: Brew reader Johnnn points out this article in the latest issue of Wired about Next Media Animation. Haven’t read it yet, but it appears to be quite in-depth.


  • http://2dwannabe.blogspot.com robcat2075

    I’m surprised that an idiom like “choking the chicken” directly translates but I suppose the Chinese have chickens and choke them just as all nations do.

  • doop

    I’m always surprised how well I can follow the stories. Their Iphone 4 report is my favorite so far.

  • matt

    “I like to call it honest cgi”. Yep that’s our well-rounded Amid. Never miss a chance to slag it off eh mate? Love your other stuff, but now I even doubt your objectivity and therefore veracity on the retro stuff these days – as it’s clear you have have a sort of genetic pre-disposal toward it. And against CG. “Crude”, otherwise generally known as previs, and the comment is redundant, considering it was never intended to look a million bucks. It’s a fast-turnaround bit for the news! What level would traditional animation be at under those time constraints? C’mon man, lift your petty game if you ever want to be taken seriously as a real critic. I’ve been coming here every day for years now, and it’s getting so so tired. Go make fun of some fat smelly nerd at Comic-con to lift your spirits. Irony intended.

    The cg IS honest though – these guys understand that news these days is farcical – both the presentation of it AND the content. So yes, it’s very honest indeed.

    • NC

      I think Amid’s assessment of “honest CGI” fits well. Like david o’reilly, or Xavier Renegade Angel, they both are not trying to hide the fact that they are CG. Unlike slick garbage like say …oh… Transformers, they are not trying to fool you into believing that it’s real. Therefore I would agree in calling this genre of CG animation, “Honest CGI”.

  • johnnn

    there’s a good long article on these Next Media animations in this month’s Wired magazine… details what its all about, their animation production assembly line process and such. ch-ch-ch-check it out: http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/08/mf_appledaily/

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17894269586749112193 Eric

    I have no idea what’s going on, but it’s hilarious!

  • Sat

    It’s just a bit more cartoony than what’s on TV around here, and maybe because of this it’s a bit less manipulative (I think? Is there local news made that way?).

    I can see this becoming the future. Not that I want to be part of it.

  • Jon H

    Calling cheap and carelessly crafted CG “honest” is pretty easy to read as a smack in the face to those who work hard at their craft. It’s like saying stick figures animated on 10s are honest because they aren’t hiding the fact that they’re just drawings on film.

    • http://2dwannabe.blogspot.com robcat2075

      “Honest” may not the best descriptor but it’s not “careless”. They’re making knowing choices about what to do and what to leave undone.

  • Matt Sullivan

    This stuff blows my mind. That people actualyl go to this much trouble to talk about something going on in a different country???

    WOW. O.O

  • http://www.rauchbrothers.com Tim Rauch

    Wonderful animated films? Maybe not.

    Interesting and possibly quite relevant peek into the future of international news media? Definitely.

    The Wired article is a very interesting read and puts this work into context beyond the easy HaHas we might get watching it on Youtube. Animators and other media professionals can benefit from being informed about how new technology is affecting the international flow of information.

  • Gummo

    Hysterical.

    I won’t even discuss the technical quality of the animation itself because the storytelling was so clear (at least to me as an American) that I was able to follow it perfectly, even without subtitles. And it was funny, to boot.

    That makes it good work in my book.

  • Henry

    The part where Obama is running away from the oncoming train by running ahead on the tracks instead of jumping aside is hilarious.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Needless to say I was laughing there as well even though I didn’t want to.

      For the teapot image they had on those signs, I kinda hoped they would use the “Utah Teapot” as well, but I guess that would be too obscure a reference outside those ‘in the know’ who’d know.

  • Pedro Nakama

    The really bad thing is it’s better than any newscast in America.