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New Markets in Animation

Animation by Benjamin Arthur
Still from “Why Can’t We Walk Straight

In terms of opportunities and amount of work available, there is no better time to be working as an animator than today. More new avenues for animated content are springing up than ever before. For decades, the choices were straightforward: TV, features, commercials, music videos, and shorts. Today those limited number of options have been upended as every form of media and creative practice is somehow incorporating animation into its sphere, from news programs to architecture.

One area in which animation will play an increasingly meaningful role is publishing. While there have been a number of iPhone/iPad “animated” books, most have been of a simplistic variety requiring users to flip a “page” to watch a linear animated sequence. The next generation of children’s books will integrate animation in non-linear ways to create an entirely new and unique storytelling experience.

An example of this “second-generation” animated e-book is the iPad edition of Oliver Jeffers’s The Heart and the Bottle developed by London-based creative agency Bold Creative. I’m intrigued when I watch its trailer while recognizing that we’re only scratching the surface:

Let’s also not forget that least visual of mediums–radio. The Rauch Brothers have been translating Storycorps radio segments into animated shorts for the past few years, and National Public Radio is now regularly experimenting with animation. NPR commissioned Toxie by Stephen Neary a couple months ago, and yesterday, they premiered a new audio piece with animation called “Why Can’t We Walk Straight” which was animated by Benjamin Arthur.

What other new animation markets can you think of?

(The Heart and the Bottle link via Drawn; thanks to Madison Russell for the NPR link)