Animation and game design have, for the most part, fallen into two categories in the past. You either worked on animation for children’s movies or you focused on animation for video games. Today, however, many young animators are realizing that their opportunities are becoming much more diverse as the movie graphic novel and video gaming industries have begun to overlap.
Merging of Media
Today more and more video games are becoming movies. Successes in the last decade include Doom, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Tomb Raider. All of these movies were based on popular video games that had been created by animation and gaming professionals. The movie directors discovered that, in order to maintain the look and feel of the games, they had to get to know these games inside and out. They often called on game design experts as consultants to help them achieve this. There are few people as loyal as gaming enthusiasts, so capturing the proper look and feel was essential to the success of these films.
Graphic novels, a writing genre known for its highly graphic illustrative style, have also spawned movies recently. The two most notable are Sin City and 300, both based on violent, action-packed graphic novels. In both instances, the movies were directed with actors but relied heavily on computer graphics, computer design and, in some instances, animation, to enhance particular scenes and enrich the details. The success of these two movies in turn created video games based on the movies (which were based on graphic novels)…are you seeing the pattern now? Anyone with animation and game design credentials these days can go into a wide range of fields, not just game design. When the genres overlap, so do job opportunities.
Where the Talent Lies – Animation and Game Design
Hollywood is also producing more animated movies that ever before for family consumption. Cars, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Happy Feet, and the list goes on. Disney Studios continue to produce the traditional “princess” movies, but a dozen other studios also produce quality animation.
While a generation ago animation was done using thousands of artist’s sketches put together to create action, today’s animated movies are created with computer animation, and individuals with Animation and Game Design degrees are hot properties. Studios know that those with game design experience have an understanding of the complexities of movement, from the way the wind ruffles your hair to how someone lands when they fall, that no one else can match. Gamers are tough customers. They expect realism and accuracy and they get it. This has translated into increasing attention to detail in animated films. The more sophisticated the audience becomes, the more these industries have to work at giving the public what it wants.
The Future of Animation and Game Design
With the growing overlap of so many genres of entertainment, graphic novels, movies and video games, it is obvious that the need for professionals with both animation and game design skills will only increase. Whether you want to work in Silicon Valley or Hollywood, a degree in some kind of animation and game design area will get your foot in the door.