Every couple of days I have been getting calls at my studio from other studios looking for help on their animation projects. This is good news for us because at the end of the day service animation work is what keeps a crew going and growing but it makes me wonder, is the Canadian Animation Industry approaching it’s maximum capacity?
In this article on AWN Joseph Gilland theorizes that the software tools available today, mostly Flash, allow smaller companies to produce animation at a rate that was not conceivable even 15 years ago. Because of this major shift, entire productions, TV series, and features are being produced almost entirely in house using a crew that is almost entirely Canadian. A smart thing to do because it allows the producers to take advantage of the lucrative Canadian and Provincial tax credits that can be accessed for just this kind of production.
The result of this is that there is a real demand for animators who are educated in the principles of classical animation yet have the computer savvy required for the use of software like Adobe Flash.
In Saskatchewan retention of skilled animation crew is always going to be a problem however the upside is that we have a great classical animation school, Red House College, that is training incredibly talented students who all have a solid foundation in classical principles and can be trained in Flash or other methods of digital animation.
I am curious, is the education and training pipeline for animation talent in Canada wide enough to serve this ever growing demand for skilled digital animation talent or is the industry likely to go back to a model more like that of the industry in the 80′s and 90′s where a great deal of the work was outsourced over seas?
My personal feeling, speaking from the point of view of a company that always has labor shortage issues, is that the future will be somewhere in the middle. The very nature of the evolved medium of animation though flash lends its self to digital collaboration in ways that were never possible before, this is exciting because it is possible to put together animation teams that literally span the globe with very little additional cost to production.