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Linking Young Minds Together
 Volume 5 | Issue 46 | July 17, 2011 |


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Career Choice

Animation Studies 101

Saad Adnan Khan

Photo Source: Internet

Let's admit the fact that we all love watching animation movies. One of our earliest childhood recollections is of us getting huddled up with siblings and cousins in front of the television set to watch movies on cassettes our favorite aunt or uncle had borrowed from the movie store. We loved imagining ourselves in the worlds of Bambi, Aladdin, Lion King, Cinderella, Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse and Little Mermaid. Animation movies have changed drastically in the past years with the emergence of ground breaking digital techniques and visual effects. We can watch movies like Shrek, Happy Feet, Wall-E, Toy Story, Finding Nemo to name a few to understand how animation is the new breeding ground for filmmakers to invest money and a lot of creativity. But what was the last Bangladeshi animation movie we saw?

Animation is something that has started to interest not only art majors in the country, but anyone who has the slightest craving to create something using their imagination. It can be surprising to see what students are capable of doing with photo shop software on their personal computers. Besides Facebook and YouTube, students spend a lot of time just creating very colourful and graphic logos, banners, slogans or editing their own pictures by using their artistic flair and saturating images with colors and creativity.

However, like most other creative and unconventional academic choices, animation studies still need a lot of strengthening and support to establish the subject as an important art course in institutions and as a profession. Universities like Charukala Art Institution, University Of Development Alternative(UODA) and Daffodil International University have courses on graphic designing, but not on animation. One of the most obvious reasons is lack of proper funding. “Animation is a team work. Students who learn or have some idea about graphic designing usually are more interested in animation. Sometimes however people get demotivated due to lack of fund or equipment when projects are half way through”, says Rezaul Karim Rumi, a fine arts student from UODA. “There is a lot progress in the graphic designing sector in our university. However, there should be a change in our syllabus. Since teachers do not bring changes in the syllabus, a new and emerging subject like animation is barely given any consideration to become a part of our curriculum”, says Abir Karmaker, a fine arts student from Charukala.

Animation nowadays has become a very creative outlet for entertainment, advertising products and also for spreading social messages. Animation is one of those things that young people are interested in because it's trendy, cool and interactive like graffiti and rap songs. “Students don't think about money. Animation is a fun activity for them”, says Shohag Mallick, animator and VFX artist of Farmhouse animation studio, who has worked with many university going students. “Learning animation is not a big deal. However we need proper equipment and the right environment to practice and mature as animators”, says Shohag Mallick.

Proper equipment and the right environment to practice in are what one needs to mature as an animator.
Photo: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo

Due to lack of institutionalised education on a subject like animation, students who are interested in animation and graphic designing usually learn by themselves on internet or with the help of animation software like “3D max” and “Maya”. The common problem among professional animators in Bangladesh is that they have not received any proper education on animations at any university. A very small number of professional animators have had the privilege to study animations abroad. Most of them believe that an institutionalised education on animations is very important in order to come up with more quality works. Some of the recent animation ventures in Bangladesh that are worth mentioning are “Montu Miyar Abhijan”, “Polkarella”, a short animation feature by Zubuyer Koalin, “Sisimpur” the Bangladeshi co-production of Sesame Street and “Apon's bike” by ASM Moniruzzaman. There are so many other movies that we do not even know about. Even the aforementioned movies were not promoted in a mainstream manner, because of lack of funding but mainly due to the lack of market for local animations. Since most of these movies are independent productions, often they do not get the exposure they need due to lack of promotion. “We need the proper market. Bangladesh still lacks one. Also animation needs huge man power. Our media can't handle the expenses” says renowned artist Mustafa Monowar.

Some of the animation studios in Bangladesh are “Click house”, “Toon Bangla”, “Greenfield” and a couple of years back there was “Talent factory”, which closed down. “We are still in the beginning phase. The reason for which we don't have manpower is because young people are sometimes not aware of the prospects of such a field. There are so many channels in Bangladesh media now, and they are in dire need of animators and graphic designers. However, there are not enough studios in Bangladesh that can provide enthusiastic artists and learners the training they need”, says Nasir Ahmed, managing director of Click house. “Organisations need to be stronger. People need more exposure. Students are already talented. All they need is good education and proper facility to enhance their animation skills”, says Ratan Paul, executive producer of Noyontara communications, production house of “Sismpur”.

Another reason for which local animations still do not get recognition is because of the “brain-washing” influence of Hollywood and Bollywood. People become so busy comparing the quality of work in Bangladesh with that of other countries that they lose interest and stop appreciating local works that are results of hard work. Animations should be appreciated and critiqued on the basis of the different cultural contexts that they come from. Animation is one of the most exciting art forms nowadays. Students have already started to understand the potential of such a field. Dedicated and enthusiastic learners are not interested in the monetary gains from such a field, because art should not be seen in a commercial way. However it will not be completely impractical either to recognise the fact that animation work is a source of income for many young people nowadays. All that these students and young people need is a space where they can nurture their talent with a bit of logistic and technical support from educational institutes and animations studios and support from family and friends.

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