Chosen vocational area: Animation
(Impact of technology and technical developments in animation)
Some of the earliest animation done using a digital computer was done at Bell Telephone Laboratories in the first half of the 1960s by Edward E. Zajac, Frank W. Sinden, Kenneth C. Knowlton, and A. Michael Noll. Early digital animation was also done at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory.
Another early step in the history of computer animation was the 1973 movie Westworld, a science-fiction film about a society in which robots live and work among humans, though the first use of 3D Wire frame imagery was in its sequel, Futureworld (1976), which featured a computer-generated hand and face created by then University of Utah graduate students Edwin Catmull and Fred Parke.
Developments in CGI technologies are reported each year at SIGGRAPH, an annual conference on computer graphics and interactive techniques, attended each year by tens of thousands of computer professionals. Developers of computer games and 3D video cards strive to achieve the same visual quality on personal computers in real-time as is possible for CGI films and animation. With the rapid advancement of real-time rendering quality, artists began to use game engines to render non-interactive movies. This art form is called machinima.
The first feature-length computer animated film was the 1995 movie Toy Story by Pixar. It followed an adventure centred on some toys and their owners. The groundbreaking film was the first of many fully computer animated films.
Computer animation helped make blockbuster films such as Toy Story 3 (2010) (Disney/Pixar), Avatar (2009), Shrek 2 (2004) (DreamWorks Animation), and Cars 2 (2011) (Disney/Pixar).
(Legal and statutory controls)
In animation a few legal and statutory controls exist to protect and govern content made by animators in the UK. A few of these controls are:
Intellectual property (IP) is a juridical concept which refers to creations of the mind for which exclusive rights are recognized. Under intellectual property law, owners are granted certain exclusive rights to a variety of intangible assets, such as musical, literary, and artistic works; discoveries and inventions; and words, phrases, symbols, and designs. Common types of intellectual property rights include copyright, trademarks, patents, industrial design rights and in some jurisdictions trade secrets.
Although many of the legal principles governing intellectual property rights have evolved over centuries, it was not until the 19th century that the term intellectual property began to be used, and not until the late 20th century that it became commonplace in the majority of the world. The British Statute of Anne 1710 and the Statute of Monopolies 1623 are now seen as the origins of copyright and patent law respectively.
Copyright is a legal concept, enacted by most governments, giving the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time. Generally, it is "the right to copy", but also gives the copyright holder the right to be credited for the work, to determine who may adapt the work to other forms, who may perform the work, who may financially benefit from it, and other related rights. It is a form of intellectual property (like the patent, the trademark, and the trade secret) applicable to any expressible form of an idea or information that is substantive and discrete.
Copyright initially was conceived as a way for government to restrict printing; the contemporary intent of copyright is to promote the creation of new works by giving authors control of and profit from them. Copyrights are said to be territorial, which means that they do not extend beyond the territory of a specific state unless that state is a party to an international agreement. Today, however, this is less relevant since most countries are parties to at least one such agreement. While many aspects of national copyright laws have been standardized through international copyright agreements, copyright laws of most countries have some unique features. Typically, the duration of copyright is the whole life of the creator plus fifty to a hundred years from the creator's death, or a finite period for anonymous or corporate creations. Some jurisdictions have required formalities to establishing copyright, but most recognize copyright in any completed work, without formal registration. Generally, copyright is enforced as a civil matter, though some jurisdictions do apply criminal sanctions.
Most jurisdictions recognize copyright limitations, allowing "fair" exceptions to the creator's exclusivity of copyright, and giving users certain rights. The development of digital media and computer network technologies have prompted reinterpretation of these exceptions, introduced new difficulties in enforcing copyright, and inspired additional challenges to copyright law's philosophic basis. Simultaneously, businesses with great economic dependence upon copyright have advocated the extension and expansion of their intellectual property rights, and sought additional legal and technological enforcement.
To sum this all up in my own words, in its simplest form intellectual property is the concept that allows for creators to claim control over their original works while copyright is the law put in place to take legal action for other people using their intellectual property without that owners permission.
(Health and Safety Issues)
Of course when it comes to a job in animation health and safety issues aren’t really an issue at all, depending on your stance about paper cuts that is. However, a few minor issues should be mentioned like back problems one would get from sitting hunched at a drawing table or desk all day, or the eyestrain and headaches gained from staring a computer monitor all day (The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992) or even the possible threat of arthritis gained from years of doodling on paper!
But now to focus on real issues, one would be work environment, the place you work will have its own safety regulations and procedures, knowledge of fire escapes and fire drills would be vital and if your working as part of a team it is important to keep a clean and stress free environment for them.
(Business and Financial Support)
As an animator there are several financial options available when starting out, going freelance allows an animator to pick and choose his project based on their skill set or financial payout while also working a part time job for support. However, if an animator is considering starting up a business there are plenty of sites online that can help and provide information. Business Gateway offers a range of information from starting up a company to finance and marketing advice. There are even business grants available to help start up a business provided sufficient information, including a business plan, is provided.
(Industry and Professional Associations)
The Writers Foundation (UK) is a new company and registered charity established by the Writers’ Guild. Its aims are to promote the craft of writing across all disciplines, to advance writer education & training, and to offer welfare support for the writing community.
The Writers Foundation (UK) has secured seed funding via donations from The Services Sound and Vision Corporation (SSVC) and is now open to applications for events and programmes of work from Guild and non-Guild members alike.
The past few years have seen a retrenchment of independent writer support agencies around the country, with curtailment of funding to organisations including North West Playwrights, Script (West Midlands) and Theatre Writing Partnership (East Midlands). The Guild continues to lobby hard for the retention of independent writer support organisations and, in an age of misguided cutbacks, is committed more than ever to the promotion of writer training and education initiatives.
Writers’ development needs vary in line with experience & aspiration – from the raw beginner through to working and successful writers – so events and programmes of work need to be tailored accordingly. Given the inevitable concentration of activity in and around London, the Foundation is particularly keen to see applications from regions and branches around the country. Writer training and education can involve any of the following:
Skills learning and sharing across all writing platforms
Talks and seminars
Showcasing of work
Networking events both between writers and those engaged in commissioning work.
It can be an application for a one-off event or a longer programme of work. There is great potential to seed project work with commissioning partners, either with single production companies or consortia of partners, which in turn could lead to productions. In short, the Foundation is looking for imaginative and innovative ideas that you feel will benefit writers – be they from your geographical area, or a specific area of shared writing focus and aspiration.
In the longer term the Foundation is exploring the potential for appointing a part-time employee, with the aim of co-ordinating the Foundation’s overall programme, developing its strategy, and securing additional partner funding. As from now the Foundation is open to your suggestions and applications. So get creative with your ideas, firm them up to a viable proposal, and submit your application. The Foundation is there to benefit you and fellow writers, at whatever stage of their career.
The Directors Guild Trust is the only organisation in the UK for directors across all media – film, opera, radio, television, theatre, animation and multimedia. It is a charity and a Craft Guild offering unrivalled opportunities for its members to meet and to share and exchange expertise and skills at a wide variety of events. It pursues training at all levels for members and non-members alike, and promotes and celebrates the craft and art of directing through events, awards, and commemorations. The Trust is asset-linked to the Directors Guild of Great Britain (Community Interest Company) Limited, which acts as a professional register of UK director members - all members of the DGGB have two or more professional credits.
The Directors Guild has an illustrious past history as a professional organisation and as a trade union. Since 2008, the Guild no longer represents directors industrially, though we can still make available model contracts, contract advice and other industry guides to members and to the public.
UK Film and television directors are represented industrially by Directors UK and theatre directors by the trade union Equity.