Daniel Miltinan’s CIU 111 essay
NSW CREATIVE INDUSTRIES OPPORTUNITIES AND OBSTACLES
When people ask what jobs are available for animators, I respond with “there is a lot of different work to do in the creative industry”. However, finding an ideal definition of this term is quite hard since it is kept very general. “The ‘Creative Industries’ have been defined as ‘those industries which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and that have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property.’ 1 They form a composite industry sector for which a number of definitions have been developed.”
Creative industries more specifically include advertising and marketing, built environment which implies focusing on architectural services like planning and design for residential, institutional, commercial and industrial building, creative and visual arts including photography and museums, design with special focus on fashion, graphic design and industrial designs but also the field of media including film, TV and radio, music and performing arts, publishing and electronic games.
However, these are just the main creative industries which are all very diverse and each field offers even more sub-categories and employment opportunities.
This is why I will especially focus on film, TV, electronic games and digital design.
Ill talk about the growing demand for digital content and how it’s surpassed direct competition, education and how government support hook my interests to the industry,
Growing demand for digital content and delivery
In general one can say that there is a growing demand for digital content and delivery in the animation industry. On October 15th 2015, the website lazygamer.net published an article titled “The video game industry continues to out perform Hollywood”.(Lazygamernet, 2015) It talks about the continuing growth of the game industry, even though it cannot be directly compared to the film industry because it reaches a much smaller crowd. They go on giving the example of a film ticket which only costs around 15$ to purchase. In contrast to this, the average game cost about 90$ which is about six times as much. So even if the film industry is reaching a lot more people, the game industry has a much more premium price and higher return so both of them make a similar profit.
Education, skills and training in the animation industry
“The NSW Government has identified the Creative Industries as a key driver of our State’s economy.”
During my studies at high school, I was offered the opportunity to undertake a tafe course in the field of information technology. At first this opportunity didn’t really appeal to me, but then i was notified that all students undertaking the course would be paid to study as well as having the grade contribute to our final VCE scores, so I just decided to give it a try. The course was a certificate III in Information technology but the in-class-work we competed was all based around blender which is a free animation software. Working with it made me realise my passion for 3D modelling and animation amongst other things. It had such an impact on me that once i graduated school, I purseed a university degree in the same field. Also, the government is aware of the potential of the creative industry and is sponsoring the tafe courses like the one I partook in to raise the students interests to allow for a growth in this domain which leads to further development and the increase of the importance of animation itself.
Electronic games development
One of the most popular video games was developed by the American student Nolan Bushnell on September 29th 1972. He invented a video game machine which made it possible to play a simple version of the famous ping-pong game. This game was called “Pong”. The screen would show two rackets (white bars on a black background) just as a quadrangular ball and the score. This game very soon became really popular so that Bushnell decided to found his own company named Atari. Less than three years after the publishment of “Pong” Atari now sold a home version of this game. The increasing development of computer technology in the 1980s also led to a growth of the importance of the video game industry. Many of what we call “classics” nowadays were developed at that time. One of the most important machines for video games at that time was the C64, a home computer that was invented by the company Commodore. It was mainly used for reasons of entertainment (not work). However, the games developed back then showed a massive lack of quality and therefore couldn’t really raise people’s interests. Also, people copied games instead of buying them (this is still a current issue) and a conclusion of this was the downfall of the video game industry. This situation only changed with the market entrance of the video game concern “Nintendo”. In 1983, they published the “Nintendo Entertainment System” which was a game console with exchangeable modules which were very hard to copy. Furthermore, they published games which are still popular nowadays, amongst these are “Jump-and-Run”, “Super Mario Bros.” just as the adventure game “Zelda”.
Then Commodore joined the competition by developing their new video console “Amiga” and so did the Japanese concern “Sega” with their console “Mega Drive”. When Sega published the video game “Sonic”, it came to a real competition between the different concerns and the video game market grew more and more. In the following years the video game market was mainly coined by technical and graphic development. Only when Nintendo developed the “Game Boy” in 1989, another meaningful step for the game industry was taken. The Game Boy was the first mobile video console which made it possible to exchange games in form of modules. At the beginning it was only available with the game “Tetris” which became one of the most popular games of its time and due to its huge success soon there were more than 1200 games developed for the Game Boy. People loved the new possibility of playing games anywhere and at any time so seven years after they published the original “Game Boy”, the “Game Boy Pocket” was now for sale. It was a more compact version with an improved screen, higher contrast and a lower energy consumption. Only two years later, Nintendo published the new “Game Boy Color”, the first hand-held console with a screen technology that was able to display more than 32000 different colours. However, also the home console market did not stop growing. Examples for this are the Playstations one and two, both developed by Sony. During only a couple of years the graphic of current consoles went from simple two-dimensional displays with 256 colours to realistic three-dimensional illustrations.
Look back at the brief history of games, some of the problems are arising again. The nintendo 64 had game cartridges in order to stop games from being copied easily, combating the war on piracy and heaping the industry alive. How ever in recent times piracy is at an all time high. Most games on the computer are based no longer on a hard copy, but in digital copies. This is making it incredibly easy to replicate and distribute on popular websites like piratebay and kickass torrents. Games That are harder to do this with are the multiplayer games.
New South Wales has the highest diversity due to the increasingly culturally and linguistically diverse population.
Since New South Wales is going through a major change demographically speaking, it’s allowing the creative industry to be more creative. Having a diverse society means enormous opportunity for creativity because of having various audiences available for creators to target. This also promotes culture solidarity and various cultural awareness.
Export opportunities in animation.
Sourcing manufacturing or other services to other countries is a common practice.
“Price is another India selling point. One survey placed the per-hour cost of Indian animation at $60,000 while the same cost in the United States would cost about $250,000 to $300,000” (Howstuffworkscom, 2008)
This is an incredible difference in price. Does it have a positive or negative impact on the industry tho? Does outsourcing these jobs mean we aren’t supporting the economy of our own country? Well no, not really. The jobs being sourced internationally to countries such as India are just the grinding work. The quantity of work, the tedious jobs. This cuts costs substantially and increases profit margins for the native organisations.
Innovation and productivity challenges in the creative industry
In the last couple of years, there have been a few interesting technological advancements that can be used directly for the creative industry for example, 3d printing, virtual reality and 4k resolution films and even 360 degree videos. 3d printing is already a billion dollar industry, only recently has it become affordable for people to buy high quality 3d printers. The most common and affordable printers come in kits requiring the user to assemble them themself. The possibilities for what can be printed are almost endless but the people capable of designing and producing digital models for printing are finite. This alone will open up industry opportunities in this field.
Virtual reality is practically like re inventing the screen. Allowing users to be fulling immersed in any digital environment. This will forever change the way games are developed and played, again a new opening for a new industry. Recent advancements include higher resolution headsets as well as a higher frame per second reducing side effects such as motion sickness or nausea. They are also incorporating real time tracking to the virtual world allowing users to see the location of their hands.
The only advancement that has currently got its drawbacks is the 4k display. With current projectors now able to project such high resolutions, the new film standard is 4k. Now you may think this is awesome and a step in the right direction but when it comes to animation films it causes a big problem.
“According to Bruno Mahe, the technical head at one of Illumination Entertainment’s studios, the resolution of current animation projects would have to be bumped up by at least 2.5 times. Increased resolution means increased memory needs, which means that the render farms of 20,000 computers that Illumination uses currently (amounting to a memory allocation of 680 terabytes on last year’s Despicable Me 2) need to grow accordingly.”(Cinemablendcom, 2014)
Basically when it comes to increased resolution for animation, the computing power required jumps through the roof exponentially making films a lot less profitable.
In conclusion, the creative industry is already enormous. Only time will grow it, but from my point of view it has the necessary tools to allow it to thrive. The government is aware of its potential and is willing to support it where they can. Its an incredibly fun industry to be apart of and I love the fact that I’m a contributing stakeholder. I don’t know exactly what the future holds for this Industry, but I do know it will be promising.
Cinemablendcom. (2014, 20 November 2014). There’s A Giant Problem That The Animation Industry Will Have To Deal With. [Weblog]. Retrieved 12 May 2016, from http://www.cinemablend.com/new/There-Giant-Problem-Animation-Industry-Have-Deal-With-68334.html
Lazygamernet. (2015, 15 October 2015). The video game industry continues to outperform Hollywood.[Weblog]. Retrieved 12 May 2016, from http://www.lazygamer.net/industry-2/the-video-game-industry-continues-to-outperform-hollywood/
James vincent. (2015, 11 September 2015). Watch legendary Disney animator Glen Keane draw in virtual reality. [Weblog]. Retrieved 12 May 2016, from http://www.theverge.com/2015/9/11/9309727/virtual-reality-drawing-glen-keane-disney
Howstuffworkscom. (2008, 11 February 2008). How Outsourcing Works. [Weblog]. Retrieved 12 May 2016, from http://money.howstuffworks.com/outsourcing4.htm