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Saturday, July 28, 2007

How a Hand-Drawn Animation Studio Survives in the Age of CG

Great piece from the LA Times about Film Roman, the studio that cranks out "The Simpsons" and "King of the Hill." Richard Verrier writes:

    [Film Roman's] growth comes as Hollywood studios have largely abandoned the traditional 2-D style of animation long practiced by Film Roman in favor of computer-generated imagery.

    But the Emmy-winning company has managed to survive and thrive in a CGI world thanks to television, where demand for hand-drawn cartoons remains strong.

The just-released "Simpsons" movie was Film Roman's biggest project in its history...spurring the company to add 130 new animators in addition to its regular staff of 400. (FR was also working on two seasons of the TV show simultaneously.) From the story:

    Some of the animation work was farmed out to two studios in South Korea, Rough Draft and Akom. Although largely drawn by hand, the film used various digital tools to speed up the process and incorporated some 3-D scenes.

Film Roman was founded in 1984 by a Disney alumm, Phil Roman. It's now part of Liberty Media.

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