Business Studies - Studio Research

Studio Ghibli

     One of the first studios I looked at was - of course- Studio Ghibli. To me, it was a no-brainer, since it was studio Ghibli's films that initially inspired me to want to learn animation and design. Spirited Away (2001 - Directed by Hayao Miyasaki) was the first animation I had ever seen from Studio Ghibli, and it was unlike any kind of animation I had ever seen. Having grown up around Disney and it's heavy 'princess & prince' influence, I found it refreshing to watch an animated film filled with a kind of magic and wonder that Disney lacked. At first, I thought it was just a one off, but I continued to watch the Studio Ghibli films - maybe even religiously - and found that each story was so different, but still filled with the same wonder that I experienced when watching Spirited Away for the first time. Personally, it would be a dream come true if I was ever given the opportunity to work with Studio Ghibli, even if it was only for a day!

     But I digress.
          Studio Ghibli was formed in 1985 by the directors Hayao Miyasaki and Isao Takahata, and the producer Toshio Suzuki after the success of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, one of the first films considered part of the Studio Ghibli collection. Having said that, in 1968, Isao Takahata (with the help of Hayao Miyasaki) released a lesser known film called Horus: Princes of the Sun (A.K.A The Little Norse Prince) which paved the way for what later would become Studio Ghibli.

     Despite the fame that Studio Ghibli had accumulated in the East, it wasn't until August 1996, when it was agreed that The Walt Disney Company could publish Studio Ghibli films internationally, that the West was introduced to the anime wonders. Since then, there's always been a delay between films being released by Toho in Japan, and then being released by The Walt Disney Company internationally.

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Cartoon Network Studios

     Who doesn't remember Cartoon Network? Endless hours I would sit down in front of the TV watching Cartoon Network, trying to draw the characters and - at the time - failing miserably. Of course, that never stopped me from trying.

     So, Cartoon Network Studio is a subsidiary of the Turner Broadcasting System, which is an American Media conglomerate and a subsidiary of Time Warner, which is an American Multinational media corporation and the largest media and entertainment conglomerate, closely behind The Walt Disney Company (Phew! That felt like one of those Russian Dolls). Formerly, Cartoon Network Studios was a division of Hanna-Barbera, until William Hanna died in 2001, which then folded into Warner Bros. Animation. Cartoon Network was then revived as it's own entity and began growing as a studio.

     One of the first shows to air was What a Cartoon! in 1995, one year after the studio was founded. Since then, they have created shows such as Dexter's Laboratory (1996-2003), Cow and Chicken (1997-1999), The Powerpuff Girls (1998-2005), Samurai Jack (2001-2004), Adventure Time (2010-present), and many more. Over the years, Cartoon Network Studios has produced animated cartoons alongside other studios, such as Lucasfilm, Ltd, Renegade Animation, The Jim Henson Company, Turner Studios, Mirari Films...etc. and many others.

-----------------------------。o.゚。*・★ (。◕‿◕。) ★・*。゚o。-----------------------------

Aardman Studio

     Although primarily a studio known for using Stop-motion and Clay animation, it is the set and character designs that I am drawn to. Being a wannabe concept artist and illustrator, I know that I can't box myself into one small area - there's so many different kinds of animations, graphic designs and illustrative jobs out there for me to pick from, and although what I do focus on is primarily 2D concept art, everything initially starts out on paper, whether it's a puppet or a whole building.

     Aardman studios was founded in 1972 by Peter Lord and David Sproxton. One of the first pieces they created was called 'Vision on', which were animated sequences for the BBC for deaf children. For many years, they created many short animations, such as the Greeblies, which later on inspired the creation of Morph, and a number of shorts created for Channel 4. One of the first Aardman pieces to win an Oscar was Creature Comforts (July 15th,1989), which became a gateway for the first ever Wallace and Gromit short, A Grand Day out (December 25th, 1989). The following two Wallace and Gromit shorts, The Wrong Trousers (26th December, 1993) and A Close Shave (24th December 1995) won academy awards.

     In 1997, Aardman announced that they'd be teaming up with Dreamworks to create what would be their first feature length film - Chicken Run ­- which was released in 2000. A few years later, after a 10 year absence, Wallace and Gromit made a comeback in their first feature length film, the academy award winning Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. A year later (in 2006), Aardman created Flushed Away, which became their first computer animated feature. In 2011, the studio released their first 3D feature film, the computer animated Arthur Christmas. A year later, The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists, was released as the studios first 3D stop motion feature.

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Double Negative Visual Effects

     Double Negative isn't like the other studios, since their primary focus is Visual Effects and working on Life-Action films instead of Animated Films. I decided to look into Double Negative because it was something different that was separate from the Animation Studio, and also because of the amount of opportunity available for people with no experience in the industry. Looking at their job section, they have a long list of career options, such as VFX Producer, Stereo Matchmove, Animator, Rigger, Matte Painter, Texture Artists...etc. and so much more. To start out, I'd probably have to seek a job as a Runner and learn whilst on the job. Despite not knowing anything about Visual Effects, I'd definitely be more than happy to learn new skills whilst on the job.

     Dneg was founded in London in 1998, and has since become Europe's largest provider of effects for film. Initially, the company was set up with a team of 30 people, and since then has grown to over 1,000 staff, the company growing so quickly that in 2009 they opened a Singapore Office.

     Pitch Black, in 1998, was the first project Double Negative worked on. Since then, business has boomed and they've worked on feature films such as Inception (2010), Sherlock Holmes (2009), Dark Knight Rises (2012), The Pirates! In an adventure with Scientists (2012), Quantum of Solace (2008), Johnny English (2002), Doom (2005), The Da Vinci Code (2006), and many more. One of the films currently in production is Godzilla, which I'm really looking forward to see.

-----------------------------。o.゚。*・★ (。◕‿◕。) ★・*。゚o。-----------------------------

Sun & Moon Studios

     Earlier in the year I went to visit Sun & Moon Studio in Bristol, and got to see how such a small team of people are able to work on so many projects at once, (Short answer - everyone is given an individual project), and I was able to acquire some contacts whilst there.

     Sun & Moon range across many different platforms, from TV animation, corporate films, smartphone games, and educational apps for children. Their studio may only be small compared to the big companies, but they are able to churn out so much work, and have many different clients (BT, E3, Aardman Digital, BBC Learning, Double Six, Nessy, Mobile Pie...etc.)

     They excel at both 2D Animation and 3D Animation. Their concept art is gentle and child friendly (their primary target it most cases), and they can be put across many different kinds of platforms (TV series to an app for the smartphone). Their is no one style, and their artists are very flexible in creating as many different assets as possible (apps), and concept pieces (animations).

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