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Kyle Balda gives some good advice for people learning animation...

READERSVOICE.COM: I saw a picture in a magazine of a rendering farm at Industrial Light and Magic, where there were computers everywhere. Will the rendering side of things be the most prohibitive for a long time for people wanting to make a feature length CGI animation, or are computers speeding up so that it isn’t such a problem now?

KYLE BALDA: The envelope is always being pushed. So I think with faster processors, the quality levels will become greater and greater. That’s one factor why the animation films generally look so much richer now than they did 20 years ago.

RV: Have you seen big leaps in animation technology between working on, say, A Bug’s Life in 1998 to The Lorax in 2012, or had it kind of hit a plateau, with only minor or even gimmicky advances in technology?

KB: I think the demands of audiences continue to make us push harder for originality and story telling, avoiding clichés. Animators continue to grow and develop stronger skills and are able to pass those skills on to newer generations of animators. But I don’t think the overall look of the films is changing as quickly now as it did in the 90’s. Things continue to improve like cloth, fur and effects, but more incrementally now than back in the day.

RV: What advice would you give to someone interested in taking an interest in drawing into animation?

KB:: Mainly to think about story and character. Being able to draw well or knowing a particular software are necessary obstacles but are not the goal in among themselves. If you can make a stick-figure drawing come to life enough to where an audience becomes invested in what happens to that character on screen, then you have broken the barrier of empathy. People no longer relate to it as a stick figure, they relate to it as a thinking and feeling character. That’s what animation is all about.

– See kylebalda.com.
– copyright Simon Sandall