Wednesday, 26 January 2011

DreamWorks Animation

I will be focusing on this animation company, which is one of the biggest animation companies out there. Many of their films we all enjoyed and loved them throughout the years. 

DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. Is an American animation studio which primarily produce a series of commercially successful computer-animated filmsincluding ShrekShark Tale,MadagascarOver the HedgeBee MovieKung Fu PandaMonsters vs. AliensHow to Train Your Dragon, and Megamind. Although the studio also made traditionally animated films about serious subjects earlier, most of their computer-generated films and television series have now gained the studio a reputation for being focused on popular culture and satire. The studio was formed by the merger of the feature animation division of DreamWorks and Pacific Data Images (PDI). Originally formed under the banner of DreamWorks, it was spun off into a separate public company in 2004.
Films produced by DreamWorks Animation are currently distributed worldwide by Paramount Pictures, a subsidiary of Viacom, who acquired the DreamWorks live-action studio in February 2006, spinning it off again in 2008. DreamWorks Animation currently maintains two campuses: the original DreamWorks feature animation studio in Glendale, California and the PDI studio in Redwood City, California.

                          About DreamWorks Animation

Thinking About Animated Films

What is Animation?
To animate, and the related words, animation, animated and animator all derive from the latin verb, animare, which means 'to give life to' , and within the context of the animated film, this largely means the artificial creation of the illusion of movement inanimate lines and forms. IT is useful to consider the view of Norman Mc Laren, one of the medium's acknowledged masters. He said " Animation is not the art of drawings that move, but rather the art of movements that are drawn" ( solomon, 1987: 11) 
"To animate is to give life and soul to a design not thought the copying but through the transformation of reality" ( Holloway, 1972: 9) ( Reference- page 10, Understanding Animation, Paul Wells)

The New Technology
To a large degree, computer technology has transformed the practice of animation in recent years, and it seems certain to set the pace of change for the foreseeable future. But technological wizardry is no substitute for the old sophisticated disciplines of the animation tradition. ( Animation: A guide to animated film technique. page 124)


On October 12, 1993, DreamWorks SKG was formed and founded by a trio of entertainment players, director and producer Steven Spielberg, music executive David Geffen, and former Disney executive Jeffrey Katzenberg. DreamWorks signed a co-production deal with Pacific Data Images to form subsidiary PDI. During the 1980s, PDI created many animated logos and commercials for television for companies like NBC and Sky Movies. They shifted into motion picture visual effects beginning in 1991 with a contribution to Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The new unit would produce computer-generated feature films beginning with Antz in 1998. In the same year DreamWorks SKG produced The Prince of Egypt, which used both CG technology and traditional animation techniques.
In 2000, DreamWorks SKG created a new business division, DreamWorks Animation, that would regularly produce both types of animated feature films.

My favourite DreamWorks animation film is Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. released in 2002. It follows the adventures of a young mustang stallion living in the 19th century wild west struggling to survive, and find his way back home after American colonists captured him. The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. In contrast to the way animals are portrayed in an  anthropomorphic style in other animated features, Spirit and his fellow horses communicate with each other through sounds and facial expressions.

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron was made over the course of four years using a conscious blend of traditional hand-drawn animation and computer animation in a technique the film's creators dubbed "tradigital animation." DreamWorks purchased a horse as the model for Spirit and brought the horse to the animation studio in Glendale, California for the animators to study. In the sound department, recordings of real horses were used for the sounds of the many horse characters' hoof beats as well as their vocalizations. None of the animal characters in the film speak English beyond occasional reflective narration from the protagonist mustang (voice of Matt Damon).
 Many of the animators who worked on Spirit also worked on Shrek 2, and their influence can be seen in the horses in that film, such as Prince Charming's horse from the opening sequence and Donkey's horse form. The film was also referenced in the Disney animated feature Home on the Range, where a character refers to Buck as "Stallion of the Cim-moron".