UK animation: down the plughole

Animation UK has a new report coming out next week, titled Securing the Future of UK Animation. It finds that a massive three-quarters of the UK’s animators “have moved abroad or are considering shifting overseas” due to:

* a lack of taxpayer support and incentives via government

* the almost complete sidelining of animation by official film agencies

* the complete lack of interest in funding animation at the Arts Council

* the consistent cutting by TV producers (BBC Animation Unit closed; S4C animation closed; Channel 4 animation dept. closed, C4 budget for short animations cut by £500,000)

Animation production in the UK has fallen by 83% in six years.

The number of UK animations entered in major international festival competitions has dropped markedly.

In 2009 only one per cent of the 113,000 hours of UK kids broadcast TV consisted of new commissions actually made in the UK.

Around 4,500 people are estimated to be employed in and around the animation industry in the UK, half of them under 35.

Around 70% of the industry is based outside London.

Economically the UK animation industry is now only worth a vanishingly-small £120m, at a time when Screen Digest says the world animation industry is worth £70 billion a year.

Muvizu competition

Muvizu has a new competition. Win a laptop with some added AMD graphics ooomph! inside it. It goes for $770 on Amazon U.S.

“we invite you to make a Muvizu clip of between 10 and 30 seconds long, on any subject you choose, to enter this competition. Oh, we should mention that second prize is a copy of Sony Vegas Pro 10 video-editing software and third prize is a Wacom Inkling paper-to-vector gizmo.”

The closing date is midnight GMT (London time) on the 27th of November 2011. You must be a registered Muvizu user to enter.

Wacom Inklings are of course, one of the hottest Xmas presents this year for creatives. So even the third prize is worth having.

Manga Director

An interesting-sounding new free comics production software from Taiwan, home of the iClone and CTA developer teams. Manga Director launches today, and promises to…

“automatically converts photographs into cartoon format”

Hopefully it won’t just apply a few naff and unconvincing “trace edges” filters. It’s apparently made by Academia Sinica, the official Taiwanese educational body. They’ve issued press releases without any screenshots or demo images, which isn’t encouraging. Possibly the new Manga Director has something to do with the 2003 open source software of the same name, although that was based on a toon renderer for 3D objects. It’ll be interesting to see what this looks like as a download.