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Cartoon Animation: Evolution From Paper to Digital

Cartoon Animation: Evolution From Paper to Digital

Media | Jan, 2021

Cartoon and animation are interchangeably used terms with very different meanings. Animation is a technique which is used to create cartoons while a cartoon is the final product created using animation. Animations is majorly viewed by adults and children, on the other hand, cartoons are usually watched by kids. Additionally, cartoons are based on superheroes, mysteries, anthropomorphized animals, among others. Besides, animations can deal with mature and serious content also.

The use of animations has become quite predominant and presently there is no cartoon which lacks animation. World’s first fully animated cartoon Fantasmagorie was created by Emile Cohl and was released by the Gaumont company in Paris on August 17, 1908. This was basically an animated cartoon film which had traditional hand drawn animation style.

The animation industry is huge and was valued around USD 265.35 Billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a steady rate of around 5.87% during the forecast period. This can be ascribed to the flourishing media & entertainment industry and information, communication & technology industry across the globe. Additionally, factors such as availability of advanced animation tools and software for making animation are further expected to drive the market growth over the next few years. The industry has presence of several companies and animation studios, which are creating animation for the audience. Major companies operating in the animation industry include Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios, DreamWorks Animation, Cartoon Network Studios, 20th Century Fox Animation, 2 Minutes Studio, 44 Toons, 4K Media, Adobe Systems, Inc., among others.

Above mentioned companies and animation studios use different set of animation techniques and software including traditional animation, 2D animation, 3D animation, motion graphics, stop motion, sand animation, flip book animation, typography animation, clay animation, among others.         

1.    Traditional Animation: It involves drawing animations by hand for each and every frame. It includes traditional 2D animation that includes creating numerous drawings and then feeding them into plastic cells, hand painting them and creating animated sequence on painted background image. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty are the classic examples of traditional animation.

2.    2D Animation: This is a vector based animation technique which uses digital technologies such as adobe flash to create 2D animations. This technique has several advantages over the traditional animation technique including ease of use, cost effectiveness and also the work can be saved when making using this technique.

3.    3D Animation: This is one of the advanced techniques used for creating realistic cartoons and films as compared to other techniques. Moana, Toy story, Avtar, among others are few classic examples of 3D animation creations.

4.    Motion Graphics: This technology involves moving graphic elements such as text or logos mostly using software. This is majorly used in advertisement industry. This technique is used to add more of a human element to the creations.

5.    Stop Motion: This technique or technology is similar to the traditional animation technique but here instead of drawing, clay models are made and manipulated to create animation. This can also be done using puppets, cut-outs, among others.

These are the most popularly used animation techniques worldwide. Out of these, 3D animation is the one that is majorly used to create cartoon animations. While 2D animation technique is the next most popular technique.

Webtoons- The Future of Global Cartoon Animation Industry

Webtoons or webcomics do not have a long history. They originated in the early 2000s in South Korea. The first webtoon service was launched in 2003 by Korean web portal Daum as Daum Webtoon. It was followed by Naver and it launched Naver Webtoon in 2004.

Webtoons or webcomics are digital comics, usually having 50-60 cuts comprising of texts, multimedia, and images. Initially these were made to digitize the traditional paper based Manhwa Comics in South Korea but with time a lot of developments have occurred in the webtoon industry. Initially, the webtoons were based on simple, light-hearted stories focusing on everyday chores and experiences but with time the content and animation quality has matured and presently webtoons are available in different genres including comedy, romance, action, sci-fi, horror, music, among others. Webtoons can be read by people of age above 12 years.

Webtoons are composed of vertically arranged images hence the users just need to scroll down from top to bottom of their screen while viewing a webtoon. With this mode of presentation, the content creators can illustrate a large size image on the screen making it less restrictive in terms of layout of images which is a pivotal part of storytelling. In a webtoon, each episode is published in one long vertical strip and is generally colored. This long strip format is suitable for viewing over a webpage or mobile application. This format improves the overall experience of the viewer in terms of understanding the story line and gives a feel similar to watching a short film, as they are more image oriented. This mode of storytelling allows the viewers to share their opinions and reviews with the webtoon creators through text messages.

Growing Inclination towards Webtoons

There are various factors which have led to an increase in demand for webtoons including growing internet proliferation, increasing smartphone users, increasing digitization, among others. The total number of smartphone users worldwide were around 3.34 billion in 2019 and this number is expected to increase around 7.03 billion by 2025. This has in turn increased the global digital users population. According to TechSci Research estimates, there were around 4.75 billion active internet users around the globe in October 2020 and around 4.34 billion unique mobile internet users.

Additionally, the major factor which has increased the inclination towards webtoons is the switch over to digital and OTT platforms across the globe. The global OTT streaming market was valued around USD 108.96 million in 2019 and is expected to grow at a robust rate through 2025. There are various OTT platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney + Hotstar, among others which are quite popular worldwide. This is one of the biggest drivers of the webtoons industry. Furthermore, webtoons offer content for different age groups and in different genres. This is the factor which is fostering the growth of global webtoons market. Besides, Webtoons illustrate interactive creation between the creator and the readers or viewers. The interactive creation in a webtoon can clearly be observed in the reply function and viewers active participation on the webtoon platforms. Webtoons are spread through open platforms, wherein the creator, producers and the viewers can participate together in the content development process. The viewers are asked to share their reviews or opinions after a particular episode by the creators or producers. Depending upon the reviews of the viewers the webtoon creators make the necessary changes in the webtoon and these are clearly reflected in the upcoming episodes. In this way the webtoon creators and viewers communicate and develop the webtoons together. Moreover, major factor driving the growth of webtoons is that the content is updated on a weekly basis, every week new episodes are updated unlike the comics which are released on monthly basis or other type of digital content which are released after a fixed duration of time. Also, the growing influence of Korean culture and Hallyu wave across the globe is further increasing the demand for webtoons.

According to TechSci research report, South Korea Webtoons Market By Genre (Romance, Comedy, Action, Sci-Fi, Action, Horror, Others), By Revenue Model (Subscription Based v/s Advertisement Based), By Company, By Region, Forecast & Opportunities, 2025, the South Korea webtoons market is expected to grow at an impressive rate during the forecast period. The South Korea webtoons market is driven by the growing internet penetration in the country. South Korea has the world’s highest broadband diffusion rate. The fast internet speed and mobile technologies allow the users to consume and share content with each other. This in turn is expected to positively influence the market growth through 2025. Furthermore, South Korea has a well-developed digital or OTT service platform, this facilitates easy distribution of webtoons content thereby fueling the market growth.

However, still the global webtoons market is in its nascent stage. This can be ascribed to the fact that people especially in the developing countries are not that aware and well-versed with webtoons. Additionally, most of the content of Korean webtoons which are based on their traditional Manhwa is pornographic. This type of content is not streamed in all the countries across globe. Hence, according to digital content policies of every country the webtoons are available in them. Also, in the developing countries people are interested in comics and cartoons but are not willing to pay or spend a huge amount of money on them. Moreover, availability of animated content or cartoons over other OTT platforms such as Netflix, amazon Prime, among others can further hamper the growth of webtoons industry.

According to another report by TechSci research, India OTT Video Services Market By Streaming Type (Video-on-Demand and Live), By Region (North, South, East & West), Competition, Forecast & Opportunities, 2025, the India OTT video services market is projected to grow at an aggressive CAGR of more than 30% during 2021 - 2025 due to the growing number of smartphones users, higher proliferation of smart devices, cheaper internet plans, consumer preference for good quality content, increasing urban population and rising innovation in OTT platforms in the country’s OTT video services market. Rising disposable income and increasing demand for OTT video services from young population are other factors contributing to growth in OTT video services market in India. Moreover, changing lifestyle of consumers and COVID-19 restrictions are also expected to boost OTT Video Services market in India.

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