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Animation Creative Technology Forum (ACTF)


Celsys hosted the Animation Creative Technology Forum (ACTF) with JAniCA and Wacom

The Animation Creative Technology Forum (ACTF) was launched in 2015 by the Japan Animation Creators Association (JAniCA), Wacom Co., Ltd., and Celsys,Inc. to share and gather information related to the digital animation process. This event is an opportunity for animation producers and educators to learn about the latest digital animation technologies and industry environment.

Animation Creative Technology Forum (ACTF) 2020

On Feb. 9, 2020, Celsys hosted the Animation Creative Technology Forum 2020 at the Shakuji Koen Kumin Koyru Center in Nerima-ku in cooperation with JAniCA and Wacom. The event included a seminar and booth on the digital creation process in Clip Studio Paint. The event was attended by around 300 industry members such as animators, directors, creators, and producers.

■ Main Session
―Celsys' general-purpose digital exposure sheetused in development of digital production management system by METI business

Speakers discussed the progress and future development of a digital production management system by MemoryTech Co., Ltd., a company selected for the Japan Content Localization and Distribution (J-LOD) Subsidy Project by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) in 2019, . The topic was discussed by Yusuke Munemoto of MemoryTech Co., Ltd.; Nobuhiro Ito, president of Graphinica Inc.; Kazuhige Yusa, president of Mebius Tone Inc.; and Megumi Onouchi, president of HUMANMEDIA Inc. 

This digital production management system incorporates a general-purpose digital exposure sheet format promoted by Celsys.
Munemoto: “With this tool, you can manage processes, manage files, and review deliverables. It can be used with only a web browser, so it’s not dependent on a particular operating system. It is also useful for both traditional and digital processes. We’re still in the development stage, but I hope this system will be supported by the industry so we can continue to improve it.”

Ito: “By eliminating the time of transporting traditionally-drawn frames, we can instead use that time for production time or to communicate with each other. I hope this tool can be used to make more time to spend on the creative process.”

Yusa: “I felt that a new era was finally coming. While it will of course be a great software for the management side, I also want it to make creators happier.”

Onouchi: “I think it’s essential that we digitize not only the production stages but also the management of production. I want this to be a tool that brings the industry together, linking with various tools such as Clip Studio Paint, which we are already working with.”

―Digital Animation at Nippon Animation Co., Ltd.

Ryunosuke Watanabe, Kaoruko Nishiyama, and Aya Takahashi of Nippon Animation exchanged ideas on digital hand-drawn animation, including the introduction of digital drawing equipment using manufacturing subsidies, the merits and demerits of digital techniques, and future challenges and prospects. Throughout the talk, the use of Clip Studio Paint was discussed. 
Watanabe & Nishiyama: “At Nippon Animation, we mostly produce using Clip Studio Paint. It’s very important that we have a digital workflow that can be done from start to finish in a single software. We use the digital techniques of Clip Studio Paint to the maximum extent; in particular, the Auto Actions and the ability (on the iPad app) to take photos and use those photos as cels on the timeline. At the same time, we believe that we’re only able to use these digital techniques thanks to the hand-drawn animation craftsmanship that we’ve accumulated. Even as digital techniques become more widespread, the core of the matter is connection with others.”

OLM Asia SDN BHD Transcending Borders with Digital Animation

Hiroyuki Kato, animation producer in the Production Department of OLM Asia SDN BHD, held a discussion entitled “Transcending Borders with Digital Animation.” The talk covered aspects such as the benefits of the digitization of animation processes among the spread of animation studios from Tokyo to rural areas and even overseas. He also spoke on the background to the founding of OLM Asia, issues that came up during the establishment of the studio, and the decision to introduce Clip Studio Paint.

Kato: “The advantage of digital workflow is that the lines are much more uniform, which increases the animation quality. In some cases, this even leads to an increase in output compared to working on paper.
One of the reasons we founded OLM Asia was because digital processes meant that we were able to work anywhere, even locations far away. We worked to set up an environment where overseas studios could operate without any issues, even creating our own English manual for Clip Studio Paint.
I believe this wave of digitization will continue into the future. We are aiming for a style that allows us to consistently create animations, a style that exists thanks to the digital process.”

OLM Asia SDN BHD uses Clip Studio Paint as a digital drawing tool for animation frames.


■ Seminar
―“Paperless Animation!” Digital Advancements with Kinema Citrus


Kinema Citrus created the promotion video for Shojo Kageki Revue Starlight using an entirely paperless animation process, with input from overseas animators and making of use of general management tools and the Toei Animation Digital Exposure Sheet for a smooth digital creation process. Animation director Toshiyuki Tabata uses Clip Studio Paint for all stages from rough storyboards to keyframe direction. In the seminar, he explained why he introduced Clip Studio Paint to the digital keyframe process, and raised points for animators to be aware of.
Tabata: “As we move towards digitization of the animation process, I felt it was important to unify the format. Clip Studio Paint costs only 500 yen per month, so there was a low barrier to entry. As this project included animators from overseas, another benefit was that they could also use Clip Studio Paint. Another reason I chose this software is that I’m very used to working with it, and it can replace the paper and pencil creation process.”

― Showcasing OpenToonz's functions and compatibility with Clip Studio Paint 

Eiji Tsuchida of Trigger Co., Ltd. and Shun Iwasawa of STUDIO GHIBLI Inc. and developer of OpenToonz, ran a seminar about OpenToonz, an open-source animation production software. They showed how OpenToonz can be used to check animation keyframes. They also explained how the digital exposure sheet (xdts) proposed by Celsys can lead to better integration between animation tools such as OpenToonz, Clip Studio Paint, and TVPaint.
Tsuchida: “At Trigger, we don’t stick to a specific software, so the digital exposure sheet is very useful for us to use across a variety of software and improve compatibility between them.
Clip Studio Paint offers lots of features for drawing and is very cost-effective, so we are getting more licenses every year at Trigger.”

Iwasawa: “In the current environment, companies are selecting various tools to take advantage of each of their best characteristics, whether it’s Clip Studio, TVPaint, OpenToonz, Harmony, or something else, depending on the desired style. Being able to share exposure sheet information between tools via xdts helps us to overcome the problem of compatibility issues."

■ Exhibition booth
Live Drawing by Yasuhiro Irie


Yasuhiro Irie, animation director and representative director of JAniCA, performed a live drawing of creating an animation using Clip Studio Paint.
Irie: “I like that I can customize Clip Studio Paint with my own shortcuts. There are a lot of brushes to choose from, and the drawing experience is unbeatable. It’s a viable method of production, rather than a replacement for traditional tools. Now that you can add camera movement, you can easily draw longer frames. I think it would be better if we could make even larger frames without changing the settings.”

Live Drawing by Siroanidan

Akihiko Ota, from independent animation team “Siroanidan,” explained his process of making videos and adding final touches with Clip Studio Paint.
Ota: “It is really great that you can customize Clip Studio Paint with your own preferred tools. I’m looking forward to more updates to the tools so that even more users can enjoy animating with Clip Studio Paint.”


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