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Breaking the Established Boundaries in Animation
Updated 2015-10-01

SUBANG JAYA – Professor Hans Bacher, who is regarded as a legend in the animated film industry, conducted the seminar ‘Dream Worlds – The Art of Animation’ on the 21st and 22nd of September 2015 for students and professionals at The One Academy after the launch of his exhibition.

With a keen interest in animations when he was 14, Bacher has since then accumulated 40 years of experience in the industry. He was involved in production design for many iconic films that cemented his reputation and status, such as ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘Aladdin’, ‘Mulan’, ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ and ‘The Lion King’. His talent has also earned him numerous awards and collaborations with some of cinema’s best minds Richard Williams and Steven Spielberg.

During the seminar, he provided numerous backgrounding to his career and work experience, one of which being Disney’s ‘Mulan’ (1998). He expressed his admiration for Tyrus Wong, a chinese painter most known for his contribution to Disney’s ‘Bambi’ (1942), whom he took the inspiration from for the production of ‘Mulan’.

The success of ‘Mulan’ shows that with enough research and understanding, the limitations of cultural difference can be transcended in animations. This also takes some level of awareness towards the happenings within the industry. Young artists should be well-informed with the top talents of the industry to tap into their knowledge, hence improving themselves. Knowing about them and their artworks also helps to understand the reason why they were relevant in their respective times.

He stressed the importance of teamwork in animations, as all artists must “draw as one” for a particular project. Besides, the script and graphics of a project could change according to the needs of the film. Hence, teamwork will ensure smooth workflow. However, the crucial point is not to be restricted and always attempt to “destroy the rules”, as this was how Disney used to be ahead of its time.

In a big team with countless ideas and concepts pouring in, it is easy to lose track of a film’s narrative. Nevertheless, Bacher reminds that all one needs is a clear direction to pursue. There could be a total of 20 different designs for one shot, but there will only be a right one. Also, artists should consider how that design can assimilate to the others instead of pondering on just the aesthetics.

As a gifted graphic designer and self-taught animator, Bacher constantly finds the need to raise the level of quality for every new project, and also the need for constant learning, especially when new software and technologies appear in rapid succession. This also applies to The One Academy, as he advised students to venture into, restore and revamp the 2D animations scene which he anticipates will make a comeback.

In the seminar, Bacher revealed to students that in big companies such as Disney, most contracts only last for at most 6 weeks, which is roughly the average period for a single project. However, if the artist’s contribution is valued, they would receive a succession of other projects. He encouraged students to go the independent route if they think they have what it takes, and then obtain funding from prospects.

“The One Academy seems very professional and interesting,” Bacher stated. “There is a different level of quality here that students achieve which is more practical, compared to what I observe in Singapore, and the illustration standards here are very high,” said Bacher, who is currently lecturing in Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

The One Academy employs the teaching pedagogy of “Masters Train Masters” whereby industry specialists, such as Professor Hans Bacher himself, are invited to imbue students with knowledge and qualities pertinent to real industry needs.

Professor Hans Bacher concentrating on his seminar.

Professor Hans Bacher explaining the concepts in Animation.