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INCORPORATING DIGITAL ARTS IN IGBO-THEMED
MOVIE PRODUCTIONS: The Way Forward
By
DR. IKENNA O. AGHANYA
Chief Lecturer
Former Dean, School of Arts Design & Printing Technology
Former Director of Conferences, Short Courses & Workshops
Former Sectional Head, Graphics
Department of Fine & Applied Arts, Federal Polytechnic Oko,
Oko, Anambra State, Nigeria
Email: ikenna.aghanya@federalpolyoko.edu.ng
iyke70@gmail.com
URL: www.printplusng.com www.shakysartgallery.com
2
ABSTRACT:
Film production in developed nations have gone digital, and the old ways of producing
movies is gradually dying. The Nigerian Movie Industry, popularly referred to as
‘Nollywood’ is yet to come to terms with this, despite being ranked the third highest
grossing movie maker in the world, behind ‘Hollywood’ in the United States of America
and ‘Bollywood’ in India. Computer Graphics, Animation and Special Effects created
with computers have been embraced by movie studios in developed nations. Film editors,
who for decades worked by painstakingly cutting and gluing film segments together, are
now sitting in front of computer screens. There, they edit entire features while adding
special effects, animations and sound that is not only stored digitally, but also has been
created and manipulated with computers. Viewers are witnessing the results of all this in
the form of stories and experiences that they never dreamed of before. The emphasis of
this paper is to create more awareness on the need for Film Makers, Producers, Directors
and all other Stake-holders involved in the making of Igbo–themed Nollywood Movies,
to incorporate computer graphics, animations and special effects in their movie
productions, and also to encourage more people to get involved in this virgin area of film
production. By doing this, the movies produced would be globally accepted and would
compete with other movies from around the globe. This in-turn would create positive
awareness for the Igbo people, in a globalized society, create employment for them,
create wealth for all the other stakeholders involved in the movie industry and most
importantly would be generally beneficial in terms of promoting Igbo culture and dignity.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of all this, however, is that the entire digital effects
and animation industry is still in its infancy in Nigeria. Igbo Nollywood practitioners
must tap-into this very virgin area of film production. The future of Igbo-themed
Nollywood Movies looks very bright.
KEYWORD: Digital/Computer Art, Animation, Special Effects and Igbo-Themed
Nollywood Movies
3
INTRODUCTION:
In the beginning, computer graphics, animations and special affects were as cumbersome
and as hard to control as dinosaurs must have been in their own time. Like dinosaurs, the
hardware systems, or muscles, of early computer graphics, animations and special affects
were huge and ungainly. The machines often filled entire buildings.1
Also like dinosaurs, the software programs or brains of computer graphics, animations
and special affects were hopelessly underdeveloped. Fortunately for the visual arts, the
evolution of both brains and brawn of computer graphics did not take eons to develop. It
has, instead, taken only three decades to move from science fiction to current
technological trends. With computers out of the stone-age, we have moved into the
leading edge of the silicon era. Imagine sitting at a computer without any visual feedback
on a monitor. There would be no spreadsheets, no word processors, not even simple
games like solitaire. This is what it was like in the early days of computers. The only
way to interact with a computer at that time was through toggle switches, flashing lights,
punch cards, and teletype printouts.2
In the beginning, computer graphics, animations and special effects in movies, were
really hard to manipulate but with time, the software companies started to improve their
programs, adding more tools and key features, which helped the way computers
generated pictures and simulated real world scenes.3
Creating computer graphics,
1
Wendy Richard, Design and Technology Erasing the Boundaries (New York: Mostrand and Reinhold,
2005), 42.
2
Robin Baker, Designing the Future: The Computer Transformation of Reality (London: Thames and
Hudson, 2008), 71.
3
W. Dixon, Film Genre 2000: Critical Essays. (New York: State University of New York Press, 2000),
67.
4
animations and special effects are essentially about three things, Modeling, Animation,
and Rendering. Modeling is the process by which 3-dimensional objects are built inside
the computer; animation is about making those objects come to life with movement, and
rendering is about giving them their ultimate appearance and looks.
Even though some Igbo-themed movie producers try to incorporate these effects in their
movies, the movies produced are still sub-standard, not because of the story-line, but
because the computer graphics, animations and special affects used in the movies are way
below standard, to be compared with movies produced in the western world. This gives
the impression of the Igbo-movies producer not being serious.
The writer carried-out a thorough research on three Igbo-themed movies, namely, “Ode-
Eshi” (A movie produced by Sunny Collins for Great Movies Ind. Ltd, 2002),
“Agbalusia Ngene” (A Movie produced by AkaGod Productions Ltd, 2011)) and finally,
“Ndi Olu Aka” (A Movie produced by Blessed Mishack Ltd, 2011). It was observed that
the story-line in these movies were very good. These movies dealt on societal problems,
such as maltreatment of women, stealing, abuse, wickedness and the use of diabolic
powers to do evil and so on. Unfortunately, the special effects used in these movies were
way below standard. In “Ode Eshi”, the special effects used to portray diabolic powers of
Apki (Nkem Owo) were so bad that it gave Akpi’s actions different meanings. In
“Agbalusia Ngene” and “Ndi Olu Aka”, the writer observed that even though the movies
were produced in 2011, the computer graphics and special effects used were also very
poor. The movie “Ode-Eshi” was not even sub-titled in English, this would definitely
narrow the expected audience to just people that understand the Igbo language. The
essence of sub-titling is to facilitate communication with people who do not share the
5
primary language of communication with the communicator. It is also to widen, for
diverse reasons, the scope of communication beyond the speakers of the primary
language.4
It is in the light of this that this paper advocates that all Igbo-themed movies
must be subtitled in English. The writer now wonders how we intend to promote the Igbo
identity through movie production, if what we are producing is way below standard.
Computer Graphics, Animations and Special Affects: How It All Began in the
United States of America.
In 1962, Ivan Sutherland, a Ph.D. student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
(MIT), created the science of computer graphics. For his dissertation, he wrote a
program called Sketchpad, which allowed him to draw lines of light directly on a cathode
ray tube (CRT).5
The results were simple and primitive. They were a cube, a series of
lines, and groups of geometric shapes.
This offered an entirely new vision on how computers could be used. In 1964,
Sutherland teamed up with Dr. David Evans at the University of Utah to develop the
world's first academic computer graphics department. Their goal was to attract only the
most gifted students from across the country by creating a unique department that
combined hard science with the creative arts. They knew they were starting a brand new
industry and wanted people who would be able to lead that industry out of its infancy.
Out of this unique mix of science and art, a basic understanding of computer graphics
4
V. Akande. “Upping the Prospects of Indigenous-language Films.” The Nation Newspaper, 24 August,
2009, p. 24.
5
Dan Bordwell and John Staiger. Technology, Style and Mode of Production. (New York: Columbia
University Press, 1985). 36
6
began to grow. Algorithms for the creation of solid objects, their modeling, lighting, and
shading were developed.
This is the root, virtually every aspect of today's computer graphics industry is based on.
Everything from desktop publishing to virtual reality, find their beginnings in the basic
research that came out of the University of Utah in the 60's and 70's. During this time,
Evans and Sutherland also founded the first computer graphics company. Aptly named
Evans & Sutherland (E&S), the company was established in 1968 and rolled out its first
computer graphics systems in 1969.6
Up until this time, the only computers available that could create pictures were custom-
designed for the military and prohibitively expensive. E&S's computer system could
draw wire frame images extremely rapidly, and was the first commercial "workstation"
created for computer-aided design (CAD).
Throughout its early years, the University of Utah's Computer Science Department was
generously supported by a series of research grants from the Department of Defense. The
1970's, with its anti-war and anti-military protests, brought increasing restriction to the
flows of academic grants, which had a direct impact on the Utah department's ability to
carry out research. Fortunately, as the program wound down, Dr. Alexander Schure,
founder and president of New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) stepped forward with
his dream of creating computer-animated feature films. To accomplish this task, Schure
hired Edwin Catmull, a University of Utah Ph.D holder., to head the NYIT computer
graphics lab and then equipped the lab with the best computer graphics hardware
available at that time. When completed, the lab boasted over $2 million worth of
equipment. Many of the staff came from the University of Utah and were given free reign
6
Bordwell and Staiger, 41.
7
to develop both two and three-dimensional computer graphics tools. Their goal was to
soon produce a full -length computer animated feature film. The effort, which began in
1973, produced dozens of research papers and hundreds of new discoveries, but in the
end, it was far too early for such a complex undertaking.7
The computers of that time were simply too expensive and too under powered, and the
software not nearly developed enough. In fact, the first full length computer generated
feature film was not to be completed until recently in 1995. By 1978, Schure could no
longer justify funding such an expensive effort, and the lab's funding was cut back. The
ironic thing is that had the institute decided to patent many more of its researcher's
discoveries than it did, it would control much of the technology in use today. Fortunately
for the computer industry as a whole, however, this did not happen. Instead, research
was made available to whoever could make good use of it, thus accelerating the
technologies development.8
As NYIT's influence started to wane, the first wave of commercial computer graphics
studios began to appear. Film visionary George Lucas (creator of Star Wars and Indiana
Jones trilogies) hired Edwin Catmull from NYIT in 1978 to start the Lucas Film
Computer Development Division, and a group of over half-dozen computer graphics
studios around the country opened for business. While Lucas's computer division began
researching on how to apply digital technology to filmmaking, the other studios began
creating flying logos and broadcast graphics for various corporations in the US, including
TRW, Gillette, the National Football League, and television programs, such as "The NBC
Nightly News" and "ABC World News Tonight." Although it was a dream of these initial
7
Cynthia Goodman, Digital Visions. (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1987), 18.
8
Goodman, 21.
8
computer graphics companies to make movies with their computers, virtually all the early
commercial computer graphics were created for television.9
Computer Graphics, Animations and Special Effects in Movies
The use of Computer Graphics, Animations and Special Effects in movie production has
come to stay. Watching the movie titled “The Matrix” (a movie produced in 1999); the
writer noticed the constant use of computer graphics and special effects in its production.
This movie was enhanced and completed with the aid of computerized special effects. It
has become obvious that for one to make a block-buster hit, computer graphics and
special effects are very essential. Nowadays, any top science fiction or action/adventure
movie uses at least some bit of computerized special effects. The writer still remembers
being amazed at how real the tyrannosaurus rex looked in the blockbuster hit, “Jurassic
Park”. I was amazed at the power and realism of the virtual dinosaur. Computer
graphics, in some respect, are a necessity in today’s films. For example, in Tom Hank’s
“Cast Away” (2000), all the island scenes were filmed on a mud-pile overlooking a
parking lot. Michael A Hiltzik describes how almost all the shots with a sky or ocean
were done with special effects.10
There are numerous examples where computer graphics
and special effects enhanced a film, including the creation of fantasy worlds in “Lord of
the Rings” (2001). What made these computer-enhanced movies so effective was that
they relied almost entirely on live human actors. They had the beautifully depicted
scenery, from the snowy mountains to the cozy village of the Hobbits, which were all
9
Goodman, 29
10
Michael Hiltzik, Digital Cinema Take 2.(New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 2007). 44
9
generated by computer, but there is nothing better to portray human stories, stories that
we can imagine ourselves in, than live actors. But there comes a point when enough is
enough, where computer graphics come at some loss. When I saw Star Wars II: “Attack
of the Clones” (2002), I was a bit disappointed at the vast amount of computer graphics
and special effects. What made the Star Wars saga so famous was partly the realism; the
worlds that George Lucas created seemed so real, so much like Earth, but were not. It
was a story of people just like you and me. With the addition of battles that were entirely
computer generated, the realism was lost. Instead of having people in armor battling each
other, the newer movies had aliens and robots you would find in a computer game or in a
cartoon. Even though, this paper advocates the use of computer graphics, animations and
special effects in movie production, caution should still be maintained as regards the
usage of these effects. Over-using these special effects would cause more harm than
good. The film maker must strike a balance, when incorporating these effects.
Computer Graphics, Animations and Special Effects in Nollywood Movies
Nollywood filmmakers are wonderful entertainers. They have told great and amazingly
inspiring stories, through their movies. Stories that Nigerians at home and abroad can
relate to, and stories that have created positive awareness about the Nigerian people and
culture to the outside world.11
Unfortunately, good and inspiring stories alone do not
make a good movie. Other aspects such as the quality of the acting, special effects, clarity
etc all contribute to making a successful movie.
11
V. Akande. “Upping the Prospects of Indigenous-language Films.” The Nation Newspaper, 24 August,
2009, p. 24.
10
Even though some Igbo-themed Nollywood movie producers have tried to use computer
graphics and special effects to showcase scenes in the movie produced, the writer still
believes that a lot still has to be done in that aspect. In “Ode-Eshi” (2002), a particular
scene elaborates the poor quality of special effects used in the movie. The scene depicts
“Akpi” (Nkem Owo) adding some diabolic poison to a piece of kolanut that he intends to
serve “Akuma” (Sam Loco Efe). In the said scene, “Akpi” gets a pin and scratches the
kolanut, the special effects used to depict the diabolic poison entering the kolanut was
just rays/flashing of light. I had to rewind and play that particular scene over and over
again, before I understood what he was trying to do.
In spite of all these, there is still great hope as regards the quality of computer graphics
animation and special affects that are used in Nollywood movies. In the cinema box
office movie, The Figurine (Kunle Afolayan, 2009), the special effects used to showcase
the diabolical powers of the Figurine is world-class. The said movie was produced in
Nigeria and has premiered in the USA, the UK, Europe, Asia and other African countries.
This goes on to show that it is actually possible for Igbo-themed movie producers to
incorporate these high quality special effects in their movies.
In the same light, a feature Igbo-themed animation movie was produced by Obinna
Andrew Onwuekwe in 2009. The animation movie titled “Mark of Uru” is centered on
Azuka, a girl born with a birthmark identical to the tattoo of a sinister sorceress Uru, who
died long ago. Despite her mother's effort to conceal the birthmark, it is eventually
discovered, and the annihilation of the child becomes imminent, in order to protect her
people from the curse of Uru. The intervention of the earthbound elemental spirit Isi-Agu
and his protégé Etido forestalls Azuka's execution.
11
Azuka is taken to a sacred mountain well beyond the reach family, friends and foes.
The moment she grows into a woman under the protection of Isi-Agu and Etido, the news
of her survival sparks a deadly manhunt initiated by people bent on her annihilation, in
order to protect everyone from the curse of Uru. The chaos is heightened by the
emergence of malignant elements with the intent to capture her and utilize her powers.
Caught in the midst of the chaos, her longing for answers grows. With the assistance of a
band of outcasts, she embarks on a grueling journey, through the most treacherous
terrains to unravel the mystery behind her bizarre birthmark.
The interesting thing about this animation movie is that, it is set entirely in an Igbo
village setting. The Igbo as well as the English language were used side by side in this
movie.
Film critics such as Iroh E and Balogun O, have all condemned the overall quality of
Nollywood movies for several reasons. Iroh for instance, condemns the “poverty of
creativity, ideas, innovation and a coordinated strategic plan” in the industry.12
Balogun
on the other hand, believes that the content of Nollywood films is predictable and always
revolves around topics like “conflict between mother-in-law and son’s wives, scenes
dealing with police battling criminals, burial and consultations with native doctors, and so
on”.13
Even though what Iroh and Balogun are saying is not so far away from the truth. I beg to
disagree on their argument that the content of the movies (story line) determines entirely
on how a successful movie produced, would be. The quality (clarity of picture, special
12
Iroh, E. “Nollywood, Nolly What?” This Day Newspaper, 26 May, 2009, p. 32.
13
Balogun O. “Does Nigeria Have a Film Industry?” Making African Movies. June 2005,
< http://www.nollywood.net> (29 August 2011)
12
effects etc) also go a long way in determining how good a movie would turn out to be.
Moreover, the societal problems addressed in these Nollywood movies are problems that
are peculiar to our environment.
How Computer Graphic and Special Effects Artists Work
In the making of movies, nothing should be impossible. Living, breathing dinosaurs roam
the Earth. Humans rocket to distant galaxies and war with alien races. Monsters rise from
the sea and destroy New York City. This type of cinematic magic is made possible by the
hard work of computer graphic and special effects artists.14
Next time you watch a movie, stay around for the credits. If the film is one of those big
summer blockbusters, get comfortable; you’re going to be there for a while. Thousands of
people collaborate on these million-dollar projects. And a big part of what makes these
movies so much larger than life is computer graphics and special effects. Hundreds of
computer animators, model makers, explosives experts, puppeteers and make-up artists
spend thousands of hours crafting these on-screen realities.
When we think of modern special effects, we tend to focus on computer generated, or CG
effects. Computers have had a greater impact on special effects than any other tool. But
you might be surprised at how many old-school effects tricks are still used in movies, like
precise miniatures, creative makeup and good old-fashioned dynamite.15
14
Matt Rose. “How Stuffs Work”, 13 June 2011, <http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/special-effects-
artist.htm> (9 October 2011)
15
Arnold Smith. The Reality of Simulated Actors. (Washington: J. Thomas Books, 2002). 56
13
Most often, however, good special effects are a blend of both physical techniques and
digital wizardry. Computer animators might create a digital Tyrannosaurus Rex that races
through a forest. Pyrotechnics experts set up controlled explosions that splinter tree
trunks and branches as the digital creature crushes through them. When it’s time for the
beast to grab the hero in his teeth, the animatronics team creates a giant mechanical
puppet of the T-Rex’s head. After the T-Rex has had his snack, the makeup artists paint a
gruesome wound on the hero (he lives, of course).16
Becoming a Computer Graphic/Special Effect Artist or Animator in Nigeria
The best way to become a computer graphic/special effects artist or an animator is to start
early. Absorb all the information you can get your hands on. There are dozens of
websites and specialty magazines that cater to special effects professionals and hobbyists
like "Cinefex," "Fangoria". The electronic versions of these magazines can be viewed
online. Take out books on anatomy and movement. Go to traditional dance festival
performances in the villages and take trips to the zoo. Watch slow-motion recordings of
people and animals in motion to see how bones and muscles move while the body subtly
shifts weight. Then it’s time to start tinkering. Build your own models, either from kits or
originals. Play with different molding and sculpture compounds and learn how to make
your own. Get together with your friends and make your own low-budget animation films
or films with special effects. While a degree in special effects isn't absolutely necessary,
it may be the best way to quickly get experience and basic training in all of the special
16
Jim Campbell “Homepage” 2004, <http://www.jimcampbell.tv> (19 November 2011).
14
effects fields. Most University and Polytechnics in Nigeria offering Fine Arts have
computer graphic subjects in their programs. These courses are taught simultaneously
with introductory classes in art history, drawing, sculpture and traditional animation and
movement. They also offer training in 3-D modeling and computer animation. This is a
great way to get experience and with professional computer animation software like
Maya, Flash and a host of other software.
Some people like the structure of a classroom education, while others are much more
productive and creative working on their own projects and learning as they go.
Whichever path you choose, the most important thing is to gain experience and
familiarity with the tools and techniques of the particular industry in which you want to
work. Document and take pictures of everything you do. When it’s time to start looking
for a movie project to work on, you’ll need to assemble a portfolio of your work. This
usually consists of photos of your work, plus a VCD or DVD featuring your best clips.
Then you’ll need a one-page, well-written résumé that lists your education and work
experience.
Spend some time researching on the various computer graphic/special effects firms on the
internet. Most special effects done in Hollywood movies are not produced at the movie
studios themselves, but are contracted out to independent computer graphic/special
effects companies that specialize in a particular type of effect, whether motion capture,
digital matte painting, creature modeling, animatronics and so on.17
Find the company
17
Anna Leander. “Sign Wars: Hollywood Documentaries Branding Politics”. Paper Presented at the
International Studies Association. San Francisco, 26-29 April 2008
15
that matches your particular talents, through their websites and start following their
various computer graphics/special effects projects, online.
Affordable Animation, Computer Graphic and Special Effects software/programs
Ranging from free to very affordable prices, these software/programs will get you started
with a career in animation, computer graphics and special effects. The writer is also very
conversant with the usage and application of the under mentioned software/programs.
This paper presents a brief write-up and the prices (in the Nigerian Naira) of these
software/programs to prove that it does not cost a fortune to buy them. Some of these
software can even be downloaded from the internet for free.
In the long run, there shouldn’t be any excuse why Igbo-themed movie producers
shouldn’t incorporate high quality computer graphics and special effects in their movie
productions.
A.) Animation Software/Programs:
1.) Toon Boom Studio 4: This is one of the best animation programs around, and it is
well known for its depth and quality of their technical support. It is a very good
program that is made for animators, by animators. This makes it a perfect choice
for creating your own original animations. The original software goes for about
Forty Five Thousand Naira (N45,000) at the Computer Village, Ikeja, Lagos.,
Nigeria. The Free Trial version can be downloaded from the company’s website
www.toonboom.com
16
2.) Pencil: This is an interesting animation program, in that it allows for both vector
and bitmap drawings. It’s as if the drawing tools of Photoshop were combined
with the powers of Flash Animation. The software itself has been pared down to
its most essential elements, meaning it’s an excellent introductory animation
program. This program is free and can be downloaded from the company’s
website www.les-stooges.org
3.) Swift 3D: The original intention of the Swift 3D was to offer alternative to Flash
users.18
This animation program will let you model and animate directly in the
software and then export to the Flash-friendly .swf format. A Free Trial version of
the software can be downloaded from the company’s website at
www.erain.com/products/swift3. The original software cost about Thirty
Thousand Naira (N30,000) and can be purchased at the Computer Village, Ikeja,
Lagos, Nigeria.
B.) Computer Graphic and Special Effects Software/Programs:
1.) Maya: This software is increasingly becoming the 3D tool of choice for film, as it
allows for a vast array of shading and lighting effects. Maya is also extremely
customizable, allowing for easy integration with third party software. This makes
it an easy choice for Special Effects firms. There’s a Personal Learning Edition
that you can download for free from the company’s website,
www.autodesk.com/maya, which the writer recommends if you’re considering
this software. The original software goes for about Seventy-Five Thousand Naira
(N75,000) at the Computer Village, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria.
18
Animation Programs. <http;//www.animationprograms.biz/top-animation-programs/>
17
2.) Adobe After-Effects: Adobe has long been an industry standard in computer
graphics software. Its After-Effects program is no exception. Offering a well-
rounded suite of tools, the Adobe After-Effects software is able to render 3-D
effects, complex animation and convert to Adobe flash format. These applications
make it an ideal tool for online media, with flash being the driving force behind
many online browser games and media powerhouses like YouTube. A notable
trait of the After-Effects is that Adobe welcomes the addition of third party plug-
ins, which offers remarkable room for extended capabilities.19
This third party
plug-ins does everything from customizing the interface to offering new particle
effects. This software boasts Hollywood-level results and can back up its claims
with its Academy Award-earning Keylight feature; a tool for use with blue and
green screen effects. The original software cost abut One Hundred and Twenty
Thousands Naira (N120,000) and does not offer downloadable free trial versions.
3.) Boris FX: The Boris FX software shows its strong suit in allying filter effects,
with more than 100 filters to chose from and experiment with, not the least of
which are skillfully applied artificial lighting effects. Boris FX is most at home
editing digital video footage, sporting a rather limited set of basic 3-D rendering
tools. The software does, however, have the ability to stabilize footage, and scrub
audio waveform, making it ideal for touching up poor quality camcorder footage.
Boris, rather than being its own total software package, is an advanced add-on for
many other full packages like Adobe After-Effects, Premiere Pro, Apple Motion
and a host of others. The original software goes for about Eighty Thousand Naira
(N80,000) at the Computer Village, Ike, Lagos, Nigeria.
19
Animation Programs. <http;//www.animationprograms.biz/top-animation-programs/>
18
Conclusion:
A lot has happened in the ways movies are produced all around the world. The
commercial computer graphics, animation and special affects industry has brought about
lots of changes in the way movies are made. The cost of software and hardware has
reduced considerably. Some Nollywood movie producers (especially those from the
South Western part of Nigeria) have taken advantage of these new methods of film-
making and they have seen their movies reach heights they never expected.
Unfortunately, most Igbo-themed Nollywood movie producers are yet to come to terms
with these new developments. This paper has shown the advantages of incorporating
these effects in Igbo-themed movies; it has also shown that it doesn’t cost a fortune to
acquire the necessary software/programs needed. The writer strongly encourages the
notion that Igbo-themed Nollywood movie producers should be exploratory in their quest
for excellence in their movie productions. It acknowledges the fact that Igbo-themed film
makers can build their worlds according to their own conventions, by laying out the germ
and watching what evolves from it. As the digital tide continues to rise, only one thing is
certain. We have just begun to see how computer technology will change the art of film
making. Igbo-themed Nollywood movie practitioners must tap-into this very modern and
lucrative area of film production.
19
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1997.
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Online Reference
Campbell, Jim. “Homepage” 2004, <http://www.jimcampbell.tv> (19 November 2011).
O'Brien, John. (2003) “Jim Campbell”
<http://artscenecal.com/ArticlesFile/Archive/Articles1997/Articles0697/JCampbell.html>
Animation Programs. <http;//www.animationprograms.biz/top-animation-programs/>
(16 November 2011)
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effects-artist.htm> (9 October 2011)
Balogun O. “Does Nigeria Have a Film Industry?” Making African Movies.
June 2005, < http://www.nollywood.net> (29 August 2011)
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“Ode-Eshi” (2002). Sunny Collins. Lagos: Great Movies Ind. Ltd.
“Agbalusia Ngene” (2011). Lagos: AkaGod Productions Ltd.
“Ndi Olu Aka” (2011). Lagos: Blessed Mishack Ltd.
“Matrix” (1999). Andy Wachowski.
“Jurassic Park” (1993). Steven Spielberg
“Cast Away” (2000). Robert Zemeckis
“Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones” (2002). George Lucas
“Lord of The Rings” (2001). Peter Jackson.
“The Figurine” (2009). Kunle Afolayan.
“The Mark of Uru”(2009). Obinna Andrew Onwuekwe

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INCORPORATING DIGITAL ARTS IN IGBO-THEMED MOVIE PRODUCTIONS: The Way Forward

  • 1. 1 INCORPORATING DIGITAL ARTS IN IGBO-THEMED MOVIE PRODUCTIONS: The Way Forward By DR. IKENNA O. AGHANYA Chief Lecturer Former Dean, School of Arts Design & Printing Technology Former Director of Conferences, Short Courses & Workshops Former Sectional Head, Graphics Department of Fine & Applied Arts, Federal Polytechnic Oko, Oko, Anambra State, Nigeria Email: ikenna.aghanya@federalpolyoko.edu.ng iyke70@gmail.com URL: www.printplusng.com www.shakysartgallery.com
  • 2. 2 ABSTRACT: Film production in developed nations have gone digital, and the old ways of producing movies is gradually dying. The Nigerian Movie Industry, popularly referred to as ‘Nollywood’ is yet to come to terms with this, despite being ranked the third highest grossing movie maker in the world, behind ‘Hollywood’ in the United States of America and ‘Bollywood’ in India. Computer Graphics, Animation and Special Effects created with computers have been embraced by movie studios in developed nations. Film editors, who for decades worked by painstakingly cutting and gluing film segments together, are now sitting in front of computer screens. There, they edit entire features while adding special effects, animations and sound that is not only stored digitally, but also has been created and manipulated with computers. Viewers are witnessing the results of all this in the form of stories and experiences that they never dreamed of before. The emphasis of this paper is to create more awareness on the need for Film Makers, Producers, Directors and all other Stake-holders involved in the making of Igbo–themed Nollywood Movies, to incorporate computer graphics, animations and special effects in their movie productions, and also to encourage more people to get involved in this virgin area of film production. By doing this, the movies produced would be globally accepted and would compete with other movies from around the globe. This in-turn would create positive awareness for the Igbo people, in a globalized society, create employment for them, create wealth for all the other stakeholders involved in the movie industry and most importantly would be generally beneficial in terms of promoting Igbo culture and dignity. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of all this, however, is that the entire digital effects and animation industry is still in its infancy in Nigeria. Igbo Nollywood practitioners must tap-into this very virgin area of film production. The future of Igbo-themed Nollywood Movies looks very bright. KEYWORD: Digital/Computer Art, Animation, Special Effects and Igbo-Themed Nollywood Movies
  • 3. 3 INTRODUCTION: In the beginning, computer graphics, animations and special affects were as cumbersome and as hard to control as dinosaurs must have been in their own time. Like dinosaurs, the hardware systems, or muscles, of early computer graphics, animations and special affects were huge and ungainly. The machines often filled entire buildings.1 Also like dinosaurs, the software programs or brains of computer graphics, animations and special affects were hopelessly underdeveloped. Fortunately for the visual arts, the evolution of both brains and brawn of computer graphics did not take eons to develop. It has, instead, taken only three decades to move from science fiction to current technological trends. With computers out of the stone-age, we have moved into the leading edge of the silicon era. Imagine sitting at a computer without any visual feedback on a monitor. There would be no spreadsheets, no word processors, not even simple games like solitaire. This is what it was like in the early days of computers. The only way to interact with a computer at that time was through toggle switches, flashing lights, punch cards, and teletype printouts.2 In the beginning, computer graphics, animations and special effects in movies, were really hard to manipulate but with time, the software companies started to improve their programs, adding more tools and key features, which helped the way computers generated pictures and simulated real world scenes.3 Creating computer graphics, 1 Wendy Richard, Design and Technology Erasing the Boundaries (New York: Mostrand and Reinhold, 2005), 42. 2 Robin Baker, Designing the Future: The Computer Transformation of Reality (London: Thames and Hudson, 2008), 71. 3 W. Dixon, Film Genre 2000: Critical Essays. (New York: State University of New York Press, 2000), 67.
  • 4. 4 animations and special effects are essentially about three things, Modeling, Animation, and Rendering. Modeling is the process by which 3-dimensional objects are built inside the computer; animation is about making those objects come to life with movement, and rendering is about giving them their ultimate appearance and looks. Even though some Igbo-themed movie producers try to incorporate these effects in their movies, the movies produced are still sub-standard, not because of the story-line, but because the computer graphics, animations and special affects used in the movies are way below standard, to be compared with movies produced in the western world. This gives the impression of the Igbo-movies producer not being serious. The writer carried-out a thorough research on three Igbo-themed movies, namely, “Ode- Eshi” (A movie produced by Sunny Collins for Great Movies Ind. Ltd, 2002), “Agbalusia Ngene” (A Movie produced by AkaGod Productions Ltd, 2011)) and finally, “Ndi Olu Aka” (A Movie produced by Blessed Mishack Ltd, 2011). It was observed that the story-line in these movies were very good. These movies dealt on societal problems, such as maltreatment of women, stealing, abuse, wickedness and the use of diabolic powers to do evil and so on. Unfortunately, the special effects used in these movies were way below standard. In “Ode Eshi”, the special effects used to portray diabolic powers of Apki (Nkem Owo) were so bad that it gave Akpi’s actions different meanings. In “Agbalusia Ngene” and “Ndi Olu Aka”, the writer observed that even though the movies were produced in 2011, the computer graphics and special effects used were also very poor. The movie “Ode-Eshi” was not even sub-titled in English, this would definitely narrow the expected audience to just people that understand the Igbo language. The essence of sub-titling is to facilitate communication with people who do not share the
  • 5. 5 primary language of communication with the communicator. It is also to widen, for diverse reasons, the scope of communication beyond the speakers of the primary language.4 It is in the light of this that this paper advocates that all Igbo-themed movies must be subtitled in English. The writer now wonders how we intend to promote the Igbo identity through movie production, if what we are producing is way below standard. Computer Graphics, Animations and Special Affects: How It All Began in the United States of America. In 1962, Ivan Sutherland, a Ph.D. student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), created the science of computer graphics. For his dissertation, he wrote a program called Sketchpad, which allowed him to draw lines of light directly on a cathode ray tube (CRT).5 The results were simple and primitive. They were a cube, a series of lines, and groups of geometric shapes. This offered an entirely new vision on how computers could be used. In 1964, Sutherland teamed up with Dr. David Evans at the University of Utah to develop the world's first academic computer graphics department. Their goal was to attract only the most gifted students from across the country by creating a unique department that combined hard science with the creative arts. They knew they were starting a brand new industry and wanted people who would be able to lead that industry out of its infancy. Out of this unique mix of science and art, a basic understanding of computer graphics 4 V. Akande. “Upping the Prospects of Indigenous-language Films.” The Nation Newspaper, 24 August, 2009, p. 24. 5 Dan Bordwell and John Staiger. Technology, Style and Mode of Production. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985). 36
  • 6. 6 began to grow. Algorithms for the creation of solid objects, their modeling, lighting, and shading were developed. This is the root, virtually every aspect of today's computer graphics industry is based on. Everything from desktop publishing to virtual reality, find their beginnings in the basic research that came out of the University of Utah in the 60's and 70's. During this time, Evans and Sutherland also founded the first computer graphics company. Aptly named Evans & Sutherland (E&S), the company was established in 1968 and rolled out its first computer graphics systems in 1969.6 Up until this time, the only computers available that could create pictures were custom- designed for the military and prohibitively expensive. E&S's computer system could draw wire frame images extremely rapidly, and was the first commercial "workstation" created for computer-aided design (CAD). Throughout its early years, the University of Utah's Computer Science Department was generously supported by a series of research grants from the Department of Defense. The 1970's, with its anti-war and anti-military protests, brought increasing restriction to the flows of academic grants, which had a direct impact on the Utah department's ability to carry out research. Fortunately, as the program wound down, Dr. Alexander Schure, founder and president of New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) stepped forward with his dream of creating computer-animated feature films. To accomplish this task, Schure hired Edwin Catmull, a University of Utah Ph.D holder., to head the NYIT computer graphics lab and then equipped the lab with the best computer graphics hardware available at that time. When completed, the lab boasted over $2 million worth of equipment. Many of the staff came from the University of Utah and were given free reign 6 Bordwell and Staiger, 41.
  • 7. 7 to develop both two and three-dimensional computer graphics tools. Their goal was to soon produce a full -length computer animated feature film. The effort, which began in 1973, produced dozens of research papers and hundreds of new discoveries, but in the end, it was far too early for such a complex undertaking.7 The computers of that time were simply too expensive and too under powered, and the software not nearly developed enough. In fact, the first full length computer generated feature film was not to be completed until recently in 1995. By 1978, Schure could no longer justify funding such an expensive effort, and the lab's funding was cut back. The ironic thing is that had the institute decided to patent many more of its researcher's discoveries than it did, it would control much of the technology in use today. Fortunately for the computer industry as a whole, however, this did not happen. Instead, research was made available to whoever could make good use of it, thus accelerating the technologies development.8 As NYIT's influence started to wane, the first wave of commercial computer graphics studios began to appear. Film visionary George Lucas (creator of Star Wars and Indiana Jones trilogies) hired Edwin Catmull from NYIT in 1978 to start the Lucas Film Computer Development Division, and a group of over half-dozen computer graphics studios around the country opened for business. While Lucas's computer division began researching on how to apply digital technology to filmmaking, the other studios began creating flying logos and broadcast graphics for various corporations in the US, including TRW, Gillette, the National Football League, and television programs, such as "The NBC Nightly News" and "ABC World News Tonight." Although it was a dream of these initial 7 Cynthia Goodman, Digital Visions. (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1987), 18. 8 Goodman, 21.
  • 8. 8 computer graphics companies to make movies with their computers, virtually all the early commercial computer graphics were created for television.9 Computer Graphics, Animations and Special Effects in Movies The use of Computer Graphics, Animations and Special Effects in movie production has come to stay. Watching the movie titled “The Matrix” (a movie produced in 1999); the writer noticed the constant use of computer graphics and special effects in its production. This movie was enhanced and completed with the aid of computerized special effects. It has become obvious that for one to make a block-buster hit, computer graphics and special effects are very essential. Nowadays, any top science fiction or action/adventure movie uses at least some bit of computerized special effects. The writer still remembers being amazed at how real the tyrannosaurus rex looked in the blockbuster hit, “Jurassic Park”. I was amazed at the power and realism of the virtual dinosaur. Computer graphics, in some respect, are a necessity in today’s films. For example, in Tom Hank’s “Cast Away” (2000), all the island scenes were filmed on a mud-pile overlooking a parking lot. Michael A Hiltzik describes how almost all the shots with a sky or ocean were done with special effects.10 There are numerous examples where computer graphics and special effects enhanced a film, including the creation of fantasy worlds in “Lord of the Rings” (2001). What made these computer-enhanced movies so effective was that they relied almost entirely on live human actors. They had the beautifully depicted scenery, from the snowy mountains to the cozy village of the Hobbits, which were all 9 Goodman, 29 10 Michael Hiltzik, Digital Cinema Take 2.(New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 2007). 44
  • 9. 9 generated by computer, but there is nothing better to portray human stories, stories that we can imagine ourselves in, than live actors. But there comes a point when enough is enough, where computer graphics come at some loss. When I saw Star Wars II: “Attack of the Clones” (2002), I was a bit disappointed at the vast amount of computer graphics and special effects. What made the Star Wars saga so famous was partly the realism; the worlds that George Lucas created seemed so real, so much like Earth, but were not. It was a story of people just like you and me. With the addition of battles that were entirely computer generated, the realism was lost. Instead of having people in armor battling each other, the newer movies had aliens and robots you would find in a computer game or in a cartoon. Even though, this paper advocates the use of computer graphics, animations and special effects in movie production, caution should still be maintained as regards the usage of these effects. Over-using these special effects would cause more harm than good. The film maker must strike a balance, when incorporating these effects. Computer Graphics, Animations and Special Effects in Nollywood Movies Nollywood filmmakers are wonderful entertainers. They have told great and amazingly inspiring stories, through their movies. Stories that Nigerians at home and abroad can relate to, and stories that have created positive awareness about the Nigerian people and culture to the outside world.11 Unfortunately, good and inspiring stories alone do not make a good movie. Other aspects such as the quality of the acting, special effects, clarity etc all contribute to making a successful movie. 11 V. Akande. “Upping the Prospects of Indigenous-language Films.” The Nation Newspaper, 24 August, 2009, p. 24.
  • 10. 10 Even though some Igbo-themed Nollywood movie producers have tried to use computer graphics and special effects to showcase scenes in the movie produced, the writer still believes that a lot still has to be done in that aspect. In “Ode-Eshi” (2002), a particular scene elaborates the poor quality of special effects used in the movie. The scene depicts “Akpi” (Nkem Owo) adding some diabolic poison to a piece of kolanut that he intends to serve “Akuma” (Sam Loco Efe). In the said scene, “Akpi” gets a pin and scratches the kolanut, the special effects used to depict the diabolic poison entering the kolanut was just rays/flashing of light. I had to rewind and play that particular scene over and over again, before I understood what he was trying to do. In spite of all these, there is still great hope as regards the quality of computer graphics animation and special affects that are used in Nollywood movies. In the cinema box office movie, The Figurine (Kunle Afolayan, 2009), the special effects used to showcase the diabolical powers of the Figurine is world-class. The said movie was produced in Nigeria and has premiered in the USA, the UK, Europe, Asia and other African countries. This goes on to show that it is actually possible for Igbo-themed movie producers to incorporate these high quality special effects in their movies. In the same light, a feature Igbo-themed animation movie was produced by Obinna Andrew Onwuekwe in 2009. The animation movie titled “Mark of Uru” is centered on Azuka, a girl born with a birthmark identical to the tattoo of a sinister sorceress Uru, who died long ago. Despite her mother's effort to conceal the birthmark, it is eventually discovered, and the annihilation of the child becomes imminent, in order to protect her people from the curse of Uru. The intervention of the earthbound elemental spirit Isi-Agu and his protégé Etido forestalls Azuka's execution.
  • 11. 11 Azuka is taken to a sacred mountain well beyond the reach family, friends and foes. The moment she grows into a woman under the protection of Isi-Agu and Etido, the news of her survival sparks a deadly manhunt initiated by people bent on her annihilation, in order to protect everyone from the curse of Uru. The chaos is heightened by the emergence of malignant elements with the intent to capture her and utilize her powers. Caught in the midst of the chaos, her longing for answers grows. With the assistance of a band of outcasts, she embarks on a grueling journey, through the most treacherous terrains to unravel the mystery behind her bizarre birthmark. The interesting thing about this animation movie is that, it is set entirely in an Igbo village setting. The Igbo as well as the English language were used side by side in this movie. Film critics such as Iroh E and Balogun O, have all condemned the overall quality of Nollywood movies for several reasons. Iroh for instance, condemns the “poverty of creativity, ideas, innovation and a coordinated strategic plan” in the industry.12 Balogun on the other hand, believes that the content of Nollywood films is predictable and always revolves around topics like “conflict between mother-in-law and son’s wives, scenes dealing with police battling criminals, burial and consultations with native doctors, and so on”.13 Even though what Iroh and Balogun are saying is not so far away from the truth. I beg to disagree on their argument that the content of the movies (story line) determines entirely on how a successful movie produced, would be. The quality (clarity of picture, special 12 Iroh, E. “Nollywood, Nolly What?” This Day Newspaper, 26 May, 2009, p. 32. 13 Balogun O. “Does Nigeria Have a Film Industry?” Making African Movies. June 2005, < http://www.nollywood.net> (29 August 2011)
  • 12. 12 effects etc) also go a long way in determining how good a movie would turn out to be. Moreover, the societal problems addressed in these Nollywood movies are problems that are peculiar to our environment. How Computer Graphic and Special Effects Artists Work In the making of movies, nothing should be impossible. Living, breathing dinosaurs roam the Earth. Humans rocket to distant galaxies and war with alien races. Monsters rise from the sea and destroy New York City. This type of cinematic magic is made possible by the hard work of computer graphic and special effects artists.14 Next time you watch a movie, stay around for the credits. If the film is one of those big summer blockbusters, get comfortable; you’re going to be there for a while. Thousands of people collaborate on these million-dollar projects. And a big part of what makes these movies so much larger than life is computer graphics and special effects. Hundreds of computer animators, model makers, explosives experts, puppeteers and make-up artists spend thousands of hours crafting these on-screen realities. When we think of modern special effects, we tend to focus on computer generated, or CG effects. Computers have had a greater impact on special effects than any other tool. But you might be surprised at how many old-school effects tricks are still used in movies, like precise miniatures, creative makeup and good old-fashioned dynamite.15 14 Matt Rose. “How Stuffs Work”, 13 June 2011, <http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/special-effects- artist.htm> (9 October 2011) 15 Arnold Smith. The Reality of Simulated Actors. (Washington: J. Thomas Books, 2002). 56
  • 13. 13 Most often, however, good special effects are a blend of both physical techniques and digital wizardry. Computer animators might create a digital Tyrannosaurus Rex that races through a forest. Pyrotechnics experts set up controlled explosions that splinter tree trunks and branches as the digital creature crushes through them. When it’s time for the beast to grab the hero in his teeth, the animatronics team creates a giant mechanical puppet of the T-Rex’s head. After the T-Rex has had his snack, the makeup artists paint a gruesome wound on the hero (he lives, of course).16 Becoming a Computer Graphic/Special Effect Artist or Animator in Nigeria The best way to become a computer graphic/special effects artist or an animator is to start early. Absorb all the information you can get your hands on. There are dozens of websites and specialty magazines that cater to special effects professionals and hobbyists like "Cinefex," "Fangoria". The electronic versions of these magazines can be viewed online. Take out books on anatomy and movement. Go to traditional dance festival performances in the villages and take trips to the zoo. Watch slow-motion recordings of people and animals in motion to see how bones and muscles move while the body subtly shifts weight. Then it’s time to start tinkering. Build your own models, either from kits or originals. Play with different molding and sculpture compounds and learn how to make your own. Get together with your friends and make your own low-budget animation films or films with special effects. While a degree in special effects isn't absolutely necessary, it may be the best way to quickly get experience and basic training in all of the special 16 Jim Campbell “Homepage” 2004, <http://www.jimcampbell.tv> (19 November 2011).
  • 14. 14 effects fields. Most University and Polytechnics in Nigeria offering Fine Arts have computer graphic subjects in their programs. These courses are taught simultaneously with introductory classes in art history, drawing, sculpture and traditional animation and movement. They also offer training in 3-D modeling and computer animation. This is a great way to get experience and with professional computer animation software like Maya, Flash and a host of other software. Some people like the structure of a classroom education, while others are much more productive and creative working on their own projects and learning as they go. Whichever path you choose, the most important thing is to gain experience and familiarity with the tools and techniques of the particular industry in which you want to work. Document and take pictures of everything you do. When it’s time to start looking for a movie project to work on, you’ll need to assemble a portfolio of your work. This usually consists of photos of your work, plus a VCD or DVD featuring your best clips. Then you’ll need a one-page, well-written résumé that lists your education and work experience. Spend some time researching on the various computer graphic/special effects firms on the internet. Most special effects done in Hollywood movies are not produced at the movie studios themselves, but are contracted out to independent computer graphic/special effects companies that specialize in a particular type of effect, whether motion capture, digital matte painting, creature modeling, animatronics and so on.17 Find the company 17 Anna Leander. “Sign Wars: Hollywood Documentaries Branding Politics”. Paper Presented at the International Studies Association. San Francisco, 26-29 April 2008
  • 15. 15 that matches your particular talents, through their websites and start following their various computer graphics/special effects projects, online. Affordable Animation, Computer Graphic and Special Effects software/programs Ranging from free to very affordable prices, these software/programs will get you started with a career in animation, computer graphics and special effects. The writer is also very conversant with the usage and application of the under mentioned software/programs. This paper presents a brief write-up and the prices (in the Nigerian Naira) of these software/programs to prove that it does not cost a fortune to buy them. Some of these software can even be downloaded from the internet for free. In the long run, there shouldn’t be any excuse why Igbo-themed movie producers shouldn’t incorporate high quality computer graphics and special effects in their movie productions. A.) Animation Software/Programs: 1.) Toon Boom Studio 4: This is one of the best animation programs around, and it is well known for its depth and quality of their technical support. It is a very good program that is made for animators, by animators. This makes it a perfect choice for creating your own original animations. The original software goes for about Forty Five Thousand Naira (N45,000) at the Computer Village, Ikeja, Lagos., Nigeria. The Free Trial version can be downloaded from the company’s website www.toonboom.com
  • 16. 16 2.) Pencil: This is an interesting animation program, in that it allows for both vector and bitmap drawings. It’s as if the drawing tools of Photoshop were combined with the powers of Flash Animation. The software itself has been pared down to its most essential elements, meaning it’s an excellent introductory animation program. This program is free and can be downloaded from the company’s website www.les-stooges.org 3.) Swift 3D: The original intention of the Swift 3D was to offer alternative to Flash users.18 This animation program will let you model and animate directly in the software and then export to the Flash-friendly .swf format. A Free Trial version of the software can be downloaded from the company’s website at www.erain.com/products/swift3. The original software cost about Thirty Thousand Naira (N30,000) and can be purchased at the Computer Village, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria. B.) Computer Graphic and Special Effects Software/Programs: 1.) Maya: This software is increasingly becoming the 3D tool of choice for film, as it allows for a vast array of shading and lighting effects. Maya is also extremely customizable, allowing for easy integration with third party software. This makes it an easy choice for Special Effects firms. There’s a Personal Learning Edition that you can download for free from the company’s website, www.autodesk.com/maya, which the writer recommends if you’re considering this software. The original software goes for about Seventy-Five Thousand Naira (N75,000) at the Computer Village, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria. 18 Animation Programs. <http;//www.animationprograms.biz/top-animation-programs/>
  • 17. 17 2.) Adobe After-Effects: Adobe has long been an industry standard in computer graphics software. Its After-Effects program is no exception. Offering a well- rounded suite of tools, the Adobe After-Effects software is able to render 3-D effects, complex animation and convert to Adobe flash format. These applications make it an ideal tool for online media, with flash being the driving force behind many online browser games and media powerhouses like YouTube. A notable trait of the After-Effects is that Adobe welcomes the addition of third party plug- ins, which offers remarkable room for extended capabilities.19 This third party plug-ins does everything from customizing the interface to offering new particle effects. This software boasts Hollywood-level results and can back up its claims with its Academy Award-earning Keylight feature; a tool for use with blue and green screen effects. The original software cost abut One Hundred and Twenty Thousands Naira (N120,000) and does not offer downloadable free trial versions. 3.) Boris FX: The Boris FX software shows its strong suit in allying filter effects, with more than 100 filters to chose from and experiment with, not the least of which are skillfully applied artificial lighting effects. Boris FX is most at home editing digital video footage, sporting a rather limited set of basic 3-D rendering tools. The software does, however, have the ability to stabilize footage, and scrub audio waveform, making it ideal for touching up poor quality camcorder footage. Boris, rather than being its own total software package, is an advanced add-on for many other full packages like Adobe After-Effects, Premiere Pro, Apple Motion and a host of others. The original software goes for about Eighty Thousand Naira (N80,000) at the Computer Village, Ike, Lagos, Nigeria. 19 Animation Programs. <http;//www.animationprograms.biz/top-animation-programs/>
  • 18. 18 Conclusion: A lot has happened in the ways movies are produced all around the world. The commercial computer graphics, animation and special affects industry has brought about lots of changes in the way movies are made. The cost of software and hardware has reduced considerably. Some Nollywood movie producers (especially those from the South Western part of Nigeria) have taken advantage of these new methods of film- making and they have seen their movies reach heights they never expected. Unfortunately, most Igbo-themed Nollywood movie producers are yet to come to terms with these new developments. This paper has shown the advantages of incorporating these effects in Igbo-themed movies; it has also shown that it doesn’t cost a fortune to acquire the necessary software/programs needed. The writer strongly encourages the notion that Igbo-themed Nollywood movie producers should be exploratory in their quest for excellence in their movie productions. It acknowledges the fact that Igbo-themed film makers can build their worlds according to their own conventions, by laying out the germ and watching what evolves from it. As the digital tide continues to rise, only one thing is certain. We have just begun to see how computer technology will change the art of film making. Igbo-themed Nollywood movie practitioners must tap-into this very modern and lucrative area of film production.
  • 19. 19 Reference: Akande, V. “Upping the Prospects of Indigenous-language Films.” The Nation Newspaper, 24 August, 2009, p. 24. Balderman, Bobbi. Buying Creative Service. Lllinois: NTC Bussiness Books, 2005. Baker, Christopher. How Did They Do It? Computer Illusion in Film and TV. New Jersey: Alpha Books. 1994. Baker, Robin. Designing the Future: The Computer Transformation of Reality. London: Thames and Hudson, 2008. Bordwell, Dan and Staiger John. Technology, Style and Mode of Production. New York: Columbia University Press, 1985. Burt, Geroge. The Art of Film Music: Special Emphasis on Hugo Friedhofer, Alex North, David, Raksin. Leonard, Rosenman. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1994. Catmull, Edwin and Smith, Aaron. 3-D Transformations of Images in Scanline Order. Washington: J. Thomas Books, 1999. Chinweizu, O. and Madubuike, I. Towards the Decolonization of African Literature. Enugu: Fourth Dimension Publishers. 1980. Crary, Jonathan. Techniques of the Observer. London: MIT Press, 1990. Dixon, W. Film Genre 2000: Critical Essays. New York: State University of New York Press. 2000.
  • 20. 20 Feldman, Edmund B. Practical Art Criticism. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Inc, 1994. Goodman, Cynthia. Digital Visions. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1987. Haynes, J. and Okome, O. “Evolving Popular Media: Nigeria Video Films.” Research in African Literatures. 29 (1998): 24-37. Hiltzik, Michael, A. Digital Cinema Take 2. New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 2007 Hirsch, Evan. "Beyond Reality". Computer Graphics World, Volume 19, Number 3 (March 1996): 6-10. Iroh, E. 2009. “Nollywood, Nolly What?” This Day Newspaper, 26 May, 2009, p. 32. Leander, Anna. “Sign Wars: Hollywood Documentaries Branding Politics”. Paper Presented at the International Studies Association. San Francisco, 26-29 April 2008 Neale, Steve. Cinema and Technology. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985. Read, Herbert E. The Grassroots of Art: Lectures on Social Aspects of Art in an Industrial Age. Cleveland: World Publications, 1961 Richard, Wendy. Design and Technology Erasing the Boundaries. New York: Mostrand and Reinhold, 2005 Smith, Arnold. The Reality of Simulated Actors. Washington: J. Thomas Books, 2002. Storey, John. An Introduction to Theory of Popular Culture. Herfordshire: Prentice Hall, 1997.
  • 21. 21 Online Reference Campbell, Jim. “Homepage” 2004, <http://www.jimcampbell.tv> (19 November 2011). O'Brien, John. (2003) “Jim Campbell” <http://artscenecal.com/ArticlesFile/Archive/Articles1997/Articles0697/JCampbell.html> Animation Programs. <http;//www.animationprograms.biz/top-animation-programs/> (16 November 2011) Rose, Matt. “How Stuffs Work”. <http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/special- effects-artist.htm> (9 October 2011) Balogun O. “Does Nigeria Have a Film Industry?” Making African Movies. June 2005, < http://www.nollywood.net> (29 August 2011)
  • 22. 22 Movie Reference “Ode-Eshi” (2002). Sunny Collins. Lagos: Great Movies Ind. Ltd. “Agbalusia Ngene” (2011). Lagos: AkaGod Productions Ltd. “Ndi Olu Aka” (2011). Lagos: Blessed Mishack Ltd. “Matrix” (1999). Andy Wachowski. “Jurassic Park” (1993). Steven Spielberg “Cast Away” (2000). Robert Zemeckis “Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones” (2002). George Lucas “Lord of The Rings” (2001). Peter Jackson. “The Figurine” (2009). Kunle Afolayan. “The Mark of Uru”(2009). Obinna Andrew Onwuekwe