Faiba creator: I pray over my animations [Nation (Kenya)]
(Nation (Kenya) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Michael Muthiga, popularly known as the 'faiba man' is a self-taught animator having spent a year studying Autodesk Maya, a software that is mostly used in creating animation, video games and 3D applications, through online sources after high school.
He graduated from the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus with a degree in Engineering in 2010 in pursuit of what his parents termed as pursuit for 'real job prospects'.
Mr Muthiga founded Fatboy Animations in 2011 and on meeting the Chief Executive for Jamii Telecommunications in June 2012, he conceptualised the first animated Kenyan commercial 'Faiba'.
The advert recently accorded him a Best Animation Award at this year's Kalasha Film and Television Awards that were held on July 25 at the National Museums of Kenya.
Congratulations on winning the Kalasha Award for the Best Animation, how does it feel to have your efforts recognised at a film and TV award?
It is exciting and overwhelming. Ever since the Faiba advert came out I have received much love from people out there and it has been nothing short of humbling to see how people appreciate my work as an animator.
Is this the first award since you started working on animations? No, I also won the Kubamba Music Video Awards for Best Tv Commercial in November 2013 along with the Olx Social Media Award for video campaign of the year.
You had two of your works nominated under the animations category, the third nominated production was the Youtube athlete , is it an animation and what qualifies a production to be classified as an animation? There was a mix up on the third work. They showed the orange athlete which is not an animation, rather it was meant to be the Kalenjin runner athlete animation in place of that.
An animation is not live footage. It is also not necessarily a cartoon, anything can be animated even live images where one takes photos and uses them to create illusion of motion.
In animation characters are created manually and actors are hired to voice them, like the case of mazgembe of Safaricom and mboss of Faiba.
They are also manually given motion and no camera is involved in production, except in taking still pictures, as opposed to recording the film.
Most of your works depict characters voiced with an element of a heavy accent; does an animation necessarily have to be voiced in a heavy accent? It depends on who the target audience is, in the Kalenjin runner for instance, a heavy accent of Kalenjin is used to make the audience relate to the runner as the region is well known for athletes.
There are animations that have character voicing done in pure English or Kiswahili depending on what the client wants and the message intended.
Who writes the scripts that are voiced by the artists for the different animation characters?
Sometimes I write the scripts myself and others we hire a scriptwriter to do them so that we have a variety of ideas.
How many people are involved in the creation of animations and what are the different roles?
There is usually the storyboard artist who drafts the plot of the animation, the scriptwriter who comes up with wordings to be voiced for the characters and then there is the layout designer. A character builder is also involved who models the animation to come up with a certain appearance then an animator creates motion for the characters modelled.
How is the corporate world embracing animated advertisements, has there been an increased order since the Jamii Telecoms project?
There has been an increase and more clients are leaning towards this means of advertisement, as it is flexible, affordable and very controllable. We presented what we were able to do and they liked it and gave us a chance.
Are there many producers who have embraced 3D Animation to produce adverts and films in the country?
Many of them are coming up. Animation is very wide and they are coming up in different fields of animation, I have seen a couple of other animated adverts done locally.
3D animation courses in Kenya are yet to achieve something substantial, I haven't seen any good stuff come out from them yet. Most of the good animations I have seen are from self-taught animators. Have you worked on animated films and if yes how has the market embraced these productions?
I have worked on an animated series as a junior animator and then as a lead animator. Tinga Tinga Tales.
It taught me alot and I loved working on it. I haven't heard much of it in regards to the market, I don't think the producer intended it to be a local target.
Where do you see the country five years from now with regards to adoption of animation technology?
I see a big industry covering very many aspects of animation from advertising, mobile solutions. education and so on.
What are the five things that people do not know about you? I like to travel. My hobby is really my Job.. I love making animations. I also pray for them, I'm a Christian, born again and I pray for every production. I like cars, but I only have one. I like gizmos and gadgets , computers. I might seem unapproachable al. I might seem unapproachable alot of the times, but I am very approachable.
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