Scenography and Character in Tinga Tinga Tales: A Kenyan Animation Film
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The Kenyan animation industry has generally realized an improved growth as depicted by the number of local animation productions that hit the market. This can however be improved through among other factors, producing more quality animation films. These productions will highly depend on the elements put together, one being good character design and scenography. Scenography is not only a set of visual ideas but also an experience of the senses in which audiences read, feel and interpret the space of an animation stage. The meaning in animation films is easily adduced with vivid scenic designs and well-developed characters. This study sought to understand the relationship between scenography and character design as components that improve the quality of an animation production. In this study, it is argued that in the hands of skilled animators, scenography and character development are key in the meaning making process of animation films. By viewing scenography as a symbol, Tinga Tinga Tales, a Kenyan animation film produced jointly in Kenya was studied with the objectives to: 1. To establish the nature of scenography evident. 2. To evaluate the nature of characters 3. To analyse the effects that scenography has on characters. The study employed semiotics as the theory of guiding the study. Semiotics is based with the study of signs and was employed in trying to understand the meaning portrayed by scene designs as well as character designs. Methodical data gathering involved observation method which entailed watching six selected episodes of the animation film to identify how the scenographies are created, with a key focus on elements of design, how the characters have been developed using different techniques of shape and colour and how the scenography is employed to affect how these characters have been developed. In addition, interviews of 24 different Kenyan animators based in Nairobi was conducted to beef up the research findings. Data obtained was examined and analyzed in line with the objectives of the study. The study found out that scenography has a great impact on how characters are designed in animation film and are not merely backdrops for action. Their symbolisms and connotations weave together to give meaning to animation films. The study also established useful findings for producers and animators as well as guides for further studies.